082 – Fort Wilderness – Marketing & Ministry

In this Happy Hour podcast, we’re chatting with Laura Borkenhagen and Andrew Carlson about web, marketing, and ministry!


  • (8:47) Who is Laura and what is her role at Fort Wilderness?
  • (18:19) Who is Andrew and what is his role at Fort Wilderness?
  • (21:57) Following the call while still using your talents.
  • (26:48) What does marketing at a camp look like?
  • (30:09) Being the new person.
  • (39:13) Raising kids at camp?
  • (44:51) How do Laura and Andrew schedule vacation time?
  • (47:50) How did Laura approach self funding?
  • (1:00:19) Favorite camp stories!
  • (1:04:14) Best camp pranks?
  • (1:08:53) What do Andrew and Laura love about what they do?
  • (1:13:21) Two truths and lie.


Ryan Freng 3:34
Hello and welcome back to the let’s backflip show. Happy Hour. I’m Ryan Freng. co creative director here at backflip. And oh, that’s what I’m doing. I’m actually watching the show on Facebook so I’m getting like feedback. I was like, Why is there an echo? That’s how this goes because we’re live. Joining me as always is John Shoemaker. What’s going on John?

John Shoemaker 3:56
And I’m John Shoemaker. And I’m at backflip

Ryan Freng 4:02
and you’re having a happy hour?

John Shoemaker 4:05
Yes on that. Yeah. What are you there we go. Okay. Using a different web today

Ryan Freng 4:16
Oh, nice. Let’s see. Let’s throw you up big. I love technology.

John Shoemaker 4:20
Yeah, I get it like you go. Like forest green light down a little. I probably just do it.

Ryan Freng 4:28
Yeah, guys, does it sound like there’s a woodpecker here? Do you hear that?

John Shoemaker 4:33

Ryan Freng 4:34
yes. My wife is tiling upstairs so that is happening. You’re welcome.

John Shoemaker 4:42
Did she know that you call her woodpecker?

Ryan Freng 4:44
Yes, yes. No, she that’s what I normally call you. So

John Shoemaker 4:48
what am I dragging? I’ve got stormy Oh, I think is the one on the fretful Ooh, nice. I didn’t do anything fancy. Do it. I just it’s just straight up custom design mug. And then I mean

Ryan Freng 5:06
your wonderful why I love those mugs. Those mugs are like my favorite mugs I’ve ever had. Yeah,

John Shoemaker 5:12
they’re fun. They’re fun. And if you look closely if you come in here for a meeting, okay, that one’s kind of obvious that Chevron there. Well, this one probably just mostly is. This one’s just mostly blatant. Blatant with make awesome things made of heavy brand names. All of them have secret Chevron’s. Actually, this one does make awesome in Morse code at the top.

Ryan Freng 5:39
Oh, you know, I don’t know if I actually knew that

John Shoemaker 5:41
and binary down at the bottom.

Ryan Freng 5:45
So much branding. I love it.

John Shoemaker 5:47
It’s so good. So that’s, that’s fun. And then we’ll see we’ll see how if I decide to classify this as an event, so we talked about on a previous one, that for Lent I gave up alcohol outside of events you know, we’re work events and things. But this is an event so we’ll see.

Ryan Freng 6:13
But my day drinking is okay. A

John Shoemaker 6:16
pretty I’m pretty easygoing. The ginger yuzu rice Pilsner from carbon for zest day ever. That was a quite is quite good.

Ryan Freng 6:29
I don’t know if I’ve ever had that one. Not to try that next time.

John Shoemaker 6:33
Maybe I won’t break it open. It might be the last one in the fridge.

Ryan Freng 6:36
I’m sure there’s more than just one in existence, I mean, so. Yeah, I don’t have any alcohol today. I am not drinking at all. But I do have water. You know, the good old staple. But then I brought I brought a little smoothie a little a little protein smoothie. Because we got to get them we got to get that protein in today. got in there and

John Shoemaker 7:03
over my cheap coffee from home. I’m still drinking. The

Ryan Freng 7:08
Nespresso is very upset right now. But enough of that. You’re not here for us. Let’s bring in our guests. We’ve got Oh, and you guys put your last names in there. That’s helpful. Andrew Carlson, Laura Bork and Hagen Welcome to the show, guys. Thanks for coming on.

Laura Borkenhagen 7:25
Hello, thanks for having us.

Ryan Freng 7:27
So we do got to start off with the happy hour. And I know you mentioned earlier it is a dry camp. But that’s okay. We like to bring our favorite drinks that aren’t alcohol as you see as well. So what do you guys got today?

Laura Borkenhagen 7:41
I am drinking apple tea. It is it was I think negative five this morning so I’m going with the warm up some nice apple tea.

Ryan Freng 7:54
What real quick what is Apple tea? Is it is it’s different than normal tea. Is it just tea that’s got some apple chips in it or something?

Laura Borkenhagen 8:01
It’s flavored like apple. I think my children call it Apple tea and I I don’t know I don’t have the package in front of me. I think it’s like then maybe

Ryan Freng 8:12
okay. Yeah, yeah, it’s straight apple juice. It’s like it’s like a hop skip and away from an Apple TV. Like as soon as we get off of official for business it’s an appletini All right, and Andrew What do you got Andrew Hello, can you hear me? What do you got Am I muted? No, no, no, I hear you. Okay this is my favorite part of the show technologies we might have to drive over there if you can hear us this is good wait yes you can hear us

Andrew Carlson 8:52
thank you for having us

Ryan Freng 8:57
think I think your friend is great I think the friend next to you can hear but I don’t think you can hear us maybe he maybe you’re like really delayed I don’t know this is great whatever is happening right now is

John Shoemaker 9:07
like same way

Ryan Freng 9:10
maybe yeah his friend I love that the other guy right there is like Andrew Do you know that they’re talking to

Andrew Carlson 9:16
you? I like Ryan also have my lovely water bottle Wow water is

Ryan Freng 9:27
yeah, you must be watching on Facebook

John Shoemaker 9:28
or something. Yeah, don’t watch it through Facebook. Watch it through restream

Ryan Freng 9:33
Yeah, try killing the Facebook stream if you’re on Facebook

this is this this is this is live production. Maybe this is just raw, unfiltered live action. So I won’t make any yes while we while we get Andrew sorted.

Andrew Carlson 9:54
Okay, well, I’m gonna go forward like you guys can hear me. And we’ll maybe figure this out. I am also anything. All right. I brought my water. So I can show up all my fancy stickers. Yep.

Ryan Freng 10:14
Yeah. Can you hear us? Like, in time? Are you like 10 seconds delayed or something? I can’t hear

Andrew Carlson 10:21
you. I can’t hear you.

Ryan Freng 10:23
It might be Oh, okay. All right, well, we’ll just we’ll just type. Well, we’ll see how that goes. So let’s, let’s start a little bit at the beginning. So we’re talking about Fort wilderness marketing and ministry, but want to get to know you guys a little bit better. Let’s, let’s start with Laura. We’ll, we’ll switch you over while we get Andrew started out there. Laura, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Laura Borkenhagen 10:47
Sure. So I work at Fort wilderness. And fort wilderness is a camp up north Wisconsin Christian camp. And I am the Marketing Manager. So we do everything from reaching out to campers. Obviously, just like running the website, which we work with you all on. We do a lot of photography that we use ourselves, but also provide for the campers. And so yeah, I’ve been on staff actually two years. My two year anniversary is very soon. Next week. Yeah, what else did you want to do?

Ryan Freng 11:27
That’s crazy that you’ve already been there for two years, it seems Yeah. I guess just like yesterday, but the last three years have been a little crazy, right?

Laura Borkenhagen 11:35
Yes, yes. Yeah. We I started out as forts first remote employee two years ago. And then, after a year of doing that, our family ended up moving up here. So I’ve been living up here for a year.

Ryan Freng 11:51
Yeah, I mean, how did you get to this point? Like, what? What have you done up into this point? You know, what’s, what’s the story of Laura?

Laura Borkenhagen 11:58
Oh, boy, the story of Laura. Um, so I went to school for marketing and finance and entrepreneurship, and all the business things. And after that, worked at the Kohler company, for about five years, and that was super fun. Life before children, I traveled a ton, both domestically and internationally. I was quite spoiled. And then we started my husband, I started having children. And so I stayed home for a bit of time while I was running a photography business. And so did that while having our three kids. And yeah, and then our family went to Fort wilderness for camp in the wintertime. And there was a job posting in the dining hall. And I was not looking for a job at all. And I read this job posting and I was like, I think that’s my job. Like, I think I need to apply for that. And, and I did, and that’s, that’s how it happened. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 13:11
Yeah. That’s, that’s so awesome. And you already engaged in the camp, so you knew kind of the spirit of it and what it was all about. So that’s awesome. That That makes so much sense. Did you? I don’t know. Did you ever see yourself working in this type of role? Or? Or, you know, how do you feel about that?

