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.

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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.

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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.

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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


Mount Hermon Annual Fund & The Difference

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Giving, Kindling.

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Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.
C.S. Lewis.

No truer words than these describe Mount Hermon and the impact Mount Hermon Associates have had over the last twenty-plus years.

God has grown Mount Hermon’s reach in amazing ways. When I arrived in 1998, we ministered to less than 50,000 people per year; today it exceeds 70,000.  Our year-round staff of 123 in 1998 has grown to 295 today.  In 1995 we launched our Outdoor Science School, which now ministers to over 4,000 children each year, and includes a strategic ministry partnership in mainland China.  In 2003 and 2004 the Lord gave us Whisper Canyon and Kidder Creek Camps.

In 2006 our McAfee Fieldhouse opened, which changed everything in terms of year-round ministry options.  In a similar way, our reach and program options grew exponentially in 2008 when the Redwood Canopy Tour and Sequoia Adventure Course opened.  We had sixty cabins in 1996 and today the Lord has blessed us with eighty cabins.

In 2012 we purchased the Felton Meadow.  As we wait on God’s timing regarding the development of this new property, we’re creating unique new programs for this zone that will minister to tens of thousands more in the years to come!

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In 1998 our young Associates program had 98 members.  Today (as of 2015) Mount Hermon Associates number over 900—PTL!  Our Associates are not only part of our culture they’re woven into the fabric of our lives.  God has blessed this ministry in unimaginable ways and we can’t imagine life without you, our faithful, loving and supportive Associates—THANK YOU!

Yet, through it all, the Associates program has remained the same while everything else dramatically changed: staff growth, facility growth, program growth and the constantly increasing expenses to operate this ministry with excellence.  Twenty years ago, a dozen eggs could be purchased for around a dollar; today it’s not unusual to pay four.  Today a gallon of milk pushes five dollars, while twenty years ago it cost around three.  This one really impacts us:  the minimum wage was four dollars and change twenty years ago; today its ten dollars per hour, and soon it will increase to fifteen, which will have enormous financial impact.

So after much prayer and processing, along with input from many of you encouraging us to reconsider the financial threshold for Associates, we are announcing an update.  With the approval or our Board of Directors, the financial threshold for NEW Associates will now be $1,000 per year.  We want to provide plenty of lead time, so this change will not take effect until January 2017.

Praise The Lord that today over half of our Associates are already giving $1,000 or more each year.  We’re also aware that many others give quite sacrificially to reach the $500 level.  Please know that we are deeply grateful for every dollar given!  Nothing is changing for you unless you want it to.  Only NEW Associates will be tied to the $1,000/year giving threshold. Associates as of December 31, 2016 will remain at the current $500 per year.

Each and every Associate is a blessing!  We literally could not operate Mount Hermon without you—Thank You!  As we all move towards the future reaching even more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, we want you to be crystal clear regarding this change.  Please don’t hesitate to contact Kerry Phibbs or me if you have any questions.


Learning Lessons the Hard Way

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

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As life-long Christians, we knew the answer to the ultimate eternal question: “What happens after death?” But we didn’t know about the temporal, financial, and family trauma questions when it came to our adult daughter with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening and rare genetic disease of the lungs and digestive systems.

Shannon had been in and out of hospitals for years, usually for 30 days at a time, and although treatments were successful, we knew sudden death was possible. At 36 years of age, she was on a list for a lung transplant. We were in Southern California when friends called who had arranged a MediVac flight for Shannon’s transport again to Stanford University Hospital. This time, however, we had 36 hours’ notice that her conditions appeared irreversible.

A friend asked if Shannon had a will, and knowing of none, we had a power of attorney prepared, but too late. Shannon was unable to sign the document, and she died without a valid will or power of attorney.

After the funeral, we discovered that with no co-signers, her bank accounts were frozen, and she had nobody involved with her financial savings or other assets. Armed with a sufficient number of death certificates, and with a significant amount of worry and effort, we finally were able to close the estate and have the assets transferred to us.

Learning of Shannon’s lack of preparation was a painful lesson for us, as well. We should have been prepared with safeguards for our own estate. It led us to establish our own trust document that identifies our assets, names the trustees and successor trustees, designates the distribution of assets upon death, and provides for updating as time and life changes occur. This has given us a great peace of mind that upon our decease, our estate will go where we want it to go, rather than leaving it to the hands of a lengthy state probate system.

This is valuable to us as senior citizens, but we are concerned for the younger generation coming along, who need to protect issues of what would happen to their children, should they be suddenly orphaned, as well as the distribution of financial assets. It’s alarming that over 55% of Americans do not have a proper will or trust agreement. They are relatively easy to set up, and they assure that your wishes will be followed. We heartily recommend it as an obvious exercise of Christian stewardship.
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We’re grateful Mount Hermon has encouraged proper planning, and can refer anyone to a qualified attorney who can help with the process.

Shannon has now been gone for 20 years. The hard lessons learned from her untimely death have been God’s gracious gift to us.

