Posts Categorized: Adventures

Mount Hermon’s Youth Basketball League

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Adventures Updates, General.

Organized sports in a safe and fun environment

Many of you have heard of Mount Hermon’s Redwood Canopy Tour or Sequoia Adventure Course, but many of you probably don’t know that Mount Hermon also runs a youth basketball league every winter. This is a wonderful time for local kids and families in the San Lorenzo Valley to come together for friendly competition, learn good sportsmanship and teamwork. We focus on students in first through fourth grade and introducing them to organized sports in a safe and fun environment. Parents and coaches volunteer their time after work and on weekends to mentor these young players and demonstrate good character.

Every year it’s amazing to see families in our community come together and support one another through sports. It is also great to see the players grow in their hands-on skills in basketball but more importantly, their growth in life skills. Last year we witnessed many players learn and understand the basics of organized sports, how to compete, how to work as a team and how to ask for help. They learned that having the help of those around them is better than trying to do things alone. While it’s always great to watch kids learn important lessons it’s also a great reminder to us adults who try too often to go it alone when we should be relying on those around us to help us get through life.

This years season starts in December and lasts for 8 weeks. Registration is now open and we’re excited to get the ball rolling! Also new this year is “Family Fun Day” where we’re opening the doors to some of our adventure and recreation activities so the whole family can enjoy Mount Hermon. We’ll have Discovery Grove, the Climbing Wall, Archery and more; all open and available to player’s families. We’ll even host a delicious BBQ lunch. If you live nearby and have a first through fourth grader we encourage you to consider registering today!

Season starts December 1st

Find out how to register

Why Experience Is Better Than Stuff

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Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—

It’s written into the fabric of our nation. But why are people not happy when we have so much stuff to be happy about? Why does that new phone or car or pair of shoes not satisfy as deeply or as long as we might wish? It’s because all the stuff of our lives is external while our experiences, and our memories of them, are internal and literally a part of how we think. Dr. Thomas Gilovich, psychology professor at Cornell University has found the following to be true:

"Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods," says Gilovich. "You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences."fastco

A friend and mentor of mine has said to me that “everything that has ever happened to you has prepared you for where you’re at right now,” which is an encouraging way to think about my experiences and what I’ve learned both good and bad. Those things that make me feel happiest are the times I’ve shared laughter with friends, accomplished a goal with my co-workers, or even come through a struggle or hardship with the support or my community.

"We consume experiences directly with other people," says Gilovich. "And after they're gone, they're part of the stories that we tell to one another." fastco

It’s those stories and the relational fabric that they create that really provides happiness. I think we all know that when we’re old and wise and reflecting on our lives we’re not going to regret the times we spent with loved ones. We’re not going to say, “you know, I really wish I would have had a bigger house. That really would have made life so much better for me.” What we are going to say is, “I’m so glad I spent time with my kids.” Or, “That trip I took to Italy with my wife sure was worth it!”

The things that really bring happiness are those things we do together with other people.

We all have a limited amount of time and money to spend each day, month and year. Mount Hermon Adventures is all about providing places, spaces, and opportunities where people’s lives are transformed. Will you join us for an experience that lasts a lifetime?

Start Your Adventure

Sean’s Redwood Adventure

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At Mount Hermon Adventures we get to serve guests with a variety of needs. The nature of our activities means that very often we’re helping people conquer a fear of heights, to trust in themselves and their friends, or providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All of our work is important but there is nothing we love more than being able to make adventure happen for folks who weren’t expecting it. This month we bring you a staff story of one such guest named Sean.

Sean has Cerebral Palsy which means he struggles with balance and uses a wheelchair. He has been denied the opportunity to try many things, such as zip lining. Most of the time Sean’s mother stayed with Sean on the ground and let her husband have the adventure. This time Sean was going to have an adventure and so were his mother and father.

