Posts Categorized: Kindling

Mark & Joan

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Kindling.

Part of the family…that’s Mark and Joan Folden. They have left their fingerprints all over Mount Hermon both literally and figuratively.  Chances are you may have met them

Mark shares their story:

“I grew up attending Mount Hermon as a teenager.  Early on in our marriage, we began to attend couples conferences and family camp with the children and renting cabins through Mount Hermon.  A few years later, we were able to purchase a cabin of our own. This allowed us to spend even more time at Mount Hermon. Our children were able to attend multiple day camps while we enjoyed the adult teaching. A favorite time was Sunday morning Bible study with Roger Williams. It didn’t take long to realize this would be our favorite place to spend our time. 

We began volunteering about 12 years ago, starting out ushering and collecting tickets at the Saturday night concerts. Over time our involvement increased to include ‘hosting’ a donut table during the summer coffee breaks, serving as door greeters to the dining hall, table setters, and helping serve the guests at the Sunday night barbecues.  We also enjoy working in the auditorium during the summer and Christmas concerts.  We love interacting with the guests as we greet people, collect tickets, and help with seating. 

For a number of years we did ‘airport runs’, picking up speakers and musicians during the summer.  We enjoyed having these people captive in our car for the hour it took to drive over the hill.  Great memories and friendships resulted from those experiences.

One of our favorite times is meeting the guests each week throughout the campus, greeting them, remembering their names and talking with them about their lives. Connecting with people we come to know brings an instant smile.

Being part of the volunteer family allows us to have a closer relationship with those we serve and work with. We have made lifelong friends and have had the joy of celebrating events of happiness as well as caring and praying for other volunteers as we go through challenging times.

When we first heard about Mount Hermon’s Associates in Ministry, we had a heart tug knowing we wanted to participate.  The Associates in Ministry Celebration each year, including the Friday morning prayer time, has become the highlight of our Mount Hermon experience.  We strongly believe in the Redwood Society. We know that leaving a financial legacy to Mount Hermon will help continue the mission of ‘Lives Transformed’ for many years to come.

We feel abundantly blessed having an opportunity to serve at Mount Hermon.”

———————

Mark and Joan are a beautiful example of the faithful friends that help make Mount Hermon so special. They love and care for our guests and staff so generously. Thank you to Mark and Joan, thank you to our volunteers and thank you to our Associates. Mount Hermon would not be the same without you! 

By Kerry Phibbs
Advancement Team

God Knew All Along!

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Redwood Society, Stories of Ministry.

Have you ever had a moment where you realized God had been working “behind-the-scenes” for years without you even knowing it? I certainly have, and last fall at Mount Hermon we experienced one of those God moments that only He could have orchestrated. 

Last summer a couple came to us expressing interest in purchasing two homes for Mount Hermon. It was their desire that we would use these homes for staff housing. We were overwhelmed and so thankful. We identified two perfect houses close to the Conference Center, but there was a slight problem: the homes needed some work, and one of them needed a lot of work. 

After a careful walk-through by our maintenance department, we determined that the needed work would come to about $150,000. That’s a lot of money, and we didn’t quite know where it was going to come from. But God knew all along. 

A number of years ago, Betty Joseph and her husband Bill made the decision to include Mount Hermon in their will.

They were members of the Mount Hermon Redwood Society. Although I never knew Betty and Bill, I know that they must have loved Mount Hermon deeply.

Bill went home to be with the Lord a number of years ago and Betty graduated to be with the Lord in April of 2015. We received notice of a gift from their estate last fall and I remember the day we received the gift. In the midst of this exciting time when we needed about $150,000, guess how much Betty and Bill blessed Mount Hermon with through their stewardship? $145,000! 

Do you think God knew those many years ago that through Bill and Betty’s careful estate planning He would provide for this specific need at this specific time? I absolutely do, because our God is a BIG GOD!

I am so grateful for each and every ministry friend who has included Mount Hermon in their wills.

Bill and Betty’s story is just one of the many examples of how God uses these gifts to meet very specific and significant ministry needs. 

Have you and your family been blessed by the ministry of Mount Hermon? I encourage you to prayerfully consider putting Mount Hermon in your estate plan. I believe the Lord already knows how He will use your gift to bless so many. 

The Redwood Society exists to thank those who have included Mount Hermon in their will or estate plans. For more information, please contact me at 831.430.1243 or jr.loofbourrow@mounthermon.org.

By J.R. Loofbourrow
Vice President of Advancement

Reporting Back: The Kitchen

Posted by & filed under Building Projects, Kindling.

The Conference Center kitchen is one of Mount Hermon’s busiest camp zones and it’s hard to overstate its impact on guests. 

With the kitchen’s help, families get a break from having to shop, prep, cook, and clean up after a meal so they can focus on rich fellowship and connection with each other.

 Fun Kitchen Facts:  

14 hours a day the kitchen is operating to prep, serve and clean        

100 staff are employed during summer         

240,000 meals are served every year

10,000 donuts are made each summer (most importantly!) 

Recently, some specific areas of the kitchen were in dire need of structural repair and equipment replacement. We reached out to donors like you and you responded!

Thanks to you, the kitchen now has…  

New flooring and sub-flooring (restoring structural integrity)

Giant Steam Kettles (for cooking pasta, corn, and ribs)

New Tilt-Skillet (used to brown meat, sauté veggies, and stir-fry)

New Steamer (for cooking rice and veggies)

Thank you for your generous gifts toward this project. Our prayer is that these upgrades will bless millions of people in the decades to come in this vital ministry zone. 

By Topher Matson
Advancement Team

Come and See God’s Great Love!

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

You may think that when our busy summer season finishes, it’s time for a break. No way! Our program team is already planning for our busy season of fall youth retreats. This past fall more than 800 students attended one of our five Fall Frenzy weekends, uniquely designed to give Jr. High and High School students all the fun of a week of camp in three short days!

The theme was Wonder: Come and See God’s Great Love! Our theme verse was 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Focusing on the story of Zacchaeus, students examined the amazing truth that God loves us and calls us his children. 

