mason jar

The Power of a Mason Jar

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Marci Seither

“Are you going to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers conference this spring?” I asked Susan Gregory one day. I had volunteered to give her a ride to an event, and as we rode together we found out we shared a love of writing.

She told me it wasn’t in her budget but she hoped to attend one year. Despite having a book that she would love to see published, it seemed like her dream was beyond her reach.

I knew the feeling of having something you dream of doing, and even feel called to do, yet not seeing any way it could happen.

The first year I decided to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference I taught swim lessons and worked as a lifeguard all summer, putting the money I made into a mason jar designated for conference tuition. I knew it would take a lot of planning and sunscreen to pull it off.

My husband gave me money toward tuition in lieu of Christmas and birthday gifts, adding to my mason jar. I did a photo shoot for a friend, and in return, she surprised me by putting cash into my Mount Hermon fund. I managed to collect enough to attend the conference. I did the same thing for a few more years after that.

“Let your family and friends know you have a big dream,” I told Susan. “And start a conference fund for yourself.”

When we got to our destination, she handed me money for gas. I gave it back to her. “This is the first deposit in your conference fund.”

Eighteen months later, Susan’s face beamed as she walked down the redwood-lined path at Mount Hermon. “I made it!” she exclaimed. “I’m here because of the Conference Fund! It took a while, but the money you gave me became something that grew.”

cover of the book slender reedsI recently saw Susan’s newly published book, Slender Reeds, being shared on Facebook. It is beautiful. And it really was a dream come true.

I later heard about a young mom named Jenni who felt led to write but didn’t know where to start. Her friend encouraged her to set up a GoFundMe account in order to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A GoFundMe account is a way for people to tell others what they need funds for and why. Instead of giving gifts or stocking stuffers, people can add funds to that person’s project. Many of Jenni’s friends helped support her and her dream of reaching others through her writing.

I’m not saying that if you just set a mason jar on the counter all your dreams will come true. That’s not realistic. But sharing your goals with others allows them the opportunity to partner with you in something worthwhile.

Pride can make us dream hoarders. Humility allows us to be vulnerable and share our dreams with others.

Do you have a big dream? Are you among the 81 percent of Americans who would love to write a book but just need the courage, and maybe a nudge, to put action to that dream?

Why not set up a mason jar conference fund and see what happens?

For more information about the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference, click here.

Marci SeitherMarci Seither has written hundreds of feature stories, op/editorials, and human-interest articles for local papers as well as contributing to national publications. She has been married to her husband almost 30 years and is mom to six amazingly rowdy kiddos who have provided her with volumes of great material, loads of laundry and symphonies of laughter. Marci encourages others with humor that packs a punch and entertains other moms with her Urban Retro style. She recently had two books published and knows how to make marshmallows from scratch. Marci is an airport shuttle assistant for Mount Hermon Writers Conference.


winners

First-Timers Contest: Winners Announced

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

We are excited to announce the winners of The First-Timers Contest. Congratulations to:

Ann Neumann

Erica Hale

Erin Kincaid

Karen DeBlieck

Karl Haffner

Laurel Burlew

Leah Hinton

Lisa Gefrides

Margery Warder

Robin Phillips

If you entered and were not one of the ten winners, we hope you will still consider spending an amazing and life-changing week in the California redwoods to experience this one-of-a-kind event. Find all the conference details at http://writers.mounthermon.org/.


First-Timers Contest For MH Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

pen, notebook, and coffee for writersWhen I attended my first writers’ conference years ago, I didn’t realize how dramatically it would change my life. I met so many professionals in the publishing industry and authors I admired (and came to admire later). And it really kicked off my own writing career!

Major writers’ conferences can be expensive. But they can be valuable investments in our future.

If you’ve always wanted to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, but never been able to afford it, I have exciting news for you.

Mount Hermon is running a First-Timers Contest for the 2017 conference. Ten winners will each receive a full scholarship, including economy lodging and conference meals.

There is NO FEE to enter this contest. It is open to both published and unpublished writers.

Just send a five-page writing sample (fiction or nonfiction). In addition to writing quality, winners will be determined based on the answers to these questions:

  1. Why do you want to attend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference?
  2. Why have you never attended before?
  3. What do you hope to get out of attending in 2017?