It was our pleasure to take the family out on the Redwood Canopy Tour and allow them to experience the coast redwood trees from well over 100ft. up. Sean loved the freedom the zip lines gave him, the rush of going fast, the wind pushing against his face, and the feeling of soaring through the trees. It was beautiful to hear the laughter of our group echoing down to the meandering creek while taking in the unique perspective on the world begin 140ft up a tree offers. It was amazing to watch Sean’s parents absorb the delight in his face.


Sean’s mother was nervous of heights, so while her son was learning to relax and let the harness support him, she was working through her own battle. Such fears have turned more than one guest back before, however, that was not the case today. Sean was able to see his mother work through her own challenge by not letting her emotions overwhelm her, but instead by learning to trust in something unfamiliar.

— Linda Williams, Daily Ops Supervisor

Having the opportunity to talk and have a great time with the Sean and his family was an incredible experience. They all were very lively and witty which I greatly admire. We had wonderfully nostalgic conversations about Disneyland, as well as sharing and discussing our splendid Coast Redwoods which is a personal favorite topic of mine. During our adventure Sean informed us that we were the first location to take them out on a tour, which brought me pride in serving and being able to provide them this experience as well as in Mount Hermon for accommodating their needs.

Serving Sean was an enriching and fulfilling experience that I am glad I was able to be a part of. A personal goal of mine is to enable others in any capacity to challenge themselves as well as exposing individuals to nature and the outdoors, which made this an extremely fulfilling experience.

— Cameron Leonard, Daily Ops Supervisor

Need to get away, laugh and feel the rush and freedom of soaring through the trees. We’re here for you.

What is Mount Hermon Adventures?

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Mount Hermon is a Christian Camp and Conference Center started in 1906 as the first camp of it’s kind west of the Mississippi. The founding members sought out a special place where families could connect with one another, creation, and the creator. For over 100 years Mount Hermon has stayed true that original vision by offering programs for families, individuals, kids and more.

All along Mount Hermon has used the outdoors, adventure and recreation as tools to teach people how to have right relationships. In the early days it was hiking, creek walking, basketball and tennis that helped people refresh and reconnect. Today we use zip tours, adventure courses, kayaking, mountain biking and more to draw people in and provide memories that last a lifetime. Although the activities have changed over the years the heart is still the same—to see peoples Lives Transformed.


Mount Hermon Adventures was launched in 2010 by combining the Redwood Canopy Tours, Team Building program and all the other activity areas and programs together under one roof. We now serve over 50,000 guests a year across a diverse portfolio of programs including the Redwood Canopy Tours, Sequoia Adventure Course, Discovery Grove, Team Building, Velocity, and multiple adventure and recreation programs at our various camp facilities. All these amazing programs are rooted in our history and adhere to our core values:

  • Mount Hermon Adventures strives to have facilities and programs of the highest quality with attention to detail, aesthetics, and sustainability.
  • Mount Hermon Adventures employs only the highest quality staff that are: honest, passionate, life long learners.

  • Mount Hermon Adventures programs all take place in the context of creation and integrate the mind and body. These are “real” experiences that cannot be replicated anywhere else.
  • Mount Hermon Adventures staff instruct, lead and share from a place of deep knowledge and passion.

  • Mount Hermon Adventures uses activity to draw people out and inspire them to new ways of thinking and living.
  • Mount Hermon Adventures believes the best conduit to deliver transformational programs is through their staff.

It is our heartfelt desire and passion that all our guest experience these core values through their participation in our programs with the goal of Lives Transformed.

Adventures in Grace

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By Rob Calame, Adventure Manager

Summer is upon us, friends! The arrival of this busy new season goes hand in hand with sunshine, BBQ’s, beach days, and more! For us here in the mountains it also means a few weeks of training for our new staff in preparation for the thousands of guests we serve each summer. Though a daunting task, this season of training has continually proven itself to be one of my favorite times of year.

