Make Hope of the Ozarks possible
by your time, talent, goods, services, and financial support

In making Hope of the Ozarks possible, you are fulfilling the great commission, caring for our modern day “widows and orphans”, and participating in the resolution to the epidemics of fatherlessness and incarceration. The children that attend most likely come from low income homes, so this may be the only camping experience they can “afford”. 

Every child will hear the good news and experience the hope of Jesus while having fun in the Ozarks.

Thank you so much for joining our community of supporters. You are building the kingdom and loving the little children.

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
 — Matt 25:40b

Serving at Hope of the Ozarks is much like a mission trip in the rustic Ozarks, but with inner-city youth, many of whom have never heard about Jesus. We wholeheartedly believe you will find it to be fun, rewarding, and life-changing as you are stretched spiritually, emotionally and physically. You will give your all to show campers the love of Christ.

How to Serve

Returning? Apply here
Alumni Application

Camp Counselor

Counselors ages 16+ work in teams of 2-3 to lead a group of 4-6 campers through a week of camp. Time requirement Sunday 4pm – Friday 4pm. Camp Counselors spend the most quality time with campers, and this gives them the opportunity to build lasting friendships.


Support staff works behind the scenes to keep camp running smoothly and create a hospitable environment for campers to enjoy. Staff must be 14 years old or older. Staff volunteers can work for one week (Sunday 4pm – Friday 4pm) or multiple weeks, alternating as counselors (if old enough) on the appropriate weeks. We also recruit Nurses, Lifeguards, Wranglers and other specialty positions for one or more weeks. The following roles are “Support Staff” 

  • Kitchen Crew  
  • Maintenance Staff  


The Leadership team oversees each department at camp and supports the counselors, staff, and campers. Leadership roles are a full summer commitment and are 18 years +. 

  • Staff Coach 
  • Counselor Coach 
  • Equestrian Manager 
  • First Aid Officer 
  • Media Manager 
  • Food Service Director 
  • Program Manager

“Grandparents” and “Aunties”

The perfect role for adults ready to invest in the lives of campers without spending all day on their feet or staying in a wagon overnight! Camp Grandparents (or Uncles and Aunties) get to help with crafts, nature hikes, activities (like archery), and fishing. They also write letters, read books, pray, and do what grandparents do best – love on the kids. Ages 30+, one week or more (Sunday 4pm – Friday 4pm)