Once submissions are narrowed down based on those factors, the final decision will be made based on prayerfully asking for the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Deadline to enter is December 30 at midnight Pacific Standard Time.

Go to http://writers.mounthermon.org/resources/first-timers-contest for details, guidelines, and submission instructions.

Please spread the word to anyone you know who might benefit from this amazing conference.

Kathy Ide, Director
Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference


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.

marine-wives

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.


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.

pavilion-grass

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.”

pavilion-kids
pavilion-basketball

 

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!
pavilion-interior-campers2


Extent of the fire at the camp

Posted by & filed under Whisper Canyon.

Here  is a crayon representation of where the fire came through the camp. My crayon skills have degraded a bit, but as you can see, while it came close to some buildings, the fire did no damage. On a positive note, it cleared out a lot of brush. It gives us some ideas for some new trails into the canyon.

This sketch represents “The Hand of God”:


Some More Chimney Fire Pictures from Whisper Canyon

Posted by & filed under Whisper Canyon.

The camp did not lose any structures. Immensely grateful to God and the men who fought the fire. We got to the camp Friday 8-26 about 6PM and got over an hour tour with blow by blow commentary from the firemen. We learned a back fire was set at the rear of the caretakers. It reduced the flames to about 60′ or so. With out the back fire, the flames would have been closer to 100′ and the fire fighters would have had to retreat.


The above photo is looking from the caretakers house toward the bathhouse which is beyond the oak. The trail to the canyon shows on the right side on the distant slope. There was still some smoke but this is fog. Just what was needed to reduce the heat and help beat the fire down


Coming around the corner of the house a little. You can see the fibar for the zip swing. The tree did not catch fire. I am amazed that there is brown grass along with burnt grass.


The burn marks were attempts at back fires.. It burnt erratically in this area. Not sure why. You can see the kitchen supply trailer to the right of the play structure. Unscathed would be the word. Fire trucks are getting ready to move out. Our neighbor came over and brought his dogs. Again this is fog not smoke.


This is the crew that was on site when the fire roared up to camp. They are from southern California. When they first got to the camp it was one truck, 4 guys. Slowly trucks would roll in to join the fight. We heard they went into our shop and grabbed 18 shovels, chainsaw and sickle mower. They cleared around the yurts. Ran the mower down slope of the caretakers, all to make it defensible


Here is the back of Jon’s RV covered with gel. Yurt deck railing in the distance


Back side of yurt 6 and 7. Unscathed as well. No ember burns just a little smell of smoke. Hard to see but a bull dozer made a pass here.


This is the back side of the chapel with Jennifer in the view. Three or so dozer tracks and some singed grass. The amazing thing is the fire stayed on the ground. It did not climb the trees.


Down in the canyon near the tee in the service road a tree was smoldering. They put this out.


Here is another hot spot across the creek. Tree root system smoldering away. I had brought 10 gallons of water down, which they used in the previous photo and above.


A little break time on the deck of yurt 8.


Back top side this is a big oak that had been shedding branches. The trees are stressed by 5 years of drought. In the background is the bathhouse. Back and to the right is the trail down to the creek.I did not take a picture but to the right it is a scorched earth hillside.


This is looking over the camp BBQ at where the oak had been growing for a long time.It was dying and they cut it down before the fire charged up the slope. You can see the far slope and the fire did not burn everything. My guess is it burned about 30%. Rather amazing isn’t it.


One last picture. This is just off the side of the shop. The small structure is the camp well. The fire crossed through the fence onto our neighbors yard.. You can see how it stayed on the ground. They put it out with a bull dozer. Thanks be to God for his mercies


OK one more. This is near the fire pit with our hose bib in view.This is some scorched earth that occurred when the fire swept east. The far ridge is pretty well denuded of brush. This is the knob the cross is on. You can see as you look to the left, it is wiped bare by the fire.

Source: http://whispercanyon.blogspot.com


Chimney fire, rebuffed

Posted by & filed under Whisper Canyon.

All photo’s were taken by Katrina Hearne, forwarded to me by Marty Wize

Pictures taken from west of the camp looking generally S SE from our neighbors property. Received them as text messages. Jennifer and I were in Santa Clara the whole time. Tried to retrieve some items from the caretakers unit Sunday AM but were turned back at Interlake and Bryson Hesperia. Power to the area was cut Sunday evening. For the camp, no power means no water.

