Posts Categorized: LOG

Kidder Creek Year End Update

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Kidder Creek programs are some of the most diverse programs in the camping world.

Campers have the opportunity to ride horseback in the wilderness, go whitewater rafting, climb the side of a mountain, and even go mountain biking! This year, we saw solid growth in the number of campers and guest groups at Kidder Creek. Being in the midst of God’s beautiful creation sets the stage for powerful conversations about how the same God that created all of this majesty took, even more, care and concern in creating each person.

387 Camp Hope Campers | 37 Kidder Creek Programmed Events530 Guest Group Campers2,193 Campers198 Campers Made a Faith Commitment

“Natasha got a lot more clarity on the gospel and what it means to be a Christian (even though she is in a church youth group.) When I got her from the bus, she was so excited! She had made so many friends and had such a good time. It truly does begin to reflect the body of Christ where there are no divisions of race and class. For someone with her background and home situation, camp is a confidence builder for her. It gives her experiences she would otherwise never have.”

1,240 Fall Festival Attendees | $5,043 Camperships Raised

“I had so, so, so much fun and got to try things I’ve never done before.  Every person I met at camp has made an impact on my thoughts, my personal life, my relationship with Jesus, and also the person I want to be. It’s definitely the best camp experience I have had so far and I’m going to miss the people just as much as the place.”

Learn More About Kidder Creek’s Year

Exploring Core Values

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

Core Values Kids Smiling

These are Mount Hermon’s core values that drive “the how” behind the calling of Lives Transformed. Beyond creating a filter and a standard for what happens here, they reflect the heart and desire of what we have been called to do.

Relational
We engage in purposeful, deep, and enduring relationships as an intentional, Christ-like community.

Authentic
We align our faith, passion, attitude, and conduct, drawing closer to Jesus in humility and transparency

Excellent

We work individually and collectively to achieve the highest quality for the best Kingdom outcomes.

Grace-filled

We share a redemptive, restorative, and abundant love that is kind and patient in application.

The following series of stories capture these core values and are examples of how impact at Mount Hermon isn’t just limited to sessions with a speaker, but rather an all-encompassing experience where people are met right where they are on their journey.

The Authentic and Relational core values stand out in the story about Lorents, 61-year-old college teacher raised in another religion, intrigued by conversations regarding “answered prayer.”

In Adam’s story, the core values of Grace-filled and Relational drive the astounding outcome of an adventure staffer who at a young age had to stare death in the face.

Natalie’s story about how participating in the Echo program dramatically redirected her life shows our Relational value at work through the effectiveness of Excellent programs.

Mount Hermon’s core values extend beyond just those who work here! You’ll read about two Associates who grabbed on to the Relational and Authentic values so much that they invested in the lives of someone just down the street from Mount Hermon.

And last but not least, is a story about the incredible impact a devotional book is having in the lives of students. This story captures the Excellence value of the youth programs thinking beyond a student’s week or weekend at camp and Authentic as we hope and pray that students, while they are here and when they return home, will take steps in making their faith their own.

As you read these stories, we are curious to know how your encounters with God at Mount Hermon have impacted and transformed your life. We would love to hear about it!

Submit your story of life transformation at stories@mounthermon.org

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The Circle of Life & Love

Posted by & filed under LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Forest Image

We’ve all heard the phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well, nothing could be further from the truth at Mount Hermon. Our hope and mission is to spread the love of our Savior everywhere we go—in our homes, to our family and friends, in our workplaces, churches and throughout our communities.

There is no doubt that God has made Mount Hermon a unique sanctuary in today’s world. A muchneeded respite from the culture we live in, where we can hear His voice and see the beauty of His creation all around us. Those of us that love Mount Hermon want others to realize the experience of meeting Jesus in this place.

Such is this story from Steve and Jane; a wonderful, Christ-loving couple who want to share Jesus and Mount Hermon with those who don’t know either one of them—yet.

“On our way to a weekend concert at Mount Hermon, we stopped at a local coffee shop for lunch. We placed our order, then found out they only accept cash. We stood there figuring out what we could get based on how much money we had to tide us over until the huge Mount Hermon dinner that awaited us later. The young man behind the counter pulled out his wallet to pay for our lunch; his name was Gordon. What an utterly sweet gesture but we couldn’t let him do it. After we had sat at our table, I found a twenty in my purse, so we were able to get the rest of our lunch.

As I talked with Gordon, we learned he had never been to Mount Hermon, even though he works right at the base of Conference Drive! I told him about the conferences and the Redwood Canopy Tour. He was very excited to hear about them and said he would like to take his brother.

I so wanted Gordon to be able to go but thought he might have trouble paying for it. I went ahead and bought two tickets for the Redwood Canopy Tour. Just a couple of weeks later when we were back at Mount Hermon, I took them down to him and thanked him for his kind gesture. He was flabbergasted, so excited and grateful. My heart’s desire is that Mount Hermon will draw Gordon in, and ultimately into the kingdom.”

This is a beautiful example of the circle of life and love at Mount Hermon. People come here and through Jesus’ love their life is impacted and transformed. Then, they want others to experience that same love, so they reach out and invite someone new into their own Mount Hermon experience. You may be one of the many who have shared Mount Hermon with someone you care for, or maybe like Steve and Jane, a stranger crossed your path and the Spirit encouraged you to share. Either way, thank you. Keep ‘em coming, we have a big world to reach.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)

Would you say a prayer for Gordon and his brother that the seeds that were planted are growing? Thank you!

The Difference

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Caroline Family

Every summer countless stories about how God transforms lives at Mount Hermon begin to pour in. We have the privilege to see Truth revealed in people’s lives over and over and over again through these stories. It is a reassuring confirmation that what happens at Mount Hermon makes a difference.

Woven around each and every story we hear are the components and people that must be in place for our multiple ministry arenas to operate seamlessly and smoothly for these life-transforming encounters to happen.

Let me share a story from a family that attended Family Camp this summer which provides a great example:

“This summer we attended Family Camp with our disabled daughter Caroline who has Angelman Syndrome. Angelman Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by severe intellectual and developmental disability, seizures and jerky movements (especially hand flapping). I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for providing an absolutely amazing week of fellowship, friendship, restoration and love for myself and my family.

“Against all odds, Caroline has learned to walk, although she is not completely steady and cannot do long distances. She doesn’t talk per se, but she does talk to you in her own way; through verbal noises, squeals, laughter or physical touch: patting on the shoulder, pulling hair, pinching… not to be mean…just to elicit a response or your attention. Her seizures are thankfully controlled with daily medication. She has trouble chewing food, so we normally chop up all of her meals or they are a soft, oatmeal consistency. She also puts everything in her mouth, which is why she wears a chewy necklace (in different colors) around her neck at all times. With all of this, we were nervous as to how Caroline would react to so many people in a “Camp” environment and we were nervous as to how everyone at “Camp” would react to her.