This all took place at the Mount Hermon Boardwalk, an amusement park theme we created full of child-like wonder!

There is something special that happens when students attend a Fall Frenzy with their youth group and leaders from their church.

Having quality time together at camp often cements relationships for years to come. It builds trust and openness, and campers get to continue their growth with God throughout the year alongside the people they began it with. This was certainly the case with Courtney, who attended Fall Frenzy for the second time this past fall.

Back in the fall of 2017, Courtney came to youth group for the first time.

It was a Halloween event, and she had been invited by a friend. Courtney had never really been to church before, but began attending youth group regularly. Just two months later, she decided to come with the youth group to Fall Frenzy at Mount Hermon. That weekend changed everything!

After her time at Mount Hermon, she continued coming to youth group, and was noticeably more engaged. She began to open up more and build relationships with the leaders. Several months later she made the decision to place her trust in Jesus and get baptized! She now comes to youth group and church every week and is going on her church’s Mexico mission trip this year. On top of all that, she is already signed up to come to Mount Hermon’s Campers in Leadership Training program this summer! 

The best part of this story? This year, Courtney brought her friend, Amanda, to Fall Frenzy for the first time. We can’t wait to see the ripple effects of what God started in Courtney’s life at Fall Frenzy and how it will continue to spread to others. 

Please join us in praying for all of the students who attended Fall Frenzy, that they would continue to grow closer to God and more fully understand his wondrous love for us!

By Andrew Summers
Advancement Team

Introducing Naomie Bragado

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Staff News.

Naomie is our Director of Children’s Ministries and we thought you might enjoy hearing her passion and excitement.

Topher: Tell us about your fun family!

Naomie: I came from a big family of 11. My husband (Justin) and I have just four kids—Jaida (9), Levi (8), Moriah (6), and Kiana (2). You can typically find us playing board games, spending time at the beach together, or doing just about anything fun outside as a family. 

Topher: What’s your background in Children’s Ministry? What called you there?

Naomie: Years ago, I was a middle school math teacher. My dad passed away suddenly, and it was a big blow. It caused me to think about my own life. If the most important decision a person can make is to follow Christ, is this the best way I can help others put their trust in Jesus? I decided I wanted my focus in life to be on teaching kids directly about God. Before I knew it, I was serving as Children’s Pastor at a large church in the East Bay. I really enjoyed helping kids experience Christ. I served in that role for eight years total – the last two were spent launching a satellite campus.

Topher: What excites you most about your role at Mount Hermon?

Naomie: Two things really pump me up. First, overseeing Mount Hermon’s children’s camps means I get to work with a passionate, talented team of young adults. It’s wonderful to help develop God’s next generation of church leaders. Second, Mount Hermon has a unique opportunity to reach unchurched families for Christ. Families who won’t set foot in a church today still come to camp and hear the gospel with open hearts and expectation. Our job is to make space for them to experience God’s love and challenge them to plug into a church when they return home. In a way, serving at camp means I’m still serving the church too!

Topher: In your few months here, what has been a highlight for you and your family?

Naomie: It’s incredible the feeling of legacy that’s here at Mount Hermon. Getting to be a part of generations of parents and kids experiencing God here is both exciting and humbling. As a family, we’re thrilled to be part of the ministry work God is doing here for eternity.

 ———————

We’re thrilled to have Naomie so passionately fitted to her role! Please lift Naomie and Mount Hermon’s Children’s Ministry team up in your prayers as they serve families through various events throughout the year. 

Interview By Topher Matson
Advancement Team

Securing Our Family

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

One of the biggest blessings of my job is working with the many military families who come to Family Camp. Most of you know that we have a campership program that brings military families to a week of Family Camp free of charge. Each year I marvel at how the Lord uses a week of camp to heal these families who have sacrificed so much, and to draw them closer to each other and to Himself. 

Several years ago I received an email from DeeDee. Her husband Spencer, who was not a believer, had just received an honorable discharge from the Marines after serving 14 months in Iraq but having a physical disability that didn’t allow him to continue to serve. They had a special family circumstance. Their eleven-year-old daughter, Kayla, had a number of major medical issues. They had traveled the country seeking help and finding few answers, while spending tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for medical bills. DeeDee knew Kayla would need some special accommodations to be able to come to camp for a whole week, and we were happy to make them!

“To say that Mount Hermon has saved our family unit, would be one of the greatest understatements we can make. Mount Hermon not only has saved our family unit multiple times, it has secured our salvations.”
 —DeeDee

So DeeDee, Spencer, Kayla, and two younger daughters came for a week of Family Camp, and had the most amazing time! Two years later they returned for another week of camp, and DeeDee and Spencer even came to a Couple’s Retreat. Mount Hermon had become a sacred place for their family, providing time together and beautiful memories. 

I am devastated to say that last year Kayla’s battle with illness ended and she went to be with the Lord. This past summer was the family’s first time back to camp without her. DeeDee’s parents, neither of whom were walking with the Lord, joined them for support.

DeeDee and Spencer approached me on Tuesday of that week, and told me, “One of Kayla’s dreams was that her dad would come to know the Lord, and Spencer did!” DeeDee asked me, “Would you baptize both Spencer and our seven-year-old daughter Kadence this week?” I was overwhelmed, and we made plans to baptize them in the Mount Hermon swimming pool. Our worship leader that week, David Bardowell helped me, it was such a special and holy moment as we were surrounded by family and
close friends.

Several months after camp I received a phone call from DeeDee’s father. He excitedly informed me that he and his wife had rededicated their lives to the Lord at Mount Hermon and were now attending a local church in Southern California. I asked them which church and was amazed at the answer. “David Bardowell’s church! And we are both getting baptized this weekend!”

In the midst of tragedy comes the surprise of blessing. DeeDee sent a note to me with these words: “To say that Mount Hermon has saved our family unit, would be one of the greatest understatements we can make. Mount Hermon not only has saved our family unit multiple times, the Lord has used it to secure our salvation.”

