The Edmond Sun


March 29, 2013

Kamp Kanukuk: A place where dreams are made

EDMOND — A former Edmond resident is living her dream.

For Susan Vermillion following her sister, Anne, to Kamp Kanukuk in Branson, Mo., when she was 9 years old was a dream come true. Anne had attended the year before when she was 9, and after going with her parents to pick up her sister when camp had ended, Susan knew that was where she wanted to go the next year.

“My sister and two friends of the family first went to Kamp Kanukuk when she was a 9-year-old camper and Kanakuk was a huge part of her life,” Susan said. “When I went with my parents to pick her up she was so excited about camp, and she was full of energy as she showed us everything she had done the previous weeks.”

Susan said she saw the longest water slide she had ever seen and the swimming pool was awesome — wonderful things to turn the head of a 9-year-old.

Susan’s camp experiences started when she was 9 years old, like her sister, and lasted until she was 17 years old. After graduating from Memorial High School in 1999 she was a Kanukuk staff counselor in Training School. She attended the  University of Oklahoma for a year and then served as a Kanakuk staff counselor for the next two years.

Susan graduated from OU with a degree in advertising and went to work in the marketing field and joined Kanakuk Leadership in 2012.

“The experiences I had and the people I met have helped shape my life and those things have continued to shape my life,” Susan said. “I moved to Branson in December, and I’m the communications director for Kamp Kanukuk.”

Susan said she made friends as a Kanukuk camper that she still corresponds with including friends she made in her cabin.

“I still keep in contact with three of the girls,” Susan said, and she still remembers the fun she had during those summers and looks forward to camp beginning this summer.

“There are so many activities to take part in including participating in the challenge course or gymnastics, riding zip lines, practicing on the archery range or playing tennis, water skiing and canoeing to name only a few,” Susan said.

Susan said although she has worked for other companies she always knew she wanted to work for a brand she truly loved, she just couldn’t decide which one.

Prior to joining the Kanakuk team, Vermillion served as a senior director of client partnership at Ansira Partners LLC (formerly Razor) in Dallas, leading the Domino’s Pizza account. Other notable experience includes her position as management supervisor and associate director of client services at Ackerman McQueen Advertising Agency. She also is the principal of Vermillion Consulting + Coaching, her own consulting firm that she launched after working as a brand manager at Sonic Drive-In Industries, both in Oklahoma City.

“I always believed in the mission of Kanukuk and when this opportunity presented itself I said, ‘What brand do I love more than the brand that changed my life?’” Vermillion said.

“I am excited to start a new chapter of my career within Kanakuk,” Vermillion said. “Having the opportunities to facilitate and lead a team to shape national brands communications has been invaluable and I am looking forward to using my experiences at Kanakuk.”

Campers are as young as 7 years of age who come for as little as one week or for as long as 28 days.

“As a camper gets older they may want to choose a tri-athlete schedule to participate in,” Susan said.

As a younger camper Susan said she cried every night for four years, usually after letter writing.

“My parents knew it was part of the character building process that I was going through,” Susan said.

There are five main campgrounds nestled in the hills surrounding Branson, Mo., and the camp capacity is 10,000 throughout the summer months. All 50 states are represented. In one camp the campers live in teepees that hold 12 campers.  

 “We have a lot of parents who give the gift of camp as a birthday or Christmas present,” Susan said. “Our parents sent us for the first two weeks, but after the first two weeks in order to stay two additional weeks, my sister and I did extra chores to pay for those.

“All of the counselors have to attend one year of college, and we have a lot of staff interacting with the campers.”

Susan said working at camp in the summer prepared her more for life by learning conflict resolution, interacting with others, multi-tasking and about being a mom.

Susan’s mom, Sarah Vermillion, is a first-grade teacher at Chisholm Elementary and Susan said her mother is a “huge advocate” for Edmond Public Schools and Kanakuk.  

Sarah said she appreciated the counselors and their encouragement and discipleship.

“The staff at Kamp Kanukuk supported the same things I believed in,” Sarah said. “My girls got really good advice from role models closer to their age. I was a big time camper when I was growing up. I wanted a Christian camp they would enjoy and this Christian Sports Camp met the criteria. After we met the camp leaders we wanted it and they did also.”

Susan said that as a staff leader she is excited and ready for the campers to arrive this summer.

FOR MORE information about attending Kamp Kanukuk, go to

Text Only
  • peach formatted.jpg Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition  

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
    Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Final step to train toddler with baby on way

    Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night, she is taking off her diaper prior to falling asleep, wetting the bed after she goes to sleep and then crying for us when she wakes up in a pool of pee. Is this a sign that I should begin night training? I'm hesitant to do this because I am 8 months pregnant and don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to take her to the bathroom and tending to a newborn as well. I would prefer to continue using diapers until she is old enough to get out of bed and take herself to the potty (even a potty in her room). Is this unrealistic? Or should I just deal with the extra night wakings and start taking her to the potty a few times a night now? If not, how do I keep her diaper on at night?

    July 25, 2014

  • Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

    Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural.
    Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thieves a sharp message to go elsewhere.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Discard the boredom of family game night

    We’re all about families having fun together, and game night is one of the best ways to do that. But playing the same games over and over can get a little stale. So in the interests of injecting a little more fun into your family’s game night, here are some great choices that will keep you and yours engaged and laughing.

    July 25, 2014

  • What’s normal age for voice change?

    Q: When is it normal for a boy’s voice to change? My son is 10, and his voice is getting deeper every day.
    A.: “It’s a very variable process,” says pediatrician Bonnie Miller, associate director of general pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.. “Puberty will begin as early as age 9. Generally with the advent of puberty, the voice box changes.”

    July 25, 2014

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Living history presented at metropolitan libraries

    Hear stories of pace setting women in different eras throughout history. Biographies of Wild West trailblazers, The Harvey Girls, WWII assembly line champion-Rosie the Riveter, mail order bride Mary Elizabeth Walker, and Oklahoma society lady Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson will be reenacted by gifted and prolific storyteller Barbara Byrd.
    Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson was the wife of a prominent Guthrie attorney who shares her experiences and adventures during the early days of Oklahoma statehood. Her presentation will be at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard. For more information, visit

    July 25, 2014

  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014