These challenging times can bring out the best in each of us as we find creative ways to share with one another while living within the current limits set by government or church leaders. In Camp and Retreat Ministries we have been meeting with colleagues across the country to support one another and to share with one another how we are communicating the wonder of camp during this time. In the weeks ahead, we will be sharing with you what we are learning and invite you to find ways to encounter God through scripture and connections to God’s creation and the communities to which you belong.
At the current time we intend to hold our summer camps and retreats. The spring season remains in flux as we follow declarations and guidelines from the states and counties. We are planning to hold the Leadership Training event at Camp Magruder on April 17-19 and the Confirmation Retreat scheduled for April 24-26. We will notify you as soon as possible if there are any changes.
There have been many ups and downs in the five years since our first visit to the Oregon Coast. It has taken routes I did not expect. This is also the nature of callings, though. If we knew all that was in store, we might shy away. Because of the hardships, we might miss the beauty, we might miss the ways we grow to something we didn’t think we were capable of. It works well to start us off with an incredible, magnetic draw to something we cannot shake loose from; much like our initial draw desire to the west coast. The obsession with that wonder and beauty will draw us to places we didn’t know we could go.
As we look ahead to the entire year before us, we in Camp and Retreat Ministries would like share with you a few stories. These stories will convey our experience of God’s call in our lives, the passion that we hold for this ministry, notable features of each of the sites that makes these places special places to encounter God, impact that the site has had on us or someone we know and then to conclude the year we will be sharing some things that we are excited about for 2021!
This past week a unique camp and retreat ministry event, The Great Gathering, occurred at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. The Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries of the Oregon-Idaho Conference was represented by 7 people: Vanessa Allen (Executive Chef, Collins Retreat Center) Rev. Dan Benson (Director, Collins Retreat Center, Jayde Dunkerly (Office Manager, Collins Retreat Center), Hope Montgomery (Program Director, Camp Magruder), Troy Taylor (Director, Camp Magruder), Jane Petke (Director, Suttle Lake Camp), and Rev. Todd Bartlett. We were also joined by former Executive Director, Rev. Lisa Jean Hoefner.
Instead of, “trust me,” I'm working more to offer, “I trust you,” to the people inside and outside these gates who don't bound joyfully out of the car door at the start of a new adventure, who don't easily notice the potential of connection, who don't know love and kindness as friends.
There are many activities we provide to campers through our programs that encourage them to step beyond their comfort zone and just shy of the “freaking out” zone. This intentional work of entering the place of discomfort allows campers to experience a level of trust in themselves and their abilities and to learn that the intentional Christian community of which they are part for the week will support them no matter what.
Camp Magruder’s first Light the Way campaign project is visible at camp! New directional signs were recently installed, and guests are already appreciating the way they’ve guided newcomer’s to find their way at camp. The camp staff is proud of the signs that so many generous donors made a reality.
ow, I am trying to welcome the energy of the earth into my spirit each morning. I try to smile to the ocean when I see it each afternoon. I am being changed by the gratitude I am offering more generously and frequently to the universe, that it may cultivate wisdom and perspective within me.
Beyond the gift itself and our feeling of appreciation, there is the knowledge that something other than ourselves, greater than ourselves, gifted us.
So, when I answer people about what it will be like if I leave camp, I often reference my hope for building this community out there, too. I see intentional community building as a counter-cultural act that is a form of resistance. I see community as a way to change the world we live in. To live in community, we may have to opt for something less convenient, or at the very least less conventional, but the payoff of experiencing deeper and significantly fulfilling relationships is much more rewarding.
Because community is essential well-being, we understand that the cost of getting there is worth it. We may not like the experience in the midst of the chaos but the stories that we get to tell later of meeting the challenge says something that we like about ourselves and the community of which we are a part: together with one another we are strong and better off.
This grace of acceptance offered to me by the church, through camp and retreat ministry, continues to inspire me in my work and life. Through these next few weeks as we focus on Acceptance, I hope that you are encouraged to offer and/or receive this wonderful gift
Reflections on values with Camp & Retreat Ministries Giving Joy a Place in All of Our Daily Practices Value 3: Joy By Troy Taylor, Director at Camp Magruder If you have never poured your whole self into a game of dizzy bat, you may not know what ...
