Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

Conference Center Summer Staff Highlight: Christa Hansen

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

Christa Hanson Photo

Meet Christa Hansen! We love stories about how God works in amazing ways not only in the lives of campers and families, but also in the lives of our staff! Christa’s story is an example of just that! We asked her a few questions about her time on the mountain. This is what she said:

What is your past experience at the Herm? How did you hear about us? What inspired you to come and work on staff?

I worked at a different camp in 2014 and had a really awful experience of being overworked and unsupported. I ended up burning out so badly that I left the camp early and felt like a failure. One of my friends who had worked at Mount Hermon encouraged me to give it a try the next summer. He told me that the care for their staff was so much more tangible and that it would be a growing experience for me.

I have a passion for the outdoors, so in 2015, I applied to work on the adventure/rec staff. While I love hiking and other outdoor adventures, I had a huge fear of heights, and the thought of working every day 80 feet up in a sequoia wasn’t appealing at first. God called me to challenge my limits that summer and I took each fear in stride. I felt his presence encouraging me through every obstacle. Before long, I had overcome so many of my own mental limitations and found a home up in those trees, as well as a deep bond with the other members of my team who encouraged me through each moment of that summer.

  • Christa Hansen photo
  • Christa Hansen photo

A lot of staffers mention that it’s the “people” that make camp as special as it is. In your experience, what about the people make camp so impactful?  Do you have any short anecdotes about specific campers or staff members you would like to share?

My entire adventure/rec team bonded like a family. Each of them was so unique and quirky and incredibly dedicated to using their passions to serve the kingdom. I can’t really pinpoint what made them like family. I think it was just the subtle familiarity that comes with sharing life so closely together. Between exhausting joy-filled days in the sunshine, countless games of Catan, and too many trips to the fountain for our wallets or stomachs to handle, we just settled into being a team. When I was overwhelmed, someone always was there to soothe the anxiety, and when I was happy, there were countless people to laugh with. In every area that I felt weak, someone would support me and fill in the gaps, and in every area that I was strong, I felt affirmed and enabled to do good. It was such a beautiful picture of God’s design for his kingdom- unique brothers and sisters of Christ sharing their specific strengths for service.

If you could encourage anyone to join our staff, what would you tell them?

Christa Hansen PhotoIf I could encourage anyone to join Mount Hermon, I would invite the ones who are afraid to do it. To those who say, “I could never do that,” I say, “Come let God rock your world.” Before my summer working on adventure/rec, my fear of heights was almost a deal breaker.  But part way through the summer, it felt like home and I had discovered a new confidence in myself. I remember looking at the staff counselors that summer and thinking, “I could never do their job.” But two summers later, God has called me back to serve as a staff counselor, and I’m going because I am ready to be amazed again by what God has designed me to do. To anyone interested in working at Mount Hermon, I say apply, come with an open heart, and be prepared to work hard,  make incredible friends, have epic adventures, and be reshaped by the Creator of heaven and earth!

Christa Hansen Photo

Has your time on summer staff provided you with any tools (professionally or personally) that have been applicable post camp life?

Yes! I had just graduated college with a psychology degree when I first worked at Mount Hermon. I knew that I wanted to go into counseling, but I wasn’t sure what direction God was calling me to pursue. After working with the families and other campers that came through our adventure/rec activities, I realized what a positive impact getting outside and away from the norm could have on families. That summer, I realized that I want to become a marriage and family therapist, and I want to take families out of their comfort zones through outdoor therapy and wilderness immersion experiences to allow God to work a transformation into their lives through my counseling.

Once I confided this new dream to my staff, I was offered tons of opportunities to grow in that area. Nate, Lindsey, and Donny let me shadow them during their team-building sessions with guest-groups, and I learned a ton about group processes that directly applies to what I want to do as a marriage and family therapist! God works in awesome ways, and little did I know that summer that he was also preparing me to return as a staff counselor this year! I can’t wait to see what new skills I pick up this summer and where God leads me to apply them in the future.

