Lake Mary Campus Update Part 2: A Note from O.J.
I remember when Lake Mary first came on my radar. I was finishing up my first year working after college at Young Life's Southwind camp (where we still take our students!). I felt called to go on field staff with Young Life to work with students, and I was convinced that I was going to move to Fort Myers. All of the cards seemed to be stacked in that direction, interviews had moved that way, and then a slight curveball late in the process. Les Comee, who was in all of the interviews, suggested I go visit Orlando and talk to the area director about a position in Lake Mary. I remember laughing inside, thinking OK, I'll take a free lunch at Disney. That's about all I knew of the Orlando area (other than Wet-n-Wild, where we used to take middle school students every week during the summer at camp—not the best idea). I met with Leo Reich, we drove around Seminole County (this is Orlando?), and we had lunch at Uncle Jones BBQ Buffet in Altamonte (now closed—probably for the best). I drove back to Southwind, glad I had at least looked around, and was still settled on Fort Myers. Then I woke up the next day convinced that Lake Mary was where I was being sent to do ministry, and I haven't looked back. I moved there in the summer of 1997, starting doing Young Life at Lake Mary High School, met Rachael, got married, acquired a dog, had two amazing daughters, and bought the only house I've ever owned—all in Lake Mary.
Lake Mary and Seminole County have always had a huge place in my heart, and now God is calling our family to take another step deeper into this community. Rachael and I couldn't be more excited to minister to our friends and neighbors in my new role as campus minister at the Lake Mary campus. Our most natural ministry together has been as a family, spending time with our neighbors as well as other families, and being ourselves. It's amazing that we get to keep doing this in a new role that I hope serves Summit well.
The last two years have been incredible serving at the Herndon campus and watching Student Ministry flourish under the great leadership of Ryan Warner and now Kim Clark. I have had the privilege of witnessing firsthand God working in the lives of our students at Summit.
One of the best parts about this transition to being campus minister in Lake Mary is that I get to continue being a part of Student Ministry. I will continue to oversee the vision of Summit Student Ministry and oversee that staff and ministry at Herndon as well as Lake Mary. I will continue to lead my Connect group of high school guys and be a part of The Edge on a weekly basis. I will also oversee Surge at Lake Mary and Herndon and have the chance to be involved at both. In many ways, my role with Student Ministry won't change all that much, and I love that I get to continue ministering to our students.
I love that as Summit continues to grow, and as we continue our commitment to multi-site, we also are committed to move some of our ministry leadership to other sites. It's an exciting time for Summit and for the Aldrich family, and I can't wait to see what God has in store!