Caroline Family Photo

“I was deeply struck by how open, loving and welcoming everyone at Mount Hermon was and your Child Care Staff was absolutely incredible! Miss Koala, Mr. Chief, and Ms. Shannon engaged Caroline in a way that was authentic and not forced. Being with Caroline wasn’t just a “job” for them, they were truly just being themselves and having fun with her making sure to include her in all of the activities and crafts. Mr. Chief would always make sure he had music going for her, and he would dance with her. Even though the other kids asked lots of questions, they seemed to warm up to Caroline quickly. The tearjerker for me happened the last day when each of the children made a shepherd that looked like themselves. One of the little boys pointed out that Caroline’s shepherd needed to have her necklace, so they made her one. Miss Koala even made a staff for Caroline covering it with tape to ensure she could safely chew on it.

“Miss Koala, Mr. Chief, and Ms. Shannon were amazing as they tended to Caroline in such a loving way reflecting patience, leadership, and careful communication.

“I wanted to let you know how touched my husband and I were by the incredible show of support from so many strangers and how thankful we are to have a place to attend that reduces so much of the stress felt by parents traveling with children with disabilities. We are forever grateful for the experience Mount Hermon provided for us. Our relationship with God is stronger and our marriage is stronger than ever. Our hearts were filled with God’s Love and we can’t stop sharing our story with all of our family and friends!”

THIS MAKES THE A DIFFERENCE

Caroline and her family experienced something special and unique for them, yet this is something that happens over and over at Family Camp for families who have a child with special needs. We hire counselors who love children then train them to go the extra mile to accommodate, integrate and lavish these kids with the love of Jesus.

Sometimes accommodating and integrating campers with special needs requires Mount Hermon to assign an individual counselor for the duration of Family Camp. Does that require extra resources? Yes. Does that require additional staff? Yes. Does that make a difference? Yes.

The experience you and your family have at Mount Hermon is important to us and we are committed to providing a place where you can engage God right where you are without distraction. We always want to do whatever it takes to make a difference.

That difference in your experience comes through the Mount Hermon Annual Fund. The Annual Fund covers three main things at Mount Hermon: Camperships, Foundational Capital Projects, and “The Difference.” The Difference is that space between having people on staff and having the right people on staff. The Difference is having the ability to accommodate children with special needs while also providing the needed upkeep for aging and historic buildings, and so much more.

Covering that “difference” is only possible because of the faithful financial support to our annual fund by our Mount Hermon Associates. Mount Hermon Associates make that difference possible each and every day with each and every opportunity that the Lord puts before us.

The Difference takes faith and resources. The same faith and resources that keep the moving parts behind the scenes operating as smoothly as possible along with the countless other unplanned ministry speed bumps that pop-up on a regular basis. All of this and more requires two million dollars per year in ministry support. Simply put, “the difference” between ministry revenue and ministry expenses comes to two million dollars each year.

God provides for this two-million-dollar difference through Mount Hermon Associates. When a roof leaks or an unsafe deck is in need of repair, or a septic system fails or camp vehicles need replacement, or dishwashers wear out or … ministry can be compromised. Situations like these can distract campers from what God has in store for them while they’re at Mount Hermon. Associates make the difference by empowering our ministry and mission to remain focused and strong! Our Associates are not only part of our culture; they’re woven into the fabric of our entire mission touching tens of thousands of lives each and every year.

Steve, a Mount Hermon Associate, shared this at Victory Circle:

“I love Mount Hermon. This is where we come every year to get that refreshment over and over again. I want to encourage you to be an Associate. It will give you an entirely different perspective of Mount Hermon. We are up-to-date on everything, and we receive encouraging messages from Kerry and other staff. I encourage you, if you are not an Associate, become one.”

Steve is right. As a Mount Hermon Associate, you are someone who makes the difference in the lives of those who come here, a true partner in ministry, so we do our best to make sure you’re aware and informed of what God is doing throughout Mount Hermon. Whether it’s Camperships, or being able to minister to those with special needs or tending to facility needs with excellence while allowing the mission to remain strong and growing… God has blessed Mount Hermon in unimaginable ways, and we can’t imagine life at Mount Hermon without the faithful, loving support of our Associates. They truly make “the difference.” THANK YOU!

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Do Any of Us Really Know?

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

Mount Hermon Bridge

“I am a 61-year-old college teacher raised in another religion, but I am a new Christian because of Mount Hermon.” That’s how my conversation started with Lorents, a member of the worship team during JEMS week this summer at Mount Hermon.

The Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society has hosted a conference every year at Mount Hermon since 1950. Young Nisei pastors, who struggled to revive their ministries in California after the traumatic World War II internment, gathered their families and young people from various Christian denominations for the first Nisei Christian Conference in June of the same year. Today, over 1,500 people from throughout the Mainland, Hawaii, Canada and Japan gather at Mount Hermon and various locations in July.

I could hardly believe this man, Lorents clearly beaming with the love of Christ, hadn’t known much about Christianity only a year ago. Here’s his story:

Raised as a Buddhist in a traditional Japanese– American household, Lorents had a friend in Southern California who kept telling them about “this place we go for summer vacations that’s even better than Hawaii.”

Eventually, Lorents told me, “I thought I’d better check this place out!” He was a guest at Mount Hermon for the very first time with his wife and daughter during JEMS week in the summer of 2015.

The beauty of the grounds made a positive initial impression to Lorents. But then he was impressed with the beautiful spirits of the groundskeepers.

“I couldn’t help noticing that the facilities crew, the housekeeping crew, the registration desk, all had the type of smiles and warm, welcoming spirit that you encounter all too infrequently in customer service industries these days. And it went beyond friendliness: they seemed to truly love one another, and love the guests.”

An announcement was made inviting people to go for a morning run on Tuesday, and Lorents, an avid jogger, decided to join in. When he showed up at the post office that morning, the only other person was the staff member leading the run, Bill Fernald.

Runner at Mount HermonBill is the Vice President of Guest Care at Mount Hermon, also an avid jogger. Bill was delighted to take Lorents on a personal jogging tour of the campus. As they ran, Bill casually pointed to building after building, relating the stories behind their existence.

“Maybe he didn’t realize it at the time, but every story he told was about how these buildings were an answer to prayer,” Lorents said. “Bill would point to a building and say, ‘Oh that’s really an answer to prayer.’ Point to another, ‘There’s another answer to prayer!’ That made a big impression. Prayer to me had always been just a ritual.”


“The idea of actually having answers to prayer was revolutionary. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”


Then Lorents went on the ropes course with his daughter. Again, he was impressed with the courtesy of the staffers there. When he got to the ropes component called “the leap of faith,” his daughter, who had crossed first, kept calling back to him, “Come on Dad, take the leap of faith!” He began to consider whether he was receiving a larger overall message about the direction of his life.

That evening he attended the worship gathering. Lorents said the message of grace the speaker explained appealed to him greatly, “The idea that life is not just about karma, getting what we deserve because of our actions. The problem with karma was that to work off my bad karma, I had to deliberately add good karma, acts of charity and kindness, for example. But, I started to wonder, if I am doing those good deeds for a selfish motive, bettering the condition of my karma, aren’t they tainted with bad karma? Selfishness is the ultimate bad karma. It seemed to me an inescapable trap. Then I realized the apostle Paul was making a very similar argument in his epistles, for grace and against good deeds as a way of salvation.”