Laura Borkenhagen 13:32
I mean, this type of role. Yes. Like, I love marketing, and I just I love all sides of it. I like writing I like the photography side, like at all. So that side for sure. But um, we were living in our forever home in Wauwatosa that we had just spent a couple of years seven years fixing up and I was not going to move and yeah, things I definitely did not plan to move to the north woods. And yeah, so it’s been an adventure for sure. For sure. But a good one. I think when you’re when once I I was sure that this was where I felt the Lord was bringing our family it was it was an easy yes after that. And so it hasn’t been easy the whole way. But I don’t know when I’m sure that it’s time to to do something and then I’m like, once the decision is made, I’m like, let’s let’s go and we sold our house and moved and I don’t really look back after that. So it’s been good.

Ryan Freng 14:42
Yeah, that’s that’s nice through like, you know, whatever. However it happened prayer, you know, just contemplation and meditation and you do feel that like, Yes, this is this is what is right. It’s like, okay, well, we’re in our forever home. We’re not in our forever home. We gotta change this. We got to do something. I was like, I love that. I love that energy. I love that. Just that openness, right? Because it’s an openness to something else or something, you know, someone else’s will. So yeah, I think I think that’s so cool.

Laura Borkenhagen 15:11
Yeah, I hope I always feel that way that I’m not ever so set in what I’m doing that I miss out on something different. Yeah. I think that’s and I’m also married to someone that was willing to say, Yeah, let’s, I mean, he quit his job. I was just home, he quit his job. And so he had the bigger I feel like the bigger step.

Ryan Freng 15:37
A bigger move. Yeah. And he, Billy, he’s working there as well, right?

Laura Borkenhagen 15:40
Yes, yes, my husband, Billy is an architect. And he had been working at a firm downtown Milwaukee, and really loved his work. And now he’s working at camp. And so camp has a lot of buildings that need will say have have a lot of delayed maintenance on them that might need to be updated. And then they’ve

Ryan Freng 16:05
got a lot of story.

Laura Borkenhagen 16:09
Yes. And then there’s just also a need for building new new so he designed an outdoor amphitheater, and that will be finished in spring here. So he’s doing both design work, but also helping build. Yeah,

Ryan Freng 16:28
make it a family affair out of it. That’s, that’s awesome. We’ve worked with a camp before birch trail, and it’s so great to see, you know, because it ends up being a family affair, because you’re there so much during camp. And in this case, I think they live on site. And they also have the housing that’s close for the staff, and you know, the families running around on scooters and stuff during camp and it’s just, you know, an integrated family thing. So it makes a lot of sense, because it’s, I don’t know, it takes a village or it takes a family to raise a camp. I don’t know, there’s there’s got to be a saying in here that we can find somewhere. But also something fun is, let’s see. You too. Would you guys went to school together, you and John, right.

Laura Borkenhagen 17:10
Not me, my husband.

Ryan Freng 17:12
Your husband that’s right. Okay.

John Shoemaker 17:15
But I like forget that we didn’t go to school together. We remind myself that we did it. So it’s like, oh, no, wait, no, I met Laura once she was, you know, connected to Billy. Yeah, but, you know, Billy and I went to school together from way back. Set the same lunch table, you know, roughly the same orientation for many, many a year. And then yeah, it’s always cool to reconnect when, especially in this way, when people are like, Hey, I’m out in doing my thing and my career and you’ve got one and we can work together. That’s really fun.

Laura Borkenhagen 18:00
I noticed you didn’t mention the band you were in.

John Shoemaker 18:02
Oh, let’s grab. Oh, you guys in a band together? Well, yeah. Well, several. So I mean, we were in, we were in concert band. And then we were also in a Steel Drum Band, which is, which is an extracurricular and ability also played drums or keyboard in our garage band. And we we actually won a talent show with an original song called Billy the math nerd. Where Billy did amazing. Transformation. And dance is kind of like, it’s a funny, sorry, transformation.

Ryan Freng 18:43
And what does this mean? Well, it’s like

John Shoemaker 18:47
an inverse of your typical, you know, daytime movie, you know, daytime TV movie, where like, some kid who’s kind of like, not cool and shy or whatever, goes away to camp and then comes back with all this new competence or whatever. This is like the inverse, like, Billy’s really cool. He’s like the coolest kid. And he goes to math camp for the summer. And he comes back to the math nerd. But everybody just go for it.

Andrew Carlson 19:23
This is the kind of skit that like needs to show up in like the summer camp in some way.

John Shoemaker 19:27
There’s a there’s a video somewhere. I dig around.

Ryan Freng 19:34
Yeah, that sounds worthy of being reprised as some kind of teaching tool at camp as Billy Billy the math nerd. Yeah, we hope you’re listening to Billy.

Andrew Carlson 19:47
Regardless, I’m taking that taking notes of that. Yeah.

John Shoemaker 19:54
I love that. I had I had a question for more about it. Yet. So is maybe a longer tangent for for the whole conversation and they didn’t want to dive into that before we get to know Andrew a little bit.

Ryan Freng 20:07
Yeah, let’s let’s get Andrews introduction real quick here too. And then and then we can bounce back and forth. So Andrew, yeah. Tell us about yourself, man. What’s what’s what’s your story? What brings you to this point?

Andrew Carlson 20:20
All right. Well, I think I think I included it in my bio. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota love to live in there love Minnesota. Diehard diehard roots there, love the Minnesota Vikings are like my diehard team. So I’ll always stick by them, even when they make a portrait

Ryan Freng 20:37
kicker, sorry.

Andrew Carlson 20:41
It’s a long, long running history. But yeah, I grew up Minneapolis, spent a lot of years as a youth camper coming up to Fort. So that’s my connection to here. Went up to college in Colorado State University, spent a number of years there got my degree in graphic design, which I just developed my passion going to school and just found I have this really amazing love for creating graphics and the creativity and an options and avenues that that presented. And once I graduated school, I was on the job search and ended up finding a connection back here at camp and they were there was an opening for a marketing position for a graphic designer. And it was incredible to just see the doors opening up at the right time where I wasn’t really expecting there to be a role here or find myself working in ministry even. But it really has been really cool to see the blending of ministry, and this more creative side that I’ve that I’ve come to love and the blending of the two. It’s really been something that I’ve really come to appreciate.

Ryan Freng 21:50
Yeah, so and you you said you grew up going to the camp? Yeah. So are were you into your faith? Did the camp get you into your faith? Did you know what’s kind of that story there?

Andrew Carlson 22:05
I think I, my thing has always kind of been been a part of me and wasn’t really necessarily connected at Camp though camp did provide a space of weekend of the summer to really grow into my own individual and in person, rather than it being like my family’s faith or something that was just part of my previous identity or culture. So it kind of has a Walking Line in that, like, I never would see myself working in ministry. But this space of Fort and camp offers up this opportunity to really I feel like I’m I ramble a lot. So if I get off tangent, it’s,

Ryan Freng 22:50
it’s it’s great to like, you know, this great opportunity comes up and to marry those two. And I’m sure you know, I’m sure there’s a lot of discovery because that was gonna be the third thing that I said to have like, or is it just an ongoing journey? And I think for you know, most of us are all of us. It’s, it’s an ongoing journey. And I just, I love that kind of the faith component of it. In terms of it being an important area of our life, and then being able to do that at summer camp as well. Right. You know, what are the values that we’re gonna get it at a random summer camp? I don’t know. But I know what the the values that I’m gonna get it like a, you know, a faith focused or Jesus focused. Summer Camp, so, you know, you it’s hard to be in the sun and not get a suntan? I know, it was kind of what it’s like. So yeah. were you gonna say something, Laura?

Laura Borkenhagen 23:43
No, I just, I just was agreeing. Yeah.

John Shoemaker 23:48
It’s the perfect setup. For I mean, it is the discussion that I was interested in, which is the cross section between, you know, making decisions that are guided by a, but then combining those with, like, real world talent. This is kind of a close to home discussion for Ryan and I, because we’ve had clients before that, you know, have a very strong like idea about something that they maybe got through prayer. And then you’re like, Yeah, but we do have skills that we were given for a reason. And so you know, you world that to you and Billy, you obviously ended up there, you know, you’re working in areas of strength for you, it just took a took a leap to get there. But it’s, it’s different. I think it’s hard in the business world for people that really understand what it’s like to function with that mindset where you’re not just like, Oh, I I felt compelled to go, you know, work in an area that you have no experience. Like, that’s probably very rare, it might happen. But it’s not a thing that people get called to. Versus like, Okay, this is a leave, you’re leaving behind some, you know, the feeling of security in the house, but you are still functioning in skill sets that you worked hard to obtain?