Apply for Summer Staff

Extended Deadline for All Mentoring Clinics

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized, Writers Conference.

by Jan Kern

Do you have a writing project that’s nearly ready to be birthed? Could you benefit from a small mentoring group of no more than six writers? This can be the perfect setting for focusing in on developing your writing and taking your manuscript to the next level.

The Pre-Conference Next Level Clinics, April 5-7, offer mentoring groups for children’s writing, fiction,  nonfiction, and platform. The fiction and nonfiction clinics have beginning and intermediate levels.

The main conference, April 7-11, offers Morning Mentoring Clinics in both fiction and nonfiction.

The good news is, it’s not too late! Most of these clinics have room for you to join them. And we are extending the application deadline to Monday, March 27.

If you’re interested in the pre-conference clinics, check out the application details here.

If you’re interested in the main conference clinics, follow the directions at this link to request an application.

Take advantage of the extended deadline and sign up for a mentoring clinic that will help bring your writing and that manuscript into the world.

Four Ways Money Can Add Depth to Your World

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized, Writers Conference.

british coins

by Chris Morris

Many novels hardly even mention currency in the story. And most characters never run out of money or supplies … unless it’s a convenient plot point.

But a creative author can use money as a way to introduce the intricacies of the world that is created. Currency can shine light on the motives of a character. In fantasy, the currency is often based on one or more types of metal. Classic science fiction fare typically has paperless credits or universal currency. So long as authors stick to the mantra of “show, don’t tell,” economies can serve as much more than background.

  1. Political unrest

Imagine a world where a usurper just commandeered control of the kingdom where your story takes place. As an indication of his newly established dominion, he mints new currency with his face on the coins and issues an edict that all commerce must be conducted with his coins only.

Those who support the usurper will gladly comply, while those merchants with less-than-loving feelings toward him will be inclined to continue to accept the “old money.”

Placing your protagonist in the midst of this political intrigue opens a variety of options that will enhance your story.

  1. Bartering with a twist

Picture a universe where a horse with a lame leg has more value to a merchant than a healthy horse. There are  myriad reasons this could be the case, each giving you the chance to expand your world.

Perhaps the sacred texts of your world include this proverb: “The favor of the gods will shine upon the man who cares for a lame animal, for his heart is pure and worthy of reward.”

This uncommon bartering system would create some particularly memorable scenes in a time-travel plot line like Outlander, where the protagonist is not familiar with the world. Your readers would then be able to experience confusion with your main character, which creates further connection with your story.

  1. Black market

It would be easy to “play the religion card” in this scenario. To use an example that could potentially occur in our actual world, consider what the market for hamburgers in India might look like if India were a militant Hindu nation.

But religion is not the only reason a black market might exist. There are many creative concepts that could be applied here. The monarch of a kingdom could be deathly allergic to nuts, so they are banished. But there are certain indigenous tribesmen who still rely upon the sale of Brazil nuts. Welcome to the Brazil nut black market.

Your protagonist can enter this black market for a variety of reasons, ranging from an insatiable desire for Brazil nuts to a need for extra income.

  1. Money exchangers can provide insight into the prejudices among the races.

Consider for a moment what it would be like for a Romulan in the twenty-fourth century to work at a currency exchange for a Klingon world? Try as he might, his strong prejudice against Klingons would come out. This can be brought into the narrative using a short dialogue scene like this:

“We don’t want to exchange our money until Sbardi is working. Like all Romulans, he hates Klingons and gives a better exchange rate.”

In two sentences, the readers are clued into racial tension and see how it impacts the protagonist. The possibilities are endless when you introduce money exchange as a component of your universe.

I am a CPA, but I realize that most people would not want to read a treatise on the economic conditions of Diagon Alley. I’m not suggesting the focus of your stories be on the intricacies of how goods are bought and sold. Instead, I’m pointing out the opportunities that exist in the context of money exchanging hands. Rather than quickly moving over these exchanges, and treating money as a non-entity in the stories you craft, you can add depth and vibrancy to your world.

What other ways could you see currency being used to open up your world to your readers?

