Author Joleen Steel was born in Richmond British Columbia, Canada. Although she remains a Canadian citizen, she makes her home in Warrenville, Illinois with her husband and the youngest of their three sons, Matthew.
She was sixteen when she wrote her first fiction story. “A boy on the bus was my ‘editor’. His faith in me as a writer inspired me to continue.”
Today, Joleen writes Gospel-centered curriculum and fiction for Camping Sticks Inc., a non-profit Christ-centered children’s camping experience founded by her dad, Eldon Babcock. In 2015, he was honored with the John Avery Whittaker Award and interviewed by Focus on the Family’s “Adventures in Odyssey”
Joleen’s heart for child evangelism was birthed at an early age. At ten years old, during a Lowell Lunstrum crusade, she asked Jesus into her heart. ”A little white haired lady with bright blue eyes and a Scottish accent led me through a book with five colors and no words. I knew I was a thief and liar because I’d stolen a pink bouncy ball from the store and had lied about it to my parents. I was overjoyed to learn that Jesus died for thieves and liars and I could be forgiven. Every day for a month afterward, I lined up all my stuffed animals and led them to Jesus using the wordless book.”
As Camping Sticks’ curriculum specialist, representing the ministry at conventions and camps, Joleen clings to 2 Timothy 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Her ministry is to equip the next generation with a resilient, robust faith that inspires young people to share the good news of Salvation through Jesus Christ, and she plans to fulfill her call by “sharing the Gospel one camper at a time.”
In 2016, she published her first book for Camping Stick Kids. Their books which they sell at conventions as well as in their website’s Etsy Shop are now in their third run.
When asked what advice she would give writers struggling to write their first book, Joleen said, “Two things: Spend time with the Lord in prayer and studying his Word, and don’t wait for inspiration to hit—Write on a schedule.”
Joleen invites you to click the banner below to visit the Camping Stick Kids website and to connect with her on their blog.
“Okay, everyone, settle down,” said Ranger Sue with a good natured grin. ”This week at camp you will each receive your very own hiking stick. These sticks are not toys but tools to be used on our hikes around camp. In order to earn the five colored emblems you see on my stick you will learn ten Bible verses and be able to answer five big questions. The first big question is, What is heaven and why do I want to go there.” — from Camping Stick Kids – A Gospel Story
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What a phenomenal salvation story and ministry, Joleen! And what a lovely portrait author Starr Ayers has painted for her readers of AUTHOR SNAPSHOTS! Thanks to you both.
Enjoyed meeting this young lady Ms. Starr. Will be looking into her work as additions to our church’s Children’s Library. Thank you for the wonderful author insight.
Awesome. Thank you for following.
Thank you for your kind words J.D. Wininger. If you have any questions as to how the resources could be utilized, I’d love to speak with you. Campingsticks@gmail.com. It is a joy to be under the same wing, -Joleen
Thank you Starr for sharing my story. “To God be the glory, great things He has done.”
It was my pleasure. Love your story and all that God is doing in and through Camping Sticks.