The Williams: A Mount Hermon Couple

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Kerry Phibbs, Associate Director of Advancement

Dan and Linda Williams have blessed and impacted this ministry and our guests, day-in and day-out, since 1990.

Shortly after getting married in 1981, they joined Campus Crusade for Christ in San Bernardino. Dan served in the tech services department as the manager of the carpenters and painters. Linda worked in various departments until their first child was born in 1986.  After their second child was born, Linda was getting used to the idea of staying, but Dan sensed that they needed to seek God’s guidance for another direction, so they did.

They visited Mount Hermon for the first time, just after the 1989 earthquake. There were no jobs at the time, but five months later, the phone rang, and the rest is history.

Dan and Linda both serve in their sweet spots. They are so good at what they do! Dan is our maintenance manager, overseeing the maintenance team and keeping roads, water, and over 100 buildings up and running.

Dan was given some godly counsel from a Campus Crusade mentor many years ago, to learn from the most experienced men on the crew. He’s combined that advice, along with his natural ability, to build and develop and lead his team. He enjoys bringing together the different personalities, skills, and passions of the men on the maintenance crew to serve the Lord, the guests, and fellow staff here at Mount Hermon.

Linda’s love of the outdoors and her heart for inviting others into God’s creation led her to Mount Hermon’s Adventure/Recreation ministry. Whether it’s leading a canopy tour, doing team building, or being a guide on mountain bike rides, she enjoys the opportunity to see others challenged and overcome obstacles that open them up to see God in different ways. Her gift for coordinating projects involving multiple departments creates a win-win for everyone.

Outside of Mount Hermon, Linda loves adventuring on her bike and gardening. She enjoys feeding
and identifying birds—she’s a bit
of an ornithologist!

Dan enjoys remodeling their Mount Hermon home and also volunteers
with Santa Cruz County Search
and Rescue team.

They have four adult children: Rachel 30, Eric 28, Annie 26, and Jordan 18. All of the Williams’ kids have served on staff in some capacity. God has blessed Dan and Linda with two beautiful grandchildren, whom they love to visit.

What’s new on the horizon for Dan and Linda?

Linda is being trained as a bike mechanic so she can help maintain the bike fleet for our Adventure/Recreation program. She’s continuing to develop her coaching skills as a Redwood Canopy Tour trainer and mountain bike coach.

Dan is in the process of rebuilding parts of the maintenance crew, as several positions are available for hire.  They would appreciate your prayers for each of them in their professional roles, plus insight as they continue to learn the “art of parenting adult children.”

We are truly blessed to have Dan and Linda as a part of our Mount Hermon staff. They have generous hearts for this ministry and are also a long-time part of our Associates family!


My Favorite Place in the World!

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Tyler Kovacs, Guest Contributor

My Aunt and Uncle work full time at Mount Hermon and were always trying to get me and the rest of the Texas cousins to fly out for camp. The summer of 2005, my 8th-grade year, my parents relented and I went to Redwood camp with my brother and cousin.

I went to Ponderosa each of the next five summers and began to slowly get to know Jesus one week at a time over several years. Camp was my favorite place in the world as a student. The week I spent at Pondy was my Disneyland, Super Bowl, and Christmas all rolled together, only better! The campers and counselors were more genuine, loving, and free than anyone I had ever met. God used seemingly normal interactions with these people to bring me to Himself.

Andrew, my counselor for three summers, had the greatest influence on me. He saw me differently, he spoke to me differently, and I genuinely wanted to see the world the way he did. Through Andrew and other staff members, I experienced the love that the speakers at camp were always talking about. The summer before my sophomore year of high school a gospel message delivered in the forum cut me to the core, and I gave my life to Christ later that night on the rec field looking up at the stars.

I met Jesus as a camper, but it was as a summer staffer that I got to know Him deeply, wrestle with Him, rely on Him, and see Him change my heart week after week. Those years I needed my fellow counselors to sustain me more than I needed anyone ever in my life. There I met many of my closest friends and learned what having true brothers and sisters in Christ could do for my faith.

After camp, I never settled for shallow friendships ever again. Throughout my summer staff experience, God taught me about the power of vulnerability, humility, trust, love, and freedom.

