They Serve… Because They Believe

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

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I want to share with you some numbers that I thought you might find interesting:

67 / 282 / 264 / 613

What do these numbers mean?
Each number represents a group of incredible Mount Hermon staff members!

67 full-time year round
282 part-time year round and seasonal
264 summer staff
= 613 total Mount Hermon staff

Each Mount Hermon staff member plays an important role, roles that include clearing trails, washing dishes, harnessing adventurers, overseeing technology, receiving reservations, planning conferences, cleaning toilets, raising money, loving children, fixing repairs, cooking meals, creating brochures, selling books, assisting pastors, impacting teenagers, teaching science, holding babies, making beds, managing finances, painting fences, making videos, cutting grass, serving food, changing light bulbs, and oh so much more!

We are blessed with a great staff, and God has impressed deep upon my heart the need for us to celebrate, appreciate, care for and adequately provide for our staff. They work long hours, sacrifice, care, and love this ministry as they give tirelessly of themselves without high pay or great benefits. They serve because they believe in this special place where God regularly touches lives.

Please join me in praying for our staff, that God would protect them, supply all their needs, and truly bless their lives. Pray for unity, joy, and effectiveness as our staff minister to over 70,000 people each year. And when you get a chance, please look them in the eyes and say, “thank you!”

Apply for Summer Staff at Mount Hermon!


Ron Demolar– Pancake King and So Much More

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

demolarSummer staff, intern, year–round staff, Ponderosa Lodge Director, Advancement Staff member, tour director, president of the Trustees, part of the Redwood Society; there’s hardly a category of involvement at Mount Hermon that doesn’t fit Ron Demolar, and it goes back 55 years!

Ron first came on the Redwood Camp Summer Staff in 1961, and returned in 1962 and 1963. On the car trip in 1962, he met Jacquie Dangers, who had grown up in Zaire (now Congo), and was attending Westmont College. After serving together at Redwood and dating, they were married in 1964.

From 1964–67, they came up to host college conferences at Mount Hermon. In 1967, he was named Mount Hermon’s first intern, working at Redwood Camp under Dick Dosker. Together, they put the finished touches on program planning for the new high school camp at Ponderosa Lodge, and Ron became director there in 1969.

Jacquie worked as a registrar in 1967, raised two daughters, and later was full–time in the HR office, in charge of hiring hundreds of summer staffers. This last year she has fought a battle with cancer, and has now finished her final round of chemotherapy. She loves visiting their two grandsons in Colorado and granddaughter in Texas.

Ron led Ponderosa Lodge from its beginning in 1969, and became Program Director of Mount Hermon in 1983. In 2000 he moved to the Advancement Office, and in 2011 he stepped aside when he was named to the Mount Hermon Trustees, which he still chairs.

Because he has influenced thousands of young people who have now moved into responsible Christian ministries world–wide, Ron is considered the “go–to” person when our staff needs information on someone. “He knows everyone, it seems,” says his former Advancement boss, J. R. Loofbourrow.

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Ron believes in “paying it forward,” and supporting those whose lives have intertwined with his. He serves on four boards. “Intensive Care” is involved in third–world teaching of pastors. “The Fellowship” in Santa Cruz, with former staffer Rich Price, is involved in discipleship. And he serves on the board of his brother–in–law’s orphanage in Africa, “New Hope Uganda”. Because he has received so much from his involvement with Mount Hermon and now the Trustees, he and Jacquie have also joined the Redwood Society, to pledge part of their estate to the ongoing ministry of Mount Hermon.

It wasn’t in his job description, but Ron is also known as the pancake king, having flipped pancakes two or three times a week every summer for over 45 years. And for years he drove the bus to the beach with eager loads of high schoolers. “At camp, you do a little bit of everything––whatever needs doing,” he reports. He has done it with modesty and willingness. That makes him a pretty popular guy with thousands of young people, now grown up, all over the world.

Apply for Summer Staff at Mount Hermon!


Getting to Know the Mount Hermon Annual Fund

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

  jr-loofbourrowIn Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 the Lord has given us a beautiful, poetic narrative about the seasons and cycles of our lives. I know you are familiar with it… “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven”(3:1).

We live the cycles and rhythms of life almost without thinking. Birthdays and anniversaries of things joyous and sad come every year. Holidays and Holy Days allow us to celebrate romance, patriotism, the Incarnation and Resurrection. Annual physicals, dues, performance reviews and taxes come as sure as the winter rains. The author of Ecclesiastes writes: “What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again” (3:15).

