Head Start Mentoring Gets Boost from Mentoring Faculty Member

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

One of our faculty members for the Head Start Mentoring Clinic sent in this e-mail this morning and a new video to encourage those of you who might not have considered this opportunity. Here is what she says in her own words:

I created this new video for the Mount Hermon Head Start Mentoring program that falls right before the conference April 1—3.

First off: No, I’m not going to make a career out of writing conference promotional videos!

But, I am really passionate about this mentoring program, offered right before the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. If you know of beginning to intermediate writers who would benefit from some one-to-one and group mentoring prior to the conference, consider steering them toward this clinic. It’s not often folks get to have a professional critique your work, help guide a career, and learn from other writers. This is a unique opportunity.

Check the Mount Hermon website for all conference information, forms and instructions you need to register. By the way, I’m one of the nonfiction mentors for Head Start, so if you’re writing nonfiction, there’s a good chance we might get to work together!

Mary DeMuth

YouTube Video of past Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

This is a wonderful video taken in 2007 by a writer who attended Mount Hermon Writers Conference.  It has such a joyful feel to it and will give you a very clear picture of the beauty of Mount Hermon’s campus, as well as the fun and learning that’s available for participants. 

Mount Hermon Blog Beginning for Writers

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

We’ve coming of age!  Mount Hermon is now “blogging” with everyone else out there.  Intentional information for writers, available writers resources, testimonials from published authors who got their start at Mount Hermon Writers Conferences in the past, and a myriad of other articles by and for writers will be posted here from this point on.  We’ll be posting several times a week . . . hopefully you’ll subscribe to our blog and we’ll become a regular part of your blog reading, an encouragement to your call to write, and a viable resource for you.  We welcome your comments to this new venue.

Our April 3-7, 2009 Writers Conference Children’s Writing Track Instructor (WOW, that was a mouthful!), Mona Hodgson, sent me a wonderful testimonial today and I wanted to share it with you . . .

“I can’t say that I had a dream to write.  It felt more like a nudge . . . even a nagging.  Be that as it may, I felt compelled to explore the possibilities.  That’s what took me to my very first writers’ conference–Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in April, 1988.  I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.  Little did I know, as I took those first shakey steps, how crucial that conference would turn out to be for my 21 years (and still counting) writing career and ministry.”   

Mona’s website

I’ll soon be putting up links to many of our 2009 faculty members blogs, so keep coming back to see us!

A story of God’s perfect planning at Redwood Camp

Posted by & filed under Stories of Ministry.

I do not believe in coincidences.

When I was nine years old, I attended Redwood Camp for the first time. My parents were going through an extremely messy divorce. To help me escape and relax through this troubled time, my mom sent me to camp, where I bonded with an empathetic counselor, someone who patiently listened to the fears and challenges my friends at home could not always appreciate. This solace brought me back to Redwood year after year.

When I was too old to attend as a camper, I began volunteering in the Redwood Camp kitchen. And finally, during college, I returned as a counselor. Within my first week of counseling, I found myself sitting on a familiar bench one night beneath the stars, cradling a nine-year-old camper who wept over a broken relationship with her father. This experience repeated itself several times throughout the summer. It seemed my cabin was a magnet for such kids. My painful past, which at one time had been a source of shame, was transformed into a beautiful account of survival that I could use to encourage campers going through similar experiences. Was this a coincidence?

During and after my college years at UCLA, God provided me unique opportunities abroad. Not only did I get to study in France – I also got to spend some time working on a hospital ship in the African country of Liberia. Returning to Redwood Camp for the summers, I was able to minister to several French-speaking campers as well as to a Liberian refugee who had come to Redwood as a camper. I missed Africa dearly that summer, and this girl’s mannerisms, accent and smile eased my spirit. We ate fried plantains (a common Liberian snack) on corndog day, and I loaned her one of my vibrant pieces of Liberian clothing so we could dress alike for twin day. Of all the summers in the 100 years of Redwood’s existence, Vivian came the very summer after I returned from Liberia. Coincidence?

I do not believe in coincidences, because I believe God ordains that people will cross paths at specific places and times, plans for a heartache in one person to stir hope in another, and uses small children to teach adults. Although my time at Redwood has ended, the summers I spent there remind me to look for purpose in encounters and to expect meaning in every situation.

A note from a church pastor about Ponderosa Lodge

Posted by & filed under Stories of Ministry.

We appreciate all the work and effort you put into accommodating our church group into the community that you have created at Ponderosa. We know that we benefited from all the sowing you did before we arrived.

Our youth who attended camp at Ponderosa can’t stop testifying to the amazing time they had there. They have captivated their friends at Sunday school. We just sit and listen, and our hearts are overflowing.

One of our students has given a mini-sermon to her peers to “hunger and thirst for God, because He hungers and thirsts for you too!” Another student said that he especially enjoyed getting to know the guys in the surrounding cabins. That’s just a snippet.

Thanks again for including us. You guys are doing a great work!

— From a church pastor, via e-mail

A letter from a Redwood Camp students parent

Posted by & filed under Stories of Ministry.

Dear Redwood Camp Staff,
Twelve-year-old Nicoli was greatly encouraged by camp and especially by  his counselor. He was even in tears over the great experience! He said camp was “awesome.”   He has continued to ask his mom about going to “Pondy” next summer.  He told her, “Mom, I’m going to church every week because I believe in Jesus.”  He hopes to attend Boys’ Brigade at church each week too!  
Thank you for your love for Nicoli at camp.  He is the only believer in his Russian family. Your continued prayers are so important.
We see Jesus continuing the good work He has started in Nicoli, and we are blessed.