At the end of the meeting, the speaker invited people to come forward for prayer. Having just heard from Bill Butterworth about the effectiveness of prayer, Lorents decided to try it out. He turned to his wife and daughter and said, “Let’s go forward!”

When they met with the prayer counselor at the front of the auditorium, they were asked, “What would you like prayer for?” Lorents wasn’t sure. The prayer counselor made some suggestions: “Your marriage? Your health?”

“No,” thought Lorents, “that’s not it.”

“Would you like to invite Jesus Christ into your heart?” That’s it! Lorents bowed his head and was led in a prayer of repentance and salvation.

The counselor then told him to find two or three other men that very evening and tell them what he had done. Lorents did exactly that, and they were thrilled to suggest further spiritual growth steps. They found out where he lived, and recommended a church in his area.

“And today I stand here, exactly one year later, as an enthusiastic follower of Jesus Christ, involved with my local church, being discipled by mature believers, engaged in the worship team—And I didn’t even really know what it meant to accept Christ at the time!” Then he adds with a twinkle in his eye, “Do any of us really know?”


Lorents makes one thing clear to me: “It really wasn’t only a logical argument that persuaded me. It was the big picture of a loving Christian community that I saw for the first time in my life here at Mount Hermon.”

More Than A Mountaintop Experience

Posted by & filed under LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Young Girl with 25 Day ChalleAfter every one of our camp experiences we encourage students to take home a challenge booklet. This summer our challenge booklet contained twentyfive daily lessons designed for students to spend time in the Bible much like they did during camp. The goal is to keep them close to the heart of Jesus and help ensure that their time at camp was much more than a mountaintop experience. Each year hundreds of students take the challenge and each year, we are blown away at how their camp experience becomes the catalyst to lasting change. We regularly hear back from students about how God used these booklets in their lives.

One student wrote: “…Last year I used to read my Bible every morning without really paying much attention to what I was reading. I think the challenge has taught me how to comprehend everything I read in the Bible. It was a great way to keep in touch with God every day! I learned that God loves everyone unconditionally (even the people you never would think he would) and that he wants us to share the good news with everyone!”

Another student perfectly captured our hope and prayer for these challenge booklets with these words:

“…I learned not only that God is the one I can turn to for anything, but that I am representative of Him here on Earth and I should be living out a life not solely glorifying Him, but also one in alignment with the plan He has for me. Thank you so much for putting together such a great book for me to take home and make my faith reconstruction last longer than the week I was at camp. The Challenge has given me the courage to start going back to church and join the youth group there as well.”

Often, students will ask us to send them more challenge books for friends and family:

“I learned that someday God will show us everything we don’t know and thought we knew, but will put the things we thought we knew into a brand new light to show us how great He is and how small and foolish we are. My love for Jesus (and how good these devotions were) motivated me to finish them. I was wondering if I could get two more. One for me and one for my best friend. Thank you so much! I feel I’m closer to God because of it.”

The impact of these challenge books has exceeded what we could have ever imagined. Our partnering churches regularly request more challenge books. One church even throws a party after their students complete the challenge booklets to celebrate what God has done, and is doing, in their lives. What an amazing blessing it is to be a part of God’s Kingdom work in the lives of students! Soli Deo Gloria!

For My Father’s Glory: Life & Service

Posted by & filed under LOG, Stories of Ministry, Volunteer.

What is Echo? Echo is a two-week program at Mount Hermon where students, grades 10 through Super Senior, learn and experience what it means to live the resounding life of abiding in Jesus Christ through prayer and obedience. Also, within the program, students work with the accommodations department. While working in accommodations, students learn what it means to humble themselves through service.

This year was my second year attending Echo but my 14th consecutive year coming to Mount Hermon. Out of all the years I have attended family camp, I strongly believe that Echo helped me grow one step closer to Jesus.

However, my first year at Echo was different compared to my second year growth wise. In my first year, I came in with a negative mentality about Christ. I grew up in the church but at that point in my life, I did not make my faith my own. In fact, I was far from believing in Christ. For the first two years of high school, I wanted to “do life” on my own terms and be the leader of my own life. Doing life on my own resulted in developing depression, becoming suicidal, trying to find acceptance and love through guys and becoming a chronic liar. I was self-conscious about what I looked like not only on the outside but the inside as well.

These things of my past are what drove my desire to not attend Echo. My parents, however, strongly encouraged me to go. During my two weeks; I learned that it’s more important to focus on God than on the past.  I also learned that “[Jesus Christ] is the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15:1–2). Because our Father loves each of us so much, He prunes our imperfections away. When something in our lives is distancing us away from our Father, He cuts it off saying, “I love you my child; this part of you is no more.”

Natalie Loo Photo

Learning these things my first year at camp was beneficial. I came back home with a new perspective on life and God. However, this last year was particularly hard because I did not know how to continue my relationship with Christ at home. We did learn some tools that could help us, yes, but, the material did not fully sink in until my second year of doing Echo. For my second year of Echo, I knew that I had a relationship with Christ. However, it was my parent’s faith and not my own. Echo, this year taught me what is means to trust, love, and be patient with God and how God will love us despite all of the sins we have committed.

While in Echo, working in accommodations has helped with my relationship with Christ. I learned that it’s not about serving yourself but about serving our Heavenly Father in everything that we do.

It even says in Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” I remember one day in accommodations during my second year of Echo there was this cute family we encountered. They had a friend that was in surgery that same week they were at family camp. After my team was done with our accommodations shift for the day, we took the time to pray over that family and over the families at family camp. We were obeying God’s command of prayer for one another in brotherly love. Praying for the families wasn’t to boost anyone’s self-pride, it was about serving the people at Mount Hermon in our Father’s Holy Name.

Coming out of Echo a second time, I know that my faith in Jesus Christ is real and I want to keep pursuing Him for the rest of my life. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I am praying and hoping that He will reveal his plans for me soon. Echo has helped me realize with school, taekwondo, or any extracurricular activity I participate in is for my Father’s glory.

Learn More About Echo!

Changed Perspective

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Adventures Updates, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Our staff are not all the same. I know that seems obvious, but it has been a profound opportunity that Mount Hermon Adventures has been able to embrace— the fact that our amazing staff is a complicated collection of individuals. We are all created in God’s image, loved and invited into relationship with Him, but some of our staff don’t know all that when they join our team.

In every interview process, we explain what Mount Hermon is, our mission, vision, values, heritage, and how we use adventure to invite people one step closer to Jesus. We open a conversation that some who we interview have never had—and even though they may not fully understand, they join our team of intentionally missional adventure staff. Every year we hire a handful of staff that don’t yet know Jesus and over the past seven years many of them have found Jesus because of their work at Mount Hermon.