Mount Hermon is a seasonal ministry in many ways. Annually we see the return of summer when family camps and youth camps gear up to full–tilt, and thousands of people fill the air with laughter, the auditorium with songs of praise, and campfire circles with testimonies of God’s goodness. Fall brings church partners returning to Mount Hermon for a retreat in the redwoods. Christmas brings concerts, spring brings summer staff recruiting and students to Outdoor Science School. What is happening now has happened before and will happen again, and again.

Ecclesiastes acknowledges that the seasons bring their share of hard work, and the burdens of life on this earth as well. It’s no different at Mount Hermon. It shouldn’t surprise us that every year brings needs that must be met to keep this one–hundred–year–old facility ready to receive guests. Every year vehicles are retired and replaced. Every year computers run their course and are upgraded. Every year roofs leak, carpets become threadbare, pipes rust, potholes form, trails erode, harnesses and saddles wear out and even the curtains and bedspreads fade from sunlight.

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And every year there are opportunities! Families going through a rough patch due to unemployment or an unexpected health crisis need a little extra help paying for camp. Veterans come back from deployment in harm’s way seeking a haven where they can reconnect with their spouse or family. Kids growing up in unspeakable conditions marked by violence and abuse have a once–in–a lifetime opportunity to come be enveloped in the love of Christ for one whole week. Girls rescued from Human Trafficking get to rediscover worth and strength on an adventure course.

These annual needs and opportunities are generously covered by the gifts faithfully bestowed by Mount Hermon Associates. Over the last five years their contributions to the Mount Hermon Annual Fund have averaged over $2,000,000! While some might see these annual needs as non–glamorous or routine, they are the stuff of life for this ministry. The Annual Fund is what allows Mount Hermon to provide sacred spaces and experiences for God’s children.

The author says that God “… has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (3:11). Mount Hermon exists to water, nurture, and coax that seed to take hold in our hearts and bring forth new life in Him. If you want to play a part in this work of God, this season, consider a gift to the Mount Hermon Annual Fund. If you are already a beloved Associate, this is the time we say “thanks.” 

Read More About Giving


Even Small Donors Make a Difference

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

Rachel-and-Evan-Griffith

It’s an indisputable truth that Redwood Camp is and has been one of the happiest places on earth for so many. For a century now thousands of lives have been impacted as they have realized the love of Christ under the Redwoods. Uncountable decisions to follow Jesus have been made by the tender, vulnerable hearts of Redwood campers

I had the joy of opening a letter the other day from two of our littlest donors. It brought such joy to my heart and all those who read it that I simply had to share it with you.

Most of you know we are revealing a much anticipated feature at Redwood Camp this summer, the Samuelson Pavilion. We’re not the only ones excited about this wonderful new ministry arena; so are Evan and Rachel.

I asked their mom Stephanie how this all happened. She said…

Twin's-letter

“Redwood Camp is a very special place for our family. As a camper I made a commitment to Christ at Redwood Camp. My husband and I met as counselors at Redwood Camp. Now our children will be going to Redwood Camp for their 5th and final summer, before making the jump to Ponderosa. At last year’s Associates in Ministry Celebration we decided to help financially support the new Pavilion in the small way we could.

This decision got our children thinking. On their own they decided to save their allowance and find small ways to raise money for the Redwood Camp Pavilion. Redwood Camp is their favorite week of the summer (and maybe even their favorite week of the whole year!). To them it was a no–brainer to donate their money to such a special place.”

Years from now Rachel and Evan will look at the pavilion and know they were a part of that historic event in the life of Redwood Camp and all the lives that have been transformed there. The beautiful legacy of Redwood Camp and Mount Hermon flows from generation to generation, family to family. Thank you for being a part of Mount Hermon’s story.

Invest in Mount Hermon


A Reminder of God’s Grace: Redwood Camp Staff Reunion

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Stories of Ministry.

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By Lee Martin

Join us for this year’s Redwood Camp Reunion, July 30-31, 2016!

We are so excited about this summer’s Redwood Camp Reunion! My wife Susan and I (Bosco and Hondo) worked at Redwood summers of 1977 and 1978 as counselors, 1980 as assistant program director and program director and 1985 as staff counselors. Two of our children also worked as Redwood Camp counselors and one worked as a CILT.