My experiences at camp propelled me into youth ministry throughout college and helped me realize my passion and desire to work in full-time youth ministry. In the summer of 2015, my staff counselor from my first two summers at Redwood offered me my first full-time job at Canyon Creek Church. I accepted knowing that I wanted to spend my life providing support and direction to students while pointing them to Jesus.

Now that I am a full-time youth pastor; I love bringing my students to Ponderosa Lodge for summer camp and Fall Frenzies. Bringing students to camp is a surreal experience for me. Every tree and trail I see when I am at Mount Hermon ties to a memory of Jesus revealing Himself to me. Offering the same opportunity to the students I love, gives me chills. My camp experience has come full circle, and I am so thankful that God has woven my faith journey with the roots of those redwoods.


Meet Bruni Wald

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

Pictured left to right: Vera Neumann, Bruni Wald, Wolf Neumann

By Kerry Phibbs, Associate Director of Advancement

Sharing the gift of Mount Hermon with family and friends is a natural occurrence among those of us whose lives have been impacted here. Well, that is exactly how Brunhilda “Bruni” Wald learned of this safe-haven in the redwoods, from her friends, Wolf and Vera Neumann, long-time Associates, Redwood Society members and Mount Hermon champions.

Wolf shares how it came about–

“We met Bruni and her husband, Helmut at our church. When Helmut fell ill, she took care of his needs but eventually admitted him to a home where she visited him daily. We prayed with both of them and visited several times, which formed the friendship.

After his passing, we wondered how Bruni would manage all by herself. But God gave her the strength and necessary health. We simply include her into our ‘outings to Mount Hermon,’ – something all three of us look forward to and enjoy! For us Bruni is family! Seeing how much she enjoys the concerts and various activities has been a tremendous blessing to us. You just can’t out-give the Lord.”

Bruni first came to Mount Hermon in 2012 and soon after became an Associate, then part of the Redwood Society, and now she is a regular in these redwoods. She sent a note to me recently and I asked for permission to share a little with you.

“…My special love is Mount Hermon and I’m so thankful to Wolf and Vera for taking me along. The Lord is in Mount Hermon. For me, it’s a special place. I am thinking of you and praying for you. Love, B”

It’s people like Bruni, Wolf, Vera and you that make our Associates family so special. Thank You for standing alongside us on this journey as we see lives transformed at Mount Hermon.

Learn more about the Mount Hermon Associates! Contact:
Kerry Phibbs at 831.430.1237 or kerry.phibbs@mounthermon.org


Conference Connections

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

people connectionAre you attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for the first time? Returning after a long break? Perhaps you’ve attended before but are submitting to editors and agents for the first time. Conference Connections is for you!

Before the Conference

Download the First-Timer’s Packet, which is filled with helpful tips and information.

Look for our weekly Pre-Conference Preparation Tips on Facebook, starting the first week in February.

At the Conference

On Friday after lunch, be sure to attend the First-Timer’s Orientation, where you will receive valuable information on how to get the most out of this wonderful conference.

Keep an eye out for people who have hearts on their name tags. These conference veterans enjoy connecting with first-timers and those who feel like newbies. If you have a question, can’t decide which workshop to take, need help finding a room, are having a difficult day, or want to share exciting news, flag down one of these kind, encouraging registrants or faculty members. They will be happy to help, listen, or pray with you. Be sure to introduce yourself to at least one of them so they get a chance to meet you.

If you walk into lunch or dinner feeling tired, discouraged, or like you need a break from trying to impress editors, join us at the table designated as a No-Pressure Zone. There you can relax, connect with others, and get the lift you need to go into the rest of your day.

Still have questions? Contact Jeanette Hanscome and she will be happy to help you.

See you in April!


shelves with children's books

The Challenge of Writing for Children

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Crystal Bowman

When people find out I write books for children, their response goes something like this: “Oh, how fun! I have always wanted to write a children’s book.” Writing for children is fun, but fun does not mean easy. That’s why I love teaching classes on writing for children. I enjoy helping writers learn the craft of this genre. But the more you learn, the harder it gets! Here are a few basic tips on how to get started:

  • Learn the genre and the sub-genres. The genre of children’s literature is very specific and writers need to learn how to write for children. Writing an engaging story with limited word count and limited vocabulary is difficult—even for seasoned writers. Then there are the sub-genres. From board books to early chapter books and everything in between, each sub-genre has its own specific requirements that writers need to know.
  • Understand the market. Before you invest your time and energy in writing a children’s book, research the market to find out what is already out there. If what you write is not better than or different from what is already being sold, your book stands little chance of being published.
  • Master writing techniques. Rhythm, rhyme, repetition, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and other forms of wordplay are effective tools for children’s stories. However, these writing techniques must be mastered if you want to add creative elements to your story. Misusing these techniques will send your manuscript on a fast track to the slush pile.
  • Have your story edited. Once you have learned the basics and begin writing your story, be sure to work with a children’s editor or writing coach. Your story needs to be professionally polished to catch the attention of a publisher. You must be willing to accept constructive criticism and revise your manuscript multiple times.
  • Don’t give up. There are no shortcuts or quick paths to the world of publishing. Writing for publication can take many years, and some writers give up along the way. If writing for children is truly your passion, learn everything you can about the process. Be persistent, patient, and prayerful. Learn. Learn. Learn. Revise. Revise. Revise.

 

I was thrilled to be invited back for a second year to lead sessions at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I will be teaching a Pre-Conference Next Level class and look forward to working with some talented writers. If your passion is writing for children, please sign up for this session. I can’t wait to meet you!

Crystal is the Children’s Books and Magazines mentor for the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic, April 5-7.

Click here for more information about the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, April 7-11.

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman is a best-selling, award-winning author of more than 100 books for children, including The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers, Our Daily Bread for Kids, and My Mama and Me. She has written many I Can Read! books, as well as stories for Clubhouse Jr. magazine and lyrics for children’s piano music.

 


Just Plain Obvious

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

My mother Tilli had a long history at Mount Hermon. My father Jack met his Savior down at Victory Circle. This soon led to his meeting and marrying Tilli in 1957. Mount Hermon was a favorite place for them as a couple, to come with their church family, and then eventually with their own family.

We attended Mount Hermon family camps for decades. Mom and Dad bought a cabin on Pine Ave. which allowed our family to stay for multiple weeks in the summer, enjoying the variety of summer conferences and concerts. All of their children, myself included, served on Summer Staff after graduating high school.

Mount Hermon was a lifetime place of refuge and renewal and was the spiritual foundation for my mother and her entire family. We all loved the walks in the woods, worship through hymns, and Biblical life-giving teaching. Mount Hermon gave us a firm love and vigorous passion for God’s word, to be studied and lived out in our lives every day. Mount Hermon was central to our family’s spiritual life.

It was just plain obvious for my mom to give a lifetime gift through the Redwood Society, to give back to a new set of generations the treasured gift mom had received for her family.

There are very few things worth spending resources on with a greater value than Mount Hermon.

We are grateful and humbled to have been included in Tilli’s estate plans. If your family has been impacted by the ministry of Mount Hermon and you’re thinking about leaving an estate gift, please contact: Dave Talbott at 831.430.1241 or dave.talbott@mounthermon.org


mason jar

The Power of a Mason Jar

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Marci Seither

“Are you going to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers conference this spring?” I asked Susan Gregory one day. I had volunteered to give her a ride to an event, and as we rode together we found out we shared a love of writing.

She told me it wasn’t in her budget but she hoped to attend one year. Despite having a book that she would love to see published, it seemed like her dream was beyond her reach.

I knew the feeling of having something you dream of doing, and even feel called to do, yet not seeing any way it could happen.

The first year I decided to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference I taught swim lessons and worked as a lifeguard all summer, putting the money I made into a mason jar designated for conference tuition. I knew it would take a lot of planning and sunscreen to pull it off.

My husband gave me money toward tuition in lieu of Christmas and birthday gifts, adding to my mason jar. I did a photo shoot for a friend, and in return, she surprised me by putting cash into my Mount Hermon fund. I managed to collect enough to attend the conference. I did the same thing for a few more years after that.

“Let your family and friends know you have a big dream,” I told Susan. “And start a conference fund for yourself.”

When we got to our destination, she handed me money for gas. I gave it back to her. “This is the first deposit in your conference fund.”

Eighteen months later, Susan’s face beamed as she walked down the redwood-lined path at Mount Hermon. “I made it!” she exclaimed. “I’m here because of the Conference Fund! It took a while, but the money you gave me became something that grew.”

cover of the book slender reedsI recently saw Susan’s newly published book, Slender Reeds, being shared on Facebook. It is beautiful. And it really was a dream come true.

