Posts Categorized: Alumni

Jeremy Bentley: Our new VP of Programs!

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Staff News.

It is my joy to introduce Jeremy Bentley, our new VP of Programs. Jeremy is no stranger to Mount Hermon. He attended Mount Hermon as a camper, served as the Associate Director of Adult Ministries, and is married to Sara Williams, the daughter of Roger and Rachel Williams (Roger served as our President/CEO from 1993-2014).

Jeremy came to know Jesus as a young boy, and at the age of 16 felt a call from God to the ministry. In the summer of 1997 he became a counselor at Redwood Camp where prayer and the Scriptures became truly important to him.

mark-bentley-family Jeremy is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served in key staff roles in various ministries, including as Director of Live Events for the Don Moen Company, Assistant Director of Promotions with Samaritan’s Purse/Operation Christmas Child, and Generations Pastor at Mission Hills Church.

Jeremy is an experienced leader, team-oriented, a strategic thinker, learner, listener, and highly relational. He believes that he has been called by the Lord to create settings, environments, and opportunities for people to encounter God.

“Mount Hermon has always been one of the most special places in the world to me and my family. From growing up coming as a camper, working on summer staff, meeting my spouse here and even getting married in the auditorium, many of our family’s most significant events have revolved around Mount Hermon.  And now, having the opportunity to come back and invest in a ministry I deeply believe in, as well as to raise my family here, it truly is a dream come true! Our prayer is that the Lord would use our family at Mount Hermon to continue to see “Lives Transformed” for many years to come.”  

Please join us in welcoming Jeremy back to Mount Hermon!

A Dream Comes to Fruition: Redwood Pavilion

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Building Projects, General, Stories of Ministry.

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On July 30th, over 300 Redwood campers from past and present, staff, friends, and family all gathered under the Samuelson Pavilion to dedicate it to God’s glory and service. The Samuelson Pavilion has been a project of dreams for years, and this last summer came to fruition.

Dick Dosker, former Redwood Camp Director (1956-1989) captured the significance of the Pavilion during the dedication by saying, “Thank you all for the service in which you have given to this particular place of real estate which is hallowed ground. This new piece of equipment will help us move into the future of year-round ministry.

“I love having the pavilion,” said current Redwood Camper D.J. Renwick. “When it’s foggy, or it’s raining or really sunny, we can play under here and it’s really nice.”

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The Samuelson Pavilion sits nestled on the end of the meadow where redwoods provide the backdrop, the sound of the Ferndale Falls heard, the cabins seen, and relief from sun and rain felt. It provides a space for basketball, foosball, dodgeball and more. It also provides a great place to gather and meet with an open air feel.

In many ways—Play is the gateway to a child’s heart,” said current Redwood Camp Director, Chafer Cox. “We close the week with our Luminaria. Campers spread out all over the field and under the pavilion, and this is where many kids accept Christ for the first time and discover God’s unconditional love for them as they look back over the week and make some incredible decisions and take part in life-changing conversations. Last night, one cabin of seven girls all accepted Christ right here under the pavilion.”

We are so grateful for the Samuelson family and for the hundreds of others who helped make this project possible!
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Doc: The Man on Fire

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Kindling, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

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If you have attended Family Camp in the last two years, you no doubt remember being thrilled (and a little nervous) at the sight of a Day Camp counselor breathing fire during the Sunday opener. Well, meet Andrew “Doc” Lee: counselor extraordinaire, fire-breather, and campfire illusionist!

Like so many of our Summer Staff, Doc began attending Mount Hermon as a child, a second-grader, with his family. Since 2002 he hasn’t missed a summer, and now he is on Summer Staff for the third year in a row! Since his first time at camp, Doc knew his primary goal in life: become a Day Camp Counselor! Throughout his teen years he volunteered at church and in the community, working with kids and gaining valuable experience that would prepare him to one-day work at Day Camp.

As is not uncommon for our Summer Staff, Mount Hermon has been an integral part of Doc’s spiritual journey. Attending camp as a kid and as a teen had a huge impact on him in his formative years. Even now as a Summer Staff, he is both aware of and excited about how God continues to work in him and through him at camp. Doc studies psychology at Biloa University, and each year looks forward to finishing school and returning to camp!

We are so grateful for Doc and his years of service at Mount Hermon. Summer Staff make camp happen!

Are you one of our Staff Alumni who have served on Summer Staff? Let us know! Contact Andrew at andrew.summers@mounthermon.org

 

Family Camp Summer Theme: Settlers of Hermon

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Stories of Ministry.

