From Ireland to Livingston: Dillon McDermott’s story

By: Abby Wyllie

Posted: 5.25.18

In May 2018, after an eight-hour flight from the country of Ireland, Dillon McDermott, landed in the United States in New York. From New York, Dillon, hopped onto a three-hour flight to Houston before riding an hour by car to finish the long trek to Livingston, Texas from his hometown, Derry, Ireland.

“I didn’t waste any time getting here last summer” Dillon said. “At the airport, a member of Cho-Yeh’s staff picked me up and here I am. I knew it was worth coming despite the short-term stress of situating flight tickets, a Visa, and everything because I knew this would be a great opportunity to serve kids.”

Dillon interviewed and was hired as a counselor at Camp Cho-Yeh for summer 2018 after applying to an online database of camps across the United States. In Northern Ireland, Dillon worked at a summer camp, but he wanted to learn more about American culture. Dillon recently graduated from Magee College, a three-year University in Ireland, with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. While earning this degree, he studied a year abroad through a college program in Pennsylvania. Since, he had seen a little of the northeast, Dillon sought to experience southern culture, which is how he narrowed his camp search and ended up at Cho-Yeh.

“I wanted to see southern hospitality” Dillon said. “Everyone is so nice and inclusive. My favorite part about the United States is the friendliness of the people. I was interested to work at Camp Cho-Yeh because I love what they are about. I have felt so welcomed in this place.”

Dillon experienced many firsts last summer, from eating Blue Bell Ice Cream for the first time, trying Whataburger, facing the humid, hot East Texas summer weather, and being exposed to tons of Camp Cho-Yeh traditions and activities. Dillon continues to be captivated by the culture here at camp. Dillon saw a new perspective of how fun, outdoor activities can leave a deeper impact and provide an avenue to deeper relationships.

After finishing his first summer as a counselor, he had fallen in love with this place. He loved the people, the heart behind the ministry, and the opportunity to use his gifts to advance the gospel. He accepted a 9-month position as an Intern at Cho-Yeh last fall and loved every minute of his time in the Waypoint Program. 

This summer he has been serving as a Supervisor and had the opportunity to pour into counselors and campers in a different facet in a leadership role. His original plan was to head back home to Ireland after summer 2019 but when he heard about the position of Compass Resident Assistant (RA), he was intrigued.

The chance to invest in and walk alongside the Compass students seemed too good to be true. His time at Cho-Yeh over the past year equipped him for this new position. According to Dillon, “a year ago I couldn’t deal with conflict well or lead people. Now through this organization and the people around me, I have the skills and qualities needed to be a spiritual leader.” 

Dillon is excited to meet the students who he will be spending the next 9 months and building meaningful relationships with. He is ready for the challenge of this position and he trusts that the Lord will continue to shape him into a strong leader.