I later heard about a young mom named Jenni who felt led to write but didn’t know where to start. Her friend encouraged her to set up a GoFundMe account in order to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A GoFundMe account is a way for people to tell others what they need funds for and why. Instead of giving gifts or stocking stuffers, people can add funds to that person’s project. Many of Jenni’s friends helped support her and her dream of reaching others through her writing.

I’m not saying that if you just set a mason jar on the counter all your dreams will come true. That’s not realistic. But sharing your goals with others allows them the opportunity to partner with you in something worthwhile.

Pride can make us dream hoarders. Humility allows us to be vulnerable and share our dreams with others.

Do you have a big dream? Are you among the 81 percent of Americans who would love to write a book but just need the courage, and maybe a nudge, to put action to that dream?

Why not set up a mason jar conference fund and see what happens?

For more information about the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference, click here.

Marci SeitherMarci Seither has written hundreds of feature stories, op/editorials, and human-interest articles for local papers as well as contributing to national publications. She has been married to her husband almost 30 years and is mom to six amazingly rowdy kiddos who have provided her with volumes of great material, loads of laundry and symphonies of laughter. Marci encourages others with humor that packs a punch and entertains other moms with her Urban Retro style. She recently had two books published and knows how to make marshmallows from scratch. Marci is an airport shuttle assistant for Mount Hermon Writers Conference.


winners

First-Timers Contest: Winners Announced

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

We are excited to announce the winners of The First-Timers Contest. Congratulations to:

Ann Neumann

Erica Hale

Erin Kincaid

Karen DeBlieck

Karl Haffner

Laurel Burlew

Leah Hinton

Lisa Gefrides

Margery Warder

Robin Phillips

If you entered and were not one of the ten winners, we hope you will still consider spending an amazing and life-changing week in the California redwoods to experience this one-of-a-kind event. Find all the conference details at http://writers.mounthermon.org/.


First-Timers Contest For MH Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

pen, notebook, and coffee for writersWhen I attended my first writers’ conference years ago, I didn’t realize how dramatically it would change my life. I met so many professionals in the publishing industry and authors I admired (and came to admire later). And it really kicked off my own writing career!

Major writers’ conferences can be expensive. But they can be valuable investments in our future.

If you’ve always wanted to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, but never been able to afford it, I have exciting news for you.

Mount Hermon is running a First-Timers Contest for the 2017 conference. Ten winners will each receive a full scholarship, including economy lodging and conference meals.

There is NO FEE to enter this contest. It is open to both published and unpublished writers.

Just send a five-page writing sample (fiction or nonfiction). In addition to writing quality, winners will be determined based on the answers to these questions:

  1. Why do you want to attend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference?
  2. Why have you never attended before?
  3. What do you hope to get out of attending in 2017?

Once submissions are narrowed down based on those factors, the final decision will be made based on prayerfully asking for the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Deadline to enter is December 30 at midnight Pacific Standard Time.

Go to http://writers.mounthermon.org/resources/first-timers-contest for details, guidelines, and submission instructions.

Please spread the word to anyone you know who might benefit from this amazing conference.

Kathy Ide, Director
Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference


Kidder Creek Summer Review

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

Rafting Photo

Summer 2016 was an incredible one at Kidder Creek because we got to serve over 1,600 campers (an almost 20% increase over 2015!) through outdoor adventures. We saw campers take one step closer to Jesus and have their lives forever transformed as they give their lives to Him. What an incredible opportunity!

Glory to God for the work that He is doing in the lives of campers that join us each summer at Kidder Creek, as they enjoy rafting, horseback riding, and daily adventures, they discover who God made them to be and learn how they fit in His plan to serve Him and others as they grow closer to Him.

  • Rock Climbing
  • Kidder Ride
  • Little Girl

Another highlight of this summer was adding Kidder Creek’s first-ever Mountain Bike Camp to the schedule. We filled the camp quickly and had a waiting list for this fun new camp. One camper said, “It was the best week of my life!”

Daily rides were the essence of the camp with rides at camp, the base of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Ashland. Summer 2017 will see a return of Mountain Bike Camp, with this upcoming year separating our Jr. High and High School Campers so that we can offer an even better experience. Many thanks to our volunteers who helped build trails, lead rides, drive the shuttle and do bike maintenance, we could not have done this camp without them.