Continued from Newsletter

The time working at Redwood was amazing for me in many ways. It was my first experience within a community of believers working for a common purpose: connecting kids with God’s love and grace through Jesus. Although we were imperfect in many ways during those summers, God’s purpose was fulfilled over and over again. I realized that God can use any of us at any time for any reason. That has stayed with me my whole life.

Lee-and-Susan-2 Recently I went to my high school reunion and was struck how different it was compared to the Redwood reunion we did a couple of years ago. At the high school reunion it was based more on superficial things in many cases (it was high school after all). But when we decided to help organize the Redwood reunion, we knew it was based on things that were more about the heart: about a unique intersection of time and place in our lives as well as campers lives that would never be replicated. And because it was about the dealings of the heart which are so rare in our daily lives, we knew the Redwood reunion would be a special time.

And it was. At the last reunion what struck me as one of the highlights was the sharing in Lakeside where about 70 of us got together. We had no agenda in particular but some music and then launched into sharing and stories that lasted about 2 hours. It spanned several decades of participation where staffers from the 21st century were hearing stories from the 20th. I remember hearing someone from the 40’s talk about the early beginnings for Redwood. I sat in awe. It was more like a family reunion, not a high school reunion. But that was because we were family.

In fact, a former Redwood counselor who had passed away shortly before was represented by her husband and her young children to come see and hear what had been so important about this place to her. Yes, there was not a dry eye in the room.
Lee-and-Susan
Another highlight was sitting at Victory Circle again with singing and sharing by Deacon Dick Dosker and Ron Taylor. Sitting in that backdrop, the two of them shared from their hearts what Redwood meant to them and historically to all of us. It was another reminder of God putting all of us together for a single purpose, in a unique community that could never be duplicated.

That’s was drives us about the Redwood reunion: to remind all of us that God’s grace works all the time in so many ways. I think we all need that reminder from time to time in our lives. And we know that He will be faithful in the future as new generations of Redwood counselors come to camp.

For more information about the Redwood Reunion or to register go to http://www.mounthermon.org/event/596


Outdoor Science School expands to China

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Stories of Ministry.

SingingDeer-1000
By Todd Clark

Question: What’s cooler that teaching kids about God through His amazing creation in the beautiful redwood forest of Mount Hermon? Answer: DOING IT IN CHINA!

Most people know that Mount Hermon has an Outdoor Science School that ministers to thousands of Bay-Area students every year at Ponderosa Lodge, but did you know that Mount Hermon now runs several weeks of OSS at a camp outside of Beijing every summer? Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

Last summer eight of our Outdoor Science School team members spent the month of August at this camp, impacting children in a transformational way by teaching them about creation, and by living lives consecrated to Christ. Last year’s theme asked the question, “Where is your treasure?” This prompt provided ample opportunity for fun activities as well as deeper exploration for campers, Chinese volunteers, and our own team.

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Jared, one of our naturalists, watched as, after lavishly creating a treasure box, a sixth grade girl began her journal activity where she was prompted to examine what “treasure” was for her. The question had a deep impact as she realized her treasure wouldn’t fit in a box! Her treasure was her parents! In an eloquent speech at closing ceremony, she laid out her heart, asking to spend more time with her parents and inviting them to see her as treasure as well.

Stephanie, also a naturalist, led the first-grade campers on a night hike. Describing the solar system, Stephanie explained that if the earth was located even a few degrees closer to or further from the sun, it would either burn up or freeze. The kids were amazed at how the earth fit perfectly for life to thrive and wondered how that could happen. A little girl in the group spoke up and said, “It’s because of Jesus!” Stephanie encouraged her to say more. The child explained to her friends how a creator God made sure the earth was in the perfect spot.

china4I think Jesus said it best when he instructed his followers to put their treasures in heaven. Treasures can come un-expectantly, intentionally, and powerfully when we realize that all of life is a mission toward transformation. It is transformative to our life perspectives when we realize real treasures are the relationships that we have. This journey of discovery doesn’t end just because we are back in the States. It’s a never ending question we are still asking ourselves and each other, “Where are you finding your treasures?”

This summer we’ll be running programs again! Our naturalists will help students explore the theme: The LORD is My Strength and My Shield (Psalm 28:7). We’ll be sure to keep you updated with stories and pictures of what God is doing!


Revamping Parent Child Retreats in 2016

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Stories of Ministry.

Moms & Sons Photo

By Kara “Quack” Podesta

Since I began working in the Children’s Ministry department, one of the biggest joys of my job has been the Parent Child retreats! Three times a year we get to create a time for families to pack up a bag and escape from the responsibilities of life to come play with us in the mountains. Parent Child retreats are an incredible ministry that allow parents an opportunity to connect with their kids both intentionally and spiritually, while having the opportunity to play, dance, and be silly with their kids.