Laura Borkenhagen 25:21
Yeah, absolutely. I would say like, I mean, I could talk a long time about how we got to our saying yes to doing this. And for those that might not know, at Fort wilderness, our missionary staff, we, we raise our own support to pay our salary. So like, it wasn’t just deciding to move for a different job. Yeah, we raised our support, and it’s because of the generosity of others that we get paid. And so it was a really, really big leap. Especially for my mindset of like, I went to school so that I can have a job. So that’s how I get my money versus like the world, you know, which is totally normal and good. It’s just, it was a really big shift for me, to have to rely on others. But I think that the way I think about it, well, two things came to mind. So what you’re talking about John is like, using our skill set, that was one of the ways that we saw the Lord leading us to these jobs, that fort needs an architect right now, because at this moment in Ford’s history, they’ve never needed an architect before. But because of all the delayed maintenance, and all these things that have to get built in the next 10 years, there’s a need for an architect, you know, like, maybe there won’t even always be a need for one on staff. And so we were like, wow, and he has the and then like, if you look at the specific type of work that Billy did in Milwaukee, it like, perfectly set him up for the types of projects that he’s building now. And so I we saw that as, like, the path. Yeah, and the other thing you were talking about John is like, I view it as, there’s some people on one side where it’s like, I had a feeling. And I think it’s the Lord saying this, and I’m gonna go do it, like super, maybe called charismatic. And then you have the other side of like, the business world, like really strategic, and it makes sense because one plus one is two. So like, it makes sense. And, and I think you can actually marry those, and, and, and be prayerful, and hear from the Lord, but also use the talents and skills and in our brains, and all the things that the Lord provided for us are the skills that that he’s given you opportunity to have. And that they can work together that you don’t have to be on one of those ends, but you can you can, they can be together.

Ryan Freng 27:48
Oops. Yeah, that’s well, and it’s, you know, kind of wherever we find ourselves is, is important to understand as well. And, you know, it could have happened that you guys might not have been able to say yes, now and like you said, with, you’re just kind of where you were and your openness. You’re like, we’re at your forever home, but you’re at a place where like, yeah, yeah, we can totally do this. Let’s, let’s do it. Let’s try it. And then you said, you want to be open to something else, if that changes, you know, and that’s, I think that’s, that’s really good flexibility kind of in life, and then likely in marketing to Right, right. Bring that all back together, but like to experiment and to try things. So what does that kind of like to for you guys? I know like John was saying to sometimes you get really opinionated people in every field, like I feel like it should be this but Have you have you guys been able to kind of look at your efforts in a traditional marketing sense of like, well, well, we know that this these kinds of things work let’s try them and see how they work and then pivot or like what is what is marketing at at Camp look like for you guys?

Laura Borkenhagen 29:05
Did you want to go first, Andrew,

Andrew Carlson 29:07
jumping off of my initial initial thoughts here. Prior I had worked at camp about a year yeah. prior prior to Laura working at work at camp about a year prior to Lauren on to being hired. And what Laura brings is a really good professional experience in marketing that that I don’t bring as a designer coming right out of school. So I Laura has often said like I bring a lot of the creative knowledge and the expertise on like how to do things, but she brings a really good background in knowing what how to do marketing well, and applies it to camp really, really well. And there are just some experiences says a lot of things and Laura does a really good job at that. So that’s my take on it. Because I think Laura Yeah, in the end upsetting Laura has done a fantastic job at upping our game in terms of marketing.

Laura Borkenhagen 30:06
Oh, well, Thanks, Andrew. I think my my opinion on that is that at camp, um, for a long time, the the marketing plan was tell the camper, treat the campers really well give them an incredible experience, and then tell them to go bring a friend. And that was like the marketing plan for a long time in it, and it worked. And so the really fun part about I feel about being in marketing at Ford is that we’re doing a lot of new things for the first time. And so, you know, sort of like, Anything’s better than nothing. So like, if no emails were being sent out, or maybe once every four months, and now we’re doing it every month. Everyone’s like, oh, it’s wildly successful. And I’m like, it may not even be great, but it’s moving from nothing, you know, and you all saw the old website, it was the original website, it was 11 years old. And so, you know, we knew we could definitely improve it, and we, you know, and so it’s, it’s fun to work on a project where, you know, we joked, like, it’s gonna be better than it is like, you know, we didn’t, I didn’t have a worry about that. at all, and, and I think I’m a type of person that I really like to talk to people that are experts. I mean, if you pick marketing, like, okay, Andrew is giving me all these compliments that I bring something he doesn’t have. But when we started the website project, I was I told Andrew, I was like, I’ve never read on a website myself. I’ve never led a project like this. I was part of a team when I was at Kohler, but I was a tiny little member of that team. And so it was really important that we found someone that was smarter than us. And if I think that that’s humility, right, it’s it’s not saying we’re the expert in it, it’s it’s finding those good partners. And, and so I think we do that. Well, Andrew, we find good people when we don’t have the answer. Totally. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 32:05
Yeah. And what’s, you know, you got you, you were coming kind of in hot into this role? Or what was that? Like? In within the organization? You know, was there kind of a, an openness already? Or was that something you helped encourage and educate with? Or, you know, what, what was that kind of like?

Laura Borkenhagen 32:30
Yeah, I think, um, I think change is hard. And, um, I mean, overall, I would say it’s great, like, people are thrilled with what, you know, improvements in marketing. I wouldn’t say that that’s a true statement. But I think that anytime, especially at a place like Fort that, I mean, there’s both employees and campers that have been coming to camp for 30 years. And so people are really invested. There’s certain things that I remember asking, oh, could we change that? And people be like, no, no, no, no. Like, that is that’s a no go like that has to stay. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 33:07
Yeah, you’re also like, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Like, it’s just a thing that no one really thinks about. And but if we did it this way, it might be better. No, no, it’s been that way for 30 years. Yeah. And

Laura Borkenhagen 33:17
so there’s definitely like, a tight you know, I think you you, you stay quiet when you’re new at first and you say, okay, like, let me try to understand, let me listen. And then over time, you can you can start to pick and choose of like, Oh, they’re right. Like, we’re we’re not going to change that. Like, we do a slideshow every week of family camp. And I was like, wow, that is like a lot of hours of work. And it doesn’t go online. Like just the campers watch it. And I did not understand why we were spending so much time making this slideshow until I experienced my first summer at Fort. And I’m like, oh, yeah, that’ll never go away. Like, everyone knows it’s happening. It’s this huge event. Everyone gathers the last night around these, the screens, and they’re eating ice cream, and they’re cheering and I’m like, that’s why we do that. And yeah, but then I could give other examples where people have said, You can’t change that. And over time, you know, you develop relationships, and you’re like, Okay, can I show you that? Maybe we could do it differently? And yeah, and I mean, you guys did that with us when we’re working on the website. And we’re, we’re asking questions, right? Like, wait, why did you do that? Or why are you recommending this and it’s your, your job to show us and guide us in the areas that we might our own blind spots, because we’re too close to the sometimes to make a good decision.

Ryan Freng 34:39
Yeah, well, and that’s that I mean, that’s a really great parallel to the importance of listening, and the kind of the humility of understanding somebody else’s perspective and that it might be different than yours. And you might come to see it in the same way that they see it given some time. So I think that’s a that’s a really great point. You make as well. But then also, yeah, providing that feedback, providing those questions and those push backs at the right time. And then, at a certain point, if it’s like, no, I just want to go this way. Okay? All right, let’s do it, you know, it’s like, it’s not a personal battle, you know, like, this is not where we stick our, or we have our last stand or anything. But it’s, it’s interesting, because I feel like those types of skills are super useful in all relationships, you know, marketing at that camp, or with working on a creative project together, or in your marriage, or with friends or anything like that, you know, being more patient, listening, getting getting good at those, I feel like it kind of cascades to all these other areas.

John Shoemaker 35:48
We’ve done a lot of work on this over the last couple of years. And one of the inspirations for it was a book called Creativity, Inc, it’s about like, the development of Pixar and kind of how they got started, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. And they, they talk about how they, how they tackle their their creative meetings, when they’re all together. And like the main writer or sort of pitch person for a new movie, is presenting their ideas that, you know, they open up the space to be available to get feedback. But then they also have defined for that team, that when you’re giving feedback, you can give ideas, but then whoever is in charge of that process, they have to address all the ideas, but they don’t, or they have to address all the issues, but they don’t have to do the thing that somebody else has prescribed and you know, would be they think might be the answer. It’s just really a cool way of looking at creative projects and saying, Well, there’s this issue. And, you know, my idea is that you could solve it this way. But then letting the person who’s kind of working on the project, figure out well, I see that issue. I know, I knew, I know, I need to address it, but I have a different way, what about this, you know, you could propose a different, a different thing. And that’s been really good, you know, to go through that process with our team, learn to do things in that way. Because I’ve, I’ve taught myself and kind of guided others through this process that like, generating something out of a creative place, is a really unique thing takes a lot of you know, emotion and a lot of your own creativity that goes into it. And so it feels very successful. When you go from nothing, there’s no idea to something and then you present it to people, and then they’re gonna have opinions, you know about why what doesn’t work, why they don’t like it. When you’re not used to it, when you first started doing it, it feels very hard to get, you know, you’re just like, You’re crushing my, you know, you’re killing my babies, I made this thing. I have come to a place of being pretty comfortable, especially in the last couple of years of writing scripts for for clients that have no idea where to start, they can’t even begin to give me the first idea of what to start with. And I know that my job is to get from nothing to something so that they can just start tearing it apart. Because once they once they see it, they’re like, okay, okay, yeah, change this, get rid of this, do that, whatever. And it’s, but I know now I’m comfortable with that first effort, the whole goal is to get to that point.