There is something special about being given the opportunity to spend a solid week working side by side with a group of young adults, all the while teaching, coaching, and imparting as much knowledge as possible in an effort to prepare them for the months to come. There are few things like witnessing that “Ah ha!” moment when something just clicks in a person’s brain and you know that they not only understand how to do something, but more importantly, the “why” behind it.

This past week we were training staff on our Sequoia Adventure Course. The course is essentially a large obstacle course, suspended about 30-80 feet up in the redwoods with breath-taking views of the trickling creek and lush forest below. In addition to its gorgeous location, the Sequoia Adventure Course offers a variety of activities with a wide range of difficulty and therein lays its true beauty. One minute you may be relaxing in a large cargo net, and the next you could have the opportunity to leap for a hanging rope like the king of the jungle with your heart ready to pound right out of your chest. The element of choice our guests are given in regard to which activities they choose to attempt or not on our Sequoia Adventure Course can be an amazing teaching tool for all ages, especially when the choices guests make don’t always work out the way they were expecting them to.

A key part of our course training revolves around the concept of assisting guests when they find themselves in situations they just can’t seem to get out of on their own. Sometimes that assistance comes in the form of an encouraging or instructional word, and other times it may mean providing some physical support with a hand or even some other helpful piece of gear. Regardless, guests are usually very apologetic and quite sheepish when finding themselves is such situations, especially when the physical support is needed and the rescue gear comes out. During the rescue portions of our training I found myself cautioning our staff over and over with this bit of information; “when going out to assist a guest on an activity, their first words will almost always be ‘I’m sorry.’” No matter how adventurous or physically fit they may be; no matter how nervous or justifiably scared they are, you will almost always hear a profuse apology as soon as you get out on the line with them. Saying this to our staff over and over got me thinking though; how true is that for all of us in life? We often find ourselves in new and unfamiliar situations, and yet we have such a hard time giving ourselves the grace to make mistakes and then learn from them.

This idea of grace can make all the sense in the world when dealing with others, and yet when it comes to how we handle ourselves, grace can be the most elusive of concepts. Our world can move so quickly and be so incredibly busy that we forget or ignore the fact that we are always continuing to grow and learn in our own lives. We have a tendency to put such high expectations on ourselves in terms of our work, our families, and even our faith that it makes it impossible to succeed by our standards. It’s almost as if we stack the deck against ourselves. Whether it be the desire to have a picture perfect family with the most well-behaved kids in the neighborhood or the notion that you should be able to flawlessly traverse a vertical cargo net hanging 80 feet up in the air on your first attempt, we don’t give ourselves the grace we need, and more importantly, the grace God calls us to. And there, high up in a redwood tree in the middle of my rescue training with 14 young adults, I was reminded that it’s not our standards that mean a thing, but rather it’s God’s standards that mean everything.

In our busy culture today it is incredibly difficulty for us to accept God’s grace and the love that he so freely gives. Where is He calling you to give grace today?

Unique Guests on the Redwood Canopy Tour

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By Steve Brown, Redwood Canopy Tour Director

Over the course of the year we see many different guests on the canopy tour and of course they all are unique!  Some folks are traveling the world, some are checking zip lining off their bucket list while others are using the zip tour to help conquer a fear of heights.  A few weeks ago we had a woman call in to see if her two friends who were partially blind would be able to go on the canopy tour.  Our office staff were great and let the guest know that we would do everything we could to make their tour possible.  We were excited to make it possible for two partially blind friends to zip line together.

Their tour date arrived and Linda Williams and myself were ready to help our two guests through the course.  We came up with a game plan and were excited to lead them, little did we know how wonderful they would be at ziping!  I also forgot to mention that they only spoke Chinese so we had to use pantomime (limited success) and the international language of fun to communicate.  Like all guests they participated in the ground school, and we saw they were comfortable in the harness and we felt confident in how they zipped so we took them out on course.  We decided to let them to zip by themselves on the first zip which is nice and mellow.  We then decided to tandem zip with them on the next two zip lines that are a bit faster and then have them on their own for the last three zips.  Through the course of the tour they couldn’t stop smiling.  What little conversation we had showed me how much they enjoyed their time on the canopy tour.  I was so thrilled to have them zip with us, to see the joy on their faces as they zipped from tree to tree.

