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Daily Inspiration: Meet Zach Cockerham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zach Cockerham.

Hi Zach, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up as one of five children and constantly spent time playing sports, exploring the woods, fishing, and building. At a young age, my family became involved at Beachmont, and I spent a few summers participating in Beachmont’s flagship program, its summer day camp.

As I got older, I started attending Beachmont’s Teen Nights (each Tuesday evening in the summer) and Family Nights (every Friday evening in the summer) as a participant. Once I graduated high school, I joined the summer camp staff as an Adventure Activities Coordinator and led groups through the low ropes course, taught archery, led hikes, and various other activities.

While I began a career in HVAC, once Stewart Walker (Beachmont’s executive director) approached me about joining Beachmont’s full-time staff, I jumped at the opportunity. Over the last 10+ years, Beachmont has built up an impressive fall Corn Maze which had been largely volunteer-led, and the camp had grown to the point of needing an Event Manager.

Knowing the impact that Beachmont had on me growing up and the ways that its staff and the community helped shape me, I eagerly accepted this position.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
While the Corn Maze is available to the public for eight weeks each year, coordinating and building it out is a much larger commitment. We have an amazing, dedicated group of volunteers who help Beachmont put on an incredible event every year, and we do our absolute best to make sure the Corn Maze experience is engaging for thousands of people across varying age ranges.

Our goal is to create a family-friendly, entertaining and fulfilling experience for everyone — and our volunteers serve as the backbone of the entire experience.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I have the privilege of working alongside hundreds of volunteers. With the help of these talented volunteers, it is possible for Beachmont to host a 6-acre interactive Corn Maze that the whole family can enjoy!

The process starts each year with staff and volunteers coming together to brainstorm about what the following year will hold. From there, I get the privilege of working with and collaborating with a very talented team — from writers to artists, to builders, to people who just want to help in whatever way they can. I build where I can build and help where I can help, but largely, just love working alongside of the amazing men and women that are committed to creating an incredible experience.

In addition to the countless volunteers I oversee, I have input into the creation of the corn maze story, maze design, and interactive displays. Then, in September all of the hard work put in by everyone comes together in time for the opening of the maze.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Working a Corn Maze has taught me many things. Though, perhaps, the biggest is the lesson of stewardship. I was fortunate in that the Beachmont Corn Maze had been well established and managed for the past ten years. My predecessors understood the importance of being a good steward; not only stewarding the Corn Maze but also stewarding the time of the countless people that are involved in making it a success.

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