Ryan Freng 39:00
Yeah, that’s that pretty much does it? Descriptive versus prescriptive problem solving. And I don’t know that I’ve ever read that I’ve just listened to a lot of people and like creativity, Inc, really kind of codified it for me of like, okay, well, this person is solving this problem. So instead of us telling them how to do it, let’s let them solve the problem. And we’ll just tell them, you know, issues that are there. So that’s what we tried to do with web as well, which can be tricky, because everyone has a lot more experience at what they enjoy on the web. You know, you go around, and you’re like, I love this stuff. So we do try to get some of that feedback. But then when we get to problem solving, what we try to do is switch it to that descriptive versus prescriptive. Okay, well, let’s talk about and communicate what the issue is, well, I want to make this more prominent, you know, it’s not as prominent I don’t think people really see it and I just want to make a bigger deal of it. And then we can take that descriptor version and come up with a couple of solutions like, okay, yeah, we’re gonna highlight it, we’re gonna make a banner, we’re gonna raise it up, or, you know, we’re gonna do something like that. Versus, okay, I want to make this more prominent, do this, you know, I think we should do this, or try this, right? Because then at that point, you’re kind of taking away the problem solving from the person who’s being paid to do the problem solving, and providing solutions and also kind of boxing them in socially of like, okay, are you gonna tell me know, the client, my idea is bad. So it’s a fascinating thing, again, one of these kinds of businessy things that we’ve developed or understood, that I think travels across all areas of life, like, with kids, you do have to kind of inform them how to do stuff sometimes, but a lot of stuff, you can be like, Okay, well, this isn’t getting done fast enough. How do you think we could get it done faster? And then you really turn them into problem solvers instead of just order takers. And hopefully good things can come of that, right? I don’t know. We’re just we’re trying as parents who knows if it’s gonna work. Yeah. And, Laura, you guys have some kids? What’s that like with camp?

Laura Borkenhagen 41:16
Well, there are times that it is amazing. And we’re all at camp and the kids are having fun. And there’s times that it’s challenging of like, well, I actually have a meeting, and here’s a walkie talkie. And don’t fall in the lake. Love that. I would not leave them by the lake without me. But

Ryan Freng 41:41
kidding. Not kidding. Right. Right. Sorry. I’m sorry.

Laura Borkenhagen 41:44
Yeah. But I would say in general, it’s, it’s really, really cool. Like, last summer, the kids, two of my three, like, legit learned how to swim. Like, you know, not in a swim class, just like, Okay, let’s take the life jacket off. Like, let’s give it a try. And they learned how to paddle board and kayak and go off the high dive. So yeah, it’s it’s pretty great. Really, really special. And Ford is really good to us. Our daughter got to go. Go to kids camp last year, which was really, really special. And once they hit a certain age, they’re allowed to help in certain areas. And so my oldest one turned eight last summer. So every Saturday, she got to help out in the nature center. When so seven days a week, there’s campers at Fort but there’s like a, they leave Friday, and the next ones don’t come till Saturday afternoon. So Saturday mornings, they they completely flipped camp, like everything gets clean. And so my, my daughter got to clean all the animal tanks on Saturday mornings. And it was really special for her to have a responsibility. And she was with, like the summer staff and the missionary staff were in there with her. So it was a really neat and special opportunity. It was really, really great. So yeah, we feel really, yeah, lucky that the kids get to have lots of neat experiences. But then with that, like comes. There was definitely a point last summer that I was like, have we been home at all? Like, Camp is so fun. And then there’s campers there. And there’s opportunity to have incredible relationships and conversations and be part of the ministry. And I struggle to leave when that opportunity is there because I want to have those. Right. And all of us it’s like, it’s not fort forcing me to be there. It’s not like, you know, I’m sorry. It’s like, I can’t even complain. But I’m like, I haven’t done the laundry. I haven’t gone grocery, like I haven’t been home. Wait, I need to leave.

Ryan Freng 44:01
Yeah, well, and that is such a fascinating kind of concept. Like, you know, feed the poor, clothe the naked, things like that. And we do we do reach out, you know, to do that in our communities, like local and larger communities. But we also have to remember, you know, like, if we have kids, like, yeah, we gotta feed those those hungry and those naked and clothed those naked and like our family and that and, like, take care of that as part of the mission too. And like, I totally understand what you’re saying. I’m like, you could you could probably not stop giving of your time. So it’s a hard, hard thing to think about it like, Okay, where do I cut it off? How do I cut it off? Okay, like, I could stay for more hours. But yeah, we got to do laundry, you know? Yeah. And

Laura Borkenhagen 44:47
I think like Andrew, you can commit to like, I think it’s, I think that’s just like true of our marketing department. Like, if you wanted you could never go home like yeah, he’s our only designer like and so Oh, yeah, there’s

Ryan Freng 45:01
probably endless work to be doing. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well and as as like a young young adults, like, I know, I know, Camp can have just such a positive energy and you know, feel so great all the time. But like, yeah, how do you how do you manage that? How do you manage your time, and

Andrew Carlson 45:17
it was definitely a learning curve going from when I first came on staff here at Camp two. Prior to that I work on summer staff, I’d worked on summer staff a couple of summers and it really was, alright, you live, you eat, you sleep at camp, you’re here 24 hours a day, you’re hanging out your work, you go to work, you hang out with your friends, once you’re done with work, and you repeat for for 10 weeks. And so then coming on staff with, oh, I shouldn’t be here, all the time, I should make the space to go take time for myself to go grocery shopping to clean the house in the back and do the actual like life things that shouldn’t be ignored. And it’s certainly hard at times because working at Camp is It’s intoxicating. It can certainly be intoxicating, like Laura was saying having good conversations with people from a lot of different walks of life. To have that opportunity to both reconnect with people who maybe haven’t seen in a year or a few months, or meet someone brand new and hear their story is, is a just an awesome experience. But, yeah, a balance is certainly hard. And the good thing is the summer is all encompassing, but that we do have sections of time in the year to really take time away from camp and spend time with our families or take that separation time.

Ryan Freng 46:46
And recoup. And so, since camp usually runs when people have vacations and stuff, how does that work for you guys? Do you guys just have vacations on kind of offseason?

Laura Borkenhagen 46:58
Yeah, it’s interesting. In the summertime, everybody works six day weeks. And then there’s a week that camp closes completely. And you go do whatever you want to do. And then in fall, fall, we switch to retreat. So all the camps are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and we have Monday and Tuesday’s off, then yeah, through winter. And then right now actually, we’re there’s like nothing until summer. Almost nothing. Because springtime, you mean there’s

Ryan Freng 47:33
like no, no events or no? Right? Right? There’s there’s not you’re obviously doing a ton of work.

Laura Borkenhagen 47:39
Yes, yeah. But there’s springtime, you know, the snow is it’s just muddy. And so that’s not conducive

Andrew Carlson 47:47
to a lot of either winter activities or summer activities.

Ryan Freng 47:50
Yeah, just just do like the tough Mudders or something. You’re gonna have real tough physical competitions. Oh, yeah.

Laura Borkenhagen 47:58
Yeah, so it’s, yeah, it’s definitely. And this having, like, been just my first year through I was like, yeah, there is you definitely have to pick and choose your, your time off and your, your your time. But, um, yeah, it’s definitely not a normal schedule. And, you know, we’ve, we’ve chosen to homeschool. And that’s been really helpful, because then I can just decide when we we can do our life with the camp schedule, because it goes from like Monday to Friday to, to not Monday to Friday, like it switches back and forth based on when the camps are. Right. Sure. Yeah.

Andrew Carlson 48:39
There is. There is also a sense of putting a lot of trust and and in your teammates as well, to provide that, that space and time to, to either go on vacation or take some days off. And just Alright, I’d like to do this, who can who can help me cover this and make sure that things are covered. And we’re not dropping the ball on things that need to get done. So it there is a a nice sense of camaraderie and understanding like we’ve all made the decision to work here at camp together. And this is something every every staff member at Ford feels passionately about. And so there was a lot of willingness to volunteer for things that that aren’t usually in your wheelhouse or are things that you’re directly responsible for. So people are really authentic, oftentimes eager and willing to help out too. So that provides some helpful flexibility as well.

Ryan Freng 49:38
Yeah, that sounds awesome. I mean, it seems like there’s a there’s a community spirit of community there too. So yeah, you’re able to help each other out and cover as needed. I’m super curious to Laura, you had said with the ministry. It’s essentially self funded. What was that like thinking about that? Like, were you like, Okay, well, I feel recalled to this. So we’ll just make it out. happen? Or were you kind of like, oh my gosh, how are we going to do something like this? Like, I’ve never done anything like this before?

