Posts Categorized: Kindling

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

Count On Us

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

I love a good story, especially a great Mount Hermon story!  So when I received this encouraging note from a young Family Camp couple, I knew I wanted to share it with you:

“I grew up coming to Mount Hermon. The weeks I spent at camp in my teen years were without question the most formative weeks of my life. As a child of a single parent, we could not afford camp without help. Each year, I was the recipient of a campership, and I am forever grateful to those who gave to make that experience possible. 

Now that I am in my 30s and married, I love being able to give back to Mount Hermon. After our church, Mount Hermon is our first giving priority. My wife and I met here, and year after year, we see the impact this ministry has on thousands of lives. How could we not give? We trust the leadership, and know that God uses our donations to transform lives, the same way that my life was transformed thanks to the generosity of other people more than 20 years ago.

Several years ago, I remember my pastor sharing how online monthly giving was a huge blessing for our church. Knowing there was a consistent stream of support coming in month after month was so helpful for the church to be able to plan and budget. We know the same is true for any ministry, especially Mount Hermon.

My wife and I want Mount Hermon to know they can count on us month after month. We want them to be able to make plans and extend camperships to families and kids in need knowing there is a steady stream of donations coming.  We know many people are touched at Mount Hermon and we want that to continue. We plan to keep giving every month for the rest of our lives!”

I love this story because they are absolutely right! Online monthly giving is a significant blessing to Mount Hermon. We are grateful for every single gift no matter the size, and are uniquely grateful for our supporters who faithfully give month after month to ensure that our year-round programs can continue to thrive!

THANK YOU to each and every one of you who currently give monthly through Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or your credit card! If you have never thought about giving monthly online, I encourage you to prayerfully consider doing so. Whether it is ten dollars a month or a thousand, every gift is a blessing that impacts lives and grows the Kingdom.

You can set up online giving at mounthermon.org/give or by calling Karen Crist at 831.430.1244

Give Today

Redwood Society The Gift

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

On February 2, long-time Mount Hermon friend Paul Stephan went to be with the Lord. A few weeks later, we received word from his daughter Debbie that her parents had remembered Mount Hermon in their estate plans. Here’s what Debbie told us:

“My mom, Betty, started coming to Mount Hermon at a very young age. My father, Paul, accepted Christ at the age of 32 at First Baptist Church…and that is where my parents met. While dating, they spent many evenings at Mount Hermon attending various events. It was at Mount Hermon that my dad told my mom for the very first time that he loved her.

After they were married, Mom & Dad became extremely involved with Overseas Crusades mission, and as a family we attended EVERY annual OC Conference at Mount Hermon until it ended in 1983. Wonderful memories!!

We also loved attending many summer Sunday morning worship services through the decades, along with Saturday evening summer concerts, and Christmas concerts/dinners at Mount Hermon.


Mount Hermon is so special to us all because Christ is at the very center. Our family has always been at complete rest at Mount Hermon. To us, it is a foretaste of Heaven!


Mount Hermon truly puts Christ at the very center, and I feel confident that my parents’ gift will be used to both glorify God and to spread the Gospel. If other families and children can have even just a taste of what I’ve had at Mount Hermon, then that puts a smile on my face!”

We are thankful for the legacy Paul and Betty have left at Mount Hermon. Their gift is enabling life-transforming ministry to continue today and tomorrow!

If you have questions about estate planning or would like to learn more about the Redwood Society, please contact J.R. Loofbourrow at 831.430.1244

Learn About Redwood Society

Looking Back

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

62 years of Redwood Camp, summer staff, Board of Directors, the last 13 years on Mount Hermon’s staff, this is a place where God is at work, a place at the core of my life in Christ.

Linda and I are grateful that the Lord orchestrated it in such a manner! Yet, all good things must come to a … change point. I am retiring from Mount Hermon the end of September, and Linda and I will be moving to Sonora. We will focus our next ten years on ministry to couples in ministry. Oh! And our grandsons!

Linda’s and my Mount Hermon story is not unusual, it’s what God does so powerfully in those called “apart with Him.” Our story is writ sweetly, both among the Mount Hermon family, and among those who’ve made this place a part of their family. Relationships forged in unity in Christ never fade. Linda and I will see many of you when we visit our “Mount Hermon Home.”

My Mount Hermon journey began in 1955 at Redwood Camp. My three siblings and I received a “week” each summer as a birthday gift, in the hope we would have an eternal “birth day.” We carried the gospel home from camp each year, and seeds of life were sown. It is directly attributable to those years at Redwood Camp that in 1966 our entire family came to Christ! Thank you for your camperships!

I’m eternally grateful to have worked with Roger Williams, such a mentor and friend. By God’s grace he asked me to join the Mount Hermon team, allowing Linda and me to serve alongside some dear friends. We travel on by God’s calling, but our hearts remain. Ours are truly lives transformed.