We miss Kayla dearly, but are so comforted and encouraged by the knowledge that now her entire family will one day see her again when they join her in eternity with Jesus.  

By Dave Burns
Director of Adult Ministries

Redwood Camp Renewal

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Building Projects, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

Have you heard? We are in the midst of renewing Redwood Camp!

There’s nothing quite like watching a camper’s journey throughout their week at Redwood Camp. Many come in shy and resistant, but by the end of the week they are expressive and open. Through the love of their counselor and the power of God, they not only encounter Jesus but they are able to experience real and lasting transformation, and we see it every day!

Many of the facilities, including the cabins, at Redwood Camp have been in service for over 60 years, and the time has come to renew Redwood Camp! We are in the process of building a number of new cabins (two of which will be ADA accessible), doing a floor-to-ceiling remodel of all the existing cabins, remodeling the bath houses, improving Victory Circle, and more! 

What we are most excited about in the project is the addition of a half bath to each existing cabin. This will eliminate the need for campers to wake their counselor to take them to the bathhouse in the middle of the night. This change alone will have a huge impact on the camper experience as well as a major reduction of fatigue for our counselors throughout the summer.

Why is this project important?

Did you know that over 60% of Christians in America accept Jesus as their Savior between the ages of 4 and 14? Redwood Camp ministers to kids right in that age window! The Lord works powerfully at Redwood Camp, and over the decades, thousands of kids have met Jesus and begun their journey with Him on that sacred ground. 

So where are we now? We have laid the new underground utilities, poured new foundations, and framed the new cabins. We are on track to finish Phase 1 (construction of new cabins and remodels of existing cabins) before camp starts in June.

Will you please be praying for the Redwood Camp renewal?

Pray that the weather will be favorable, that there will be continued unity among the contractor and sub-contractors, and that we will finish the project before the first campers arrive!

Thank you to the hundreds of families who have generously given to make this project possible. There is so much more to do at Redwood Camp so we still need your help!  

If you would like to be part of renewing Redwood Camp, you can go to http://www.mounthermon.org/renewredwood or contact JR Loofbourrow at jr.loofbourrow@mounthermon.org.

By Andrew Summers
Advancement team

A Special Adventure

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

Several months ago I was a guide on a Canopy Tour that I will never forget. Every tour has a unique feel depending on who is with us, but this tour was different. On this tour was Zach, a ten-year-old boy with autism and cerebral palsy. He was joined by his full-time one-on-one aid. 

When we get a call asking about accommodations for a guest with special needs, we do whatever we can to make sure that the experience will be awesome. For this tour, we scheduled three guides, rather than the normal two, so that I could zip tandem with Zach throughout the entire tour. Zach was completely non-verbal, but it was easy to see that he was having an amazing time. His aid told us that he loved adventure activities, he had even been white-water rafting!

As Zach and I zipped, his screams of excitement could be heard throughout the forest, he was having the time of his life! At each platform, his aid would take out his “yes/no” cards. She would ask, “Are you having fun?” He would eagerly and excitedly point to the “yes” card. 

When we finished the tour, his parents were so grateful that he had been able to have this experience. They thanked us profusely, and they even brought him back to do the Canopy Tour again a few months later! It is such a blessing to see first-hand how God is using our Adventure Ministries to touch lives in unique and special ways. 

By Michael Cahalan
Adventure Guide

All Things New

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

Do you like “new?” New car? New boss? New school? New child? New neighborhood? New friend? New job? New challenge? New problem to solve? New In-laws? I guess it depends on what is “new,” right? 

In a powerful passage of Scripture found in Revelation 21, it talks about a day when all things will be made NEW. It is a day when God will wipe away every tear from crying eyes, a day where there will be no more mourning, or pain, or death. It’s hard to even fathom such a day, a future day that gives us hope as we trudge through days that can include difficulty, loneliness, fear, and heartache. 

Each December our Board of Directors chooses the theme verse for the following Mount Hermon year, and the verse they chose for 2019 is …

“I am making all things new.”  – (Revelation 21:5)

All things. New. God is the one making them this way. Wow!!!

I am looking forward to being in the Mount Hermon Auditorium and watching people read this verse on the large wood placard that hangs down from the ceiling. I will be praying for the hope and healing that this one sentence of truth will bring to the many who visit our grounds. 

Thank you for your investment in this ministry that helps people be refreshed, renewed and transformed by the God who makes all things new. Your prayers, encouragement, involvement and financial support are vital in keeping this ministry thriving.  

To God – the one who makes all things new – be the glory! 

By Mike Romberger
President/CEO

Introducing Topher Matson

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Staff News.

Topher is the newest member of our Advancement Team, and we couldn’t be happier that he is with us! We thought you would enjoy a chance to get to know him.

More than 22 years ago something significant happened in my life. I saw the Welcome to Mount Hermon sign for the first time. The scent of the redwoods and the flickering canopy overhead was breathtaking, but it would be only a portion of my memories made on that trip. I was full of anticipation and anxiety about this unfamiliar thing called Family Camp. Would I make friends? Would it be fun?

Within hours I had my answer. I was introduced to my Day Camp counselor “Jell-o” and the most fun and craziness I had yet experienced. I started to love the goofy songs we sang. I forgot about being cool. I ran all over camp playing games, meeting up with friends and having fun – and all of it was parent-approved! When Saturday came, I sadly watched as the Welcome to Mount Hermon sign drifted away in the rear-view mirror.

A few summers later, I knew Conference Center and Ponderosa Lodge like the back of my hand. I found myself surrounded with lifelong friends and this once “new” place became home. But the most indescribable experience year after year was that of feeling loved, forgiven and part of a heavenly family with a loving Savior. If you’re like me, you sense it whenever you set foot here – and every time it’s more fresh and exciting than the last.

Eight years later, I was fortunate enough to serve three summers as “Spiff” at Day Camp. It was an unforgettable adventure – seeing how God uses camp ministry to bless entire families while blessing the staff through service to Him. Summer 2007 was special to me because a friend of mine from college served at Ponderosa Lodge. I had my suspicions God was tying the knot around us, and after that summer I was sure.