Adam came to us in the hiring process humbly disclosing a background of some poor, adolescent choices that could cause some employers to shy away from hiring him. Impacted by his humility and openness, we asked him to join our team. At first, Adam worked primarily in our recreation area— helping overnight guests in the McAfee Fieldhouse, leading archery and helping with our community recreation leagues. He emerged as a hard worker, responsible, engaged and most of all questioning what made Mount Hermon different. As Adam continued to learn and grow in his position, he was also learning and growing as part of the Adventures staff community—participating in staff activities and building relationships with staff. He added skills to his repertoire by serving as a Redwood Canopy Tour guide, working on the adventure courses, and developing teams as a Team Building Facilitator.

One day, Adam called Laura Messerly, our Adventure Operations Director, to let her know that he was going to the doctor because of a toothache. The toothache led to the discovery that Adam had a brain tumor. He called to tell Laura the situation and was sad he wasn’t going to be able to work as much.

Upon receiving this devastating news, the Adventures staff rallied around Adam, prayed for him, assisted with care and meals, and showed him love. Initially, the doctors gave Adam a very low likelihood of survival—but Adam continued to join us for work as he was able through his brain surgery and chemotherapy treatment. It was during this dark time that Adam came to understand what a relationship with Jesus was all about, the saving knowledge of Grace, and the power of a loving Christian community.

Adam’s treatment went on for several months, and he continued to work as he was able, sharing his journey with us. His growth during this time was tremendous. His presence blessed staff and guests. Eventually, Adam won his battle with cancer and began the long road to recovery, gaining his strength and stamina back. As he began to discover that there was life ahead of him, he intentionally gave back to the Mount Hermon community by mentoring younger staff, leading by example, and even sharing his story at our men’s Boot Camp program.

After several years with Mount Hermon Adam’s time on staff drew to a close and we were sad to see him go, but excited about the next chapter of his life. About a year after Adam had left I ran into him at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. He shared with me how grateful he was that we had hired him all those years ago and given him a chance when other employers might not have. He shared about how grateful he was for the community and the impact it had on his life and during his fight with cancer. Lastly, he wanted me to know how much being on staff at Mount Hermon had changed his life, and the lives of many other staff and that what we do was special and had great impact beyond the guests that we serve.

Adam’s story is just one of several where a staff member has encountered Jesus while working at Mount Hermon. We are honored and blessed to work with some of the most amazing people, experiencing grace and life-transformation together.

Adventures Photo

Kidder Creek Summer Review

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Rafting Photo

Summer 2016 was an incredible one at Kidder Creek because we got to serve over 1,600 campers (an almost 20% increase over 2015!) through outdoor adventures. We saw campers take one step closer to Jesus and have their lives forever transformed as they give their lives to Him. What an incredible opportunity!

Glory to God for the work that He is doing in the lives of campers that join us each summer at Kidder Creek, as they enjoy rafting, horseback riding, and daily adventures, they discover who God made them to be and learn how they fit in His plan to serve Him and others as they grow closer to Him.

  • Rock Climbing
  • Kidder Ride
  • Little Girl

Another highlight of this summer was adding Kidder Creek’s first-ever Mountain Bike Camp to the schedule. We filled the camp quickly and had a waiting list for this fun new camp. One camper said, “It was the best week of my life!”

Daily rides were the essence of the camp with rides at camp, the base of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Ashland. Summer 2017 will see a return of Mountain Bike Camp, with this upcoming year separating our Jr. High and High School Campers so that we can offer an even better experience. Many thanks to our volunteers who helped build trails, lead rides, drive the shuttle and do bike maintenance, we could not have done this camp without them.


“I found how God is showing us His love in great ways. I found myself doubting His existence but that completely changed. I am so non-doubting about my faith, and I am willing to give my life fully to Him and go serve the Lord in any way possible.”

BRANDEN, WILDERNESS ASCENT CAMPER


“If we marvel at creation we should marvel even more at the Creator.”

NICHOLAS, TIMBERLINE CAMPER

“I want to decide for myself that I believe in God.”

KELLY, TIMBERLINE CAMPER


“It has changed and probably saved my life.”

SAM, WIT CAMPER


The Samuelson Pavilion

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

Samuelson Pavilion Photo

On July 30, 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.”

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.

  • Samuelson Pavilion
  • Samuelson Pavilion

“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. 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.”


“I love to build. I love taking the plans and making them come to life. We listen to the Master Builder. He leads us to build places and spots to worship.”


The Samuelson Family and staff also attended the dedication. “I love to build. I love taking the plans and making them come to life,” said Jack Samuelson. “We listen to the Master Builder. He leads us to build places and spots to worship.”

Jack has a long history with Mount Hermon having been on the board of directors and attending Mount Hermon events. “He [Jack] feels loved here,” said Jack’s son Reid Samuelson. “We feel loved here, and I’m sure that everyone who passes through here gets the same feeling. So we’re very proud, very honored to be a part of this project.”

“We want our grandchildren and all young people to understand that living is about giving and not getting,” said Jack. “It is about concern for others and living in the warm glow of God’s eternal, loving care.”

There was also no better weekend to dedicate the pavilion than the same weekend as the Redwood Staff Reunion. Over 140 former Redwood Staff from the 40’s to the present came from far and wide to revisit and reconnect with such a unique and meaningful time in their lives.

Bill (Llama) Vezey reflects back on his experience as a summer staffer at Redwood in the 80’s. “Redwood Camp, in particular, was, no exaggeration, my salvation. I was headed down a dark and self-absorbed road. Living in a community, summer after summer, that required mutual reliance in a place of such explicit prayer and service turned my ship around. I am forever grateful to Dick and Barb Dosker who took a chance on me and let me come back a second summer. And a third. And so on.”

“We’ve all been part of this,” said Ron Taylor, former Redwood Camp Director (1998–2009) during the ceremony. “I believe that this building is in good hands because the people who are serving at Mount Hermon love God and dream big.”

The Transformed Lives of Three Marine Wives

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

Military Camperships have become one of the most heartfelt parts of our campership program. Giving the gift of a week at family camp for a military family is a joy we can’t measure. Families arrive in a variety of shapes and sizes usually excited, having different needs and hopes of their week at camp. This summer we had a unique, first-time “family” arrive.

Three young Marine wives whose husbands are all deployed heard about the campership opportunity at church then called to see if the three of them might come as a “family” to Family Camp. We were thrilled to extend the invitation!

Haley, Jaclyn, and Laura had no idea what family camp would look like for them or how Mount Hermon would transform their lives, but God certainly did.

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JACLYN
“Our experience at Mount Hermon was truly incredible. As military spouses with deployed husbands, we weren’t sure what the week would hold, but through the sessions, encouragement, and support of both staff and other campers, the week really did strengthen our family, even though they couldn’t be physically present. As unconventional as it may have been for us, it was family camp in the truest sense. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity we had, everything we learned, and the lifelong friends we made. I can’t imagine life without Mount Hermon!”