IMG951021_cropped

I think this picture is the drainage behind the chapel. Viewed into camp from the west. Suspect the power pole is near the orchard along the entrance driveway. Tuesday morning 6:43 AM

The ridge behind (south) of the camp. Monday night 8-22-2016

You can see the pole barn and the kitchen trailer through the smoke on the west side of the picture. Monday afternoon 8-22-2016

Marty Wize’s front yard looking East. The Wize’s are our neighbors to the west across Smith road. Tuesday5:30 PM

12:30 PM Tuesday, firetruck coming down the driveway into camp near our gate

1PM Tuesday kitchen trailer and dining pavilion in the background. Yurts are behind the bull dozer but not really visible. The trees around the yurts are not singed. Most encouraging,

Tuesday 8-23-2016 The soccer field looking East. Big oak just left of center is on our fence line and in the distance is along the West side of the soccer field we can make out the camp truck, our SUV, Danny’s tractor along with various Cal Fire vehicles. The chapel is behind the big oak and is not visible. We heard from Danny, our neighbor to the North, that a crew spent the Saturday night on the field. What we hear is the camp weathered the storm without structure damage. The caretakers unit has fire retardant gel on it. Not sure how that will clean up. The fire still poses a threat but the fuel load is greatly reduced. Our first trip down will be for assessment, likely a day trip till we have power. The refrigerator and freezer will need to be emptied and hopefully they can be cleaned up. What we have observed is God doing his fire strategy thing. The fire circled east first and then moved toward the camp and but was rebuffed by some very hard working firemen. Thank you and blessings on those men who are doing it again tonight just down the road a piece.

Source: http://whispercanyon.blogspot.com


Lisa Olson: A New Journey

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

In spring of 2006 Mount Hermon welcomed a new staff member, Lisa Olson. Little did I realize how my life would be impacted as a result of knowing Lisa. I didn’t know she would become one of my dearest friends and be a catalyst in helping advance my faith and spiritual growth into a new place.

I’m not the only one impacted by Lisa. In fact, you may be one of them. Her vast knowledge of the world of Christian camping along with her decades of experience has changed the face of Mount Hermon programming and marketing in many ways—great ways.

aim-lisa

Lisa’s is uniquely wired. She can’t help herself from thinking of the most powerful ways to impact campers with the reality of Jesus’ love. Lisa is constantly evaluating how Mount Hermon can be relevant and in tune with our culture—how do we reach the world with the truth of God’s word? She is definitely not “camp as usual,” and Mount Hermon is a better place because of it.

We have been blessed to have had Lisa at the helm of programming and marketing for over a decade, but sadly, we’ve had to say “Happy Trails” to her. She is now headed into a new adventure in Christian camping in Texas.

Carolina Creek Christian Camp is blessed to have Lisa as their new Executive Director. Carolina Creek was founded in 2002 and is situated on 440 acres of waterfront property, 90 miles northwest of Houston. There are three camps on the property, serving all ages. With over two miles of water frontage, water sports are very popular at camp. They are enjoying their fifteenth summer of ministry this year.

Lisa loaded up and headed out on Sunday, June 19, and she arrived right in the throes of summer camp. For those of us who know Lisa, she stepped right into her element. There is no doubt that Lisa will bless the campers and impact the ministry under her new watch, the very way she blessed and impacted us at Mount Hermon.

lisa-photo

As Lisa began her transitions, true to her nature she did an exceptional job setting up and preparing her team for her departure, for the summer, and for their futures as strong contributors to Mount Hermon. Members of the Program Team are primed and ready to uphold and develop Mount Hermon’s outstanding program to impact campers with the reality of Jesus’s love and encouraging all to take one step closer to being more like Jesus. Jeremy Bentley, who joined our staff in July as the new Vice President of Program, now leads this amazing group of talented professionals into the future.

Although Lisa is dearly missed here, we know without a doubt the Lord is and will use her in a powerful way at Carolina Creek. Her fingerprints are all over Mount Hermon and she has been a significant contributor to our passion for “lives transformed” over the past decade. Thank you Lisa. We send you with love!

Please pray for Lisa and her family as they adjust to this era in their lives and specifically for Lisa as she leads this camp and acclimates to very new surroundings!

If you’d like to know more about Carolina Creek Christian Camp, go to carolinacreek.org