Lucas Wachob, 26 & Rebekah Wachob, 24: Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center

 

Lucas and Rebekah Wachob are no longer “working for the weekend.”

Since becoming co-directors at Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center in Brantingham a couple of years ago, the couple has traded in stable careers for a sometimes nonstop, seven-day-a-week schedule, particularly in the summer months.

And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We go to bed tired for the right reasons,” Rebekah said.

“We’re just so passionate about what we’re doing here, it’s all enjoyable,” Lucas added.

After college, Lucas was working as an engineer with a Rochester contracting firm specializing in energy efficiency, while Rebekah was employed with a large accounting firm and working toward a master’s degree.

“We knew exactly where life was going,” Rebekah said.

Then, while in their early 20s and only a few months into their marriage, they were approached about the director opening at the Brantingham camp, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

After much discussion and prayer, the couple in late 2012 decided to accept the leadership post. That led to “a crazy eight months” during which the pair juggled work, school and camp duties before moving to the north country in May 2013.

The Wachobs each said they enjoyed attending camps as youth, and Rebekah had served as a business intern at Casowasco Camp, a United Methodist camp in the Finger Lakes, during college. However, they each viewed camp leadership as a possibility in their later years, after accomplishing their other career goals, until they got the invitation to run Aldersgate.

“How often do you get to do your dream retirement job in your mid-20s?” Lucas said.

“Your hobby is your job,” Rebekah said.

The Wachobs said that while their ministry has led to a financial and social sacrifice, they have learned that tying success exclusively to finances is one of the business world’s biggest myths.

“You really have to do what you love,” Rebekah said.

The couple said their exodus from entry-level corporate jobs has given them a renewed sense of value, knowing that they are able to manage a staff of counselors and other employees and be fully responsible to parents for their children’s safety.

“What we’ve learned is we are more than capable,” Lucas said. “We want to be the best, most fun, safest camp in the area.”

They have also learned to approach their positions with humility, customize their leadership approach to each member of the camp’s staff and give workers a say in how they operate their respective departments.

“You don’t have all the answers all the time,” Lucas said. “The best management is to find others to help.”

The couple also relies heavily on the expertise of Michael Huber, director of camp and retreat ministries in Upper New York, and directors at the several other United Methodist-affiliated camps throughout the state.

“We have a very good working team that’s constantly supporting each other,” Rebekah said.

And the Wachobs lean on the pastor and wife team from their church in Rochester, Jeff and Beth Long, as mentors and occasional volunteer chaplains at the camp. They said the best advice they ever received was from the Rev. Mr. Long, who told them that “you cannot steer a boat from a dock,” so you sometimes need to take a leap of faith and see how things work out.

The Wachobs said that 20-somethings want to do something that will have an impact on the future, not just work at a desk job and wait to have more influence later in their lives.

“Our generation isn’t afraid of change,” Rebekah said.

Although the birth of their first child earlier this year has made finances more challenging, the Wachobs said they continue to enjoy their work. And, with a couple of years under their belts and the recent addition of an assistant director, they anticipate having more time for community outreach and expansion of programming at the camp in the coming year.

— by Steve Virkler

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The Lucas & Rebekah Wachob File

Hometown: Brantingham

Professional position: Directors and head of operations, Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center

Family: Daughter, Abigail, 5 months

Education: Lucas – Bachelor’s in environmental science, concentration in energy efficiency, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Rebekah – Bachelor’s in accounting, SUNY Albany; master’s in business administration, Rochester Institute of Technology

Community involvement: Host summer concert series and annual craft sale for the Brantingham Arts Council, as well as the South Lewis Central School prom; provide community scholarships for local youth and do church outreach visits; hosted a Mother’s Day brunch this year; planning to organize a 5K run and community dinners in 2015.

Last book read: Lucas – “The Catalyst Leader” by Brad Lomenick. Rebekah – “37 Summers: My Years as a Camp Director” by Arthur Sharenow and “What to Expect the First Year” by Heidi Murkof and Sharon Mazel