Chris is presenting financial workshops for creative people at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference April 7-11, 2017.

photo of chris morrisChris Morris is the founder and managing partner for Chris Morris CPA, LLC, an accounting firm focused on meeting the tax and accounting needs of creative entrepreneurs. He has the privilege of counting editors, digital designers, magazine publishers, authors, photographers, online marketing firms, and book illustrators among his clients. He is the author of the book I’m Making Money, Now What? A Creative Entrepreneur’s Guide to Managing Taxes & Accounting for a Growing Business.

 

Welcome Drew Otto!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

KC-DrewRiver-600x450

Kidder Creek Camp is excited to welcome Drew Otto back to its staff as our incoming Associate Director!

From 2007–2013 Drew spent most of his summers at Kidder Creek as a counselor, men’s staff counselor and head river guide. The other 3 seasons at Mount Hermon he spent working as a naturalist, principal and developer in the Outdoor Science Program at Mount Hermon.

“I’m excited to be vocationally working for the kingdom and to see God move and reveal himself to our campers AND to our staff. It’s an exciting honor to be a part of what’s happening at Kidder Creek.”

KC-Otto'sFamilyPic-600x432

Drew is joined by his wife Charlene and daughter Ellie. Charlene is  pregnant with their second daughter and due in August.

Everyone who knows Drew and Char is so excited to welcome them back to Kidder Creek as part of the full time staff. Together they bring a passion to invest into our staff and to see campers’ lives transformed as they meet Jesus here at camp through our staff and adventure experiences.

Please welcome Drew and Char to our team!   

Velocity Bike Park Update — January 2016

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Adventures Updates, Uncategorized, Velocity.

Felton Meadow/Velocity Bike Park
Town Hall Meeting

Mount Hermon is excited to announce a public meeting about the Felton Meadow/Velocity Bike Park project. Felton Meadow is a 14.4 acre parcel bordered by Graham Hill Road, the Felton Faire Shopping Center and Mount Hermon’s existing properties. With over a 100 year history in the San Lorenzo Valley, Mount Hermon is proud to steward this important piece of land.

Saturday, January 23

1:00 to 3:00pm

Felton Community Hall

6191 HWY 9, ADJACENT TO THE FIRE STATION

On Saturday, January 23rd from 1:00–3:00pm we’ll be hosting an informational and question and answer time at the Felton Community Hall at 6191, Highway 9, beside the Felton Fire Station. We’ll be discussing our proposed plans for property improvements, community based programs and how you can be involved. We will also give an update on our Environmental Impact Report process and have a time to answer your questions.

There is no need to RSVP—just come and bring a friend! We look forward to seeing you there!

feltonmeadow-bike feltonmeadow-daycamp mtbrs

An Eternal Investment

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

 

As my first summer as President/CEO comes to a close I am deeply grateful to God for His work in this special and unique place known as Mount Hermon. Individuals have been refreshed, marriages renewed, families reconnected, and lives transformed. Glory to God for the great things He has done!

Throughout the summer I have had numerous conversations with people who have told me why they love Mount Hermon and have chosen to invest financially in this place. I have heard the following themes reverberating as to why people give to Mount Hermon:


“We support Mount Hermon because it’s a place where people’s lives are forever changed.”


“Mount Hermon is where we’ve grown the most spiritually and we want to pass this on to the next generation. We give because we desire for our children and grandchildren to continue going to Mount Hermon long after we have departed from this earth.”


“We are legacy oriented and investing in Mount Hermon makes an eternal difference.”


Victory Circle testimonies tell it all!

In a day when our culture goes against the grain of biblical truth, what Mount Hermon stands for and provides is more important than ever. Your prayers and investment in this ministry are making an eternal difference, and I want to say a huge “thank you” for your faithful support and love of the Lord and His work at Mount Hermon. What you do matters, and I want you to know that you are greatly appreciated!

Read more about Mike’s Journey

Associates Make a Huge Difference

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

head-KerryOne of the top joy experiences here is watching people’s lives being transformed in a way only Jesus can do. Lives Transformed–that’s Mount Hermon’s mission. A precious couple, whose lives were transformed here 50 years ago, just wrote that they have very intentionally chosen to become Mount Hermon Associates. They are compelled to help others receive the same blessing they received here.

