Our mission is to create a welcoming environment for Christian relationship building and spiritual renewal. Within the stillness of God's creation and through the guidance of the staff, people are moved from discovery into authentic relationships with others and with Jesus Christ.
MEET THE STAFF
Kevin Van Brunt,
Since 2005, Pastor Kevin Van Brunt has served as the President / CEO of Sentinel Ministries. He oversees the operation of Camp Sentinel in Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. In his previous experience, he served the Young Men's Christian Association in Goffstown, New Hampshire as the Associate Branch Executive, overseeing branch operations and coaching 8 full time and 150 + part-time staff. He also served at Faith Baptist Church in Manchester, New Hampshire as Associate and Youth Pastor. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Recreation and Leisure studies with minors in Youth Ministry, Outdoor Education and Special Education from Gordon College. Kevin's vision for the camp and retreat ministry is to use the stillness of God's Creation as a vehicle to build relationships and change lives for Christ. He resides year-round at Camp Sentinel with his wife Traci and children Tucker, Abigail and Owen.
Traci Van Brunt,
Traci has been at Camp Sentinel since 2005 with her husband, Kevin and their 3 children, Tucker, Abigail and Owen. Traci serves at camp in many supportive areas including administration, registration, and kitchen support. She has a heart for mentoring the staff and enjoys watching them grow in their personal faith journey. Traci is a homeschool mom, and her hobbies include writing, reading and soaking in the sun on the beach.
Since 2009 Rafe Longver has served as the Facility Director of Sentinel Ministries. He oversees facility maintenance operations and improvement projects. Rafe earned his degree in Diesel Hydraulics from Northern Maine Community College. Rafe grew up coming to Sentinel as a camper and has been at camp every summer since 1997. In the community, Rafe serves on the Tuftonboro Fire/Rescue Department as a Firefighter/AEMT. Rafe lives on the grounds year-round with his wife Anne Longver who also grew up coming to Sentinel. His favorite activity at camp is playing disc golf.
Guest Services Director
Brandon serves as the Guest Services Director. He is responsible for hosting group retreats and oversees food services for 3000 guests each year and over 700 campers in the summer. Brandon began as a camper in 2005 and joined the summer staff team in 2011. During his time at camp, he served as a Maintenance coordinator, counselor, lifeguard, Boys Unit Leader, and Ministry Intern. While serving as the Ministry Intern Brandon completed his degree in Business Administration through Southern New Hampshire University. He joined the full-time team in fall of 2017. He also serves on Tuftonboro's Parks and Rec Committee, and at the Kingswood Youth Center as a program facilitator. Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, Brandon enjoys hiking, kayaking, and woodworking.
Sarah serves as the Director of Alumni Relations and Development. She maintains and nurtures relationships with Sentinel alumni, keeping them connected with the happenings at Sentinel and beyond. Sarah began as a camper in 1996, participated in the LIT program, and joined the staff in 2003. During her five years on staff, she served as a counselor, Resource Director, and Program Director. She met her husband, Robby, at camp when they were LITs. They worked on staff together for five summers and they got married in the Wigwam in 2009. They have both served on Sentinel’s Site Committee since 2008. After graduating from Gordon College with a BA in Youth Ministries, Sarah served as a Camp Director at other summer programs for ten years. She is now completing her Master's degree in Elementary Education to become a teacher. Robby and Sarah live in Goffstown, NH and have two children, Gabrielle and Anthony - both future Sentinel campers! Sarah loves playing volleyball, hosting game nights, and hearing and sharing stories - especially when they are about camp!
HISTORY OF SENTINEL
The Sentinel Story
Beginning in 1949, Camp Sentinel was owned and operated by the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and New Hampshire. The challenging decision was made to establish the independent nonprofit organization “Sentinel Ministries” that, while still supported by the ABCVNH region churches, would operate as its own entity. A new Board of Directors was chosen to help guide Sentinel Ministries into the future while staying true to core values and traditions.
In 2005, the Board of Directors appointed Rev. Kevin Van Brunt as the executive director whose job is to oversee the development of Camp Sentinel. Through God’s grace, the efforts of Sentinel’s staff and volunteers Sentinel Ministries has seen tremendous growth and impact in the region. Camper enrollment has steadily grown from 200 campers in 2005 to over 700 campers going into our 70th season. Year-round group service has increased from 147 guests in 2005 to over 2500+ guests served each year.
The purpose of Camp Sentinel is to continue to provide a safe and welcoming environment for relationship building with God and others. The mission continues to be accomplished on a daily basis because of the support from individuals, churches and other local organizations. Camp Sentinel has a rich history full of tradition and great memories and it strives to continue to create memories and life-changing experiences for each guest who visit the campus.
Those of you who enjoy history and the story of civilization know that each generation lays the foundation for future buildings in generations to come. This is true of Camp Sentinel's history. We begin our story as we tell it to the campers.
Eons and eons ago when God was creating his world, He caused a volcano to erupt, and from that upheaval, the Ossipee Mountain Range was born, and nestled in the base of Mount Shaw was a beautiful little lake we call Dan Hole Pond.
The first inhabitants, once the earth had healed, were Indians. Their impact on the land was in accord with their oneness in spirit with nature and their respect for the creativeness of the Great Spirit. Their respect for all the works of His hands made them excellent environmentalists. They used only that which was needed to provide for food and shelter and considered the animals as brothers.