She’s now my lovely bride of nine years, Kelly.

Once again, God has brought Kelly and me back to our “Mount Hermon home” together, with the addition of our seven-month-old son, Parker. As I pass the Welcome to Mount Hermon sign today, I’m reminded how God continues to grow His ministry to those who gather here. Being a new parent, I think a lot about ensuring Mount Hermon’s future for my growing family. I reflect on those in heaven who faithfully prepared a place for me to be rooted in the gospel, and I gaze in wonder as God continues to unveil His vision for  this precious place for generations  to come.

From my family to yours, thank you for your faithful support of Mount Hermon’s unique ministry. We marvel to witness your gifts furthering the mission of lives transformed
through Christ.

Please reach out. I’d love to chat when you’re here and hear your Mount Hermon story!

Reporting Back: Lakeside Remodel Update

Posted by & filed under Associates, Building Projects, Kindling.

 

We are thrilled to report that all three Lakeside Lodge buildings, 60 rooms in all, have been completely remodeled!

Last year we completed the remodel of the Lakeside 500 building just in time for summer. This year, we set an ambitious goal to remodel both the Lakeside 600 and 700 buildings, and thanks to Tommy Beadel’s crew with extra help from a local construction company, we finished just in time for Family Camp.

THANK YOU to those of you who contributed to this project. We know at the end of the day it’s not about the rooms, but about what happens in the rooms. Here’s what a teenage boy shared at Victory Circle during a week of Family Camp earlier this summer:

“Our family has been doing the devotions at the end of each day before we go to bed. My family and I have been going through some major struggles, especially my mom and I. We have been butting heads a lot lately and it’s been rough. We’ve even been debating whether I should move out or not. But being at camp it’s crazy, in just these past couple of days I can already tell that my Mom and I are already getting our relationship back like it used to be when I was younger and I just want to say, Mom, I love you.”

Your gifts help create the spaces where transformation happens! Thank You!

We couldn’t do it without you.

A Story of Service

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

What would we do without Volunteers? The gift of service from these incredibly faithful friends makes a significant difference at Mount Hermon. I have had the joy of knowing Bob and Peggy Mapes for 20 years. They are everywhere—faithful friends, Associates and longtime volunteers.

What brought you to Mount Hermon?

As newlyweds in 1957, we journeyed from Iowa to Sacramento. We learned of Mount Hermon through Sunday School at Arcade Baptist and we began attending Couples Conferences. Then we moved to San Jose and brought our children to Family Camps. After purchasing a cabin in 1978 our participation and love of Mount Hermon grew rapidly.

You are such faithful volunteers. How did that begin?

Bob was involved in repair jobs through the years, but our major volunteering began 12 years ago in Auditorium hosting. That led to dining room hosting, table setting and many others. We have grown to love our volunteering friends. We pray for each other, for Mount Hermon’s ministry and for its staff. A love of the Lord, Mount Hermon and people = a JOY-filled volunteer.

What does being a volunteer and an Associate mean to you?

You take ownership of the ministry when you get involved in serving and giving. It has caused us to want to be part of meeting needs in tangible ways and to pray for the staff and the ministry. It has been a blessing getting to know the staff. This a special place in our hearts.

The Mapes are truly wonderful folks. We love all our volunteers and couldn’t do what we do here without them! Next time you’re here, hug a volunteer!

Incredible Generosity

Posted by & filed under Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society, Stories of Ministry.


For Bill Ives, nothing was more important than family. He was the proud father of three children and eight grandchildren, and his favorite thing to do was spend time with them. Bill’s Mount Hermon story started like so many others: an invitation from a family member. His daughter Cathy and her husband Gary began coming to Family Camp around 15 years ago. After telling their family about the incredible experience they had, everyone decided to join in.

Since Bill knew this would mean a week of dedicated time with his kids and grandkids, he was excited to come!

For the last decade, Mount Hermon served as their family gathering place, where Bill’s son from Colorado and his daughters from Atlanta and Piedmont gathered each year with their whole families. Bill was not a church-goer and didn’t talk a lot about God. Cathy remembers the ten years they came to family camp vividly, noting that Dad loved coming to Mount Hermon and spending time with his family. He was at every session, engaged and excited to be there. Some of his favorite times were meeting up with the men in the family for early morning coffee on the Dining Hall porch, riding the train to the beach, and relaxing on the meadow.

A couple of years ago, Bill’s health began to deteriorate, and his children encouraged him to re-evaluate his estate plans. At that time he made the decision to include Mount Hermon. Bill’s daughter Stephanie shared this about her father:

“Dad modeled incredible generosity. The kind of generosity that didn’t seek to attract attention or get credit. He delighted in giving generously. He didn’t talk about it, he didn’t lecture us about it. He just modeled unselfish generosity. He had the perfect combination of contentment and generosity. Can you imagine what the world might be if everyone was like that?” Sadly, Bill graduated to be with Jesus in February. Stephanie also shared this precious memory from Bill’s final days: Dad didn’t talk about it much, but he believed in God. He spent his last days on a ventilator in Intensive Care going in and out of consciousness. After five days when the ventilator came off, we all crowded around as he seemed eager to tell us something. His voice was weak, he could only say a couple words at a time, but he said, “Jesus said I got you.” And then “Jesus loves us. Jesus loves all of us.” Dad knew where he was going and we had the incredible blessing of having him tell us that because of Jesus we get to go too.

We are incredibly grateful for Bill’s life and love for his family and Mount Hermon. The legacy he left Mount Hermon will minister to campers for decades to come. Bill’s gift comes at a pivotal time, as we are in need of funds to begin the Redwood Camp renewal. Because of Bill, thousands of kids who come to Redwood Camp in the days to come will encounter Jesus and experience His transformational love. Thank you, Bill!