We imagine a faith where joy has a place in all of our practices. We want to feel joy as we sing, while we pray together, when we hear a message that feels inspired by the Lord, when we are accepted as we are, when we treat each other with love that defies understanding.
For me, joy is a gift that is available to us each day. I believe that, for most of us, the experience of joy is a matter of choice. While I am aware that joy can come from a spontaneous surprise in our lives, the choice remains as to whether or not we will accept these gifts, even on days that seem joyless.
Each week, in 3-4 pages, McLaren invites us to revisit biblical principles for living. You’ll receive blog posts to expand your study, with reflections and prayers and a place for comments and conversation. As we journey together, we’ll add opportunities for conversation, further study and action."
The blog post for this week, titled We Make the Road by Walking, was written by Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, Todd Bartlett.
In their weekly e-news, the National United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministry includes a blessings report. This report gives readers the opportunity to share the blessings that they experience at camp. We are happy to provide a similar report in our weekly publication!
From the first moment of camp, we are working to release our campers and guests from their “cool,” chains, because this version of cool is certainly a safe way to go, but it also results in less connection, less challenge and growth, and less hope in anything bigger than protecting yourself. The transformations you can see in just a few days are amazing. You go from seeing a timid, frankly boring version of a person to someone excited about something, trying things, accomplishing things.
In their weekly e-news, the National United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministry includes a blessings report. This report gives readers the opportunity to share the blessings that they experience at camp. We are happy to start providing a similar report in our weekly publication!
Camp Leadership and Counselor Training will be held at Camp Magruder April 5-7.
When it becomes natural for campers to face the difficult challenges in their lives, they are able to develop a sense of what it means live out their Christian faith. These elements are sign posts to guide them in their relationship with God and with all of humanity; and because they endured, persisted, and built character along the way, they can live with hope that this moment of difficulty is not all that there is.
Camp Leadership and Counselor Training will be held at Camp Magruder April 5-7.
We want to worship in such a way that campers are left in awe by what they see, hear, touch, taste, smell, experience. These moments worshiping under the stars, singing with our hearts, feeling a deep closeness with each other--this is turning over the log to look at worms with students of spiritual life. If we can create an environment that fosters a sense of wonder, they will fall in love. They will do all of this themselves, just like those before them did when they fell in love; and that will help us to fall in love all over again.
The time is fast approaching, when music will ring through the air at Camp Magruder! This year's Choir Camp, "Sing the Sacred Rhythm," will feature music selected by Director Luanne Hardy, accompanied by Sara Pope & Sarah Shay, and we look forward to the many blessings the we will receive throughout our time in fellowship
The time is fast approaching, when music will ring through the air at Camp Magruder!
This week we begin our year-long journey on values by exploring Wonder. Part of what I believe the directors and I sensed is that there is so much that has been explained about our world that there is little space left to encounter wonder. Another element of wonder is to get lost in connecting with something outside of, or bigger than, ourselves while at the same time we experience a deep connection to it.
For 2019 the directors and I will be writing about values. Each director looked at a list of values and were asked to select seven that guide their work.
There is Still Time to Make Your Year-End Gift to Camp and Retreat Ministries!
With 2019 right around the corner, all events are now open for registration!
Beginning in 2015, the research team at Sacred Playgrounds began work to answer the question:"What is the impact of the one-week summer camp experience on the lives of the primary participants and their supporting networks?" The research has yielded some fascinating discoveries!
With 2019 right around the corner, the excitement and anticipation for our return to camp is building! All events are now open to you for registration.
When people come to camp, whether as a summer camper, a retreat guest, a student, or a staff person, we hope they get a taste of loving community. If they do, we are thankful, and it is something to celebrate. But, above that, we want that experience to change that person for life.
This year's Choir Camp, "Sing the Sacred Rhythm," will feature music selected by Director Luanne Hardy, accompanied by Sara Pope & Sarah Shay, and we look forward to the many blessings the we will receive throughout our time in fellowship.
Each year, because of generous donors like you, Camp and Retreat Ministries offers over $15,000 in camp scholarships. The Joy Fund enables us to respond to anyone who is in financial need and applies for assistance. We have never turned anyone away for lack of ability to pay for camp! Please help us continue to be able to state that boldly!