Larry and Martha

Testimony From a Military Family

Posted by & filed under Stories of Ministry.

We received this report from a military family attending one of Mount Hermon’s Family Camps. Many donors and churches have made it possible for Mount Hermon to offer an ‘all expenses paid’ week of family camp to several military families. Here is this family’s grateful response:


L. and I are back at home now, and want to say how sincerely thankful we are for our week at Mount Hermon. It was a tremendous blessing to our family, as the Lord fed our souls as well as our bodies, and we bonded as a family. The week of family camp is precisely what I believe redeployers and their families need, in order to reconnect following our extended separation. Our current deployment cycles really place unbelievable strains on our military families. Although the military acknowledges this strain and does what it can to support deployed personnel and their families, they can’t do it alone. I really appreciate all that Mount Hermon is doing to facilitate that.

The staff there at Mount Hermon were excellent. No matter where they worked – the Fountain, Dining Hall or Book Shop – they were all very friendly and eager to serve. Your Day Camp staff stole the hearts of my two younger kids, and even my 14 year-old made positive comments about those leading in the HS group (it’s hard to get him to comment at all at times!).

The scholarship was a tremendous blessing to us, Dave. L. commented that when we get “free” offers, usually that means we get the “economy” version of whatever’s offered. Not so at Mount Hermon! The accommodations were excellent! We were overwhelmed with gratefulness!

If we could write a personal, handwritten note to those who contributed on behalf of military families, we’d do it. They have given sacrificially to support the families of our men and women in service to our country, and should know what a blessing they are to us. I know they don’t give to be thanked (we don’t serve our country SO THAT we get thanked, either), but they are priceless.

Thanks again, brother!

In Him,


God at work at Ponderosa Lodge – Week 3

Posted by & filed under Stories of Ministry.

Testimonies compiled by Scotty Gullick


A fifth-year “super senior” camper at Ponderosa Lodge, Stacy shared during the regular Friday night sharing time about how God met her during her week of camp. In tears she recalled her years here, and described Ponderosa as a “true home.”

Coming from Japan for a week at Ponderosa Lodge, Mia loved sharing a cabin with students she could relate with, who understood her hurts (some even spoke her same language). During camp, Mia realized Jesus wants “all of me; that God doesn’t want me to go home unchanged,” and she surrendered her life to God.

Steven lost his mom to cancer two years ago and stopped going to church because he was mad at God. Wanting to be strong for his family, he hadn’t yet cried about it. But the tears came during Thursday night’s worship, as he was convinced of the presence of God. Steven is now back in his church, pursing his relationship with the Lord.”

At Ponderosa Lodge, Alissa sought out and really grasped what a relationship with Jesus means, and gratefully gave her life to Christ. Talking with Brooke, her counselor, Alissa realized that back at home she’d have no help to grow, and asked Brooke to purposely check in with her!

Youth Groups:

Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
Walnut Creek Pres. youth leaders Brendan, Risa and Brian block-registered their students and joined them in cabins for the first time for a Ponderosa Lodge week. Giving camp a shot, Brendan, the Sr. High pastor, was surprised at “how well Pondy did summer camp!” His time with his students has encouraged Brendan to sign up even more next summer. Brian, their summer intern, said being at camp with his guys built strong relational foundations for reaching out to them the rest of the summer.

Santa Rosa Bible Church
Doug and Sandy Cavalier came as youth pastors for Ponderosa Lodge’s week three. They both had good times with their students, and Sandy had nine girls in her cabin! Many of the girls didn’t know each other well before the week, and Pondy was a great place to see the smaller groups bond into a larger church community.

Review of the Martin Fire in Bonny Doon

Posted by & filed under General.

Dear Mount Hermon Family,

Many of you have been following the Martin Fire (named for the road near where the fire originated) that was burning near Bonny Doon, six miles NW of Mount Hermon.  By tonight, June 16, it will be 100% contained.  Few homes in the area were burned, and no injuries were reported. We are profoundly grateful that the fire did not threaten us, as the winds blew it away from us and down a sparsely populated slope.  This was a mercy. 

Mercy is a mark of God’s character, a mark we as His people are to emulate and extend.  Last week we had the immeasurable blessing of showing this mercy to those putting themselves in harm’s way in fighting the Martin fire.

68 firefighters (65 men and 3 women) and 15 engines stayed here at Mount Hermon for a respite from the fire battle.  Coming from as far away as San Bernardino and San Francisco, they stayed from Thursday evening to Friday morning, and were back on the fire line by 6:00 am.

They loved Mount Hermon!  From their lodging (Pine and Fir), they had a sweet view of the Family Camp dry run for our opening program.  You could tell they were totally relaxed and in awe of Mount Hermon.  What fun!

These firefighters were very glad for the accommodations, that they didn’t have to sleep on the dirt!  Their budget even allowed them to pay a very reasonable price, and Cal Fire was grateful.

We had over 20 more with us Friday to Saturday, requiring our Housekeeping to come in early and turnover 20 rooms! In a three hour window our staff went from knowing nothing about this to clearing the parking lot for all the fire trucks, opening up the rooms, coordinating the housing, communicating with four different strike team leaders, throwing some extra food on the BBQs, and taking care of their payments.

From Registration, to Custodial, to Food Service, to Housekeeping, to Conference Services, to Program teams, it was an awesome display of the unity, servant hearts, and professionalism of our staff.  All of this in the midst of a very busy staff training and Family Camp prep week.  They are amazing! 

Bill Fernald,
Director of Guest Services