LAURA
“I was so blessed to be able to come to family camp on a military campership. Something that many people don’t know about military life is that the homecoming joy and excitement is often a short-lived calm before an ugly storm season. There are living arrangements, family dynamics, financial situations, and life experiences that have all been flipped upside down, then adapted to, and must now be flipped back over.

The week before family camp, I was considering backing out to try and make sense of it all and begin batting down the hatches. My week at Mount Hermon was a life changer—more a heart/soul changer that has allowed me to live a changed life. I can now see life from God’s perspective. I am able to find true God intended joy in the chaos.

I am able to breathe peacefully in hope for the future rather than fear. I really hope I someday get a chance to thank the person who made it possible.”


HALEY

“The main impression God left on me during my stay at Mount Hermon was how significantly God wants us to experience joy and to delight in His creation of the earth daily. No matter how long a military spouse has to endure their significant other’s absence, whether that be a weekend training, month-long field exercise, or 6 to 12-month deployment, they are more than likely going to feel a separation that is deeper than they want to acknowledge. The spouse can have all the goals and aspirations that she wants to strive for while her man is away in order to mask the loneliness, but it ends up being impossible to ignore.

Every family and staff member that Laura, Jacyln, and I met not only made all three of us feel at home again by filling that hole our husbands have left, but they honestly expressed the love of God and the compassion of Christ in a way I have not been blessed by in a long time. Mount Hermon reminded me how God wants us to live in right relationship with Him, His children, and the world. He has renewed my sense of purpose and spirit using the compassionate staff at Mount Hermon and the beautiful land they take care of. It was a true joy to be reminded of the life God wants us to live again and be able to have some fun at camp!”


Three women who were touched and transformed by a beautiful God ordained place, by loving Christ filled people, and by the mighty power of the Trinity.

For those of you who have had a part in sending a military “family” to Mount Hermon, thank you! Laura, Jaclyn, and Haley are just one example of many lives that have been changed because of you generously gave to send them to camp.

Project Sanctuary– Where Military Families Thrive

Posted by & filed under Guest Groups, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

 militaryFamily1000Mount Hermon ministers to thousands of people each year by linking arms with established organizations, supporting them as they seek to accomplish kingdom work. Each year we also intentionally partner with a few organizations whose mission and values align with our own. Referred through our Military Campership Program, Project Sanctuary’s goal is to assess the needs of military families, reconnect them through therapeutic retreats, and ultimately help them make the transition to thriving into the future. We’ve hosted four of the 90+ reconnecting retreats, with a fifth scheduled this fall.

The retreats are free to guests, funded by Project Sanctuary’s private donors who wish to honor military families by providing therapeutic recreation, education, and counseling for the entire family. The Colorado-based nonprofit has served over 465 families, and is excited to report that 90% of these families are still intact with ZERO suicides.

A female veteran, single mother of five told us,

“Project Sanctuary is not just a foundation. They are a ministry! … My family never knew what family love felt like until we encountered this retreat and the people who help make it possible. I thank God over and over again for Heather [group leader] giving me the opportunity to see myself in the light and NOT in the dark.”

We are overjoyed to be part of the transformational work that God is doing in the lives of each one who will spend six days on our grounds, being loved and cared for by our staff and the leadership from Project Sanctuary.militaryFather1000

We Planned For the Future, But…

Posted by & filed under General, Giving, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

LisaOlsonFamily1000In The LOG we always like good Redwood Society stories – about people so touched by God at Mount Hermon that they’ve chosen to extend their legacy here with an estate gift. It is humbling to discover how some bequests arrive at an “appointed” time and in the exact amount needed for a crucial ministry opportunity. God delights in making this happen.

My own journey with my will and estate offers a word of warning. My husband, Mark, and I created a simple will when our first daughter was born. (Young parents, be sure you do that! Select a guardian yourself, not a court-assigned judge.) We also purchased ‘income replacement’ life insurance policies, with face values of ten times our salaries. By investing the proceeds at current interest rates the survivor could replace the income of the one who’d died. We were advised that would sufficiently sustain our lifestyle.

Then as many young couples do, we filed it, and never thought about it again … until. Twelve years later Mark was diagnosed with acute leukemia that took his life after a fierce nine-month battle. When serious illness is diagnosed, it is too late to revise your plan; you have to live – and sometimes die – with it.

Mark and I were both sobered to realize that, now as a ministry leader, his income had more than doubled in those twelve years. Also, we’d underestimated our income when we purchased our life insurance, as more than a third of our compensation was in tax-free housing, utilities and perks. Our premiums were low, but so would be the proceeds.

Plus, our family had grown! We now had four children, ages 6, 8, 10 and 12, one with autism, one with epilepsy. I worked part-time to help with speech therapy and medical expenses, and was consumed with being a mom.

There was nothing we could change, so we focused on fighting the cancer. It weighed heavily on Mark that I would immediately need to work full-time, since our meager life insurance proceeds would not begin to cover his income portion.

And that’s what I did. Within two weeks of Mark’s home-going I was working full-time so we could keep our medical benefits, and I cut our budget to fit within my salary alone. God has faithfully enabled me to provide for my kids, and the insurance was enough for a down payment on a house. In that way, Mark was able to provide that first home for us, for which I have been extremely grateful.

Even with few assets, our will still had a charitable clause: if our entire family suffered a catastrophic event, our estate would pass a substantial portion to our ministry as secondary beneficiaries of our life insurance policies. That would have represented a significant gift, marking our legacy there for generations to come.

Though we had an ‘estate plan’ – a will and life insurance – we did not review it annually as our family grew and needs changed. If you are without an estate plan that covers current needs, please address that today. Many free online tools can help you prepare a simple plan. Then revisit it annually! And don’t forget to include Mount Hermon in your will or as a beneficiary to an insurance policy, HSA or retirement plan, leaving a legacy for those who will follow you here in the redwoods.

Literally…Life Transforming

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

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Experiencing the truth of Jesus’ love in a camp environment is not to be underestimated. I’ve known it personally in my own life, I’ve see it in the life of my son and I’ve watched it all around me at Mount Hermon for over 18 years. This reality and truth comes in many forms: a powerful message spoken to us through a speaker, the open heart and listening ear of a counselor toward a tender, restless youth, the “respite” for parents as their child with special needs is lovingly cared for, allowing them to reconnect as a couple, or to quietly walk through Gtod’s majestic creation.

The impact is life-transforming, literally.

For generations Mount Hermon has provided a loving hand to those who need a little help to get here. Generous donors have opened their hearts to make this possible. In 2015 over $440,000 in camperships were granted. Some give because they’ve experienced Jesus’ love here and want others to do the same. During a leaner season of life others have had the blessing of receiving a campership so they or someone they love could come to camp. Many times we see this latter group “return the gift” through their support of the Campership Fund—to pass their blessing on.

Below is a note we received by just such a person.

“When my daughter was struggling in her faith as a teenager she attended camp at Ponderosa Lodge. Her interaction there with Christ and her counselors sustained her during a dry season. As a single mom with limited resources I could not have made that experience a reality without the support of a donor who sowed into her, never seeing her face or knowing her name. I am sowing this gift to do the same for another—may the Shalom of God be with the child and parent. Thank you!”