What a delight to share their enthusiastic letter.

“We are thrilled to finally be able to be part of the Mount Hermon Associates with this gift of $500 and would like to be added to your list, using the funds wherever they are needed.

We have been physically and emotionally connected to Mount Hermon since the 50’s. We have not lived in the area for 50 years but the San Lorenzo Valley will always be home. (I went to camp in 1958.) My husband, grandson and I went to family camp for the first time this July, while our two granddaughters went to Redwood and Ponderosa. It took us 50 years to bring our lives full circle, beginning and ending at Mount Hermon, but we made it. It was an amazing experience for all of us.

Our three grandchildren are part of a blended family now since our son died. Mount Hermon youth camps have been their only spiritual influence towards God, and their camp experience has been vital to them for emotional healing and spiritual growth. YOU ARE “IT” FOR THEM. That’s why it is so important for us to get them there for the next few years. Our participation in giving to camp is so that other children will be blessed like ours have.

Thank you to everyone on your staff for making a stay at Mount Hermon so special and fulfilling. Especially to the camp counselors who pour their hearts and energy out to the youth in order to impact them towards our Lord and Savior forever, as they did for me 55 years ago. It is because of what Mount Hermon did for me at age 11 that makes me who and what I am today!

It blesses us so much to know we can be connected to Mount Hermon as Associates after all these years.”

Our Associates family is just that, a family, and they make a huge difference. Their prayers and selfless giving are the Lord’s provision that keeps Mount Hermon’s doors open, so God–ordained appointments like these can happen every day.


Could you write a similar testimony about the place Mount Hermon holds in your heart?

If you’d like to be part of this special group of people, please take that next step and call me at 831.430.1237 or write me at kerry.phibbs@mounthermon.org.

And if you’re already an Associate, thank you!

Getting to know our Cast of Characters – Mark Bradshaw

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Since you are a part of our family of supporters, we want you to get to know our staff more intimately than you might be able to during your time at camp. Allow us to give you a glimpse into our lives. Hopefully this will help you to pray for us and to make connections when you are here.

Mark_Bradshaw_Recent_News
Mark Bradshaw—Conferences Services Manager

Mark came onto full time staff last September; however he is no stranger to Mount Hermon. Mark served as a summer staff counselor at the Conference Center for three summers and for a full year on our Facilities team.

He and his wife, Katie (Flynn, now Bradshaw, who was also on full-time staff) have been living in Pasadena for the last two years where Mark has been studying in the Masters of Divinity program at Fuller Theological Seminary. While there Mark worked with Fuller’s Office for Urban Initiatives and as a Chaplain at Arcadia Methodist Hospital.

Mark is excited to be back at Mount Hermon and we’re thrilled to have him. His heart for hospitality and attention to every detail are essential for this position. When not at work, Mark is an avid cyclist and runner, hoping to complete his fifth marathon and first triathlon this year. An Old Testament buff, Mark reads the Hebrew Scriptures every day. Mark and Katie had their first baby boy in February!

Leave a Legacy to Impact Future Generations

Posted by & filed under Giving, Uncategorized.

Redwood_Society_brand
Mount Hermon is pleased to announce the formation of the Redwood Society, dedicated to bonding together a group of special friends who have set aside a portion of their estate for the future benefit of Mount Hermon.

For generations of families, Mount Hermon has formed a distinctive heritage, and over the decades numerous families have established lifetime legacies for those following in their footsteps. It is our hope your family will be similarly led to invest here, anticipating the marvelous impact your intentionality will have in years to come.

As Director of the Redwood Society, I can discuss gifting opportunities and recommend professionals who can help you with wise planning. Please feel free to contact me at dave.talbott@mounthermon.org. If you have already remembered Mount Hermon in your estate plan, we would like to thank you and enroll you as a charter member.

Our first reception for Redwood Society members will be held in conjunction with our AIM Celebration in May. If you are already enrolled, watch for your invitation. If you are considering membership, we would love to have you join us. Let us know how we can help.

Charter Membership in the Redwood Society remains open through 2013.