Laura Borkenhagen 50:07
Yeah, I definitely started in, in the space of like, what does that even look like? What do you mean, but there are our staff members at Fort that have been on staff, you know, more than 25 years living that way. And so when you get to sit down and have a conversation with one of them, and they just are joyful, and share story after story after story of how it worked, because they trusted in the Lord provided and they trusted, they put in the work and the Lord provided, it gives you this, I actually then like, wanted to do it. And I think for me, I also wanted the opportunity to live this way, because it hit on some of my pride issues that I needed to work through. And so it was it was a huge learning experience for me, and a growth area in my life to, to not rely on myself. And to, to show gratitude for, for other people providing and ultimately the Lord having them be generous. But yeah, it was, it was definitely scary. The way that we went about it, or how it’s a little bit different for each person, depending on their situation, but they recommend you raise support before you sell your home and move up. And so, um, for us, COVID was the best thing that happened for support raising because we did everything of all our conversations on Zoom. So we didn’t have to, because it was like, right at the height.

Ryan Freng 51:43
Yeah, you didn’t have to travel or anything. Yeah, we just like

Laura Borkenhagen 51:47
put the kids to bed, we would feed them and put them to bed early, and hop on a zoom call, you know, a couple nights a week, and we were able to connect with a lot of people. And it’s, it’s part of it’s part of our jobs then and part of it’s part of the ministry. And so like this weekend, actually, when I’m done on this call, I’m leaving, and we’re spending three days going to visit people that we can fund the ministry because they support us financially and I get to meet with them and tell them about camp and pray with them and and I get bored really easily. So I do really well in this environment where like I get to do marketing. I also get to leave and spend time with with supporters. And I also get to get to do camp with you know, when the campers are there and spend time with them. And then like Andrew said, like, if the kitchen is short staffed, you know, I one time I got to make a crazy salad for like 300 people, and it was fun. So I like that. I like that little change of pace often.

Ryan Freng 52:49
Yeah. And then Andrew, are you also fundraising as well? Are you I can’t remember how ministry your contract or how all that works. I can unmute you to Yeah. I got you right, yeah,

Andrew Carlson 53:05
okay. Okay, there we go. There’s the walls are really thin in this office. So there might be some background noise coming in from offices next door might be what it is, I do not raise support. There’s there’s a couple of different roles here at Camp, Laura is missionaries. So there’s missionary staff who raised their full support. And then there’s a roles called contract staff who come on for a few years at a time, are usually young people either just at a high school or just out of college who maybe want to look gain some experience in their respective fields, whether that’s working, managing the coffee shop, or working on operations, working in the stables learning how to care for horses. And so missioners that is something that I’ve put some time into considering and I feel the Lord is pulling me that direction. But currently, I’m in this role of contract staff. So I am paid a small salary and based out of the funds and support that either that donors or people give generously to can help pay for these contracts. staff salaries.

Ryan Freng 54:14
Yeah, that’s, it’s interesting, too, since you’re working there, on that, that contract, kind of or salary basis, and then to consider, okay, that’s, you know, I could be called to more, and then that’s gonna go away, and then I have to supplement that whatever level you know, kind of makes sense.

Andrew Carlson 54:31
Yeah. It really has been, yeah, just the journey of, I think, as I mentioned previously, I never considered myself working in ministry. I never saw that as a as a route that I was called to. But over the past three years, just seeing like the joy that comes from working and working alongside fellow missionaries and seeing the joy that comes from them, serving people and to hearing people’s stories and and ministering to people is it’s been impactful on me and really started to raise some questions in my mind that this seems to be the place that the Lord has brought me and really seems to be a long term calling that I feel. So that’s Yeah, over the last that’s talked with Laura about it a lot and really pondering like, alright, long term, I feel like, yeah, this could be a place the Lord has called me to. Yeah, it’s really comes with a lot of questions, but it’s, it’s Yeah, hearing, like, Laura’s responsive. Like the, just the response that she’s had talking with, with friends and donors is like, really encouraging.

John Shoemaker 55:42
I have a parallel with when we, when we were starting this business, so you know, like, well, maybe I’ll start the story here, when, when Amanda and I, my wife and I had gotten married. Early on, we had a few discussions about like, I wonder if we should, like, go on a mission somewhere for a little while, you know, and just kind of feeling like, what can we do? How do we you know, and we actually got, as far as starting to sit, we submitted some paperwork, you know, some stuff to see, and we didn’t qualify or didn’t get in or whatever. And initially, we were sort of stressing ourselves about the, like, the feeling of the need to do that. And then when that was kind of shut off, we were like, stressing a little bit, but then realize, like, oh, well, I forget who it was, I think maybe could have could have been a priest, or it could have been a friend or whatever, who was just like, you know, like, we’re all called the mission, you know, there’s all those places kind of like our, you know, talking about feeding the hungry and naked kids that live in our own houses. That, that there’s, there’s always, like, it’s maybe more tangible for for you, too. But there’s always the real, the need to be reliant, you know, on God, especially for those of us that, that know, that Christian worldview, that, that that is what it is, I was working full time at another place making a salary. And part of my getting the confidence to go off and start, you know, start a business with Ryan was like, realizing that I wasn’t like, in control, I wasn’t, you know, guaranteed stability and safety, just because I was working somewhere else. There were other people who were making, you know, they were making the money for that company, and they were deciding whether I worked there or not. And once it kind of occurred to me that they could decide that they wanted to downsize the department and just let me go if they needed to, not nothing negative about them, but just that they could make that decision. And then I kind of realized, well, I’m, I’m just reliant on provision anyway. Like, I can go do that. myself too. You know, so we’re, we’re reliant in our business on the provision of God through our clients, you know, through work coming in, there is a connected connective tissue between doing the work, you know, having having the capabilities doing the work. But also, sometimes just having things come in that, like, are unexpected or right when you need them. And, you know, you can we talk about one of my friends and I talk a lot about like, well, you could have the worldview that it’s all just coincidence, but there’s a lot of coincidences. There’s, there’s too many coincidences for it to, you know, for that to be a valuable explanation. You know, there’s, there’s definitely, you know, God’s hand at work in all of it, and it’s a good worldview for everyone to try to have more of, it’s probably easier when you’re in ministry to see it in that way. But like, everyone can kind of see it that way. With you know, through the right lens.

Laura Borkenhagen 59:24
Yeah. And then you have on top of that, like, we viewed it that you you all were like a huge blessing to our ministry, there was like, multiple times that I told Andrew, I’m like, they could have charged us like, that wasn’t actually in the scope. And like, you know, and so um, yeah, I think that I resonate with what you said, John, like you’re in the same it doesn’t matter if you work in ministry or not, it’s all ministry. At Fort it’s, it’s an added responsibility to raise raise our support, but it’s you are in as a Christian you were all in ministry. And, and we all have the opportunity to receive and to give, which is, is awesome. Just really awesome. And you guys make awesome.

Ryan Freng 1:00:20
I mean, like let’s make awesome we make. Exactly, yeah, well it’s collaborative, right? It’s not it’s not just an us thing. It’s, uh, you know, us working together we can make awesome.

John Shoemaker 1:00:32
Are we about to break out into the 90s Chorus of a rich Mullins? Awesome god

Ryan Freng 1:00:39
please, by all means this kind of show? Well, and yeah, I mean every step like to quit a job and to just do this and to quit your job and work in my basement. While I was still part time at my other job, John, like, you know, that’s a huge leap. And it’s that trusting and there’s something so I don’t know freeing about being able to trust in somebody else in something else, you

John Shoemaker 1:01:10
know that that context didn’t make sense for you. When we started out. I scaled myself back and then eventually left my day job. And I would drive to Ryan’s house to work in his basement where we built our first kind of office space. When while he left his house to go to work downtown.

Ryan Freng 1:01:35
Yeah, I think I think I was working one and a half or two days at home, but the other like the first three days of the week, I’m gone. And he’s coming and I’m going from my house.

John Shoemaker 1:01:46
provide childcare for Rowan, you time so? Well. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 1:01:53
Yeah. So it’s a little bit of a pivot, but my wife, when I told her we were talking to you guys came up with a bunch of questions. She’s like, Ooh, you should ask. And this is like all based on her love of like, salute. Your shorts are like, you know, any type of television show or movie with camp in it. So she had a couple of questions that I wanted to ask you guys. And the first is like, what is maybe generically what’s kind of like your favorite camp story. We’ll start with a little softball. And this is how I throw softballs because I apparently have never

Laura Borkenhagen 1:02:36
favorite camp story, Andrew, you go first.

Ryan Freng 1:02:46
No pressure. I mean, it could just be the one off right off the top of your head doesn’t have to be the ultimate story. Man. No pressure.

Andrew Carlson 1:03:01
And I’m trying to think back to like, I would be a camp counselor for a couple of summers. I’m trying to there’s got to be something that a middle schooler or some young boy did. That’s just a good story. I’m trying to think back.

Ryan Freng 1:03:20
Or I mean, when you’re thinking like, okay, maybe in a year, maybe next year, you’re going to be going out and fundraising for yourself. Like what’s, you know, what’s the anecdote that you’re going to share? Like, oh, this happened? That’s why you should pay my salary. This is the goodness. Or are the funny stuff like, I would probably be prone to donate if I heard, you know, some kind of great, funny story.