As I reflected back on the experience we offered these two young men, I am so proud and thankful that we had the opportunity to serve them.  Serving is what we do at the canopy tour, we take people out for a unique experience, zipping through the redwoods, providing them an opportunity to connect with nature, each other and themselves.  It makes me think of the way Jesus served those around him, whether in big or small ways he loved and served those around him everyday.  Its a privilege to serve and while it may be fun, it is work and we do it for the Lord.

Every Retreat Can Be An Adventure!

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Guest Groups.

Mount Hermon offers incredible one-of-a-kind adventures in the redwood forest – and tour programs are growing quickly! All our activities have been designed to be both fun and challenging, good for individuals and groups, and multi-generational. All our activities are run by expertly trained staff to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience; we love to see our guests building memories with friends and family. We invite you to explore how these options might enhance your retreat, engaging guests with God’s creation and each other. Your retreat coordinator can provide details about availability and pricing, and help you determine which options would be a good fit for your group. Below is an overview of our current options.

Redwood Canopy Tour

Canopy Tour

Soar through our unique forest and experience the giant redwoods from 150 feet above the canyon floor. This is the ultimate shared experience as small groups are led through a two-hour experience of seven platforms, two sky-bridges and six zip lines of up to 440 feet in length.

Sequoia Adventure Course

Sequoia Course

The Sequoia Adventure Course is our most popular ropes course with 14 different high course elements that range from 30 to 80 feet above ground. All participants wear a harness, helmet, and are connected to overhead cables with double safety lanyards. The course is supervised by our expert staff who coach and encourage each participant.

Discovery Grove

Discovery Grove

Discovery Grove is the perfect experience for those who are new to ropes course activities and want to start a bit closer to the ground. The course consists of 7 different high ropes elements, from 5 to 20 feet above ground, and ends with a zip line. The course has been designed specifically for participants aged between 7-11 years old (older is OK).

Team building Packages

Team Building

Team Building programs are an intentional way to transform the way your group approaches challenges, communicates, and works toward common goals. With years of experience, Mount Hermon facilitators will guide your group through low and high activities to bring your group together like never before. Mount Hermon Adventures will work with you to custom design an experience that will meet your goals. Our programs can focus on a variety of themes like effective leadership, creative thinking, appreciative inquiry, and group synergy.

Outdoor Climbing Wall

Climbing Wall

Provide an opportunity for your group to not only strengthen their climbing skills, but also give them the chance to encourage and coach each other as they climb.

Ocean Kayaking


Give your group a special morning or afternoon outing to experience waves, the kelp gardens, and possibly even sea otters, seals, and dolphins. A peaceful trip to the ocean can be just what your group needs during their time away. Each tour is approximately 2.5 hours round trip.



Practice perfection with our staff at the shooting range by challenging each other with accuracy or by improving your personal skills.

Mountain Bike Tour

Mountain Bike

Take advantage of the beautiful scenery located in and around Mount Hermon by participating in a mountain bike tour. Our guides will take you around camp as well as off campus through the beautiful redwood forests. Tours can be personalized for all types of fitness levels.

Contact your event coordinator today to reserve these activities for your group to enjoy!

Adventure Man!

Posted by & filed under Adventures, LOG.



Interview by Kerry Phibbs

In April 2010 Mount Hermon was truly blessed by the arrival of Nate and Allison Pfefferkorn. Now, just three years later and with our Adventure programs exploding, Nate is an integral part of this ministry. We thought you might enjoy learning a little more about Nate and his passion for Adventure Recreation in Christian camping.

Nate, tell us a little about your family and how the Lord brought you to Mount Hermon.