Associates in the Making: Abbie and Sonja

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

 

There are two little ladies that have come on the Mount Hermon scene recently that are truly champions of this wonderful ministry. They love each other and everything Mount Hermon! Abbie (9) and Sonja (10) have been attending the same week of Family Camp for several years but according to them, it was the first day of Family Camp 2017 where their “Best Friend” status was sealed. Abbie’s mom Kelly shared with me,

“Abbie loves the swings at Day Camp and that’s the place at camp where the two girls talked and decided to become best friends. After that was Redwood Camp and the Associates in Ministry Celebration. Not only do these two girls just happen to have families that go to Week 2 of Family Camp, but our families live 20 minutes away from each other back home!” I chatted with Sonja and Abbie to hear more of their story.

What do you remember about the first time you met?

Sonja: “I had a lot of friends and family at Family Camp but when I met Abbie, I knew she would be my best friend!” Abbie said the same thing about Sonja.

What’s your favorite memory at Mount Hermon?

Abbie: “Last year when Sonja and I walked to the playground and became best friends.” Sonja: “When we were at Redwood Camp last year I didn’t want to go on the Geronimo swing but Abbie encouraged me, so I did it and really liked it.”

How would you describe each other?

Abbie: “Sonja is energetic!”

Sonja: “Abbie always acts like herself.”

How would you describe Mount Hermon?

Abbie: “Coolest place on earth!”

Sonja: “I wouldn’t be the person I am today at 10 if I hadn’t gone to Mount Hermon.”

What are your future plans?

“We want to go to Family Camp every year and Redwood then Ponderosa and then go on Summer Staff, hopefully at Day Camp or Redwood Camp. We already have our camp names: Flip (Abbie) & Flop (Sonja). Then we want to live together at Mount Hermon with our husbands and our ICE CREAM!”

Kelly also shared with me, “I’m so grateful to God for this Mount Hermon friendship, and the best part of this friendship is that Abbie’s friend Sonja comes as a package. Sonja comes with an amazing family. A family that sets a Godly example of love and grace towards our family. This story of friendship between two little girls represents Mount Hermon to a tee!”

It just so happens that both Abbie and Sonja’s parents are Mount Hermon Associates. A love for Jesus and a heart for Mount Hermon runs deep in both of these sweet girls’ families. This story is unique to Sonja and Abbie but not unique in the story of Mount Hermon. Many lifelong relationships have started here, from husbands and wives, to best friends, to most importantly finding a Savior who will walk us into eternity. Thank you for being part of what keeps this ministry moving forward. We are very grateful.

Year After Year

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

There are few things in the world as impactful as a week at Ponderosa Lodge.

When I was in high school I spent five summers coming to Ponderosa, and my life was transformed because of it. I was also lucky enough to spend three summers as a counselor. One of the best parts of counseling is seeing campers come year after year. I love seeing how God in His sovereignty chooses to work in campers’ lives. Sometimes it really is a
multi-year process!

I would love to share a story with you about a camper who came to Ponderosa in June. This was his second year at camp and, as his counselor tells, this was the year that God truly transformed his life:

I remember Travis from last year, he was the “cool kid.” He was too cool for everything: Bible study, activities, even too cool for girls! He made it very clear that even though he was at a Christian camp, he was only there to have fun. Throughout the week he didn’t contribute during small group time at all. By Saturday, though, I could tell it had been a good week, and the whole cabin, including Travis, said they hoped they could all come back next year and be together in the same cabin again. 

This year, Travis was back. At the beginning of the week he again made it clear that he had no interest in any of the spiritual parts of camp, but at least he was having fun with the games and activities. As the week progressed, I could tell he was becoming more engaged and was listening to the speaker. He started asking questions in small group time. At first he was asking with a challenging and defensive attitude, but that soon changed.

On Thursday he pulled me aside, and said, “All this stuff about God’s love you’re talking about, I see it in the people around me, but I don’t really understand it.” That opened up an opportunity for us to talk about God’s love, and how God uses others to show us His love. That was the moment when I really noticed things had changed. Travis became excited to worship and listen to the speaker! At the end of the week, he told me that he had made a decision to follow Jesus, and was talking about how excited he was to get involved at church back at home!

Wow! Now that is a life transformed! We are so grateful that Travis was able to have this experience at camp, and we are thankful to you for your support of this ministry. You help make these stories possible! Please join us in praying for Travis, and for the hundreds of other campers who have come to Ponderosa Lodge this summer as they transition back to home and school life this fall.

Yay God!

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

 

We don’t always get to hear how God continues to work in campers’ lives after they leave camp, but sometimes we do and it is so encouraging to hear stories of the life transformation that starts at camp and continues throughout the year and for years to come.

Christina, one of our counselors from last summer, now our Ranch Camp lead, had the privilege of hearing first-hand how God was able to use her last summer in the life of a young camper.

“The day we had all been greatly anticipating had finally arrived. It was the first day of camp, and as parents and campers were settling in, a former camper, Katelynn, and her mom greeted me. Katelynn’s mom pulled me aside and told me that since her daughter was here last year, her life had not been the same. I asked how so, eager to hear what the Lord had done. She explained that my teachings as her daughter’s counselor were quite impactful. She told me how Katelynn had made the commitment to read her Bible every day since she left camp, and she had done just that. Even through the difficult chapters of the Bible, she broke it down into small pieces to study it better and has asked questions when she needed assistance. Because of Katelynn’s dedication to reading her Bible daily, her family has been greatly influenced.

Later that evening, as our campfire was ending I felt a small tap on my shoulder, and I turned to see that it was Katelynn. I made room for her on the wooden bench, and I listened intently as she told me how last summer changed her life. She thanked me for helping her set the goal of reading her Bible daily. I felt so privileged to hear firsthand that she was searching to be closer to God
and that God was meeting with her and moving many mountains in her young life.”

At Kidder Creek, when we hear a story of a life transformed we enthusiastically say “Yay God!!” Yay God that we are privileged to be a part of His work here at camp!

Thank You For Changing My Life!

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

 

For those who have spent a week at Redwood Camp, you know how thrilling the experience is!