Be a Part of Changing Lives!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will I stay?It depends on the position you have. Single support staff and wranglers stay in bunk housing above Fort Turley known as “Stousing” (Staff Housing). Counselors stay in the wagon circle in cabins or wagons with their campers. Grandparents and Leadership stay in GTC (Grandpa Tom’s Cabin)
What do I need to bring?All staff positions are provided with HOTO uniform t-shirts to wear while volunteering. Packing List: A watch. Flashlight and a backpack. Sleeping bag and pillow. Towel and washcloth. Sneakers and casual footwear (can include athletic sandals). Modest swimsuits. Shorts (with at least a 3-inch inseam) and other casual attire. Toiletries (ex: soap, shampoo, toothbrush, etc). Bible, notebook, pen. Jacket and long pants for cool evenings. Insect repellent, sunscreen, and a hat. Money for the General Store (optional).
What is the application process? * New volunteers will fill out the full application, including supplying 3 references. It will speed up the process if you talk to your references ahead of time so they can quickly fill out the short form we will be emailing them. Make sure you have their correct email address.
*Once your references have submitted their forms and we think you will be a good fit for the team, you’ll be contacted for a phone interview.
*Occasionally a second interview is needed, but usually we’ll be able to tell you if you’ve been accepted to serve at Hope of the Ozarks by the end of the call.
Can you accommodate special dietary needs?Yes we can. There will be options for gluten and dairy free diets IF REQUESTED IN ADVANCE. We recommend bringing plenty of your own snacks as well.
I’m interested in volunteering, but I’m not great with kids/don’t have experience. What would I do if I volunteered? Support staff occasionally interact with campers, but their main role is landscaping, cleaning, and preparing for events. We also have wranglers, photographers, and kitchen crew. We welcome anyone who wants to come out to help with handyman tasks!
Do I have to raise support or pay to volunteer?We no longer require payment for volunteering. However, since camp runs on donations and summer is the most expensive time of year, it is extremely helpful when staff and counselors raise support to cover the cost of their own room and board, especially if they’re serving for more than a week. Think of it like a mission's trip that requires funds raised in advance.
Can I have my cell phone with me?At camp we focus on unplugging from electronics and interacting in the real world and building real life friendships. Staff cell phones will be kept in staff housing except during free time. Parents are welcome to call the camp office at 573.364.2786 in case of emergency or if they need to immediately contact their child.
Can I have visitors?Yes, for short visits. Visitors must check in at the office, wear a visitor’s nametag and have a staff member with them when campers are on site. The best time for guests is around dinnertime on Thursdays.
Can I stay at the camp during the weekends?Staff ages 16 years and older are allowed to stay the weekend if: 1) they are serving the next week of camp or 2) They are unable to drive home and back in time for the next week. Staff younger than 16 must have parents/guardians' permission to stay at camp in addition to the previous qualifiers. Staff are responsible for their own meals and transportation Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.
Who do I report to?That depends on the position you’ll have. Counselors report to the Counselor Coach. Grandparents report to the Director. The Staff Leaders disciple all other support staff, kitchen crew, wranglers, and photographers in the evenings, but they’ll report to other department heads during the day for job assignments. Kitchen crew – Food Service Director. Wranglers – Equestrian Manager. Photographers – Media Manager.
How old do volunteers need to be?Support staff must be at least 14 years old. Counselors and wranglers need to be 16. Leadership is 18+.
I’m a more seasoned adult, is there a maximum age for volunteering?No there isn’t. We have roles like “Grandparents” and “Aunties” which focus on being available for the campers without being too physically demanding. There are also part time roles like craft leader, teaching a life skills class, gardening, or driving campers to camp that need mature adults.
Can I bring my own snacks?Yes! Be sure to label everything with your name or initials and keep it in the basement kitchen of GTC. Only water bottles with water are allowed in cabins or stousing to avoid attracting bugs.
I’ve never worked with At Risk kids before, what kind of training do you have?We have an entire week of staff training at the beginning of summer where counselors will learn exactly how we work with campers, handle difficult behavior, and how to lead campers through their week of camp. Staff will learn job responsibilities and team building all while having a lot of fun. Each group – Staff and Counselors, have their own manual to keep with them during their time of service for reference.
I’m Catholic / Lutheran / Methodist / Baptist / Pentecostal / LDS, does that work with camp’s beliefs? If you agree to respect our simple statement of faith, we are glad to have you serve with us. We do want counselors to be able to share salvation with our campers, so if that is a struggle for you, we may ask you to serve in a support role instead of directly with the campers.
I’m a parent of young children – do you have childcare available? Our day camp, known as Green Team, is available for children whose parents are volunteering during the day, ages 2-12 years old and runs from 7am – 7pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays, 7am– 2pm on Fridays. Children on Green Team must be potty trained, able to follow directions, and keep up with the schedule. This may not be an option for parents serving as counselors since they would not be available to be with their child overnight, unless the child is old enough to stay in Stousing with an older sibling on staff.
Can alumni campers be on staff?Teen Campers are encouraged to attend camp as campers as long as possible and earn an invitation to Timothy Training Week which is designed to help them transition to staff.
I can only volunteer for one week, is it okay to miss the staff training week?We strongly encourage everyone to attend staff training since that is how you’ll learn job specifics and bond with the team. That said, it’s not impossible to learn on the job and our leaders will do their best to get you caught up quickly if you are here for just one week of camp. Staff who attended staff training felt the most confident in their role and supported by their leaders.
Can I sleep at home if I live locally?Sure, if you’re staff, wrangler, kitchen help, or a grandparent! Counselors do need to stay with their team overnight and Leadership must live at camp during the week to mentor the younger staff.
Do volunteers get paid?Only full summer positions of Leadership and Lifers are paid a small stipend.
I’ve signed up to volunteer and now my significant other is interested as well, can they come too?Yes, if they apply and are accepted on staff on their own. Hope of the Ozarks does have strict relationship policies in place to protect minors, keep the focus on ministry, and encourage community over romantic relationships, so we recommend contacting the directors for more information before applying, especially if either individual is under 18 years old.
Can an entire family volunteer together?Yes, we have many opportunities for families with older children to serve. Parents can help lead activities, be Aunties and Uncles, or work alongside staff in the kitchen or with maintenance projects. Teens can be counselors or support staff, and children under 12 can be on Green Team.
Do you only need help during summer, or can I volunteer during the school year?We need volunteers all year long! During the school year we have a weekly workday on Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm when individuals can come set up for events, cleaning, laundry, and landscaping. On weekends work teams do painting, small construction and handyman projects. Night of Camp events on the 3rd Saturday of the month (September - March) need volunteers to drive campers, cook a meal, and lead activities.
Can I take a college class while volunteering? Technically, yes, if you’re on support staff. However, you’ll have to do it during free time and evenings, which is when community happens so it may affect your ability to connect and enjoy camp. We don’t recommend taking classes during summer unless you have excellent time management skills.
I take prescription meds, do those need to stay in the Nurse’s Station?Yes, they do, thank you for asking! All medication and supplements (even OTC meds like Tylenol) must be checked in with the Health Program Director or First Aid Officer and stored in the Nurse’s Station if you are under 18 years old OR sharing housing with minors (IE a counselor).
Can I give my contact info to my campers?At camp we practice a “3 or more” policy to protect staff from being alone with campers and campers from being alone together without a staff member. This also applies to phone and social media. If you want to exchange numbers with a minor camper, please add a third person like your co –counselor or counselor coach to a group chat.
Thanks for reaching out! We're looking forward to hearing from you.

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