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This summer at Family Camp we will be invited to “Come and Settle” with God. Using Psalm 23 along with a portion of John 10, campers will be encouraged to explore what it means to have God as our shepherd.

On Monday we will look at the first stanza of Psalm 23, and explore the idea of God as our shepherd who provides for all of our needs. He provides us rest, renewal, and refreshment. On Tuesday we will jump to John 10, where Jesus tells that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us. Thursday will focus on God’s presence with us in hard times, including dark valleys and attacks from our enemies. Finally, on Friday, we will see how God initiates a relationship with us and pursues us relentlessly, no matter our response.

To contextualize our spiritual curriculum, campers will be invited into the land of Hermon. Hermon is a quaint and quiet land. The Army first came to the area to build an outpost but quickly saw the potential of what a great settlement it could be with rich veins of ore, rock and coal, land for wheat, overgrown forests for responsible foresting, pastures for livestock, mainly sheep, and clay for building houses, buildings, and more.

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The Army sent a call to those in the East inviting them to come and settle this fine piece of uninhabited land. Many came. When they arrived, they discovered it was just as the Army had reported, a land ripe for settling and leaving the stresses of their old lives behind them.

As news of Hermon began to grow, people did come, but some came for other purposes. Some pioneers came only to stay for a little while and then plow through to see what was next, missing the whole point of what the land had been intended. And with new people, came other kinds of people. People who didn’t care about working the land, or finding new land. Just people who felt that they could benefit from the work that others did and left behind them.

But the Army has stayed true and consistent since the beginning. They came to set up the fort, they guard the roads keeping the Settlers of Hermon safe during the harvest season and are quick to assist when trouble arises.

Redwood Summer Theme: Port Redwood

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Stories of Ministry.

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After narrowly escaping death on the open sea, ship destroyed and captain lost, four swashbuckling pirates wash up on shore in their dinghy. In desperate search for water to quench their thirst, they stumble upon an unknown treasure. Loading up as much as they can into their small dinghy, they head to Port Redwood with one mission in mind, get another boat without being seen or suspected and get the rest of that loot! Just as their quest begins the pirates discover they have stolen the treasure of the Dread Pirate King. They begin to hear the rumors of the dread that follows this king and any who cross his path. As they continue preparations the crew realizes they are missing one of their own and fear the worst… The Dread Pirate King has taken him captive. Soon after they receive correspondence from this mysterious King, leaving them to wonder who this mysterious Pirate King is and what he wants with them. After hatching a plan to discover the truth of this ominous king, the crew recruits the townspeople of Port Redwood, to help them discover the truth of the Dread Pirate King.

This summer we will discover who Jesus is, shining light on the myths about Him, while seeking to understand what it means that Jesus is King. Using daily small groups, founded in scripture, we will take the misconstrued ideas society has about Jesus and debunk them, one at a time illuminating Jesus’ Kingship. We will start the week showing that Jesus is not taking captives, but is inviting each and every one of us to follow Him! As the week continues we will dive into Jesus’ revolution not of violence, but of love and His new Kingdom here, where all are chosen! Campers will learn that they are worth “walking the plank” for as Jesus gave His life to save theirs, and they now have the choice to follow Him. We have weighed the evidence and decided Jesus is worth following, and now that they have all the evidence the choice is theirs.

The Lasting Impact of Summer Staff

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, LOG, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

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We love re-connecting with Mount Hermon Summer Staff Alumni and finding out where and how in their journey God has been using their staff experience. Meet Dr. Terry McGonigal, who helps shape young men and women for ministry at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. Terry served on Redwood Camp summer staff in 1972.

Q: How did serving at Mount Hermon impact you?

Terry: Dick Dosker, the camp director, deeply loved the campers, wanting them to grow in their relationship with Jesus, and into a life of discipleship. He showed me how to do truly relational evangelism with such a winsome manner. Ken Harrower’s mentoring as pastor to staff was also huge for me. Ken integrated serious biblical study, theological reflection and pastoral caring, and was a model of a life I wanted to emulate. I’m so grateful for both men.

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Q: What was your career journey after that summer?

Terry: After college, at Fuller Seminary I completed a Master of Divinity (’77) and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (’81). I then was Director of the Institute of Youth Ministries, a Young Life and Fuller partnership, from 1981-94. Our focus was integrating theological education with the practice of youth ministry. Since 1994, until recently, I was Whitworth’s Dean of Spiritual Life and Campus Pastor.

Q: What is your current role?