Learn About Camperships

Reporting Back Lakeside Project

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

Have you heard? The Lakeside 500s have been completely remodeled, and they are beautiful!

This spring Tommy Beadel, a long-time family camper, brought a crew of 50 construction workers to demo the rooms and completely remodel them! In seven short days they had done about 80% of the work, leaving a few final finishing touches to be completed in the weeks before the start of Family Camp.

But here’s the best part: the whole construction crew has been invited to come back to Mount Hermon in August for Hispanic Family Camp as guests of Mount Hermon! From the start, Tommy and his wife Brandy’s desire has been for their workers, along with their families, to experience Mount Hermon just like they have, with their kids. We can’t wait to host them next month and see God work.

We are already beginning to plan the future remodel of the Lakeside 600s and 700s! Tommy is excited to introduce even more of his workers to Mount Hermon.

Thank you to all of you who supported this project financially, we couldn’t have done it without you! Please pray for the guests who are staying in the Lakeside 500s this summer, along with the crew that will be coming back for Hispanic Family Camp.

Hear Tommy talking about the project below. Be sure to grab a tissue or two…or ten!

If you would like to be part of the Lakeside 600s and 700s project,
contact J.R. Loofbourrow at 831.430.1244

Learn How To Give Support

Making It Amazing

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

It Works … So keep it going!

Recently I asked the Lord for a “vision” for Mount Hermon, the ability to dream big for the future. But, to be honest, I’ve never had God hand me a five or ten year plan for a ministry I’ve led. Instead I’ve learned to stay one step behind the Lord and one step ahead of those I lead, a space where God has revealed to me His plan time-and-again.

So what is God presently showing me with regards to Mount Hermon’s future? His message, if I’ve heard Him correctly is simply to …

Take what Mount Hermon already does well and make it amazing! And why? Because it works.

For over a century Mount Hermon has provided a place where people’s lives are transformed by God from the inside out. What is unique to Mount Hermon is that God impacts all ages and stages at one time, and in one place.

Where else can you go where a 7, 17, 37, 57, and 77 year-old person can all be effectively reached by God?

This is what Mount Hermon does best. It works, and we should know this to be true:

Passing on a godly legacy matters to God.

When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the leaders were told to build a monument of stones. Why?

“When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:6–7)

In Psalm 78 it says, “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; …” (Psalm 78:5–7).

I am a product of parents who passed on a godly legacy to me and my siblings, and Mount Hermon is a big part of that story. When I was six years old we began coming to Mount Hermon as a family of five, and we’ve been coming most every summer since. My parents found a way to pass on a spiritual legacy in a fun environment that all ages would enjoy. Currently there are twenty-eight from the Romberger clan spanning four generations who arrive each summer…Legacy.

We live in a culture that desperately needs such legacies as they are becoming all too rare. Mount Hermon is in the legacy building business. When you pray for and give financially to Mount Hermon you are investing in spiritual legacies that matter for eternity. This is our core, and this is our vision.

It works, so let’s keep it going… and make it amazing!

Learn How To Give Support

Update from the Advancement Team!

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

Karen CristWe’d like you to meet Karen Crist, the newest member of the Mount Hermon Advancement Team.

Karen officially joined the team on December 13, filling a key position previously held for a decade by Debbie Franck, whose last day
was October 29.

Karen has an energetic, joyful personality and a deep love for the Lord, with the critical skills needed to step into her new position.

“The profound sense of gratitude came over me the first time I came on site to meet J.R.  God’s power was instantly felt as I pulled onto the property. I don’t even know how to describe the level of excitement I have meeting the valuable individuals who collectively work towards the mission of Lives Transformed at Mount Hermon.”
Next time you’re at Mount Hermon make sure to stop by and meet Karen, introduce yourself and welcome her to the team. We know you’re going to enjoy her!

One-One-One: 2016 was quite a year.

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Mike Romberger, CEO/President Mount Hermon

It was a Leap Year, Pokemon Go entered our existence, the Rio Olympics were a surprise success, and the Cubs won the World Series. No really, they did!

You never know what a year is  going to bring, and as we have now entered 2017 we aren’t sure of what all is ahead for us, but we are confident of Who goes before us, which gives us great hope as we forge ahead.

In the midst of all the craziness in our world that surrounds us we are enjoying year 111  (One-One-One) of Mount Hermon’s faithful existence— faithful to a faithful God, faithful to His Word, and faithful to depend upon His  transforming work in people’s lives.

One-One-One (111).  That’s a lot of years of God’s faithfulness in one place!

You are a key reason why God continues to place His faithful hand of blessing upon Mount Hermon. Your prayers, your encouragement, your generosity, your involvement are all used by God as He works in this place. Lives continue to be refreshed, renewed and transformed by the various ministries and locations under the umbrella known as Mount Hermon. This is God’s place, and He continues to work.

