“I hope everyone will remember me as the guy in the shorts who made not just one person, but everyone feel special when they came to camp at Storm Mountain Center,” said Scott Jensen, who is retiring as the director after 17 years of service.
More than 125 people gathered to honor Jensen’s legacy on September 10. Jensen had this to say. “I was very humbled. There were people that I had not seen in years. They all told stories about their Storm Mountain experiences. I, of course, also could tell stories about each one of them.” Photos from Keith Shew.
This is the 98th year that United Methodists have been inviting campers to a camping site in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Jensen reflected that the camping ministry has been important to United Methodists for almost 100 years. Camping is a significant part of The United Methodist Church for many. “It has all been done to glorify God’s kingdom. I am so humbled and blessed to be part of this significant ministry for the Dakotas,” stated Jensen.
Several changes have taken place on the Storm Mountain campus during Jensen’s tenure. The kitchen and dining room in Allison Hall were remodeled and extended. One cabin was remodeled into a chapel. One became an amphitheater. Four cabins were built along the creek that wanders through the camp property’s canyon. One cabin became a two-room suite to accommodate the deans of camps, pastors seeking renewal, and other guests. The Gist and Sander lodges were built.
Jensen has overseen and managed a long list of improvements to the physical parts of Storm Mountain Center. His passion for campers and bringing them to Christ is even stronger. The remodeling and building allowed for more diverse camps, targeted at specific audiences, to happen at the same time. Jensen noted, “All of the buildings and remodeling allowed Storm Mountain to host more camp groups of various sizes. Over the years, the groups have grown a little smaller. There are a lot of different interests. It is wonderful to be able to host 4-5 groups, in different camping experiences, at the same time.”
The variety of camps, under Jensen’s leadership, has increased – especially camping experiences for adults. Storm Mountain hosts several adults camps including: “God, Guys and Golf” – a golf experience, an experience for seniors called “Lovers of the Hills”, “Riding the Hills” – during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, “Fishing for Men”, “Relax, Refresh and Renew” – a retreat for women and more. “Camp is for everyone,” Jensen said.
Storm Mountain has been home to thousands of campers of all ages. Jensen has seen campers turn into camp employees, clergy and camp deans. Most of all he has seen the camping experience transform people. “When kids go to school they work for A’s. I always told them when they come to camp they are working on the five F’s—fun, friends, fellowship, food, and faith,” described Jensen.
Jensen says that the relationships he has formed are more than a blessing. “All of the people that keep coming back to camp in various roles has been more than I could imagine. The people that just stop by and check in because of their experience at Storm Mountain is powerful. Just this summer a couple from Indiana came to see the camp they remembered decades ago. God is always stirring.”
In retirement, Jensen hopes to spend time volunteering at the local school, getting involved in the Lion’s Club and performing in a play or two for the community theater. He and his wife, Dyla, will live in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Jensen said, “If you are in the neighborhood, stop by.”