Paul and Jo Ann Phibbs are long-time friends and supporters of Mount Hermon. They live in Oklahoma, and are also the parents of Kerry Phibbs, Mount Hermon’s Associate Director of Advancement.


The Claussens—Volunteering is a Family Affair

Posted by & filed under General, Kindling, Stories of Ministry, Volunteer.

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Volunteers—what would we do without them? At Mount Hermon our volunteers make an extraordinary difference in the day-to-day, season-to-season rhythm of life here. The gift from a financial viewpoint is beyond measure. Their service creates not only financial blessing, but the manpower needed to complete so many jobs at Mount Hermon.

One of the unexpected benefits of serving is when the servers experience abundant blessing in return—that is priceless. They know they are making a difference, but most importantly they are modeling the qualities of Jesus—our Savior.Such is the case with the Claussen family. Mark and Angel, along with four of their kids, Katie (17), Ruthie (14), John (11), Lorelei (7)

I asked Angel to share some of their story with me.

What started the Mount Hermon story for the Claussen family?

When Mark was 12 years old he came to Redwood Camp at Mount Hermon for the first time. He had attended another camp the previous year which had not been a good experience. His mother convinced him that he only had to go to Redwood Camp one time, and if he did not like it, he never had to go to another Christian camp again. Well, his counselor was Ken Harrower, and Mark can tell you something from every day that week. He loved it!

Now our kids have grown up attending Mount Hermon Family camps. We look forward to it all year long.

So what took you to Kidder Creek?

Our oldest son Markey, went to Kidder Creek horse camp in 1990. Katie and Ruthie started going in 2009 and they all loved it! When we came to see the “Showdeo,” we met a family that was volunteering at Kidder and so the idea began to grow.

In 2014, Mark retired and we all could spend a large part of the summer together at Kidder Creek, serving as a family.

What do you do when you are at camp?

We help wherever we are needed, mostly with the horse camp. Maintenance, repairs, cleaning, kitchen help, rounding up horses, helping the wranglers, helping Amy with the horses, and trail rides, teaching horse science when needed, making kids feel welcome, lifeguarding—a little bit of everything.

Often we help the kids from Camp Hope (a camp for children who come from domestic violence). Even Lorelei, our youngest, was able to just be with them and help them feel safe and loved.

What’s been the impact on your family?

We love the relationships we have formed with the year-round and summer staffs. What a blessing for us!

We came to Kidder Creek to help, support, and bless the campers and staff, but in reality we are the ones that have been blessed by the wonderful people we have met and served.

Kidder Creek is a place to meet Jesus and where He shows what He is capable of….

We asked the kids what they like most about Kidder Creek and they said, “But Mom, it is our second home! God is sooo present there and we love all the people!”

The Claussens are a special part of our Mount Hermon Volunteer Partners, along with many others. If you’d like to share the gift of service, please contact Don Broesamle at don.broesamle@mounthermon.org.


Reporting Back Dishwasher Appeal

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

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If you’ve ever eaten in the dining hall, you know it is a special place at Mount Hermon. Not only a place where we enjoy delicious meals, but also rich conversation, experience heart felt laughter, create wonderful memories and just share life.

At Mount Hermon we take the act of service and guest care seriously, so we thank you for being part of a very important mission—replacing a well-used, well-worn dishwasher!

Last spring many of you watched a video in which JR implored you, “Please help us, help Mike not have to wash dishes.” Well, we asked and you responded—in fact, over 200 generous friends stepped up to make this very significant project a reality.

dishwasher-guy-1200x800The response to helping us meet our goal for the dishwasher was remarkable. Truthfully, we were just amazed at how many of you responded with such generosity. As a result of the abundant provision given, we are well on our way to meeting the goal of the $189,000 needed to complete the entire project.

We trust the Lord’s provision for the remaining funds so we can begin the project early this fall. If all goes well, we will have the entire project completed prior to the holidays.

So remember, each time you eat off of a clean plate, drink out of a sparkling glass or stir your beverage with a shiny spoon, you’ll know you had a hand in making that happen!

Thanks a million, or at least $189,000!

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Doc: The Man on Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Transforming Summer Staff

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

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This summer, Kidder Creek will hire nearly sixty young adults to live and serve at the camp all summer long.

For the staff, the summer is just as transformational as it is for the campers.

God uses their relationships, hard work, dedication and perseverance to deepen their faith and help them grow closer to Jesus. If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you’ve likely come away from your time of service feeling like you were the beneficiary. The same is true of summer staff at camp. All summer long, our dedicated staff continue to give their best even when they are worn out and God is faithful to use each moment to  transform lives in powerful ways as only He can do.

Serving on summer staff is a thrilling experience and one that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Kidder Creek is still looking to hire a handful of remaining positions for the 2016 summer.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the life transformational work of summer camp, please invite them to visit whyiworkatcamp.com. The power of camp is available to camper and staff alike.

Come join us this summer!