Skycroft Conference Center: “An Amazing Place“

Happy 50th Anniversary Skycroft! Tom Stolle, associate executive director of BCM/D reflects on the staff of Skycroft.

Skycroft Conference Center is an amazing place. Each time I visit, I am overcome by the marvel of God’s creation. To be able to escape many of the cares of everyday life in such a naturally beautiful setting is refreshing. 

There is a beauty beyond nature that I find even more powerful. A beauty exists at Skycroft that touches me to the core of my being. That is the beauty of its people.

Allow me to explain. There is a group of employees on that mountain who serve tirelessly. They give themselves away to the work that God has given them to do. They are truly God’s soldiers, and to me, they are beautiful. I love them all.  

Emily Chamblee serves as the head housekeeper. She diligently cleans rooms, makes beds and does the laundry. Do you know what else she does? She encourages others. I know in my ministry, it seems that just when I need it, a card or an encouraging note arrives from Emily, reminding me that God loves me and she is thankful for me. Many will tell you that Emily’s gift of encouragement is a consistent blessing to those around her.

Jim Chamblee serves as a maintenance technician. In short, he fixes all kinds of things that break, and you can imagine that a lot can need repair at a facility that exceeds 300 acres in size. It is always a joy to speak with him. His passion for Skycroft shines through. He loves his motorcycle and recently recovered from a serious accident. He couldn’t wait to get back to work when he was in recovery to serve alongside the people he loves.

Becky Burtner serves in the kitchen, preparing meals for the many guests at Skycroft. Becky has had both knees replaced, but you would never know it. Each time I encounter her, it’s with a smile on her face and joy in her service. It is also obvious that she is someone who deeply loves her family. She is a breath of fresh air each time I visit.

Anthony Hayek serves as the food service manager. You can imagine the amount of work required when guest counts are 250 or more per day in the summer and he is responsible for menu planning and feeding those guests. Anthony is also the father of a daughter, Emily, who is affected by disabilities. Caring for Emily consumes his family’s life but it’s amazing to see how much he loves them. Through the doctor visits and special needs they have, he valiantly serves others because that’s who he is.

Andrew Tuel serves as the recreation manager and assists with maintenance. Whenever I’m at Skycroft, I see Andrew seemingly everywhere, doing whatever needs to be done. From grass mowing to prepping the paintball course to running the waterslide for guests, he does it all proficiently. Last year, Skycroft hosted our first overnight camp for individuals affected by disabilities. Andrew is a big guy; to some, he can look intimidating, but I watched him at the camp connect in a special way with these young people affected by disabilities as he loved and served them. His kindness and gentleness touched me as I watched him care for my son and the many other guests who rode on the slide. It was such a display of love.

Taylor Tuel serves as guest relations manager. Taylor is always positive. Despite the stresses and extreme business of Skycroft, particularly in the summer months, I’ve never felt like anytime I have spoken with her that it was rushed or that I was an inconvenience. To me, she is the consummate customer service professional. No matter the circumstance or the challenge, I see smiles and feel positivity. In many ways, she is the face of Skycroft as she handles the bookings and much of the initial communication. She is one of the most positive and caring people I’ve ever met. 

Jim McBride, Jr. serves as the facilities manager. He loves to be at Skycroft. He wants to be at Skycroft for the rest of his career — just ask him!  Jim earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and served for years in corporate America in banking and construction but felt (what he would say) is a higher calling to being a servant to the many that stay at Skycroft. He’s the son of one of the BCM/D’s beloved pastors and his love for Jesus shines through. He’s an incredibly giving man with an amazing attitude. He’s ready to take on any challenge that comes his way, both at work and in life. I watched how he dealt with skin cancer, and I was impressed with his faith, trust in Jesus and positive attitude through it all.

Emily Reedy serves as Skycroft director. She is one of the hardest-working people I have ever met. Being the director is an enormous job; in the summer, anyone who has served there would tell you it feels like chaos at camp time. Yet she handles the myriad of responsibilities with incredible grace. A devoted wife and a mother of two young children, she somehow manages to balance her many responsibilities.  One of the best things I can say about Emily is that she cares about the Skycroft staff, and the staff know it. Her heart is to personally sacrifice for them. She routinely puts others before herself.

I also see God’s love and grace not just in the Skycroft staff but in how God moves among the guests.  No ministry within the BCM/D results in more salvations and recommitments to Christ than the ministry at Skycroft. Thousands have accepted Christ and committed to Him over the last five decades. I would submit that this is what truly makes Skycroft special. God is using Skycroft to increase the number of people that will populate heaven, and He is using it as a tool to invest in and raise up young men and women that will help change the world in the name of Jesus.

I observe and experience love at and through Skycroft. Where there is true love, God is present.  How do we know this?  We know it because He tells us this in His Word, 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 (NIV)

Skycroft, its staff, guests and ministries bring the above verse to life for me. I’m honored to be a part of a state convention that has such a vibrant camp and conference center ministry!

Join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Skycroft! Send your memories, thoughts, and photos to [email protected] and we’ll share them on our social media pages!