Terry: I am Director of Church Engagement. Through several grants we support various ministries, such as working with pastors to integrate spiritual formation with their craft of preaching. Our Academy of Christian Leadership equips lay people with ministry skills through tracks in Biblical Formation and Christian Leadership Development. This year we will support 55 Ekklesia Ministry Fellows, Whitworth students spending their summers expanding and deepening ministry projects around the world.

For information on these programs, see www.whitworth.edu/oce.

Read About Whitworth Programs

They Serve… Because They Believe

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

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I want to share with you some numbers that I thought you might find interesting:

67 / 282 / 264 / 613

What do these numbers mean?
Each number represents a group of incredible Mount Hermon staff members!

67 full-time year round
282 part-time year round and seasonal
264 summer staff
= 613 total Mount Hermon staff

Each Mount Hermon staff member plays an important role, roles that include clearing trails, washing dishes, harnessing adventurers, overseeing technology, receiving reservations, planning conferences, cleaning toilets, raising money, loving children, fixing repairs, cooking meals, creating brochures, selling books, assisting pastors, impacting teenagers, teaching science, holding babies, making beds, managing finances, painting fences, making videos, cutting grass, serving food, changing light bulbs, and oh so much more!

We are blessed with a great staff, and God has impressed deep upon my heart the need for us to celebrate, appreciate, care for and adequately provide for our staff. They work long hours, sacrifice, care, and love this ministry as they give tirelessly of themselves without high pay or great benefits. They serve because they believe in this special place where God regularly touches lives.

Please join me in praying for our staff, that God would protect them, supply all their needs, and truly bless their lives. Pray for unity, joy, and effectiveness as our staff minister to over 70,000 people each year. And when you get a chance, please look them in the eyes and say, “thank you!”

Apply for Summer Staff at Mount Hermon!

Ron Demolar– Pancake King and So Much More

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

demolarSummer staff, intern, year–round staff, Ponderosa Lodge Director, Advancement Staff member, tour director, president of the Trustees, part of the Redwood Society; there’s hardly a category of involvement at Mount Hermon that doesn’t fit Ron Demolar, and it goes back 55 years!

Ron first came on the Redwood Camp Summer Staff in 1961, and returned in 1962 and 1963. On the car trip in 1962, he met Jacquie Dangers, who had grown up in Zaire (now Congo), and was attending Westmont College. After serving together at Redwood and dating, they were married in 1964.

From 1964–67, they came up to host college conferences at Mount Hermon. In 1967, he was named Mount Hermon’s first intern, working at Redwood Camp under Dick Dosker. Together, they put the finished touches on program planning for the new high school camp at Ponderosa Lodge, and Ron became director there in 1969.

Jacquie worked as a registrar in 1967, raised two daughters, and later was full–time in the HR office, in charge of hiring hundreds of summer staffers. This last year she has fought a battle with cancer, and has now finished her final round of chemotherapy. She loves visiting their two grandsons in Colorado and granddaughter in Texas.

Ron led Ponderosa Lodge from its beginning in 1969, and became Program Director of Mount Hermon in 1983. In 2000 he moved to the Advancement Office, and in 2011 he stepped aside when he was named to the Mount Hermon Trustees, which he still chairs.

Because he has influenced thousands of young people who have now moved into responsible Christian ministries world–wide, Ron is considered the “go–to” person when our staff needs information on someone. “He knows everyone, it seems,” says his former Advancement boss, J. R. Loofbourrow.

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Ron believes in “paying it forward,” and supporting those whose lives have intertwined with his. He serves on four boards. “Intensive Care” is involved in third–world teaching of pastors. “The Fellowship” in Santa Cruz, with former staffer Rich Price, is involved in discipleship. And he serves on the board of his brother–in–law’s orphanage in Africa, “New Hope Uganda”. Because he has received so much from his involvement with Mount Hermon and now the Trustees, he and Jacquie have also joined the Redwood Society, to pledge part of their estate to the ongoing ministry of Mount Hermon.

It wasn’t in his job description, but Ron is also known as the pancake king, having flipped pancakes two or three times a week every summer for over 45 years. And for years he drove the bus to the beach with eager loads of high schoolers. “At camp, you do a little bit of everything––whatever needs doing,” he reports. He has done it with modesty and willingness. That makes him a pretty popular guy with thousands of young people, now grown up, all over the world.

Apply for Summer Staff at Mount Hermon!

A Reminder of God’s Grace: Redwood Camp Staff Reunion

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Stories of Ministry.

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By Lee Martin

Join us for this year’s Redwood Camp Reunion, July 30-31, 2016!