Thank you for your partnership. We are a team, and we couldn’t do this without you. 

 

Volunteers: Paul Schneider Redirected, not Retired

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Kerry Phibbs, Associate Director of Advancement

One of our many joys is introducing you to some of the gracious volunteers who make such an impact in the ministry of Mount Hermon. They are unsung heroes that bless us beyond imagination. One such volunteer is Paul Schneider.

Paul and his wife Virginia’s connection with Mount Hermon began in 1972. A family from their church invited them to Family Camp. So they came with their three small children, and now, forty-four years later Mount Hermon is still an important part of their lives, three generations deep. They’ve experienced many years of family camps and conferences, concerts, and eventually giving back through volunteering.

At the end of 2005, Paul retired from the electrical construction industry in the Santa Clara Valley.  In 2006, he and Virginia began volunteering at Mount Hermon. They also volunteered on trips with Mobile Missionary Assistance Program (MMAP), but in 2008 they made the decision to stay closer to home and volunteer at Mount Hermon.  Eventually, they met Bob and Barbara Parmenter at church.  Bob was also a retired electrician and needed a place to use his experience and expertise, so they have been coming to Mount Hermon together since August 2011. Paul and Bob are a regular duo around here serving across the Santa Cruz property.

What Paul and Bob share is invaluable to this ministry as voiced by our facilities engineer, Dale Pollock. “Paul and Bob are a tremendous help to the maintenance crew. Mount Hermon has been without a certified electrician for many years now, and since then, these two have filled a big hole.  From rewiring cabins during a remodel, to troubleshooting electrical fixtures and fixing outdoor lighting, they continue to keep Mount Hermon energized.”

Volunteering isn’t their only gift. The Schneider’s bless us generously as long-time Mount Hermon Associates.

“Our support of Mount Hermon’s ministry is just a natural outgrowth of what we have received; support for us as a couple, a family, and individuals. As well as for our children and grandchildren. As we partner with Mount Hermon, we get to be a part of a greater ministry than we could do alone. For forty-four years we have seen this ministry grow and remain faithful to the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ, and we are so greatly blessed with our association with Mount Hermon.”

Paul continued, “As ‘redirected not retired,’ older folks, we know God is not through with us yet. For me, Mount Hermon has become an opportunity to give back from the experience I gained through all the years working in the electrical industry. It is a special blessing to be able to give my time and talent to a ministry that has blessed so many people, including our family, for so many decades.”

If you too would like to give to Mount Hermon through your time and talent, there are many areas of need and many ways to serve. To find out how, simply contact Michelle Marty at 831.430.1375 or volunteers@mounthermon.org and we thank you in advance.

Gwinn Lodge is Finished!

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By J.R. Loofbourrow, Vice President of Advancement

It is finished! After months of praying, weeks of careful preparation, and six days of non-stop work, we can now say that every room in Gwinn Lodge has been completely remodeled and is ready for your next visit!

Many of you have heard about our efforts to finish the remodel of Gwinn Lodge, a project we have been working on for several years. That dream became a reality the week after Thanksgiving when a crew of twenty workers came up from Southern California and made VERY quick work of the remaining eight rooms.

All week long we marveled at Mount Hermon’s version of an “extreme makeover,” one staff member even started crying! A crew member asked, “Why is that woman crying, is everything ok?” We explained, “Yes, she’s ok, she’s just really happy!”

Perhaps the best part of the whole project was watching the construction crew’s joy while working together. After long work days, the crew spent time playing basketball in the McAfee Fieldhouse, playing soccer, and eating ice cream together in the fountain—just as many of you have done while at Mount Hermon. Most of the crew spoke Spanish, which gave Andrew Summers the opportunity to be a communication lead and share with them in Spanish about the ministry of Mount Hermon and why the work they were doing was so important. You should have seen the smiles on their faces as they came to realize that this wasn’t just any construction job, they were a part of something much bigger!

The best part of all?  The entire crew that was here will be coming back to Mount Hermon in August to attend Hispanic Family Camp with their families! Just imagine what God will do through that! We are so grateful for their hard work and are already dreaming about the
next big project.

We want to extend a special THANK YOU to each of you who’ve prayed and given financially to this project. We could not have done it without you!

As we plan the next renovation project, we need your help and ask you to prayerfully consider joining us as a ministry partner through a financial gift. This is a unique opportunity where your gift will be leveraged for incredible impact restoring vital Mount Hermon lodge rooms while also sowing seeds of love, hope, and salvation to the crew who will do the work! Thank you so very much for your consideration.

If you have any questions about the project or would like to make a gift, please feel free to contact J.R., Kerry, or Andrew at 831.430.1244