The LTD Program

Leadership, Training, and Development

Since its founding in 1958, Forest Springs has been committed to developing Christian leaders. The LTD (Leadership Training and Development) program is a tool through which God has been equipping leaders for ministries in the United States and around the world.

The purpose of LTD is to help prepare participants for effective ministry in Christian camping or related fields. The program strengthens Christian leadership qualities through classroom instruction, informal discussion, and “hands-on” experiences.

Application Process

To apply for the LTD Program, contact the Forest Springs’ Director of Educational Ministries, Norm Hoyt, by phone [715.436.7378] or email [[email protected]].

Students wanting college credit should also apply to the affiliated college/program of their choice.

Visits to the camp are welcomed and encouraged. Applications are due by the end of October.

Those enrolled in LTD receive practical training and experience in the major operational areas of a year-round Christian camp: administration, counseling, financial management, food service, maintenance, marketing, programming, and philosophy of ministry. Upon completion of the program, the LTD student will have

  • Develop relationships while serving and learning
  • Been challenged to grow in their spiritual life
  • Experienced servant-leadership and developed ability to lead in ministry
  • Demonstrated a capacity for serving in a variety of staff positions and with diverse ages and personalities
  • Had exposure to the personnel, principles, and practices of the major departments in a large Christian camp
  • Experienced the realistic and cyclic nature of life as a member of the year-round camp staff
  • Recognized the complementary and relevant role of Christian camping in the ministry of the local church and in missions
  • Developed a comprehensive philosophy of Christian camping that embraces the pursuit of excellence
  • Demonstrated an ability to plan, organize, lead, and evaluate a Christian camping program
  • Gained a solid foundation for positions in Christian camping

Five Tracks of the LTD Program

The LTD program is offered at undergraduate, graduate, ministry internship, international participant, and graduate assistant levels.


The Christian Camping Major is available to qualified students who are majoring in biblical studies/Christian camping at:

These schools offer bachelor's degrees, with the senior year spent in the LTD program. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Advanced graduate standing credit (8-12 credits) is available to those who have successfully completed the LTD program and qualify for admission to the following programs:

Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Ministry Internship

Vocational Camping Ministry Training is available to qualified individuals who are at least four years out of high school, are actively pursuing a career in Christian camping, and have demonstrated a gift and promise for Christian ministry.

Married students with families are welcomed into the program as long as housing is available.

International Participants

The LTD program has been utilized for training by many ministry leaders from around the world. We have national graduates from over 20 countries as well as American graduates who received training in the LTD program serving around the world.

International students will need a 12-month H3 or H4 visa (Forest Springs assists with this process).

Singles, married, and families are welcome to apply.

Graduate Assistants

You can use the LTD program to launch into your master's degree through Wheaton or Cairn University. GAs can remain residential students at Forest Springs from 18 - 24 months to complete an MA or MS while immersed in the ministries of Forest Springs.

GA students must raise personal support during their LTD year as a real-life project and these funds are the foundation of living costs and paying for their graduate degree.

LTD Courses & Topics

The academic component of the LTD program is made up of 11 courses. Each course is made up of multiple classes on the course topic. The courses are taught throughout the program resulting in a final grade issued at the end of the program. Many of the courses combine academic theory as well as experiential practice followed by evaluations and performance debriefing.

Camp Administration

A course that presents a biblical perspective on principles of camp leadership and administration. Topics include; camp finances and budgets, IRS regulations and reports, for-profit and not-for-profit distinctions, fundraising and donor relations, board structures and agendas, property descriptions, land use and property taxes, and legal issues facing camps.

Camp Counseling

A practical introduction to camp counseling, including areas of counseling need, the role of the counselor, counseling skills and techniques, biblical perspectives, and camper characteristics.

Camp Maintenance

A course that presents a carefully planned philosophy of maintaining a camp facility, grounds, equipment, and vehicles. Topics include; building project management, camp layout, utilities and services, woods management and chainsaw class, heavy equipment, building maintenance, grounds maintenance – and many other maintenance topics.

Camp Management

A course that gives an overview of the managerial responsibilities of a camp administrator, contrasting God’s plan for leadership with that offered in secular society. Topics include; servant leadership, dynamics of leadership, principles of biblical leadership, time management, long-range planning, human resources, ministry descriptions, and standards of performance reviews.

Camp Organization

A course that focuses on the development of an operating philosophy and organizational system. Each LTD staff member presents a complete camp model on paper (see Dream Camp paper), including vision, values, mission statement, desired outcomes, ministry strategies, philosophy, staffing plan, marketing plan, and a proposed operational budget.

