Meet the Deans: Mike Ralph

Name: Mike Ralph
Nickname: Ralphy, Morgan, and now I go by Daddy
Hometown: I currently live in Woodbury. I moved around a lot so I’m not sure what my hometown really is. I was born in Olathe, Kansas
Occupation: Youth Director
Home Church: Trinity United Methodist in Mullica Hill
Education: BA in English from Asbury College, MA in Education from Georgetown College
Family: My wife Faith and I have been married for 7 years. We have a 3 year old daughter named Ella and a boy on the way in August
Years Attending Delanco Camp: I attended for 4 years as a camper and have served on summer and volunteer staffs for about 13 years
Years as Dean: 11
Fondest Camp Memory: There are so many to choose from, but the one that comes to mind is the Delanco Wrestling Association. We had a WWE style wrestling event in the dining hall. I was Sleazy Pete, the manager for the “Pretty Boys” tag team, played by Dan Ulrich and Jon Falcone. I spent most of the match fighting with my manager counterpart, Bodine, played dead on by Doug Petit, who was the manager for the Boost Brothers, played by John Miller and Justin Perry. My mom said a wrestling match could never be done at camp, but we proved her wrong that night.
Favorite snack from the store: Choco Tacos
Favorite camp meal: Pretzel Roll sandwiches
Favorite camp activity: Night games
Favorite camp night game: Clue
Elevator Testimony: When I was 8, my dad gave an altar call at the conclusion of a salvation message one Sunday, and I made the decision to ask Jesus into my heart. My parents did their best to raise me in a loving Christian home, but when I became a teenager, I began to struggle with my attitude towards the church and my relationship with Christ. It was not until I started attending Sicklerville youth group and Delanco Camp that things started to change in my life. The youth leaders and camp counselors that I looked up to showed me what it was like to be a true follower of Christ. After returning home from a week at teen camp one summer, I decided that it was time for me to make a mature commitment to Christ. After making my new commitment, I started to take a more active role as a leader and role model to younger students in my youth group and at camp, which I continue to do today.

How did you first discover Delanco Camp? I first heard about camp from Wally Kappeler when my dad was the pastor at Gibbsboro UMC, but I was too scared to go. I was invited a few years later to junior high camp by one of my classmates, Julie Lachewitz, after she found out that my dad was a pastor. I had attended Halawasa and Malaga during the previous summers, but once I came to Delanco, I was hooked.

What is a dean and what made you want to be a dean? A dean at Delanco is responsible for planning and leading a weeklong program for a specific age group and for putting together a volunteer staff to help facilitate the program and share Jesus with young people. I wanted to be a dean, because it gave me the opportunity to use a lot of my creativity and leadership qualities in a ministry setting. It also gave me the opportunity do a lot of things that I felt were missing from the camp program when I was a camper.

What’s the theme for your week and why? Our theme is “White as Snow,” which comes from Isaiah 1:18, which says, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” Aside from the obvious reason of getting to create a snow themed camp program in July, we chose this theme because it is important for young people to understand the importance of keeping your hearts, thoughts, and words pure and that even when you do sin, God can make you white as snow.

Why should people come to camp the week you are in charge? People should come to our week, because we have planned and created a lot of fun and collaborative activities that incorporate our theme throughout the week. Plus, you get to have snowball fights and celebrate Christmas in July.

What surprises do you have in store? I don’t want to say much, because then it wouldn’t be a surprise, but since our theme is ‘White as Snow,” you can probably figure out what some of the surprises are.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? I’m most looking forward to “A Christmas Story” night game that we have planned for our Christmas in July celebration.

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