Bradon Schwarz, a PUC business administration sophomore, didn’t choose to get involved with Extreme Mobility Camps, Inc. Instead, he was born into the organization. And from day one of his involvement, he’s seen God leading him step by step.
Extreme Mobility Camps, also known as XMO, was founded by Bradon’s parents, Bryan and Mindy Schwarz. Since the ministry’s earliest days when the Schwarzs were young Union College graduates working with Christian Record Services, XMO has provided exciting, adventure packed experiences to the blind and visually impaired. In the fun-filled environment of skiing, snowboarding, waterskiing, and surfing, the camps also provide a great opportunity to share God’s love. From childhood, Bradon participated in the life changing work his parents began. (His sister Marleigh, who attended PUC before transferring to Loma Linda University to study dental hygiene, is also involved with the ministry.)
“I grew up with blind people around—it was just normal,” Bradon shares. As a kid spending time with the blind at XMO’s wintertime camps, Bradon was a “little buddy” to many of the blind campers. While he admits to being a bit of a pest, Bradon was able to look beyond the camper’s impairments and to find the many things he had in common with them. “I grew up not looking at them any differently, and really appreciating people for their gifts, even if they experience things differently.” He appreciated his blind friends’ gift of acceptance and welcoming, and learned lessons about seeing people for who they are and not what they looked like.
As soon as he turned 16, Bradon jumped at the chance to be a counselor at the camp, which welcomes people from age 13-30. He got to help people try snowboarding for the first time. “It’s fun to help teach someone to snowboard and to see them succeed” and even more rewarding to do it for someone “who never thought it was something they’d be able to do,” Bradon shares.
While growing up with the camp, Bradon also experienced the reward of contributing spiritually to the camp’s mission. “As I began to mature spiritually, the organization fostered my beliefs because of the influence it had on me.” Bradon began speaking at the daily worships and helped lead praise music on the guitar. Between worships, hitting the slopes or the water, and other activities, Bradon stays busy at the camps, which are held multiple times each year.
Bradon now has a bigger role with XMO. “I realized that [XMO] was in my life for a reason, and started asking what my role should be,” he shares. As vice president of business development for the non-profit organization, Bradon is dreaming big with his parents and XMO’s board, and the future is bright for the entirely volunteer-run organization. XMO doesn’t charge for its camps, instead relying entirely on volunteers and donations to run the camps. “More people are wanting to get involved and more donations are coming in,” Bradon explains, and he is helping make sure that growth is sustainable and to initiate new growth.
“This is probably what I’ll do for a career, which I love,” Bradon shares. “It’s my passion, and I’d love to be able to do it forever, if God opens the doors.”
Up next is a leap of “foolish faith,” Bradon shares. “It’s a faith that’s so big, but so certain.” That certainty led Bradon to organize an evening featuring Nick Vucijic at the largest Christian church in his hometown neighborhood in Southern California. Vucijic, a friend of XMO and of the Schwarz family, was born without limbs. A Christian and author of the bestseller Life Without Limits, Vucijic will speak at the event on January 10. Bradon is working hard to fill the over 2,500 seats at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, all with the goal of sharing XMO’s mission and the love of Christ.
While organizing the event while maintaining his busy schedule at PUC is a challenge, Bradon knows “none of this is me doing this. I’m just the hands and feet. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I know that God wouldn’t lead me to an area that He didn’t want me to go.” Bradon has appreciated the understanding of teachers and mentors at PUC, and is excited that PUC’s alumni relations team is supporting the event by purchasing a block of tickets.
“A lot of people want to make a difference, but we’re intimidated by the size of the need in the world,” Bradon explains. “Through XMO, I’ve been able to see how I can make a difference. I want to be able to help however God leads me.”
God is continuing to lead Bradon at PUC. While he first began with a nursing major—and has changed majors multiple times—he’s found a home in the department of business administration. “I’m being supported in the career I want to go in, and with [XMO], something I’m so deeply passionate about,” he shares. “Principles I’ve gotten from Lary Taylor [a professor in the business program] about life and how to manage things has been really important. And I can go to him and vent and he’s able to help me on homework and gives me spiritual advice.” PUC has helped prepare Bradon through relationships he’s made with friends and professors.
Bradon is studying hard, working as a student ambassador, and devoting any extra energy to XMO, all while watching for how God is opening doors around him. “I was born into this family, born into this ministry. I have this love for this ministry and for extreme sports. It’s incredible to have this ministry that fits me so well. I’m just listening to God and looking for how He is leading me,” Bradon concludes.
To learn more about Extreme Mobility Camps work with the blind and visually impaired, or to purchase tickets to the evening with Nick Vucijic on January 10, visit the ministry’s website.