Bringing the West to the East
by Dan Troike, Camp Carl’s new barn manager
I came to Christ at a very young age and still remember that initial conviction of needing Him in my life. I grew up in a Christian home with two loving parents and a little brother who encouraged me in my faith while walking right alongside me. As I grew and developed, I grew in my interests as well as my faith. Horses didn’t become a major interest until my late teens, but when they did, I couldn’t seem to get enough. I worked at horse barns during my time at Cedarville University and spent summers working a dude ranch in Colorado. I became passionate about the West and the cowboy culture, all while immensely enjoying God’s creation. As graduation approached, I decided to turn my Public Administration Major and Business Minor toward a career path of ranch management. Through connections from the ranch in Colorado, God provided me with a job at the VeeBar Guest Ranch in Laramie, WY. I moved out and became great friends with the managers who were happy to teach me everything they could from both the horsemanship and business side of the ranch. It was a great opportunity for me and I ate up anything anyone would show me.
Throughout my life and my relationship with the Lord I’ve experienced many things. I’ve had my adventures, moments of revelation, “desert times” in my walk, and times of encouragement. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s the importance of serving the Lord wholeheartedly, surrendering our plans to Him while knowing how difficult it can be. A move from Wyoming back to Ohio was a perfect example. I love the West, but knew almost from the time I heard about the position at Camp Carl that God was calling me to serve as the Barn Manager. Taking that step of faith can be an unnerving thing, but God is faithful and always walks through it right beside you.
Now, I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life at Camp Carl! I have so much I want to bring to the barn that the best way to describe it is “Bringing the West to the East.” I want to establish frontier, rodeo, and ranching culture right here in Ravenna, Ohio, livening things up and opening the door for a whole different sort of fun. The barn is being revamped and pastures expanded to allow space for new activities and a larger herd. Campers will look forward to new opportunities such as roping, riding the wild buckin’ barrel, and a rodeo with challenging events. I also have a passion for instilling masculinity in young men. The world we live in sends a very confusing, misguided message of what it means to “be a man” in this day in age. I look forward to using the horses and barn as a tool to develop Godly masculinity in the young men that come to camp as well as continue spiritual guidance for the young women. I hope my excitement for the barn program is contagious and I cannot wait to see how God will use it!