A Tribute to Jonathan Gowan

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Throughout  this past summer we did a “Spotlight” type of blog for each of our summer staff. We highlighted things the summer staff enjoyed and gave a small intro into their lives. Jonathan’s blog was never written. This was not due to him not being good enough or us not caring. For me personally it was more of a thought of “I don’t want to think about it”.  I have worked along side Jonathan for several years. We have had moments of great joy, excitement, and even heart ache. I have spent numerous moments talking about changing the world and how God is calling us to build up the kingdom. I have also shared several moments hurting for our Camp Hope campers together. I have had the privilege of seeing Jonathan grow and transform into an amazing man, but most of all an amazing friend. For this reason I never wanted to write this blog, but I am excited to see where God continue to leads this dear friend. I would also like to thank Megan Montgomery on her 1st contribution to the blog. –Tiffany

For the past seven summers, Lakeshore has been home to Jonathan Gowan, and sadly, 2014 is the first year in a long time we will not share with him. 

Jonathan has been a great part of the ministry here at camp. He was a camper and a volunteer counselor for many years before his first year on summer staff in 2007. He has always been the source of great laughter and great encouragement to campers as well as staff members, and he always seems to know just when you just need a hug. Whether he is treating you with a little bit of tough love or being the listening ear you need, he has always played an important part during his time at Lakeshore.

A tradition at Wilderness camp is to play “Cookie Trivia” to give away the delicious extra cookies after a meal. Counselors try their best to stump campers with bible trivia, camp trivia, or even Harry Potter trivia, but the question for the remainder of the bag of cookies is usually: Name Gowan’s previous staff positions in order.


Jonathan’s first summer on staff was 2007 after he graduated high school, and he was the male Wilderness/Oxley Resident Counselor, or WO. In 2008, he was a Resident Counselor, and in 2009 he served again as the WO. The summer of 2012, he was a part of the Activity Staff as the Ropes Director. In 2011, he was the Oxley Director, and 2012 and 2013 he spent his time in the woods as Wilderness Director.

You may know him as the guy that wears the same mesh jersey all summer, the loud, funny bald counselor, or maybe the only person that could throw you off a tube at Eva Beach. Our kitchen staff probably knows him as the guy who always brings his own bowl to eat with, and chances are that you probably hold your own dear memories with him.

For someone like Jonathan Gowan, we can’t write about all the laughter that he’s shared or of the inspiring moments he has led at camp, but we can encourage you to take time now to be thankful for the experiences you may have shared with him. So join us in a prayer for Jonathan, thanking God for his loving and supporting presence at camp and strength as he continues to carry out his mission outside of Lakeshore.

Song of the Builders from Why I Wake early
By Mary Oliver

On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God –

a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope

it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.



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