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This story is very close to my heart because that girl is my niece, Jordan, and that note is from my sister, Vana. Jordan is now 27 and still powerfully recalls the summers she spent at Ponderosa Lodge. Jordan says:

“Attending Ponderosa was a gift that gave me a reprieve from the onslaught of the world at a pivotal age. It showed me a world where people my age were striving hard to live for something bigger and better than just themselves. The camps, and later working on summer staff, have helped to strengthen my bedrock with the Lord and grow me into the woman I am today. I am forever blessed and grateful for the effect Mount Hermon has had on me and my walk of faith.”

You may have a similar story because someone opened their heart to make the way for you! We are immeasurably grateful to you who choose to give the gift of camp to another. Vana and I will never be able to thank the person who paved the way for Jordan, but we campers are going to have some beautiful stories to share around the campfire in heaven.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Camp Sabbath Rest

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

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No Summer Sunday Morning Services

Summer at Mount Hermon is amazing, and I can’t wait for June 2016 to come. My favorite moment of the week is when families show up for Family Camp on Sunday afternoon as the energy and anticipation vibrates throughout the mountain! For three months we have the privilege of enjoying group after group, week after week. Additionally, placed between weekly Family Camps, we have offered Saturday night dinners and concerts, stay-overs, and Sunday morning worship services and meals. This place never slows down. Never.

After experiencing one summer at Mount Hermon I became quite concerned about our staff’s need for a “Sabbath rest,” and so we began to do some research. We learned that most other camps have built rest into their summer schedule between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, allowing their staff the ability to catch their breath and get ready for the next week of high energy activity.

Therefore, after months of prayer, discussion and input, we made the decision to no longer provide summer Sunday morning worship services at Mount Hermon. The two main reasons are …

  • To provide our staff weekly refreshment, both physically and spiritually
  • To allow our staff to attend their own local church and not miss that for an entire season of the year.

Be assured that Mount Hermon will continue to provide a delicious Saturday banquet and outstanding concerts throughout the summer. Those who stay overnight on Saturday can attend one of the many good local churches in the area on Sunday.

We appreciate that not all will be pleased with our decision, but we do hope you understand why this decision was made. We thank God for the many decades this Sunday service has blessed lives, including mine. To God be the glory!

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

Felton Meadow Update

Posted by & filed under Building Projects, General, LOG.

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Mount Hermon’s Felton Meadow development project, which includes the Velocity Bike Park, is currently grinding its way through the Santa Cruz County planning and approval process. It’s been two years since the plans were first submitted to the County for review and subsequent discretionary approval, and you may be wondering what is taking so long.

In early 2015 the County determined that our project would require an environmental impact report (EIR). After lengthy preparations we officially entered into the EIR process in October 2015. So far so good. No red flags or issues that can’t be mitigated. You can be praying for a few areas of concern to our neighbors: traffic, biotic resources, and visual impact. These can be areas where the perceived impact overshadows actual.

We are hoping to have the draft EIR ready for public review early this summer, the final EIR completed by fall, and be back in front of the County Planning Commission before the end of the year. If all goes well, we could be moving dirt as soon as it is allowed in April, 2017.

feltonMeadow1000In January Mount Hermon hosted a “town hall” meeting for the local community. Colorful displays illustrated the site plan, environmental issues, building concepts and floor plans, and even general information about Mount Hermon. During the presentation our staff spoke about Mount Hermon’s long history in the area, how the community will be blessed through the programs and activities designed for them, and specifics associated with the actual construction, operation, and maintenance of the site.

The goal was to openly inform the public about what we want to do and why. More than 200 people attended including neighbors, business people and a local bike club of Junior High  students. We are encouraged by the swell of support we have since received. God is on the move!


Dale Pollock is the Facility Engineer for Mount Hermon. He brings 21 years of experience at Mount Hermon to his role as the Project Coordinator for the Felton Meadow development.

Read More About Felton Meadow

Blended Couples Retreat a Success

Posted by & filed under LOG, Stories of Ministry.

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What happens when you create a retreat for couples that are in a blended family relationship, navigating what it is to be a step-parent? What happens when you offer practical insight into new in-laws, ex-spouses, different parenting styles, finances and so much more…?

A whole bunch of people sign up! They came not knowing each other as couples and left as friends. Gil and Brenda Stuart, from Restored & Remarried, did a masterful job of teaching us, creating a safe environment for couples interaction and deep discussions that included laughter and tears. As a step-parent myself, to be part of this conference was both rich and encouraging.

It was interesting from my vantage point as the host to observe couples sitting down for the first session and it being very quiet in the room. By Saturday night we had to find ways to quiet them down!

This conference was born out of requests from couples saying they needed something to help them better understand step-parenting and all that goes with it. Either through divorce and remarriage or death of a spouse and remarriage, many find themselves in a position of his, hers, and now, ours. This retreat addressed those issues.

Attendee comments:

This is the best couple’s retreat we have experienced. It allowed us to fellowship with other couples facing similar situations.

Please continue this conference!!

We walked away with many new insights and techniques to parenting in a step-family. Thank you.

This was an incredible opportunity to communicate with like-minded people processing similar challenges in a safe, friendly and beautiful environment!

Kidder Creek Prepares for the Future

Posted by & filed under Building Projects, Kidder Creek, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

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We have recently heard back from the Siskiyou County Planning Department that we are nearing the end of our long journey in the process of approval to our Special Use Permit for the Kidder Creek Master Site Plan. Over the last seven years we have been working with Federal, State and County agencies to dot our i’s and cross our t’s to ensure that we have been diligent in preparing our environmental documents needed in order to proceed. We have most recently finished our traffic impact study and biological survey in the summer and fall of 2015.

Once we receive the application back our next step will be to review any mitigation required and then to submit our application to the planning commission. Prior to the hearing with the planning commission there will be a 30-day public comment phase, which will give our neighbors opportunity to voice any concerns. Please pray with us that God’s hand will be evident throughout the continuation of our process.

Until we hear back we plan to continue to be proactive in getting our plans out into the community by holding meetings and one-on-ones, where we will share the vision and answer questions and concerns that our neighbors may have.

God is doing great things in the lives of young people at Kidder Creek…

…and we look forward to the opportunity to increase that impact by having more campers here in the future. Thanks for your prayers and your support as we walk through this process of approval.

Read More about Kidder Creek

Kidder Creek Loves to Serve Groups!

Posted by & filed under Guest Groups, Kidder Creek, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

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At Kidder Creek, Custom Group Adventures are one fun way we work with churches. We lead their activities, prepare their meals, and coordinate all the logistics, so each group’s leaders can focus all their attention on building relationships and fully sharing the camp experience with their students.

Peninsula Bible Church, Cupertino, has adventured with us for over ten summers. Shawn Reese of PBCC writes, “Our middle school summer program is built around our trips to Kidder Creek. In fact, most of our students say these trips are the highlight of their middle school years. And many high school students serve with us just so they can go BACK to Kidder Creek!”

