“This is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I love it,” Matt Wimmer said as SAMBICA’s first camp of the summer came to a close.
The newly hired CEO and executive director, Wimmer begins his first summer with SAMBICA, bringing with him the experience to make a difference, a vision of moving forward, and a passion for serving people. Though not new to challenges in business, Wimmer sees his new role as especially challenging due to the many hats he wears and the many moving parts that SAMBICA encompasses.
“We are kind of like a restaurant, a hotel, a property management company with 33 buildings on campus, and a farm all in one,” Wimmer said. “Oh and did I mention we run a summer camp?”
Wimmer joined the SAMBICA family on May 1, 2011, concluding a comprehensive search that began in the fall of 2010 when Mike McCorkle announced he would be leaving after eight years with the Christian camp and conference center.
A native of the northwest, Wimmer is a local entrepreneur who has built and sold several different financial companies, in addition to working with small businesses and helping them grow. Wimmer finds satisfaction in helping businesses succeed and he enjoys helping people improve their way of life. He is the founder of Balance Advisor, a strategic coaching and consulting firm that targets helping CEOs and executives find a balance between work and life outside of the office.
Wimmer is the former president of the Seattle chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), formally the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. He also founded IMPACT Players, a Pacific Northwest community service organization for men inspired to be great husbands, fathers and leaders.
Wimmer’s excitement about SAMBICA is more than evident. His love for God shines through his work and his interactions with people involved with the camp. Wimmer’s vision for SAMBICA is about reaching as many children as possible. The “Gift of Camp” is an idea in which children who wouldn’t normally have the means to experience SAMBICA are granted that opportunity through scholarships. These scholarships are made possible through the use of SAMBICA and its facilities for business conferences and company retreats. Wimmer’s vision is for SAMBICA to be available to ALL children, regardless of financial situation. The goal is that companies will look to the camp’s facilities as a place to hold their conferences and retreats, with the idea in mind that the money will be used for sending children of lower income families and foster children to camp.
“SAMBICA has already captured my heart and I’ve fallen in love with SAMBICA,” Wimmer said.
After attending high school at Seattle Christian, Wimmer went on to major in history at the University of Washington where he made the baseball team as a walk-on his freshman year. His dream of being drafted by a professional team came true when the Seattle Mariners drafted him into their farm program during his junior year. He ultimately turned down the opportunity, feeling called by God to continue leading a Bible study for his teammates at UW.
While at UW, Wimmer met his wife Cindy and the two have been married for 16 years and have lived on the eastside for eight. They have three children – Michael (10), Sarah (8), and Ella (6). Wimmer enjoys coaching baseball, basketball and softball and he is involved with the YMCA Princess program.
According to its mission statement, “SAMBICA exists to create environments where individuals experience Jesus Christ through educational programs, recreation and hospitality services.”
SAMBICA stands for Sammamish Bible Camp Association and was founded in 1919. Its history is grounded in the Christian heritage, which holds the Bible in highest value as the inspired word of God. This includes belief in the person and mission of Jesus Christ who came to earth from the eternal presence of God to offer himself as a sacrifice for mankind’s salvation. This salvation is now available to any person who repents and turns their heart and life over to God and puts their faith and hope in God’s Son.
Parents should expect their children to hear about Bible stories, characters, and examples of the love of Jesus from their counselors. Parents should also expect children to come home with a deeper understanding of these facts, as well as with questions, which parents may need to help answer.
What really makes SAMBICA unique is that the counselors come to the camp from all over the country because of their love for children.
“We tell our staff and counselors that it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love,” Wimmer said.
Both Wimmer and SAMBICA are thrilled about this new chapter and are excited to see what God has in store for the partnership, the camp, and the children and people it will impact.