In 1760-1770 events occurred to change the pattern of life for the Indians. The white man began to enter his territory. History tells us that two Grant brothers, tiring of their lives as sailors, came to the place we call Sentinel. One brother chose to build on what we call now the main campus of Sentinel. The other brother went through the valley to the other side of the lake and built his home there. In both areas, cemeteries bearing the names of parents and children mark their time on the land. One of the cemeteries is in the middle of the girls unit, and the other is over in McDuffie's field. During their lifetime they cleared forests to create fields for grazing of cattle. Stone walls remain to mark their endeavors at farming. It had to be a hard life, for rocks grow faster here than any known crop.
Following the Grant family, there were others...unknown by name...who tried their luck at farming. One venturesome individual decided to raise turkeys but lost all of his flock in the bitter cold of winter.
History took a new slant in the early 1900s. A Judge Brackett from Massachusetts purchased the land to use for a summer vacation spot. He called it Brachett's Claim. He lived at first in the old farmhouse while he was building the Lodge. A summer thunderstorm set the farmhouse and the attached barn on fire, so he moved into the lodge, adding on to make it sufficient for his needs. He also built the building in the field, which we call the Hobby House.
He used it for a theater and imported actors from New York and Massachusetts to put on plays for the entertainment of his guests. He hired gardeners, and laid out garden fountains, making quite a showplace of the old farm. It is interesting to note that although all his use of the land was only for his pleasure, God was working through him and his wealth to lay the foundations for camp which was to come; already two main buildings were built, a road to the Lodge was opened, and a water system pumped water from the lake. In 1930 Mr. Brackett died and his property was auctioned off.
The next owner was Alfred Avery. His purpose for buying the property was to open it in the summer for children from the Home for Little Wanderers so that they could have an experience of sharing country living.Â For many years he kept this project going. Then he decided that the youngsters would profit from a farm experience. So Sentinel Lodge...Mr. Avery's name for the camp...was not being used during the summer.
But the finger of God was pointing to a group of New Hampshire Baptists who in 1948 had asked Myrtle Auch to be their Christian Education Director. They gave her the task of finding a camp for our young people. Word got to them that Sentinel was available and in time the committee came to Sentinel and fell in love with its beauty and its possibilities. They met Mr. Avery and were given permission to use the land free of charge for summer camp. The lodge had a kitchen, a large dining room, and a large meeting room, which provided space for the first few years. The fishbowl served as the girls sleeping quarters divided into two sections by curtains.
The Hobby House moved from being a theater to being a craft shop and an indoor recreation hall for rainy days. The first summer of camping in 1949 Myrtle Auch had a budget of $600 for operating funds. She ended the season with $3 in the black.
The fundamental emphasis in our reason for being is to introduce children to the worlds of God's creation, to encourage them to live together in Christian fellowship, to share in Bible learning and worship experiences, and to lay the foundations for a firm Christian faith.
Since the beginning of the Baptist witness through Sentinel Baptist Camp, under the able leadership of Myrtle Auch, and until this day over 25,000 young people have experienced the outdoors adventure and the love of Christ. New buildings have been built, new programs tried, but our reason for being here remains the same.
Since 1949, individuals dedicated to serving God have provided the backbone for this camping ministry to flourish. Staff and volunteers act as the vehicle to bring individuals, families, and groups closer to Christ.
Summer staff applications are welcomed for the upcoming summer camp season!
“Often people ask me, how could you "give up" your summer to work at camp for 9 weeks, and I suppose that could be a valid question. I guess it's because camp is my home away from home, where my second family is. I get to spend my summer not only with amazing people but in a bubble that protects against all the world throws at me. I wake up to constant love, fun, and smiles and most importantly my summer is devoted to helping kids find their relationship with Christ. Life outside camp is just so boring in comparison. Simply put I would miss it” – Claire, staff member
Staff Positions by Department
Get Plugged in! Since 1949 Sentinel has welcomed volunteers to the grounds to help support the mission of Christian camping. We welcome church groups or individuals. Sentinel needs your help with buildings and grounds, summer program, and hospitality/group services.
At Sentinel we consider Alumni to be anyone with a connection to camp. Past campers, parents, grandparents, and supporters all make up the Sentinel Alumni Association. There are thousands of alumni scattered across the world. We want to hear from you! Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey to help us better connect with you.
Driving to Sentinel
Off Route 16 onto Route 171 for about 8 miles to Camp Sentinel sign, turn right on Cannan Road. Turn right at the top of the hill into the camp.
Bear left off Route 28 onto Route 109A to Tuftonboro School (8 miles), then right on Ledgehill Road for 3 miles to Route 171. Turn left on Route 171 for 1/4 mile. Look for the Camp Sentinel sign and turn right on Cannan Road. Turn right at the top of the hill into the camp.
Travel towards Meredith. Go East on Route 104 to Route 3. Left on Route 3 to stop lights in Meredith Center. Right on Route 25 to Route 109. Right on Route 109 to Route 171 (Left at fork). After 6-7 miles look for the Camp Sentinel sign, turn left on Cannan Road. Turn right at the top of the hill into the camp.