We create Adventures uniquely tailored to serve each group. Shawn says,

“Kidder Creek is so accommodating, allowing us to shape our own trip, and tweak it to our liking. We bring our own staff who have relationships with the kids, and Kidder Creek’s guides provide for all the adventure stuff. Their staff love God and love our people, and they want to know our kids. The entire trip is God-centered.

Their model allows us to serve our students in a profound way, maximizing the impact of a multi-day epic adventure within the context of our year-round youth group. The results are incredible. Our trips to Kidder give us time to breathe and ample time in God’s good creation.

Many parents tell us that their 6th graders return home with new confidence gained on these trips. Some have never been away from their parents overnight, and many have never camped in the woods, so when they ‘conquer’ our River Camp experience, they know they’ve accomplished something!”

If you’re interested in a Custom Group Adventure for your church or other group, give us a call! 888.226.7386 We’d love to serve you this summer.

Learn More about Group Services

A Simple Click

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

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Two students sit on the benches outside of the Creative Services office wielding their phones and chatting about the upcoming summer. “Did you see the video? Here, let me show you.” Huddled around a phone and with a simple click, together they watch a sneak peak of the exciting things that will happen at Ponderosa Lodge this summer.

“I don’t know what the Sequoia Aerial Adventure is,” says one guest to another. “Here, watch this video. It’s awesome. We have to do this!”

Video is an anchor in communication of everything that we do at Mount Hermon. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, video is worth a million. But what has become the norm and can be accessed effortlessly actually represents hours of preparation, storyboarding, shooting, editing, color correcting, revisions and hard work.

Micah Smith, who leads our video production team, brings years of film experience from his time working in Los Angeles as a cinematographer and Digital Imaging Specialist, including his Emmy-winning work on the human trafficking documentary “The Pink Room.” Micah’s approach and professional insight have taken our ability to tell the story of Mount Hermon to a whole new level.

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“I think video at Mount Hermon is important because it can tell a side of the story that a photograph cannot. People connect with the humanity of people sharing their testimonies and how God has changed their lives for the better. To hear and see that transformation in the moving image connects powerfully with the viewer and allows them to identify with similar stories in their own lives as well.”

Making a video requires much more than just one’s skill behind the camera. The work to make a vision go from concept to final cut takes a team of people from several departments working and dreaming together to produce something truly spectacular. The shoot for Ponderosa Lodge’s summer theme-reveal involved not only members of the program and creative services teams, but coordination with guest services in finding a space to use as a set for several days, and the facilities team to rig our older buildings for the extra lights and power needed to create the desired effects.

With the launch of Sequoia Aerial Adventure this March, it was imperative to have a video to explain and show exactly what it is and invite viewers into the course. Micah led a crew of photographers, videographers, and talent out on the course for two days in order to capture this amazing new experience.

Our most recent production involved creating an overview of what it’s like to come to Mount Hermon with a guest group. Micah and his crew captured footage and interviews for months in order to convey to guest group leaders why Mount Hermon is a great place to bring their people for a life-transforming event. After long hours of gathering, shooting and editing, the video was revealed to the Guest Services Team. Bill Fernald, Director of Guest Services said, “This is it! This is the story I’ve always wanted to tell.” This is the moment a storyteller anticipates; capturing the heart of the story and finding a way to convey it to the viewer.

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To see the videos mentioned and many more check out our Vimeo channel at vimeo.com/mounthermon. You’ll be able to appreciate them even more knowing all that goes into a video behind a simple click.

Check out the Mount Hermon Videos

Staff Impact Camps Beyond Mount Hermon

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

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On a rainy November evening in 1949, thirteen men from eight West Coast camps met at Mount Hermon. They came together intending to address their current needs, and to encourage each other in their ministry callings.

However, no one imagined that this gathering would birth both the Christian Camp and Conference Association and Christian Camping International – Worldwide, two organizations that now represent over 1,000 camps and conferences around the globe. In serving member camps and conference centers, these organizations work to maximize our ministries, equipping and enabling us to help our guests grow closer to Jesus. Over the years many on our staff have participated on the national board of directors, as faculty at national conferences and in many other ways.

The Sierra-Pacific Section of CCCA includes Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii. Three members of our Mount Hermon staff currently serve on the Sierra-Pacific section board:  Terra Edwards (Reservations and Event Services Coordinator), Josh Edwards (Recreation Manager), and Dave Peterson (IT/AV Manager).

We’ve asked Terra and Josh to share with us about their involvement.

Q. What does the CCCA Section Board do and who is involved?

Terra: We organize the annual three-day sectional conference for our regional member camps, where we gather together for fellowship and worship. We provide instruction and certification pertaining to specific camp roles, and also offer various training days throughout the year. Our board includes 14 members from several camps of varying size and scope.

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Q. How did you become involved with CCCA and their board?

Terra: My parents served at a camp, so my Christian Camping experience began at age five. As a freshman in college I was asked by the Section Board President to take the notes at their meetings. It was a huge honor to serve alongside directors who had been in camp ministry for 20+ years.  They were giants in my eyes, still they were so intentional in getting to know me, encouraging me and praying for me. After college I came to serve as Mount Hermon’s Family Camp Registrar. I soon was asked to join the Sierra Pacific Board, and was appointed their Secretary. I’ve had the joy of serving in this capacity for four years!

Josh: I’ve been involved with the board for over 3 years now, introduced to CCCA by my wife, Terra. My role in serving as marketing coordinator has been a great experience. I’ve enjoyed my time with the board, which has allowed me to see the impact Christian camping has on both the local and the national level.

Q. What is your favorite part of serving on the board?

Terra: Planning an event for those serving on the ministry front lines is an honor. Camps face significant challenges – financial stresses, never-ending maintenance issues, concerns about ministry effectiveness. But while together at a sectional, camp staff can see they are not alone “in the trenches,” and they find support and encouragement. It is amazing to watch people connect, be encouraged, and return to camp with renewed spirits and energy for serving the Lord. Being a small part of helping to facilitate much of this is incredibly humbling.

Josh: In serving on the board I love being able to encourage others in camping ministry. Often times serving in ministry can be a thankless job. Planning a conference centered around loving, encouraging and equipping people in Christian camping is a true joy!

The Purpose Behind the Fun

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

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People often ask how we create such powerful programs for students at Mount Hermon. The first step is having a creative team of gifted people. God has blessed Mount Hermon Youth with an incredible team of people. This team follows a template for creating themed programs. The process starts with the Bible.

#1: One Main Scriptural Truth

All Mount Hermon Youth programs start and end with the Bible. Not only do we want students in their Bibles, we want them to walk away with one main truth out of the Bible and we want them to know that truth inside and out. Recently, Ponderosa Lodge did a theme built upon the truth of Matthew 13:44. That truth was simple: following Jesus is worth more than anything this world can offer.

#2: An Analogous Theme that Clearly Teaches the One Main Truth

This analogous theme is a way of communicating that one main truth clearly, concisely and in a way students can understand. This theme is ultimately the analogy, or metaphor we use to teach the truth. It determines the look and design of print material, videos, costumes and the entire camp. The theme for Matthew 13:44 was a pirate-based theme titled “Epic: Leave all Else Behind.”

