Meet the Battens


We are so excited to introduce you to the newest members of the OLD School family! Curtis and Bailey Batten are our new OLD School Programming Managers. These two will be in charge of hiring new staff, programming, discipleship schedules, soft skills, web presence, media and more. Curtis and Bailey both graduated from Appalachian State University with degrees in Recreation Management. Curtis has attained various credentials that include, but are not limited to: Wilderness First Response, Swift Water Rescue, and “Leave-No-Trace” Training. Bailey is also a Wilderness First Responder.

In college, Curtis and Bailey were heavily involved in the Baptist Campus Ministry. Bailey led a group of freshmen girls, while Curtis lead a group of the BCM group leaders. Bailey spent a summer on staff at SWO in 2013, where she became a trained river guide. Curtis worked at Teen Valley Ranch Camp and Retreat Center from 2011-2014 as summer staff and worked his way up to Appalachian Outdoor Director in 2014-15.

Shortly after the summer of 2015, Curtis and Bailey got married. They wanted to serve somewhere that they could use their knowledge of the outdoors and passion for college student ministry.

Here’s what happened in Bailey’s words,

We got married last August and moved into a duplex in Newland, NC (right outside of Banner Elk.) We made a list of potential jobs in the area and then added anything else that we felt God put on our hearts to pursue.  We posted this list in the kitchen where we would see it often and began to pray over each option.  We got a lot of “no’s” at first.  Then we heard back from a few places and we took what we could get.  Within the next few months we basically were working 6 jobs altogether, crazy!  Curtis worked at a cafe, the ski slopes, and JE.  (And once ski season was over Curtis started work as a Lead Instructor with Appalachian Mountain Leadership.)  And I worked at a coffee shop, The Mast General Store, and started my own photography business.  During this whole process we had continued to pray over OldSchool (one of our top choices on the list.)  We honestly weren’t sure if that was even realistic.  It had been years since I served at SWO and Curtis had only volunteered a week.  I guess we just had no idea of what God was orchestrating behind the scenes.

When Bailey and Curtis contacted SWO about work, the OLD School program was ramping up for big expansion. Bailey explains,

When Josh [Martin] told us the vision about Old School expanding, the idea of us really moving to Andrews became more of a reality in our minds.  We took time to talk and pray over this decision. Everything was pointing to ‘why are we not doing this?’  God has placed in our hearts the desire to do this and now has opened a door with an opportunity to make it reality.  Everything had fallen into place to be able to move, to be working hard at a job that we would absolutely love, and we were both super excited about what God has been doing and is going to do through Old School.  I feel like we had a ‘DUH!’ moment and said, ‘Why are we still here?  Let’s do it!’”

After prayer and consideration, the Battens accepted the jobs as Programming Managers. We are so excited to have them on board.

Now we are here at SWO and loving that our job is to pour into proctors and students while using outdoor recreation as a tool to help them become more like Christ. We have also found that the roles we are placed in are such a great fit for our strengths and the things we bring to the table.”- Bailey Batten