This summer the theme at Redwood Camp is Inventor’s Workshop. Campers are invited into the laboratory of Dr. Zyrombergraham, a world-renowned inventor. Dr. Zyrombergraham has made a new robot, RC-06, who is a special type of invention. They become close friends and do everything together. Even when RC-06 goes rogue and runs away, the doctor welcomes her back with open arms, ready and eager to forgive her.

In Bible study times, campers are following the story of Peter. They spend the week looking at Peter’s life and relationship with Jesus, and how Jesus restores Peter even after he has denied Him. What a beautiful lesson for these young campers to learn. God created us to be in relationship with him, and no matter what we do, he is eager to take us back with open arms!

There are so many incredible stories from this summer of God working in camper’s lives. Here is one from a Redwood Camp counselor about a girl who came to camp earlier this summer:

Last week I had an amazing group of primary girls. Two of them came with Power House Ministries, an organization that helps children of incarcerated parents come to camp. This created an interesting cabin dynamic, and all week I had been struggling to help my campers relate to each other despite their diverse backgrounds.

On Wednesday I spent one-on-one time with Merri, one of the Power House girls. She had been really shy all week, but she opened up to me about her life during our time together. It was so beautiful to see how joyful she was despite the pain she had gone through, and how mature she was due to life circumstances outside of her control. Over the next few days, I saw her continue to open up, and it was amazing to see God using our relationship to make her feel more comfortable and loved.

At the end of the week at our luminaria time, we had a great discussion that lasted an hour-and-a-half. That’s a long time for second graders! At the end of luminaria I prayed for my whole cabin, and I began to cry. I have never felt God’s presence more in my entire life than I did at that moment. When I finished, Merri looked at me and said, “Thank you for changing my life.” At that point, the entire cabin began sobbing! God had unified this group of girls in a way that only He could, and had used Merri’s experience at camp to transform her life!

Please join us in praying for the hundreds of Redwood campers who have come to camp this summer. And please pray for the exciting Redwood Camp renewal that will begin this fall. We will begin the process of building five new cabins and adding a half-bath to each of the existing cabins, enhancing our ability to minister to campers like Merri for decades to come!

Family Camp: He Restores My Soul

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Kindling.

 

Each summer Mount Hermon hosts the largest weekly Family Camp in the country – if not the world – as over 700 people of all ages descend upon our grounds to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience that spans the generations.

Personally, Family Camp has been a huge part of my childhood, teenage and adult years, and I am not the same because of how God has used it in my and my family’s life. I am deeply grateful!

This summer our Family Camp theme is “He Restores My Soul” from Psalm 23. People come on our grounds tired, discouraged, broken hearted and stressed but leave renewed, refreshed and transformed due to our God who restores us from the inside out.

“He Restores My Soul.” What better focus for a week at camp?!!

Here are some of the word-for-word comments from campers who shared their stories of restoration at Victory Circle during the first couple weeks of camp:

“This is an amazing place, and I want to say that the theme is so well picked. Everybody needs restoration, and I am so thankful that God wants to do that with my life.”

“I am sure that I am not the only person here who walked into the auditorium on Monday morning and saw the theme verse of “He restores my soul” and let out a sigh. This is exactly what I needed, to be able to come, rest, breathe and have an amazing balance of family together time, separate adult time, God time, marriage time and all of those things that feed your soul. This week is the beginning of that restoration work, the letting go and giving it to God.”

“I learned this week that restoration isn’t always taking us back to what we were before, but it makes us into something more beautiful. God can restore us to be something more beautiful than anything that we were.”

“I am a pastor, and this has been the hardest year in our life as I have battled with burn out and depression for the first time … This week, for the first time in six months, I felt Heaven open, and I said, “Thank you, God, for restoring my spirit.” We do our devotions. We do our daily lives. But there are times when you need that Psalm 23 green pasture.”

That’s what God does at Mount Hermon Family Camp. He provides a “Psalm 23 green pasture” for people of all ages and stages of life as He restores souls. He (God) restores (makes healthy) my (personal) soul (inner spiritual being). Incredible! Truly that’s why God made Mount Hermon.

Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and support. Your tangible investment is making a difference in the lives of many as God is still in the business of restoring souls!

7 Day Tour Experience

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Kindling.

Washington, D.C. is a place like no other. Step into the mosaic of monuments and culture that reflect the history and shape the future of America.

This immersive journey through our nation’s capital is much more than a vacation. Connect with the heart of D.C. on this Christian travel experience as you pray for and impact this strategic city.

Over 15 significant sites visited during your 7 days!
See website for full list of sites and dates.

  • • White House
  • • Capitol Building
  • • Washington Monument
  • • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • • Mount Vernon
  • • U.S. Supreme Court Building
  • • Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool
  • • Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial
  • • National WWII Memorial
  • • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • • Smithsonian Natural History Museum
  • • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
  • • National Cathedral

 

Learn More about this Cruise


Book this tour online | Inspirationcruises.com/mhdc | Toll Free 866.500.3999 | Call for more info or to book this tour

Laura Sampson: Mount Hermon Bookshop Manager

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

I have had the joy of attending Santa Cruz Bible Church with Laura and Paul Sampson (where Paul is the Worship Pastor) for over 25 years. However, for the last several years, I have also had the joy of serving with Laura at Mount Hermon. In case you haven’t met Laura I asked her to share a little of her story.

How did the Lord bring you to Mount Hermon?

God brought me back to Mount Hermon about ten years ago, after being away for several years. I spent much of my teenage years with Mount Hermon as my stomping ground, hanging out with local Mount Hermon kids, having all sorts of fun in this community. I worked on staff in high school and college. I made many great friendships here as well as getting to know my husband better (he served on staff during high school and college as well); this is where our romance started! After my daughters were more independent, I decided to go back to work. When I heard of the position in the Bookshop, I jumped on it.

How is the God using you and your gifts at Mount Hermon?