Andrew Carlson 1:03:50
Oh, man, I just feel like such an unfunny person that I can’t think of something.

Ryan Freng 1:03:56
Alright, well, here, we’ll switch to Laura. Let’s see Laura. And you think more Andrew, this

Laura Borkenhagen 1:04:05
story that immediately came to mind for me is our first time at summer camp. We had we have three kids and we had them pretty close together. And so the kids really just knew me as like, I was either pregnant or nursing a baby for like, years. And so we get to camp and we have a it’s a quadropod. So there’s like four instead of a tripod, a quad. Like trees in the over the water and a rope and you swing out on the rope and go into the water. And I was like, Yeah, I can’t wait to go off your pod. And my daughter looks at me and she’s like, you’re gonna go on the quadropod I’m like, of course, like, John knew me in college. Like, I’m fun. Like, I do fun cool things, you know, and my kids are like, what? You’re gonna do that and so then I do it and and they’re like You’re so cool mom. And it has stuck. I am like the at camp. And anytime there’s something like the waterslide if I’m like, Oh, I’m not gonna go down there like you’re the cool mom like you have to go down the waterslide.

Ryan Freng 1:05:15
All the peer pressure. Yeah. Was that in your picture? From today?

Laura Borkenhagen 1:05:19
Yes, yes. That.

Ryan Freng 1:05:22
Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, so now they’re just using it to peer pressure you. Oh, yeah. Come on, mom. You’re the cool mom. Let us stay up and watch this movie or the cool mom.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:05:33
Yes, yeah. And like the staff had picked up on it. Like the summer staff last summer would pressure me to do things. They’re like, aren’t you? And I’m like, Oh, boy.

John Shoemaker 1:05:42
Yeah, you’re like, you’re right. That’s what you gotta tell her.

Ryan Freng 1:05:48
Yeah, that’ll come real good for you. Go ahead. Do you have something? That’s okay. You don’t mind? I’m delayed again. Yeah, go ahead and try and refresh.

Andrew Carlson 1:06:02
Oh, boy. Okay. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 1:06:05
Well, we’ll do that. So maybe he’ll come back with another story. So she also said, you know, you watch these movies, and they’re, they’re always doing pranks on each other. So, you know, I’m sure no one ever does pranks, but if they did, what were the maybe the best pranks that you’ve ever experienced?

Laura Borkenhagen 1:06:24
Oh, goodness. Andrew would be better at this one because he was younger and cooler than me. Um,

Andrew Carlson 1:06:33
well, I missed the question.

Ryan Freng 1:06:34
Yeah. So the next question is the best prank and I’m like, I’m sure this never happens. But if it did, you know, hypothetically, what would the best prank be that you’ve ever heard of somebody doing officially,

Andrew Carlson 1:06:47
plank. pranks are not allowed to camp. Because they always they always cause problems. And they escalate and they keep going and going and going until they never stopped. So officially,

Ryan Freng 1:06:56
it goes without saying that a lot of

Andrew Carlson 1:07:00
this is not one that I experienced. But it is one that I heard that there was one summer where there was a cabinet of boys. This is probably 25 years ago. And one of one of the people on our team, I think was the one that experienced this. But this cabinet boys, their counselor was just the heaviest sleeper. Some kid would be up in the night, they’d be talking to be loud, and he would be sleeping through it all. He would sleep late, and there was just no way to get him up. So his kids one night, he was snoring really, really loud. And they carried his cot out of the cabinet down to the lake and set it floating in the lake. And he slept through the whole thing in the middle of a lake, and it was. Yeah, that’s the story that I know. That’s one of the best.

Ryan Freng 1:07:54
That’s great. Wow, that’s terrifying and amazing all at the same time. We got we got to get that person on here. I wonder what those kids are doing these days, like working at SpaceX or something. You know, they’re like, really creative problem solvers. Like, I don’t think that’s a prank. I think that’s creative problem solving. Awesome. Yeah. Laura, do you have any? You know, maybe you’ve heard of at other camps, or? Well, I’m certainly not.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:08:23
We were in the elk room, which is just a big room at camp and I was there with my kids. I don’t remember. We were waiting for something to start. And one of my kids found, like a little chicken. It was like this big. It was the type that you would like put on your finger and like, shoot across the room. But it was on top of the elk in the elk room like the mounted help. Yeah, sure. Yeah. I was like, oh, yeah, someone probably just like flung it and it got caught up there. And so the kids are like, trying to figure out how they could get high enough to get the thing down. As we’re doing that and trying to get it down, they find another one another chicken. Like, on top of the windowsill and I was like, could not have been trucked and like landed there. And so then they were like on a chicken hunt. And we found Oh, chickens. Um, and we still don’t know who did this this prank but it provided my hours of entertainment. They were like asking all the staff like, Do you know why there’s chickens in the room. And now the chickens are on the ceiling. children’s room because they took them off. Awesome.

Ryan Freng 1:09:43
I feel like right after this call. I’m going to go on Amazon and buy some random some random thing my children have never seen. Yeah, just gonna hide them. Because that sounds so amazing. That sounds like so much fun because yeah. What is the story of that? Oh, like you said, the windowsill I mean, maybe it’s possible. Somebody shot it 1000 times and they hit it there and you know, once, but somebody is obviously intentionally doing this. So like, what’s the story? Yeah, what? What’s What are they hiding?

Andrew Carlson 1:10:15
Much less creepy Elf on the Shelf? Yes, actually fun to find what where these things are rather than, oh gosh, what

Ryan Freng 1:10:23
is this? Oh my gosh, I love I love the random Elf on the Shelf, like, you know, getting into something and then puking all over the place. You know, like, parents with a sense of humor. That’s, that’s really great. So then, kind of the, let’s see, we’re kind of coming close to a little game you like to play. But one of those last kind of general questions I have is like, what do you love about what you do? You know, why do you do what you do? Why not do something else want to be somewhere else.

Andrew Carlson 1:10:59
One of the things that I can just go because I feel like I have something right off the bat. One of the things that I really love about my job is that if I was if I was working somewhere else, I may not have the number of opportunities that I’ve had, that I’ve had to that I’ve had to receive a camp for the pleasure of receiving a camp, I get to work on graphics, I get to work with videos, I get to do photography. So in the summer, I have like, I have a lot of opportunities to do photography, I got the opportunity to work on a website with you guys. And there’s there’s just been all these opportunities, just not necessarily graphic design related, but just creativity related. And camp allows or provides the opportunity to just have all these different experiences and try out a bunch of new things. And maybe that’s not necessarily specific for this job. But I’m sure there’s plenty of other careers and jobs and that have those kinds of opportunities. But it’s something like in this role. I’ve had so many awesome fun things to do. And then I also on the plus side, I also get to be fun and silly and a little bit of drama and theater in the summer occasionally. I’ll dress up like my fun photo I said was meaning built. So I get to do fun things like that and make a character and interact with the campers in a fun way.

Ryan Freng 1:12:13
But that’s super fun. It’s like all the creative outlets but it sounds like you’re interested in there’s there’s opportunities to do those things.

Andrew Carlson 1:12:20
Oh yeah. Well what I was a camp counselor I paint myself and like all bodies like red body paint. Eric Kelton go screaming through the woods while 12 year old boys chased me.

Ryan Freng 1:12:32
I love it. Like is there some kind of like legend behind it like

Andrew Carlson 1:12:36
the certain legends yet do persist over at Adventure outposts, which is our youth youth site. There are certain things that just persist year to year. And kilts is kind of one of those things that’s stayed on.

Ryan Freng 1:12:47
Yeah, yeah, watch out for Beardy. kiltie. He’ll get you. If you’re up late at night or out in the woods Beardy, kiltie will get you I couldn’t come up with another name.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:13:01
new nickname for Andrew. I love it.

Ryan Freng 1:13:05
Yeah, you’ve got Yeah, plaid and plaid.

I love it. Yeah. Yeah, Laura, what about you?

Laura Borkenhagen 1:13:12
Yeah, I’d say for me, I think for both Billy and I, I’m done the unique opportunity at the exact time that fort needed it for us. Came in the the opportunity came at at a right after, there was a challenging season in our life. And so it just all seems so perfectly timed. And like you said, that whole idea of coincidence not being coincidence. Like, that’s the reason I’m here. Because I’ll be totally honest, like, I, I wouldn’t if you were like, oh, let’s change careers and move somewhere. I personally would not have picked North Woods of Wisconsin. I know many people that work at Fort have intentionally chosen North Woods of Wisconsin. It was not my like, we like to go there. Pick and so yeah, for me, it was really, I saw Billy’s exact skill set and mine at the perfect time. And and that brings me great joy. Like, I love that I get to use all of the skills that I went to school for a long time and I get to use them at at forte that’s, that brings me great joy. Really, really great joy. And I do feel like in the corporate setting, you oftentimes end up getting like you just do market research or you just do project management or you just do you know a specific part of marketing. And it’s like, I write our press releases, I do email marketing, I help on video shoots you know, like, I get to do all of the above and that’s it’s a good fit for me.