We are so excited about this summer’s Redwood Camp Reunion! My wife Susan and I (Bosco and Hondo) worked at Redwood summers of 1977 and 1978 as counselors, 1980 as assistant program director and program director and 1985 as staff counselors. Two of our children also worked as Redwood Camp counselors and one worked as a CILT.

Continued from Newsletter

The time working at Redwood was amazing for me in many ways. It was my first experience within a community of believers working for a common purpose: connecting kids with God’s love and grace through Jesus. Although we were imperfect in many ways during those summers, God’s purpose was fulfilled over and over again. I realized that God can use any of us at any time for any reason. That has stayed with me my whole life.

Lee-and-Susan-2 Recently I went to my high school reunion and was struck how different it was compared to the Redwood reunion we did a couple of years ago. At the high school reunion it was based more on superficial things in many cases (it was high school after all). But when we decided to help organize the Redwood reunion, we knew it was based on things that were more about the heart: about a unique intersection of time and place in our lives as well as campers lives that would never be replicated. And because it was about the dealings of the heart which are so rare in our daily lives, we knew the Redwood reunion would be a special time.

And it was. At the last reunion what struck me as one of the highlights was the sharing in Lakeside where about 70 of us got together. We had no agenda in particular but some music and then launched into sharing and stories that lasted about 2 hours. It spanned several decades of participation where staffers from the 21st century were hearing stories from the 20th. I remember hearing someone from the 40’s talk about the early beginnings for Redwood. I sat in awe. It was more like a family reunion, not a high school reunion. But that was because we were family.

In fact, a former Redwood counselor who had passed away shortly before was represented by her husband and her young children to come see and hear what had been so important about this place to her. Yes, there was not a dry eye in the room.
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Another highlight was sitting at Victory Circle again with singing and sharing by Deacon Dick Dosker and Ron Taylor. Sitting in that backdrop, the two of them shared from their hearts what Redwood meant to them and historically to all of us. It was another reminder of God putting all of us together for a single purpose, in a unique community that could never be duplicated.

That’s was drives us about the Redwood reunion: to remind all of us that God’s grace works all the time in so many ways. I think we all need that reminder from time to time in our lives. And we know that He will be faithful in the future as new generations of Redwood counselors come to camp.

For more information about the Redwood Reunion or to register go to http://www.mounthermon.org/event/596

Outdoor Science School expands to China

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Stories of Ministry.

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By Todd Clark

Question: What’s cooler that teaching kids about God through His amazing creation in the beautiful redwood forest of Mount Hermon? Answer: DOING IT IN CHINA!

Most people know that Mount Hermon has an Outdoor Science School that ministers to thousands of Bay-Area students every year at Ponderosa Lodge, but did you know that Mount Hermon now runs several weeks of OSS at a camp outside of Beijing every summer? Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

Last summer eight of our Outdoor Science School team members spent the month of August at this camp, impacting children in a transformational way by teaching them about creation, and by living lives consecrated to Christ. Last year’s theme asked the question, “Where is your treasure?” This prompt provided ample opportunity for fun activities as well as deeper exploration for campers, Chinese volunteers, and our own team.

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Jared, one of our naturalists, watched as, after lavishly creating a treasure box, a sixth grade girl began her journal activity where she was prompted to examine what “treasure” was for her. The question had a deep impact as she realized her treasure wouldn’t fit in a box! Her treasure was her parents! In an eloquent speech at closing ceremony, she laid out her heart, asking to spend more time with her parents and inviting them to see her as treasure as well.

Stephanie, also a naturalist, led the first-grade campers on a night hike. Describing the solar system, Stephanie explained that if the earth was located even a few degrees closer to or further from the sun, it would either burn up or freeze. The kids were amazed at how the earth fit perfectly for life to thrive and wondered how that could happen. A little girl in the group spoke up and said, “It’s because of Jesus!” Stephanie encouraged her to say more. The child explained to her friends how a creator God made sure the earth was in the perfect spot.

china4I think Jesus said it best when he instructed his followers to put their treasures in heaven. Treasures can come un-expectantly, intentionally, and powerfully when we realize that all of life is a mission toward transformation. It is transformative to our life perspectives when we realize real treasures are the relationships that we have. This journey of discovery doesn’t end just because we are back in the States. It’s a never ending question we are still asking ourselves and each other, “Where are you finding your treasures?”

This summer we’ll be running programs again! Our naturalists will help students explore the theme: The LORD is My Strength and My Shield (Psalm 28:7). We’ll be sure to keep you updated with stories and pictures of what God is doing!