I am amazed at how God uses this ministry! It is honoring to be part of all the incredible things that go on here. It was exciting to be a part of the team that created and designed the new look and feel of the Bookshop a couple of years back. I have a heart for people to be in a place that is calm and peaceful, where they can be refreshed, but also where they are challenged in their faith. Taking something home that solidifies a decision or a commitment is key for some, and for others, their favorite Mount Hermon sweatshirt fits the bill.

What is your favorite part about working at Mount Hermon?

I love the people I get to work with, my Bookshop team and the entire Mount Hermon staff. I also love to see the impact of Mount Hermon’s reach locally and across the world, along with the stories of families who have been coming to Mount Hermon for years.

How can we pray for you?

Please pray for a strong, healthy staff. In addition, as we hire our summer staff, we ask God to bring the right people to fill the positions in the Bookshop.

Just like many of you, I love going over to our Bookshop, so next time you are at Mount Hermon, make sure to stop by and say “Hi” to Laura and the Bookshop team.

Shop the Mount Hermon Online Shop

A Life Well Lived: Chelsea Opheim

Posted by & filed under Building Projects, Creating a Legacy, General, Kindling.

Chelsea grew up attending Family Camps with her family. Each year she looked forward to making the trek from Santa Barbara to enjoy a week of refreshment and fun. She was so encouraged by these experiences that she purposed to continue the tradition with her own family.

Chelsea and Nathan were married in 1994. They brought their three children to Family Camps, providing the same experience that Chelsea’s family had given to her. Over the years they attended camps and concerts, forming lasting friendships with other campers and staff.

In 2011, Chelsea was diagnosed with breast cancer and recently went to be with the Lord. Chelsea had the unique opportunity to reflect on her legacy and how she wanted to be remembered.

She desired a memorial that would represent her core values of choosing life, loving others like Jesus, and having faith in the promises of God.

She and Nathan came to us to talk about possibilities at Mount Hermon, and we let them know of a fire pit we were hoping to build at Ponderosa Lodge — a place where thousands of young people gather to learn and develop relationships.

Ponderosa Lodge is Mount Hermon’s most-utilized facility, hosting Jr. High and High School students all summer, Outdoor Science School during the school year, and many program and guest groups on weekends. Over 6,000 kids and teens come to Ponderosa each year, where relationships with their counselors and naturalist teachers help lead them to the love of Jesus.

Chelsea was overjoyed at this idea, and her family and friends quickly pledged to provide the funds needed for this project in Chelsea’s memory.

The new fire pit will be a powerful tool for the relational ministry that happens every day at Ponderosa Lodge and will have a plaque remembering Chelsea and her love for the ministry of Mount Hermon.
We are so grateful for her friendship, for the years the Lord gave us with her, and for her lasting legacy
at Mount Hermon.

For more information about leaving a legacy at Mount Hermon, please contact J.R. Loofbourrow at 831.430.1244 or advancement@mounthermon.org

Learn More about Leaving a Legacy

Exciting Things Ahead!

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

I believe God has some unbelievable things in store for Mount Hermon in 2018.  This could even be our best year ever!  Thousands of kids will be coming to camp, along with a myriad of global ministry partners who will be holding retreats and equipping thousands more to better serve and share the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout this country and the world!

Two areas where God is clearly at work include phase two of our Lakeside Lodge remodel and some dramatic progress to improve Redwood Camp!

Do you remember how God enabled us to remodel all 20 rooms in our Lakeside Lodge 500 building last May? Thanks to the incredibly hard-working team from southern California led by Tommy Beadel, this building went from worn and dated to fresh, new, and transformed in just one week! Hundreds of families enjoyed these rooms throughout the summer and last fall. Soon Tommy and his crew plan to return, to complete the next phase of the remodel – WOW!

Why is this ministry project so important? Because these rooms are a vital link in God’s life transformation process for our guests and the construction crew. The Family Camp guests and Guest Groups that stay in these new Lakeside rooms are incredibly blessed. They experience a comfortable and distraction-free environment, providing rest and renewal as they absorb all that God has for them
during their conference or retreat.

Remember, it’s not just campers who are blessed. Just like last year, we are inviting Tommy’s entire construction crew and their families to return as our guests for Mount Hermon’s Hispanic Family Camp. Can you imagine how seeds planted last year will continue to grow when these families return to have fun, learn about the Savior and be enveloped with the love of Jesus, joined by a whole new group of their co-workers?

Redwood Camp is in the process of major transformation as well. The addition of the Samuelson Pavilion has been a game-changer for our children’s ministry, providing a dedicated, covered recreation space. PTL!

Up next: improvements to our Redwood Camp cabins. Plans are nearing completion to revitalize and connect every other cabin with a bathroom in between. Each bathroom will have a toilet and sink which will eliminate the long walk to the bathhouse with a counselor when the need arises in the middle of the night.

Each of my boys attended Redwood Camp and I saw firsthand the impact it had on their lives. Nearly 1,000 kids come to Redwood Camp each summer, and we know these cabin improvements will significantly enhance their experience as well as the experience of our hard-working counselors. Our Children’s Ministry Team does a phenomenal job creating a powerful program for these kids and these new bathrooms will go a long way in enhancing everyone’s overall experience.

We need your help with each of these vital ministry projects. They both require a lot of planning, prayer, and dollars to become a reality. Your prayers and support are needed to make these projects happen! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or requests for additional information. Remember, this could be our best year ever!

Support Mount Hermon

Staff Matters

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

Did you know that Mount Hermon …

  • …Employs over 300 staff members year-round, the majority of those being part-time?

  • …Adds another 280 staff, predominately college students, that invade our camps
    each summer?

  • …Sees it as a privilege and sacred responsibility to grow and care
    for each staff member?

Staff care is a passion of mine, and I believe that one of my callings from God is to shepherd our staff. During our many years as attendees at Family Camp, Jane and I were tremendously blessed by the staff of Mount Hermon. The care and service they gave to us and our children were tangible expressions of God’s love to us, and we’ll be forever grateful.