#3: Daily Objectives Further Explaining the One Main Truth

Our programs have a daily objective that points back to and further explains the one main truth. These objectives are essentially answers to questions which one would ask about the one main truth, such as “How?” “What?” and “Why?” While we want students to walk away with one main truth, every day we want them to dig deeper into that truth. Some of the objectives for “Epic” were answers to questions such as “Why is Jesus worth leaving all else behind?” and “What does it look like to leave all else behind to follow Jesus?”

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#4: Story Flow and Small Group Questions

For many of our themed programs, we write a story that places the one truth and its objectives into the context of the adolescents’ daily experience. These stories are written as scripts with relatable characters, and presented as skits performed immediately before students meet in small groups. After the scripts are finished, small group questions are written. We use the story to help students dive deeper into Scripture. The goal is for each student to see how this story connects to Scripture, so that ultimately they see how their story connects to Scripture. The story-line for “Epic” centered around a pirate and his best friend who were looking for an epic treasure and encountered obstacles along the way.

#5: The Schedule

The daily schedule is done last because we don’t want the schedule to drive our programs, we want the Bible to drive our programs. Putting the schedule together involves creating and planning all the games that will be played, all the teaching moments that will happen and all of the fun that will be had. The ultimate goal is that everything in the schedule points back to the one main truth. The schedule for “Epic” involved many pirate-themed activities, discussions and games.

The ultimate goal of this process is to create a memorable, impactful and transformational camp experience where students are led one step closer to Jesus.

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One-Hunder-Ten: 2015 Annual Ministry Report

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

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As I wind down year number one as a staff member at Mount Hermon, I have enjoyed experiencing Family Camps, guest groups, marriage retreats, men’s and women’s gatherings, teen weekend camps, and so much more. But that is nothing compared to God completing one-hundred-ten years of impactful ministry at this special place. Think of that, 110 years of God’s hand upon this place!

Mount Hermon has experienced 110 years of staying on track biblically, 110 years of consistent faith and prayer, 110 years of God’s bountiful provision, 110 years of people choosing eternity, 110 years of marriages strengthened, 110 years of children and youth having the time of their lives, 110 years of godly leadership and staff, 110 years of people being refreshed and renewed, 110 years of families being together, 110 years of strong biblical teaching, 110 years of s’mores (not sure about the accuracy on this one), and 110 years of God’s hand working, moving, and blessing. 110 years. Wow!

Before we move forward I want to look back on what God has done at Mount Hermon this past “one” year. We will never know all the lives that were touched and transformed by the Lord, but we continue to be amazed at how many people God brings to Mount Hermon to be renewed, refreshed and transformed by Him. Each number I share represents people, lives that our Lord loves.

Last summer we served approximately 19,500 people in various ways and forms, from Kidder Creek to Ponderosa Lodge to Redwood Camp to Family Camp to Saturday night concerts to our zip line canopy tours. That’s just the summer. In the fall we saw over 700 Jr. High and High School students attend our “Fall Frenzy” weekend camps. This past year we had a combination of over 1,900 attend Mount Hermon sponsored women’s and men’s retreats, and more than 200 people at our couple’s retreats. On top of all this were thousands of people that enjoyed our grounds in guest group settings throughout the year. Overall Mount Hermon touches some 70,000 people in “one” year.

My favorite number that stands out from this past year is what God did at Ponderosa  Lodge last summer. Only God knows the true number, but 258 Jr. High and High School students indicated that they made first-time decisions for Jesus Christ. Praise God! Look at what a few Ponderosa students said about their summer experience:

“Mount Hermon was one of the best weeks of my life. I was able to connect with God on a deeper level and I love how close I got to my cabin. It was my first time at camp so everything was

new and absolutely fantastic. I will 100% be returning next summer.”

“My week at Mount Hermon was really incredible and life changing. I really learned a lot more about God and it’s just an amazing feeling. Mount Hermon is really the best.”

“This was both a time to have fun and be myself, and a time to accept God and worship Him. This week, I first accepted the Spirit, and it has been one of the best weeks of my life.”

This is why Mount Hermon has been standing for 110 years. This is God’s place, and His hand continues to move in lives as He refreshes, renews and transforms.

One-hundred-ten with one outcome – glory to God!

Sequoia Aerial Adventure Opens

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Adventures Updates, Building Projects, LOG.

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Built in 2008, the original “Sequoia Ropes Course” replaced the “Canyon Course,” which suffered much damage in the winter of 2008 when a large tree ripped through the challenge course during an ice storm. The new course built in its place was intentionally designed for family camp guests and team building programs, incorporating unique design elements that allowed it to be used by an intergenerational audience. The Sequoia Ropes Course had 12 elements, or activities, and a tandem zip line at the finish.

In 2010 Mount Hermon Adventures was formed, taking the Redwood Canopy Tours, also built in 2008, and the renamed “Sequoia Adventure Course,” surrounding these experiences with other adventures and programs. People from around the world started coming to see the majesty of the redwood forest from the perspective that only our adventure activities could provide. Along the way people overcame fears, laughed deeply, connected with friends, strangers, and their Creator.

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At this point the Sequoia Adventure Course was used only by guests of Mount Hermon programs and our Team Building events. We saw interest in the Sequoia Adventure Course grow and we began fielding multiple requests every week from individuals that wanted to bring their friends and family to Mount Hermon for an aerial adventure experience. These guests were hungry for adventure, looking for new experiences, and excited to direct their own adventure experience in a unique way.

In 2014 we began offering limited numbers of individually registered day guests the opportunity to access the Sequoia Adventure Course. We were quickly overwhelmed with the response and began planning on how we could expand the course to maximize the “teachable moments” a guest would encounter on course. Due to a generous donation in 2015 we were able to bring this vision to fruition!

sequoiaConverge1000After months of hard work and preparation we’re ready to announce the Grand Opening of the Sequoia Aerial Adventure!  Over the winter months we expanded our existing Sequoia Adventure Course by adding two new levels of challenges and the exciting “Quick Jump” free-fall device. A new way to experience the redwood forest, this aerial adventure combines balance and partner challenges high above the forest floor. The Sequoia Aerial Adventure now offers 30 activities graded by difficulty into “tracks” that guests can explore at their own pace. Like the “ropes course” of 20 years ago it is terrifying, it is exhilarating, it leaves you wanting more. During the expansion we also rebuilt much of the existing course, using the newest technology to promote long-term tree health, reduce annual maintenance, and ensure compliance with all regulations. This newest version of the Sequoia Aerial Adventure is one of the finest adventure courses in the nation!

While we’re excited to launch this expanded program we’re even more excited at how God has used Adventure over the past eight years to draw new guests to Mount Hermon. This newest adventure is just the next step in an expanding ministry that uses activities as the tool to draw people into relationship through intentional experiences in creation, and new opportunities to encounter their Creator.