Ryan Freng 1:14:59
Yeah, I’m sure I’m sure at times it’s very difficult. But yeah, just looking at it and saying, No, I get the opportunity to do this. I get to go to work and do amazing things every day. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. No, that’s awesome. Okay, so we are kind of winding down here. And I think you guys know what time it is. That’s That’s right. It’s time for two truths and a lie, everyone.

John Shoemaker 1:15:26
I love to come back with like a wig on after.

Ryan Freng 1:15:31
Like, like, what’s his face from a tie from? Dude, perfect. Yeah, they have a game show. He’s got the wig. And he’s got the little little microphone. Yeah. No, it’s great. So you guys have that? Right.

Andrew Carlson 1:15:43
That’s the name.

Ryan Freng 1:15:44
Yeah, DeForest, Ned forester. Yes. And his glasses are huge. But there are only about the size of mine. They might be a little smaller. We have the big ones. Yeah, especially if I could do it in a quick change. Like in that like four seconds. That’d be really great. Okay, so, John, how do we play this game? What are we doing?

John Shoemaker 1:16:06
Well, you’re gonna want to choose two things are true. And one, that is not true. Hence the name. Two Truths and a Lie. And then what happens? Now you may be creative until a little story or just tell a factoid. And then we’re gonna all try to guess, figure out which one is which. And if you win, we congratulate you. And if you lose, I mean, there’s no losing. I guess there was only other people.

Ryan Freng 1:16:46
If you lose, you’re gone. You’re gone. Yeah, there’s only the

John Shoemaker 1:16:51
ability for other people to win by guessing correctly. And getting some swag.

Ryan Freng 1:16:56
Right? Yeah. So if you’re playing at home, what happens if you’re playing at home? There you go.

John Shoemaker 1:17:01
You can get one of these.

Ryan Freng 1:17:05
But you have to message us because I’m not keeping track of a

John Shoemaker 1:17:07
lot of these. I

Ryan Freng 1:17:13
will send you guys a little package of swag too. But if you’re playing at home, if you’re tuning in, and you get it right, we’ll send you some swag as well. But you got to send us your information. So we get a lot of people playing and then no one sends this information. So I don’t know how to get it out there. I can’t get it out to you on Facebook. So that’s how it goes. All right. All right. Who’s ready? Who wants to go first?

Andrew Carlson 1:17:36
Well, I feel like you should go first. Okay,

Laura Borkenhagen 1:17:38
I’ll go. Perfect. So my two truths and ally. I’m going to tell you three jobs that I have had. And two are true. And one is the first job is I started a boat cleaning business after someone approached me while I was working at the marina and said, Is there anyone that cleans boats down here, too, which I said no, but I would be interested. And I cleaned million dollar yachts. The second job I had was macaroni the clown. And I made balloon animals and did face painting at birthday parties. And the third job that I had was a red shirt and khaki pants at Target

Ryan Freng 1:18:34
says good jobs. Yeah, yeah. Let’s see. Do you know the answer? Andrew?

Andrew Carlson 1:18:42
I have a good guest. I’ve heard a lot of Laura’s backstory. I would venture to guess but I’m not like 100% Sure.

Ryan Freng 1:18:49
Okay, don’t guess yet. Let’s get it. Let’s give him a chance at home to guess we are we are live. If you’re listening on the podcast, we’re not live. But if you’re on Facebook or YouTube right now, while we’re live this is this is a weird sentence that I’m getting at we are we’re live if you’re live otherwise, if you’re watching it after the fact we’re not live. Emily says I think the clown is a lie. That’s a good guess. Emily’s a pretty good guesser. John’s a really good guesser to actually did this last night. And I guess correctly. Everyone else guessed wrong, wrongly. And I guess correctly. It was amazing. Let’s see what else well, we’ll wait another 30 seconds or so the people at home. The first one there was so much story in there that I feel like that’s gotta be true. Yeah. Unless you’re like a real real pro liar. I feel

John Shoemaker 1:19:44
like that would be a really good lot. So yeah, that’d be a really good lie because I feel will start cheating if I know a little bit of information but you’re from Port Washington. So that you know you’re By, you would have the opportunity to be working at a marina near the you know, it’s not like that far fetched. So that could be an entrepreneur, you mentioned entrepreneurship

Ryan Freng 1:20:13
to us. I appreciate that you think of stuff like that, John, because I just like my experience, always living by bodies of water. So I’m like, yeah, there’s always a marina. I’ve never where where there’s not a marina. So I never would have thought that

John Shoemaker 1:20:26
if I ever tell you that I that I cleaned boats, you know, at the marina, you’re gonna want to, you’re going to

Ryan Freng 1:20:34
just be like, okay. Yeah.

John Shoemaker 1:20:42
Man, and then I feel like, I feel like, you know, just working at Target like is so reasonable. Like that. Yeah, you would you would like,

Ryan Freng 1:20:54
but so the question, the question I have there, John is like, is one of these Billy, right? Because it feels like one of these second and third is not her story, but it’s somebody else’s story.

John Shoemaker 1:21:04
I mean, I imagined Billy dressed as a clown. But

Ryan Freng 1:21:10
that’s a whole separate deal.

John Shoemaker 1:21:12
If it ever happened from me, like, like,

Ryan Freng 1:21:19
yeah, Billy, the math nerd is a clown.

John Shoemaker 1:21:22
Like, we pushed him, we just like, begged him, and we’re like, you have to do this. It’ll be so great. Everyone will love it. But he would just mean he would do the goofy dance to entertain us, like separately, like, amongst our friends. So to get him to do it on stage was pretty special.

Ryan Freng 1:21:47
Yeah, so what do you think? And what do you what’s your guest, John?

John Shoemaker 1:21:50
I have no idea. But I’m just gonna guess that the target is a lie. Because it seems so. Like, yeah, that would make sense. And yeah. Like, there’s no way I could ever guess that to be true. But why not?

Ryan Freng 1:22:10
Yeah, no, I’m right there with you. Like, it seems like the target is like, Yeah, they’ll believe this. And then you told us two other stories that we’re less likely to believe so that’s, that’s my that’s my vote as well. Three target and then Emily’s Target. Target. Target. Alright, Laura, what is it?

Laura Borkenhagen 1:22:33
Target is the lie.

Andrew Carlson 1:22:34

Ryan Freng 1:22:36
Yes. You’re just awesome is what it is. You’re just awesome. Yeah, so tell us a little bit about macaroni.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:22:47
Um, yeah, so this is gonna sound really not true. But it’s true. My mom worked with someone that one day was venting that she she she was a clown on the weekends. And normally, if she needed a second clown, one of her daughters would dress up. And she was venting to my mom that her daughter’s had reached this age that they wouldn’t do it anymore. And she couldn’t believe it. Because the amount of money you get paid per hour to like face paint in a costume is really, really good. And she mentioned how much your

Ryan Freng 1:23:21
mind is like your mom’s like, ask Laura. She’ll do anything.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:23:26
And so I said yes. And learn how to make balloon animals and face pain and eventually got a costume and a name and business cards. And for a couple of years.

Ryan Freng 1:23:40
It wasn’t just like a one weekend thing. It was like no, this became a job that you did. Yep. Wow. Oh my gosh, amazing.

Andrew Carlson 1:23:48
So since Laura told me that story, I have been asking her show me how to be a cloud. This is a skill I need to have.

Ryan Freng 1:23:56
Also, I think you need to you guys gotta get some like, Andrew, if you can sneak in some kind of programming where there’s a clown, get Laura position into the right place and be like, I don’t know, we don’t have a cloud and you gotta you gotta go. That would be amazing. Yes, no, that was good. That was good.

John Shoemaker 1:24:16
That’s amazing. Is that? I mean, Andrew, you’re the man who has to like make this all happen. Laura and Billy like what they put forward the level of professionalism and just like who they are, you’re like, oh, yeah, I Yeah. But what

Ryan Freng 1:24:37
you’re like You’re like definitely target

John Shoemaker 1:24:39
under the surface of a math nerd and macaroni the clown. I mean,

Andrew Carlson 1:24:45
and one of the Oh yeah. And one of the special things about campus you get a lot of opportunities to do things that challenge that are challenging and stretching. So using that, that logic, Laura, if this, this is the opportunity we’ll make a We’re all for you to be a clown. And Billy can be this map the map nerd in the cloud. I see the skit. There’s something there.

Ryan Freng 1:25:06
It’s a romantic tale. Like Romeo and Juliet.

Andrew Carlson 1:25:12
Oh, man, I can see it coming together.

Ryan Freng 1:25:15
Except maybe the clown doesn’t kill itself Romeo Juliet Juliet, it’s something else. All right. All right. So, Andrew, you’re up.

Andrew Carlson 1:25:28
All right. Mine have far less backstory than Laura as I went, the more simple sentence three facts about myself based on things of my my life experience. So I will say these are my two truths. And one of them is a lie. I sang in a barbershop quartet. I broke my nose playing goalie. And I’ve backpacked over 200 miles. So pretty just simple facts about my life experiences.