“I found how God is showing us His love in great ways. I found myself doubting His existence but that completely changed. I am so non-doubting about my faith, and I am willing to give my life fully to Him and go serve the Lord in any way possible.”

BRANDEN, WILDERNESS ASCENT CAMPER


“If we marvel at creation we should marvel even more at the Creator.”

NICHOLAS, TIMBERLINE CAMPER

“I want to decide for myself that I believe in God.”

KELLY, TIMBERLINE CAMPER


“It has changed and probably saved my life.”

SAM, WIT CAMPER



The Samuelson Pavilion

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

Samuelson Pavilion Photo

On July 30, over 300 Redwood campers from past and present, staff, friends, and family all gathered under the Samuelson Pavilion to dedicate it to God’s glory and service. The Samuelson Pavilion has been a project of dreams for years, and this last summer came to fruition.

Dick Dosker, former Redwood Camp Director (1956–1989) captured the significance of the Pavilion during the dedication by saying, “Thank you all for the service in which you have given to this particular place of real estate which is hallowed ground. This new piece of equipment will help us move into the future of year-round ministry.”

“I love having the pavilion,” said current Redwood Camper D.J. Renwick. “When it’s foggy, or it’s raining or really sunny, we can play under here and it’s really nice.”

The Samuelson Pavilion sits nestled on the end of the meadow where redwoods provide the backdrop, the sound of the Ferndale Falls heard, the cabins seen, and relief from sun and rain felt. It provides a space for basketball, foosball, dodgeball and more. It also provides a great place to gather and meet with an open air feel.

  • Samuelson Pavilion
  • Samuelson Pavilion

“In many ways—Play is the gateway to a child’s heart,” said current Redwood Camp Director, Chafer Cox. “We close the week with our Luminaria. Campers spread out all over the field and under the pavilion. This is where many kids accept Christ for the first time and discover God’s unconditional love for them, (as they look back over the week and make some incredible decisions and take part in life-changing conversations). Last night, one cabin of seven girls all accepted Christ right here under the pavilion.”


“I love to build. I love taking the plans and making them come to life. We listen to the Master Builder. He leads us to build places and spots to worship.”


The Samuelson Family and staff also attended the dedication. “I love to build. I love taking the plans and making them come to life,” said Jack Samuelson. “We listen to the Master Builder. He leads us to build places and spots to worship.”

Jack has a long history with Mount Hermon having been on the board of directors and attending Mount Hermon events. “He [Jack] feels loved here,” said Jack’s son Reid Samuelson. “We feel loved here, and I’m sure that everyone who passes through here gets the same feeling. So we’re very proud, very honored to be a part of this project.”

“We want our grandchildren and all young people to understand that living is about giving and not getting,” said Jack. “It is about concern for others and living in the warm glow of God’s eternal, loving care.”

There was also no better weekend to dedicate the pavilion than the same weekend as the Redwood Staff Reunion. Over 140 former Redwood Staff from the 40’s to the present came from far and wide to revisit and reconnect with such a unique and meaningful time in their lives.

Bill (Llama) Vezey reflects back on his experience as a summer staffer at Redwood in the 80’s. “Redwood Camp, in particular, was, no exaggeration, my salvation. I was headed down a dark and self-absorbed road. Living in a community, summer after summer, that required mutual reliance in a place of such explicit prayer and service turned my ship around. I am forever grateful to Dick and Barb Dosker who took a chance on me and let me come back a second summer. And a third. And so on.”

“We’ve all been part of this,” said Ron Taylor, former Redwood Camp Director (1998–2009) during the ceremony. “I believe that this building is in good hands because the people who are serving at Mount Hermon love God and dream big.”


The Transformed Lives of Three Marine Wives

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

Military Camperships have become one of the most heartfelt parts of our campership program. Giving the gift of a week at family camp for a military family is a joy we can’t measure. Families arrive in a variety of shapes and sizes usually excited, having different needs and hopes of their week at camp. This summer we had a unique, first-time “family” arrive.

Three young Marine wives whose husbands are all deployed heard about the campership opportunity at church then called to see if the three of them might come as a “family” to Family Camp. We were thrilled to extend the invitation!