Camp Programming

A course that provides programming theory and experience for the year-round camp, including youth camps, family camps, retreats, wilderness trip camping, outdoor education, winter sports and activities, and special events. The student receives in-depth exposure to the recreational leadership opportunities available at a camp.

Camp Safety & Risk Management

A course that stresses the importance of continual safety consciousness in all work and program areas, planning, and activities. First aid and CPR training are included.

Camp Teaching

A course that presents principles for becoming an organized and effective teacher, one who teaches for life change. The student studies methods of teaching biblical concepts through a total program perspective, making use of teachable moments as well as formal teaching settings. Students gain experience through teaching summer Bible classes, outdoor education, and various winter sports activities.

Family/Ministry Relationships

A course that discusses the relationship and balance of family life and ministry. Topics include healthy communication, family relationships, consistent and loving discipline of children, education, and families working together at camp.

Food Service Management

A course that provides experiential and classroom exposure to menu planning, nutrition, food purchasing and preparation, special diets, systems of serving, sanitation, budgeting, and supervision of staff.

Promotion and Public Relations

A study of marketing methods used to develop a brand, gathering a constituency through trust building, and keeping them informed. Numerous aspects of media preparation and presentation are covered.


Exposure to four seasons of camping and to a diversity of responsibilities, experiences, and trips.

Dream Camp Paper

A 100-plus page paper designed to help LTD participants integrate classroom principles, “hands-on” experiences, and personal callings. In addition to the topics mentioned in the “Camp Organization” course description, participants frequently add chapters on site development, marketing, building plans, and construction costs.

Four Seasons of the LTD Year


LTD staff begin the program in mid-May with four days of orientation and summer staff training. After two weeks of intensive counselor training, they serve as youth camp counselors, program instructors, or other summer camp leaders. The summer schedule includes five weeks of six-day youth camps and family camps through the remainder of the summer. The summer also includes wilderness trips that occur throughout the season.


From September through December, LTD students spend about 12 to 16 hours a week in academic study through lectures, discussion, reading assignments, and hands-on classes that train for serving our many guest groups and various fall programs. The fall also contains experiential learning through a canoe trip, a rock-climbing trip, and several trips touring other camp programs in Wisconsin. Students will also receive training to be instructors in Forest Springs' outdoor education in the fall. Students are rotated through each major area of Forest Springs' operations to gain experience in hosting groups, food service, accommodations, and programming.


January through mid-March is a very busy time with almost a constant flow of programs and guests. LTD students receive training in downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and several other popular winter activities and function as instructors in one or more of these activities. Like the fall, students experience a rotation through the Forest Springs' major operation areas. In the winter, the students are sent in teams on promotional trips to up to 12 major mid-west colleges and universities. They also are primary instructors in several winter outdoor education programs.


In the spring months, LTD staff host retreat groups, teach outdoor education classes and help close winter program areas. They also attend the Wisconsin Christian Camp & Conference Sectional convention, tour other Wisconsin camps, and complete volunteer work at another Christian camp. The year concludes in early May with a concentration of classes, a review of the philosophy of ministry papers, and graduation.


Do LTD Students Get Time Off?

LTD staff typically have one day off per week in the summer months and two days off per week as often as possible from September through May. Time off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter is generally 5 - 10 days per holiday.

Are Housing and Meals Provided?

Living on the grounds is a vital part of the LTD experience. Forest Springs includes in the fee for the year housing and basic utilities for LTD staff. Furnished homes or apartments are available for couples and families. Singles are housed dormitory style.

Meals are provided for LTD staff whenever the dining hall is open, usually from June through September, and approximately two to five days per week during the rest of the year.

What is the Cost of the Program?

Every student (college majors or interns) pays the annual “operational” fee which was $5,500 for the 2024-2025 LTD program.

In addition to the operational fee, college/university students have the benefit that their full tuition costs for their 30 hours of credit are covered by a scholarship from Forest Springs however, these students do pay their institution’s annual room and board fee to their school.

The student fees do not cover meals when the dining hall is closed (about 65% of meals are provided). Students are also personally responsible for their own clothing and basic supplies for the year – this could be budgeted at about $100 per month.

An estimate for interns would be $5,500 plus personal expenses with a total of about $7,000-$7,500. Family expenses can add about $2,000-$3,000 for the year.

Married students are highly encouraged to go through the program together – both being considered as full student status.

Can Newly-Weds Participate in the Program?

Because the intensity of the LTD experience could complicate the adjustments every newly married couple needs to make, couples must be married at least six months before participating in the LTD program. For the same reason, individuals are strongly discouraged from marrying during the LTD year.

Additional Questions?

Contact the Forest Springs’ Director of Educational Ministries, Norm Hoyt, by phone [715.436.7378] or email [[email protected]].