Ryan Freng 1:26:07
Yeah, I think I got it. I think I’ve got it. I do feel like you sing in a barbershop quartet. Because also just like, quiet, calm people. I love finding out facts like that, like, oh, no, I actually perform. So I 100% believe that. And then, you know, being involved in camp, I really feel like you’ve backpacked over 200 miles, so that that seems legit as well, again, like, like a big accomplishment. And then the broken nose playing goalie. I wonder if you’re trying to trick us and maybe you weren’t playing goalie and you’re playing something else? Which would be a smart move. So, so I’m going to come hot out of the gate and pick number two.

John Shoemaker 1:26:48
All right. Well, I you know, if it wasn’t, if it wasn’t a group conversation, I would have gotten it wrong, because I was just going with one of these is not like the other. You know, two of them are sporting athletic sort of things. And one of them is a barbershop quartet. Which I also it’s true. We may have tried to get Billy to sing in a barber shop for

Andrew Carlson 1:27:21
another hidden skill of his

John Shoemaker 1:27:25
ass asked Billy to sing. Sing prayer of the children for you.

Ryan Freng 1:27:31
Oh my gosh. Can you hear we sign that song too? I actually I don’t remember how the sign goes. But we sang that.

John Shoemaker 1:27:39
But I resigned Did you signed signing it? The moment you said that that scene that just flew into my mind is a scene from Napoleon Dynamite? Well, no. I was thinking something different when they’re singing that song. And then he just said

Ryan Freng 1:27:55
yes. I’ve done that on stage before then you let the dove go.

Andrew Carlson 1:28:03
This is gonna be shameful coming from me. But I have yet to see Napoleon Dynamite.

Ryan Freng 1:28:08
Well, he’s he’s right here. He’s

John Shoemaker 1:28:12
missing a ton

Ryan Freng 1:28:20
we got a bobblehead of John made

John Shoemaker 1:28:22
that when my kids came to the office one time after somebody got this for me. And they were like, Dad, why do you have a statue of you on your? Yes.

Ryan Freng 1:28:37
All right. Well, yeah.

John Shoemaker 1:28:39
Okay. All right. I’m gonna go I’m gonna guess the soccer one then. Two because yeah, you’re probably singing barbershop songs during that 200 mile height.

Ryan Freng 1:28:49
Goalie one. Yeah. Oh, did you say soccer? I guess I was.

Andrew Carlson 1:28:54
I didn’t say soccer. No,

Ryan Freng 1:28:55
I was. I pictured

John Shoemaker 1:28:57
soccer but maybe I pictured

Ryan Freng 1:28:58
hockey. Interesting,

Andrew Carlson 1:29:01
which, by the way, give off more soccer and more hockey. Whoo. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 1:29:06
I mean, with the beard. It’s definitely a hockey vibe to Minnesota. Minnesota. Yeah,

John Shoemaker 1:29:11
it’s got to be hockey then. You don’t have soccer balls in Minnesota. As far as

Ryan Freng 1:29:14
I know. It’s a land of 1000 frozen lakes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. All right. Let’s see Emily picked broken nose. What do you think?

John Shoemaker 1:29:27
Back to barber shop? No, no, no.

Ryan Freng 1:29:29
We’re putting a lot of eggs in one basket and you know, we don’t want to lose that basket. barbershops line that’s

Laura Borkenhagen 1:29:36
fine. Right and I will go with the backpacking being alive.

Andrew Carlson 1:29:39
Alright, so we got all three

Ryan Freng 1:29:42
All right. Yeah. The votes votes are locked in. All right, locked

Andrew Carlson 1:29:45
in all right. So the lie is I have not broken my nose playing goalie. I do play goalie I play we played room ball pretty regularly here at Camp and so I do. Goalie quite freak Lately, and for a number of years, the helmet to camp are just open helmets. So there’s no, there’s not a lot of cases, most of them don’t have cages. So for a couple years, I would play with just the top helmet, no cage, and I would get there were a number of times I would get hit in the face pretty hard with a ball and mostly frozen plastic ball. You get hit anywhere with that it just hurts. So I have got hit the nodes haven’t broken. I noticed though. So that was the life. But I did. I did sing in a barbershop quartet. In college for a number of years, there was a group of guys at my church that were in a barbershop quartet. And there was an opening for a bass bass singer. I was like, Sure. I’ve, I like to sing. I’ve sang in choir and a bunch of stuff. So I sang bass for a couple years. And I was the youngest guy, I was 22. And they were all in their upper 50s 60s. So I lowered the average age. And it was it was a really good time. I did that for a few years, and I and I have backpacked over 200 miles. I was in the scouts as a kid. So we went on a couple. There was a backpacking trip I went on, that was 130 mile hike through Mexico. And then a couple couple other 6070 miles. Amis who works here as well as probably from lunch, so very. Yeah, it was that’s kind of the backstory.

Ryan Freng 1:31:29
That’s awesome. Well, let’s see, Emily, you win. But you don’t get anything because you already have this stuff. So doesn’t count. But that’s what we got for today. Thanks, guys, for joining us. I can certainly plug the camp, we can throw that up or at wilderness calm, right. I did double check to make sure I was getting that addressed. Right. Yeah, what else? What else you want to share is anything else you want to plug?

Laura Borkenhagen 1:31:58
Well, I did want to tell one little quick story. So I have mentioned people at Fort wilderness. Many have been coming to Fort for 20 years, 30 years. And so people are like very invested in camp. And since our website went live, I do occasionally feel like a celebrity people will come up to me and be like, Oh, you’re the marketing person that redid the website. Like it’s so great. And I feel like you guys need to hear that.

Ryan Freng 1:32:27
Oh, that’s so awesome.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:32:29
I’m like, Well, I didn’t do it. I didn’t create it. But, um, so yeah, it has definitely been a lot of fun the last month or so. So

Ryan Freng 1:32:41
that’s so awesome to hear. Because yeah, that’s that’s what you want. You want, you know, because we think okay, what do we think is gonna work? Well, we know this has worked in the past, right? So let’s, let’s go with that context, context, and then add the art on top. And hopefully it resonates. And then it’s always so awesome to hear that it really, really resonates. So. Thank you for that. I’ll make sure to pass that along. Yeah. Yeah. All right. That’s what we got. You can check out the website down below for wilderness.com. Click around. Check it out. Do you do you guys do I forget Do you do any type of adult camps?

Laura Borkenhagen 1:33:16
We do? Yes. We have family camps. We have youth camps that are for third grade through high school. We have a college aged program that runs a year kind of like a gap year. And then we have adult retreats. So there’s men’s retreat, women’s retreat, marriage enrichment. What else Andrew.

Andrew Carlson 1:33:40
There was there was something else I was thinking of. I know I blanked on what that was

Laura Borkenhagen 1:33:45
our first ever pastors retreat this spring. Yeah, so last last opportunity.

Andrew Carlson 1:33:54
We have a few winter family camps as well. So when we come back around the winter next year, we have those that lots of those on the weekends as well.

Ryan Freng 1:34:03
Perfect. So yeah, if you’re looking for a camp, check out fort wilderness.

Laura Borkenhagen 1:34:06
Yeah. And I do what we should be plugging Andrew is we have 80 Summer staff jobs of young people. They live at camp for the whole summer. And there’s positions open anywhere from like kitchen crew, worship leader. Marketing has a position open if you want to work with Andrew and I camp counselor. And so it’s a really special opportunity where you not only have a job for the summer, but you get to live at camp and get porn in. You know, the staff. Yes, you can. The staff pour into you and and you get to be a camp for the summer. So yes, my daughter just said hi. And asked if she could have an app.

Ryan Freng 1:34:48
Tell her hello and yes, she may if she finished her homework

Laura Borkenhagen 1:34:57
Yeah, I made it an hour and a half with one interruption. That’s an Amazing.

Ryan Freng 1:35:00
Yeah. And in a very polite one. So, kudos to you. Yeah. No, that’s what we got for today. If you are listening to this on a podcast, please do subscribe. If you’re on YouTube or Facebook, like, hit the button, hit the bell, do all the things. I don’t know all the things you’re supposed to be doing these days, but hit all those things get notified when we go live. I don’t know who we have. Next, we might, we might do a host full. Because a couple of weeks ago, we had the AF the American advertising Federation award show, we actually received Best of Show among other awards as well. So just to share some of that information and share that love with everyone because it’s only because we get to work with awesome people like Laura and Andrew, that we we can do anything useful in that regard. Right. You know, we need great partners to do all the good work that we do. So thank you guys, for coming on the show. Thanks for working with us and bringing an awesome project to us. We had a blast with that I know. And yeah, tune in next time, John, you got anything else that I’m forgetting?

John Shoemaker 1:36:07
This, you know, follow God’s plan for your life and you might end up a clown making our faces and making balloon animals.

Ryan Freng 1:36:18
Yeah, we’ll in you’ll have a great name like macaroni and let’s see you’re frozen on my screen. But that’s cool. You’re probably not on the stream. That was John talking down there. And that’s what we got this week. Thanks for tuning in. And everyone. We’ll see you next time. Bye bye

author avatar
Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...