Haley, Jaclyn, and Laura had no idea what family camp would look like for them or how Mount Hermon would transform their lives, but God certainly did.

marine-wives

JACLYN
“Our experience at Mount Hermon was truly incredible. As military spouses with deployed husbands, we weren’t sure what the week would hold, but through the sessions, encouragement, and support of both staff and other campers, the week really did strengthen our family, even though they couldn’t be physically present. As unconventional as it may have been for us, it was family camp in the truest sense. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity we had, everything we learned, and the lifelong friends we made. I can’t imagine life without Mount Hermon!”


LAURA
“I was so blessed to be able to come to family camp on a military campership. Something that many people don’t know about military life is that the homecoming joy and excitement is often a short-lived calm before an ugly storm season. There are living arrangements, family dynamics, financial situations, and life experiences that have all been flipped upside down, then adapted to, and must now be flipped back over.

The week before family camp, I was considering backing out to try and make sense of it all and begin batting down the hatches. My week at Mount Hermon was a life changer—more a heart/soul changer that has allowed me to live a changed life. I can now see life from God’s perspective. I am able to find true God intended joy in the chaos.

I am able to breathe peacefully in hope for the future rather than fear. I really hope I someday get a chance to thank the person who made it possible.”


HALEY

“The main impression God left on me during my stay at Mount Hermon was how significantly God wants us to experience joy and to delight in His creation of the earth daily. No matter how long a military spouse has to endure their significant other’s absence, whether that be a weekend training, month-long field exercise, or 6 to 12-month deployment, they are more than likely going to feel a separation that is deeper than they want to acknowledge. The spouse can have all the goals and aspirations that she wants to strive for while her man is away in order to mask the loneliness, but it ends up being impossible to ignore.

Every family and staff member that Laura, Jacyln, and I met not only made all three of us feel at home again by filling that hole our husbands have left, but they honestly expressed the love of God and the compassion of Christ in a way I have not been blessed by in a long time. Mount Hermon reminded me how God wants us to live in right relationship with Him, His children, and the world. He has renewed my sense of purpose and spirit using the compassionate staff at Mount Hermon and the beautiful land they take care of. It was a true joy to be reminded of the life God wants us to live again and be able to have some fun at camp!”


Three women who were touched and transformed by a beautiful God ordained place, by loving Christ filled people, and by the mighty power of the Trinity.

For those of you who have had a part in sending a military “family” to Mount Hermon, thank you! Laura, Jaclyn, and Haley are just one example of many lives that have been changed because of you generously gave to send them to camp.


Jeremy Bentley: Our new VP of Programs!

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Staff News.

It is my joy to introduce Jeremy Bentley, our new VP of Programs. Jeremy is no stranger to Mount Hermon. He attended Mount Hermon as a camper, served as the Associate Director of Adult Ministries, and is married to Sara Williams, the daughter of Roger and Rachel Williams (Roger served as our President/CEO from 1993-2014).

Jeremy came to know Jesus as a young boy, and at the age of 16 felt a call from God to the ministry. In the summer of 1997 he became a counselor at Redwood Camp where prayer and the Scriptures became truly important to him.

mark-bentley-family Jeremy is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served in key staff roles in various ministries, including as Director of Live Events for the Don Moen Company, Assistant Director of Promotions with Samaritan’s Purse/Operation Christmas Child, and Generations Pastor at Mission Hills Church.

Jeremy is an experienced leader, team-oriented, a strategic thinker, learner, listener, and highly relational. He believes that he has been called by the Lord to create settings, environments, and opportunities for people to encounter God.

“Mount Hermon has always been one of the most special places in the world to me and my family. From growing up coming as a camper, working on summer staff, meeting my spouse here and even getting married in the auditorium, many of our family’s most significant events have revolved around Mount Hermon.  And now, having the opportunity to come back and invest in a ministry I deeply believe in, as well as to raise my family here, it truly is a dream come true! Our prayer is that the Lord would use our family at Mount Hermon to continue to see “Lives Transformed” for many years to come.”  

Please join us in welcoming Jeremy back to Mount Hermon!


A Dream Comes to Fruition: Redwood Pavilion

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

pavilion-grass

On July 30th, over 300 Redwood campers from past and present, staff, friends, and family all gathered under the Samuelson Pavilion to dedicate it to God’s glory and service. The Samuelson Pavilion has been a project of dreams for years, and this last summer came to fruition.

Dick Dosker, former Redwood Camp Director (1956-1989) captured the significance of the Pavilion during the dedication by saying, “Thank you all for the service in which you have given to this particular place of real estate which is hallowed ground. This new piece of equipment will help us move into the future of year-round ministry.

