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.
In camp and retreat ministry I have found a deep connection to serving God by extending hospitality through Christ and providing sacred space for people of all ages to grow and learn.
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.
Camp provides a safe place to develop friendships and practice social skills. As a Christian camp, our commitment to helping campers develop friendship has an impact beyond camper’s social lives. It facilitates their spiritual growth as they experience what it means to be a part of a Christian community. Such communities provide accountability, resources, and a safe place to deepen their faith.
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.
Each evening, our summer staff gathers for a time of prayer. We practice different ways to pray as a community throughout the summer. Often during this time, we take turns going around the circle allowing each person to reflect on their day, sharing any "pows" (something that didn't go so well), "wows" (highlights), and "hows" (how God's Spirit was known). This prayer is simple, yet very powerful.
Beyond the gift itself and our feeling of appreciation, there is the knowledge that something other than ourselves, greater than ourselves, gifted us.
For sixty years Crook County has had Outdoor School, fifty-four at Suttle Lake. The big yellow buses still depart full of exhausted sixth graders. Each camper takes with them a most important gift, memories. Camp is creating memories which encourage our children to care of themselves and others in community. Within the United Methodist Camp Association, we are always working to be people of grace, accepting all who come. We collectively become communities of grace, accomplishing great things we could not have done on our own.
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.
Creating accepting and loving communities at camp is a powerful vehicle for God's spirit to work.
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
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.
Camp is one place where we practice hope: We struggle together on the challenge course and celebrate the gifts shared to allow us to overcome the task we’ve been given. We pause and look for God’s presence in the nature that surrounds us. We gather around the campfire to pray, giving thanks for the many ways we’ve experienced God’s light through the day. We begin to recognize the goodness in us and all around us. We live, work, and play together in an intentional way that embraces the integrity of being a Christian community, practicing shining light into the world. That light, along with hope, gets a little bit brighter the more we practice.
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!
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!
The second Winter Youth Retreat at Suttle Lake was a fun and meaningful gathering of 55 youth and leaders over President's Day Weekend.
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.
This sense of wonder is possible any time we step away from our everyday routine and noise, willingly opening ourselves to a greater mystery. I’ve learned that having an awe filled experience is less about location and more about a willingness to be open and look beyond our immediate needs or desires, to something deeper.
Enjoy snow, fellowship, and fun at Suttle Lake's Winter Youth Retreats!
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!
Camp is a powerful opportunity to step aside from daily routines for a period of time in order to experience renewal in nature and in community with others.
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.
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!!
One of the joys in serving in Camp and Retreat Ministries is being a part of the connectional United Methodist Church. Our ministry is intertwined with the work of the larger church and that of local congregations, yet distinct. Together we are all striving to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries is hiring a director for Sawtooth Camp.
As the summer progressed, the end the season meant that Suttle Lake Camp would be losing one of its critical and vital staff members, Food Service Director, Chef Abel Salas.
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.”
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.
Nestled on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, Suttle Lake Camp is a special place where the vivid green of Western Oregon mingles with the sunny beauty of the eastern part of the state. Located in the Deschutes National Forest, it is cradled between three wilderness areas in the heart of the Metolius Recreation Area. Suttle Lake is a natural place to explore God’s creation and experience Christ’s love in a caring community. This has been true for many years.
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
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!
The contributions leaders make to the ministry at Suttle Lake Camp are true blessings! These leaders are organizers, guides, mentors, and models of what it means to follow Christ. Many give of their time to be counselors, chaplains, activity leaders, deans and more. In their service at camp they shape a way of living and serving together that forms an intentional Christian rhythm throughout the time of camp. The community worships together, breaks bread together, plays together, prays together, and shares deeply together. Christ’s gift of grace and love become tangible experiences when leaders centered in Christ show the way and walk the journey with others.
I am proud that I am a part of a denomination whose forebears gave birth to these beautiful settings from the early days of the Methodist movement through to present day.
While working on site for Twinlow United Methodist Church Camp in Rathdrum, Idaho 20 years ago, I received my call to service as a clergy person in the United Methodist Church. In fact, most of the young adults I worked with over my years at Twinlow made significant changes to their prospective career paths because of their time working at camp.
The environment of camp is powerful. For nearly 96 years now, Suttle Lake has been a place where individuals and faith communities come for time away from daily distractions to focus on their faith development.
I’ve been going to camp since third grade and the memories I’ve made are some of my favorites. I’ve always had a great camp experience and a lot of that was because of my counselors and the people in leadership roles. I remember my counselors always making sure I felt included and welcomed during camp. They made sure I stayed safe and had fun.
For over 100 years we have been engaged in the work of nurturing Christian faith and discipleship in some of this region’s most beautiful outdoor spaces.
While providing good food, comfortable beds, and friendly smiles to our guests are all important, we belief that true Christian hospitality means much more.