It is with thanksgiving that I celebrate ALL those who have inspired me in the doing of the work of Camp and Retreat Ministries. Your life and energy are tremendous gifts, to me, and to all the people who are touched by this organization!
Annual Appeal Alert!! *Every* site has a project YOU can participate in with your Gifts, your Prayers, your Presence, your Service, and your Witness!!
Many things were brought to Magruder from our churches: the bell, the Sherlock cross, and all the pianos, for instance. These items are tangible and visible. But, the larger impact comes from the intangibles that have been brought over the years.
A wonderful Music/Camping experience!
As Camp Hope Celebrates its 25th year, important rituals remain and friendships are forged
Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries is hiring a director for Sawtooth Camp.
Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries operates as a team together where directors share and learn from one another in growing in our ability to fulfill our mission as “People dedicated to providing quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning.”
I remember the first day that I stepped foot on Camp Magruder property. I’m from Tennessee, so even the tall pine trees along the main drive of camp seemed spectacular to me. One of my favorite early memories of Magruder was seeing the sunset’s colors light the sky and sprinting to the ocean from main camp because it felt like something we couldn’t miss.
One of the ways-of-being that we cultivate in people through Camp and Retreat Ministries is to observe more deeply, more contemplatively. We teach ways to become a part of, to recognize, and to listen to the voice of nature, which has its own language and way of communicating. I hope one day I can communicate both as powerfully and as gently as nature. I hope by learning from creation I am drawing closer to the force that beckons all of us towards deeper interconnection.
Camp Latgawa just finish its application to become American Camp Association (ACA)-accredited and is waiting for the review process to be complete, joining our other sites that put on the bulk of our children and youth programming: Magruder, Suttle Lake, and Sawtooth. Wallowa Lake Camp and Alton L. Collins focus on adult programming and go through a different process.
So, why do camps go through this painstaking process? Read this article, written by Ken Atkinson director emeritus at Geneva Glen Camp in Indian Hills, Colorado.
Believe me, I understand the irony of this article. most likely read on a mobile device! In the other part of my life, I also work for the Missional Wisdom Foundation, an organization that has a Rule of Life, found here: https://www.missionalwisdom.com/rule-of-life/. One of the substitutions I would like to make in my life is under the 'Prayers' heading: "We will fast from food once a week." Not only is this the one part of the Rule that most people stumble over when they first read through it, but I don't know about you, but I have a cell-phone addiction, so fasting from all mobile technology would be a more challenging and mindful practice than fasting from food. Check out this blog-post from Gregg Hunter of Christian Camp & Conference Association (CCCA). His last question seems directed toward me - what would it look like for me to leave my cellphone in the car when I am a guest at camp? - Eric Conklin
Today's Camp Magruder is not your grandparent's church camp - NOT TRUE!
My journey with creation care and appreciation began when I was a young child. When our family would go camping, my sister and I were paid by our parents 1 penny for every scrap of garbage that we picked up. This helped us to live out the “leave it better than you found it” mantra. There were field trips, scout trips, and of course, church camps, which all demonstrated and encouraged me to live out these values.
You may have heard variations of this old "campfire" story before, or you may be reading it for the first time. Either way, be reminded that your flaws can create beauty in this world:
A waterbearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master's house.
Click here to read the whole story as told in AmazingWomenRock.com
Tag is making a popular comeback, thanks to the new movie in theaters now, but do you know these variations of the classic game of tag? With all of these in the tool box, I can't think of an easier way for kids and youth to get out their energy!
In my office framed above my desk, there is a letter written in orange marker. It’s the second page of a two-page letter. The first page was dated summer of 2006. The letter was written to me from one of my favorite counselors at the United Methodist church camp I grew up at in Tennessee. The letter above my desk doesn’t say anything too profound. My counselor was responding to my letter that must describe a concert I’d been excited to go to, and really, that’s about all that’s contained in the substance of the letter. But, still, I look up about once a week and read it again. There’s not much to gain from that letter anymore. It’s there now more as a token from the road that got me here, sitting at this desk, writing this blog now.