“I love having the pavilion,” said current Redwood Camper D.J. Renwick. “When it’s foggy, or it’s raining or really sunny, we can play under here and it’s really nice.”

pavilion-kids
pavilion-basketball

 

The Samuelson Pavilion sits nestled on the end of the meadow where redwoods provide the backdrop, the sound of the Ferndale Falls heard, the cabins seen, and relief from sun and rain felt. It provides a space for basketball, foosball, dodgeball and more. It also provides a great place to gather and meet with an open air feel.

In many ways—Play is the gateway to a child’s heart,” said current Redwood Camp Director, Chafer Cox. “We close the week with our Luminaria. Campers spread out all over the field and under the pavilion, and this is where many kids accept Christ for the first time and discover God’s unconditional love for them as they look back over the week and make some incredible decisions and take part in life-changing conversations. Last night, one cabin of seven girls all accepted Christ right here under the pavilion.”

We are so grateful for the Samuelson family and for the hundreds of others who helped make this project possible!
pavilion-interior-campers2


Lisa Olson: A New Journey

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

In spring of 2006 Mount Hermon welcomed a new staff member, Lisa Olson. Little did I realize how my life would be impacted as a result of knowing Lisa. I didn’t know she would become one of my dearest friends and be a catalyst in helping advance my faith and spiritual growth into a new place.

I’m not the only one impacted by Lisa. In fact, you may be one of them. Her vast knowledge of the world of Christian camping along with her decades of experience has changed the face of Mount Hermon programming and marketing in many ways—great ways.

aim-lisa

Lisa’s is uniquely wired. She can’t help herself from thinking of the most powerful ways to impact campers with the reality of Jesus’ love. Lisa is constantly evaluating how Mount Hermon can be relevant and in tune with our culture—how do we reach the world with the truth of God’s word? She is definitely not “camp as usual,” and Mount Hermon is a better place because of it.

We have been blessed to have had Lisa at the helm of programming and marketing for over a decade, but sadly, we’ve had to say “Happy Trails” to her. She is now headed into a new adventure in Christian camping in Texas.

Carolina Creek Christian Camp is blessed to have Lisa as their new Executive Director. Carolina Creek was founded in 2002 and is situated on 440 acres of waterfront property, 90 miles northwest of Houston. There are three camps on the property, serving all ages. With over two miles of water frontage, water sports are very popular at camp. They are enjoying their fifteenth summer of ministry this year.

Lisa loaded up and headed out on Sunday, June 19, and she arrived right in the throes of summer camp. For those of us who know Lisa, she stepped right into her element. There is no doubt that Lisa will bless the campers and impact the ministry under her new watch, the very way she blessed and impacted us at Mount Hermon.

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As Lisa began her transitions, true to her nature she did an exceptional job setting up and preparing her team for her departure, for the summer, and for their futures as strong contributors to Mount Hermon. Members of the Program Team are primed and ready to uphold and develop Mount Hermon’s outstanding program to impact campers with the reality of Jesus’s love and encouraging all to take one step closer to being more like Jesus. Jeremy Bentley, who joined our staff in July as the new Vice President of Program, now leads this amazing group of talented professionals into the future.

Although Lisa is dearly missed here, we know without a doubt the Lord is and will use her in a powerful way at Carolina Creek. Her fingerprints are all over Mount Hermon and she has been a significant contributor to our passion for “lives transformed” over the past decade. Thank you Lisa. We send you with love!

Please pray for Lisa and her family as they adjust to this era in their lives and specifically for Lisa as she leads this camp and acclimates to very new surroundings!

If you’d like to know more about Carolina Creek Christian Camp, go to carolinacreek.org


Mount Hermon Annual Fund & The Difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Learning Lessons the Hard Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Claussens—Volunteering is a Family Affair

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

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

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

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

What started the Mount Hermon story for the Claussen family?

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

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

So what took you to Kidder Creek?

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

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

What do you do when you are at camp?

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

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

What’s been the impact on your family?

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

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

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

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

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


Reporting Back Dishwasher Appeal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Doc: The Man on Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Transforming Summer Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come join us this summer!    


Volunteers Help Make Camp Happen!