Allison and I had known about Mount Hermon for years. We were living and working in Portland for Team Synergo—a design–build company specific to the challenge course industry. I was contacted about a position Mount Hermon had managing the Redwood Canopy Tour, Team Building program and challenge course facilities.  I loved my work and the people at Team Synergo, but it required lots of travel. With two young daughters at home I felt like I was neglecting my marriage and my parenting responsibilities. Within three months after we decided, we had sold our home, moved, and were settled at Mount Hermon!

Give us a sound bite of your ministry philosophy within the world of adventure recreation.

I have a passion for God’s creation and have seen firsthand the transformative power of combining meaningful activity with being outdoors.  My goal at Mount Hermon is to use creation as the powerful setting in which we create unique and memorable learning experiences. We work with overnight guest groups, Mount Hermon programs, and the general public (day–use guests.) In all cases our philosophy is the same, it is just our language and methodology that differ.  The final end goal of all we do is to draw all our guests one step closer to Jesus.

What’s exciting on the horizon in Adventure world?

Adventure is becoming a key component of the Mount Hermon story.  Guests want to participate in an adventure experience, but most people are limited by time, materials, experience and even physical ability.  Part of the reason our Redwood Canopy Tour is so popular is because it allows guests to have an adventure in a safe environment where all the equipment, training and expertise is provided for them.  This allows the guest to really focus on the experience, their feelings, their friends, and to consider the impact of the adventure on their broader life.  Moving forward, these types of experiences will continue to grow in popularity and impact. We are looking forward to being a leader in how to use and program adventure for Jesus, and in training other programs in how to do this as well.  In the upcoming months and years, look for expanded cycling programs, off–site day adventures of rock–climbing, kayaking and surfing, recreational tree climbing, and more aerial challenge experiences.

Please join us in praying for Nate and the whole Adventure team! Pray that as they grow in numbers they be bound together in purpose and unity, and that each guest that participates in an adventure or recreation program be drawn one step closer to Jesus.

Join us at the SF Mountain Bike Festival

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SF Mnt Bike Festival


The Mount Hermon Adventures Race Team and event booth will be at the FIRST Annual San Francisco Mountain Bike Festival, hosted in McLaren Park, Saturday September 7th from 9am-5pm. Our friends at Alpine Bike Parks that are helping us design our bike park have been a huge part of designing  the McLaren Bike Park as well.

Activities include a youth BMX area, beginner MTB riding zones, a professional bike jump demo, and races. The event is FREE to attend!

The headline event is the McLaren Short Track Challenge, a competitive event on a urban Cross Country course. Mount Hermon Adventures will have several racers in the event and a booth showcasing our proposed bike development at Mount Hermon, the Redwood Canopy Tours, and upcoming Mount Hermon retreats and events.

If your in the area on Saturday stop in and see us – or better yet, grab the family and your bikes and come participate! Hope to see you there.

Cambria Crusher

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Cambria Crusher


Once upon a time Mark Bradshaw, Conference Services Manager, Mount Hermon Adventures Race Team Member and avid cyclist, had an idea…..”What if a group of folks woke up early, left Mount Hermon by bicycle and rode down Highway 1 to Cambria?  It’s only 165 miles away and there is plenty of daylight still in August.”

Thus an idea was born and a crew was assembled.  Mark organized a tight time schedule for the day, food and a support crew.

On August 19th after a final equipment check and prayer the crew left Mount Hermon at 5:30am.  Happily the trip was successful!  All it took was 4 granola bars, 6 energy gels, 2 turkey sandwiches, 1 pbj, 12 bottles of water, 2 Gatorade, 1.5 king size Snickers, a cappuccino, and one magical iced tea! (That’s just what one person ate!)

It was an absolutely breathtaking ride with long climbs, sweeping descents, fog, sun, wind, redwoods and views that stretch for miles.

Wanna come along next time? Look for this trip to be available in a more leisurely three day format in the Spring/Summer of 2014 as we continue to add new programs!