Each staff member plays an important role to help us fulfill our mission of lives being refreshed, renewed, and transformed by God in this special place. If it’s clearing a dish from the Dining Hall or harnessing a guest for the ropes course, setting up a microphone in the auditorium or cleaning a room in Laurel, changing a baby’s diaper in Child Care or registering a guest at the Williams Welcome Center, every staff role and person matters.

There are many ways in which we show care for our staff, including providing training, health and retirement benefits, staff gatherings, and retreats. But what we find as our greatest staff challenge is housing. Santa Cruz is one of the least affordable places to live in America, and therefore it is important for us to be able to provide housing for as many staff as possible.

Our staff minister to literally some 85,000 campers and guests per year who come through Mount Hermon. Providing staff housing is a great way to show that we care for them and their needs. It is also essential to enabling them to continue serving long-term at Mount Hermon.

To help with these challenges we have recently taken nine guest cabins off-line and turned them into staff housing. Although this means having less cabins available for campers (and our campers love their cabins!), it is an essential component of maintaining a healthy and thriving staff that can continue loving and serving our campers. We are also working on upgrading our more “rustic” staff housing units over the next four years.

If I could dream for a moment … I would love for us to one day build a “staff village” that would provide adequate housing for all Mount Hermon staff that need it. Maybe someday God will allow that dream to become a reality. I’m hopeful and prayerful.

To sum it up I want to simply say, “STAFF MATTERS.” Indeed they do!

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Katie Keil: Staff Alumni and Associate

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

Katie is one of those “Mount Hermon” people, maybe a lot like you! She came as a camper, she served on staff, and she’s chosen to support this ministry—she loves Mount Hermon!

Meet Katie, her story may be your story…

“I can’t remember a time when Mount Hermon wasn’t part of my life! I have been coming to Mount Hermon for our church retreat since I was a kid. I could not wait to be old enough to go to Ponderosa Lodge in high school and I started going the summer before my freshman year. I loved camp so much as a camper and had a family friend who served as a camp counselor, so I could not wait to be a counselor in college.

I ended up working as a counselor at Ponderosa in 2001 and 2002, but that wasn’t enough. I came back as a Staff Counselor in 2006 and then spent a summer as a Staff Pastor in 2008. After finishing camp in the summer of 2008, I started a job in Marketing at Clorox and have been there ever since.”

Clearly Mount Hermon was and is an important part of Katie’s story. Ponderosa Lodge is her Mount Hermon home.

“I always loved being at camp because it was a place I really came to understand God’s love for each of us. Between the Bible studies, speakers and worship time, I was challenged to think more about who God is and how His love for me should change the way I live and love others. I also made some of my best friends as a counselor.”

One of her favorite Mount Hermon memories-

“My favorite day at camp was Monday afternoons for field games! We played this crazy Jello slip-in-slide game and the counselor round always got very competitive. It was so fun and led to a lot of laughter every week. I cannot tell you how often campers used to say they loved watching the counselors because there was something different about the way we lived and loved each other.”

Ron Demolar is a big fan!

“I had the privilege of working with Katie at Mount Hermon several summers ago when she worked as a minister to the summer staff at the Conference Center. I appreciated Katie’s giftedness in administration, pastoring, and teaching at some of our summer staff meetings. She has a God given ability to build deep and lasting relationships with people. I am delighted she has gone on to serve God with these gifts of leadership in the business world.”
– Ron Demolar

Katie has turned her love for Mount Hermon into action through becoming an Associate over a decade ago.

“My time at camp and the life-long friends I made as a counselor have played such a formative role in who I am today. I loved my experience so much that I want to help others experience the same growth and
joy that I do every time I set foot
on the grounds.”

Katie is just one of thousands whose lives were transformed through the love of Jesus at Mount Hermon. Thank you for being part of her story through your support and prayers for Mount Hermon.

David Talbott 40 Years

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

How do you measure the impact of 40 years of ministry? You could count Hymn Sings, piano and organ concerts, conferences and retreats, or any number of other activities that Dave has spear-headed in his time at Mount Hermon.

For me, I measure it in lunch dates, Thursday morning breakfasts, weddings, and constant laughter in the hallway. I have had the privilege of knowing Dave for seven years (which compared to many makes me a new-comer)! When I became an intern in 2010, it didn’t take long for Dave to find me. I quickly learned that while he is a virtuoso pianist and experienced programmer, his real passion
is relationships.

For years, Dave’s “unofficial” role at Mount Hermon has been to mentor the young men on staff, and over the last seven years I have seen him invest in and mentor countless interns, summer staff, and full-time staff.

Within the first few weeks of becoming interns at Mount Hermon, Dave invited a group of us to a regular Thursday morning breakfast at his house. Imagine five recent college grads dragging themselves out of bed at 6:15am and stumbling over to the Talbott residence. Each week as we entered his house in a sleepy, zombie-like trance, we were greeted by Dave, who had awoken far earlier than any of us had, and prepared a delicious spread for us to enjoy. I will never forget those mornings filled with great food and great company, real life and sage advice, and above all: deep and lasting friendships.

Since that time Dave and Carla have been staples in my life and in the lives of my friends. Over the years, I have seen Dave officiate the weddings of three of my closest friends, the fruit of an investment of time and energy that takes great intentionality. Carla even helped throw the bridal shower for my fiancé last month! I will never forget the many memories of time spent together sharing some of life’s most precious moments.

I will also never forget the morning this spring when Dave told all of us on the Advancement Team that this summer would be his last, and that he would be retiring in September. We all wept together, and I’m crying now remembering that moment. It was a time of mixed emotion: sadness that I won’t see him in the office every day, excitement that he and Carla will have more time for family and travel, but mostly gratitude for the impact this man has had on me, my friends, dozens of staff members, and thousands of guests over the last 40 years.

As I think about the legacy that I want to leave, I think of Dave. I think of selfless service, relentless pursuit, wisdom that comes from being really old, and a lifetime of working to build the Kingdom.

Dave, I love you, and I will miss seeing you every day. I am comforted to know that you will still be living around the corner, and I look forward to many more breakfasts in the years to come!

2017 Summer Concerts