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

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As summer approaches, there is much to be done to prepare for the arrival of summer staff and campers. Our site requires hours of cleanup from the harsh fall and winter weather and each year we focus on several large facility projects to continue maintaining and improving our structures and site.

Our facilities manager, Tim Lloyd, does an incredible job coordinating these projects and ensuring that the camp looks better than ever on day one of the summer. We are tremendously grateful for the groups of volunteers who come and give hundreds of hours to help us prepare for the summer.

Recently, we have had volunteers from Rolling Hills Covenant Church in Southern California, Servants on Wheels Ever Ready (SOWERs), and the Mobile Missionary Assistance Program (MMAP) helping with projects ranging from slash clearing to window and siding installation. As we get closer to summer, Heavenly wheels from Redding, Calvary Bible Church from Grass Valley, and Flood Student Ministry from Colorado will come to volunteer their time and talent to make Kidder Creek better than ever.

In addition to these groups, a number of faithful volunteers from the Scott Valley help with site maintenance throughout the year. We are beyond grateful to them all!


If you would like to know more about ways you could get involved in supporting the ministry of Kidder Creek as a donor or volunteer please contact us at office@kiddercreek.org.


Welcome Drew Otto!

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

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

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

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

KC-Otto'sFamilyPic-600x432Drew is joined by his wife Charlene and daughter Ellie. Charlene is  pregnant with their second daughter and due in August.

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

Please welcome Drew and Char to our team!   


Lives Transformed – Summer is Coming!

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

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Camp is abuzz with excitement and energy as we are preparing for the upcoming summer.

April has started with the Rolling Hills Covenant Church youth group doing projects all over camp like raking, cleaning out the pond and building some new fencing. Curly, our contractor, is here building stairs and moving dirt to revamp the water slide/ropes course areas, the SOWERS and MMAP’s groups are here working on the Timberline Dining Room, horses are coming back to the pasture and UPS is making more regular visits. Our office staff is busy answering phones and taking registrations, the kitchens are getting cleaned and the last few summer staff are being hired.

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The energy is so exciting as we anticipate our summer staff and campers that will be joining us in a few weeks for Summer 2016.

Kids at camp means lives transformed as they have incredible adventures where they meet Jesus and grow in their faith.

All of this work has me pondering the amount of work and energy that it takes to get ready for camp each year. I’ve been thinking a lot about the verse in
I Peter 4:10 where it says,

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.”

Getting ready for camp each summer is a huge undertaking and it requires many people investing time, energy and resources to be prepared for the ministry at hand. I get so excited thinking about each person involved using the gifts that God has given them to serve the campers that will join us this summer.

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The people involved does not include just those who are here getting their hands dirty. It also includes our donors who are giving to camperships and general giving, it includes our prayer warriors praying over the work that God will do in the lives of campers and it includes all of our previous campers who are out talking to their friends and inviting them to camp this summer.

God has great things in store for the campers and staff that will be with us this summer. Thank you to all of you who are a part of using your gifts to serve others at Kidder Creek Camp and are helping get camp ready for Summer 2016. It’s going to be a great summer as we see Lives Transformed!   

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Project Sanctuary– Where Military Families Thrive

Posted by & filed under Guest Groups, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

 militaryFamily1000Mount Hermon ministers to thousands of people each year by linking arms with established organizations, supporting them as they seek to accomplish kingdom work. Each year we also intentionally partner with a few organizations whose mission and values align with our own. Referred through our Military Campership Program, Project Sanctuary’s goal is to assess the needs of military families, reconnect them through therapeutic retreats, and ultimately help them make the transition to thriving into the future. We’ve hosted four of the 90+ reconnecting retreats, with a fifth scheduled this fall.

The retreats are free to guests, funded by Project Sanctuary’s private donors who wish to honor military families by providing therapeutic recreation, education, and counseling for the entire family. The Colorado-based nonprofit has served over 465 families, and is excited to report that 90% of these families are still intact with ZERO suicides.

A female veteran, single mother of five told us,

“Project Sanctuary is not just a foundation. They are a ministry! … My family never knew what family love felt like until we encountered this retreat and the people who help make it possible. I thank God over and over again for Heather [group leader] giving me the opportunity to see myself in the light and NOT in the dark.”

We are overjoyed to be part of the transformational work that God is doing in the lives of each one who will spend six days on our grounds, being loved and cared for by our staff and the leadership from Project Sanctuary.militaryFather1000