Continued from Newsletter

The start of 2016 has brought us two retreats back to back this February! Kicking off our revamped Dads & Sons retreat followed by our Moms & Sons retreat, has created a busy, yet incredible past few weeks.

Dads & Sons Video

Together as Dads & Sons we traveled back to ancient Athens and took a look together at what it means to be a well-rounded man of God. A man who does not simply pose physical strength, but who is intellectual and in pursuit of the Lord. We competed in our very own Olympic Games ensuring that our team’s torch was lit and illuminated proudly to those around us. Dads & Sons completed a Decathlon where they completed puzzles and riddles, created a map of the stars and dedicated a family crest.

Four days later 100 moms & sons dropped into camp for a jam packed weekend, where we prepared for our first launch as Paratroopers. Together we walked through the attributes of a paratrooper, learning what it means to be courageous, loyal, and steadfast, while forming an Unbreakable bond with each other and with Christ. We defied all obstacles against us to rescue stranded paratroopers, participated in target practice, and took the leap off the high dive and zip line.

These retreats continuously remind me of the beauty in the relationship between parent and child. No matter which retreat it is, I am left full of awe and joy. Throughout the Dads & Sons retreat, I was reminded of the lengths that a parent will go through for their child. Our night game required pairs to sneak around camp completing a series of tasks and collecting objects without being caught by the guards. One dad scarified comfort and speed for his son, completing the entire game crouched behind a chair with his son behind him. They went in and out of buildings and up and down stairs, completely hidden behind a small chair, but the joy on that son’s face is something I will never forget.

moms&sons1000Parent Child retreats have allowed me to form lasting relationships with parents who I keep in contact with and am ministered to by. The ministry of these retreats is one that will make an eternal impact in not only these kids lives, but in their relationships with their parents forever. Lives transformed is happening outside of summer, and it is happening here at these retreats.


Redwood Camp Samuelson Pavilion Update

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

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Redwood Camp is where it all started—Mount Hermon’s birthplace in 1906. Things have come a long way since then and we are thrilled to be unveiling one of the most anticipated additions Redwood Camp has experienced.

It began in May of 2001, when the current master development plan for the Conference Center and Redwood Camp was approved by Santa Cruz County. There are many wonderful and exciting projects associated with our master plan, and each one, when completed, will be used to support the mission of Mount Hermon—lives transformed. The new pavilion at Mount Hermon’s Redwood Camp definitely fits into that category.

The Samuelson Pavilion is an open–air structure that will set nestled back towards Bean Creek, preceded by a sprawling grass meadow. The pavilion will be the new hub of activity, offering shade in the summer, and protection from the rain in the winter months.

The project started September 15, 2015 with strategic removal of trees and mass grading of the site. We were under the gun to get rough grading completed in less than thirty days. We pressed on and were able to complete the work by October 14. What an answer to prayer!

Since then, it has been full speed ahead with a six–inch water line to the fire sprinkler system, concrete foundation, heavy timber framing, and roof structure all completed. Our original date of completion was March 7, which included twenty days for rain delay. Even though we’ve had more than 20 days of rain, we are still on track to finish well ahead of the start of summer youth camps.

Someday we believe it will be hard to imagine life without the Samuelson Pavilion and its ministry impact. We feel confident, that day is not far away.

Read more about the Samuelson Pavilion


Meet Laura Messerly, Adventure Girl

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

Laura-racing-croppedOne of our brightest and most shining faces in the world of Adventure and Recreation belongs to Laura Messerly. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Laura and you’ve seen her smile, you know what I mean.

Laura is our Adventure Operations Director. She interacts with our wonderful adventure staff (ranging in number from 50–150 depending on the time of year). I’d love for you to get to know Laura a bit better. I know you too will be blessed by her beautiful, optimistic spirit.

Tell us how the Lord brought you to Mount Hermon?

I found out about Mount Hermon through a professor while in grad school. I found myself moving to California in early September 2011 to begin as an Adventure and Recreation intern. Even though I left after my internship year ended, the Lord had other plans for me.

I moved back home to the East Coast. The next eight months following the internship could best be summarized as “soul searching,” all the while never quite being able to shake off the fact that Mount Hermon had won me over. A week into my first full–time job in North Carolina, I learned of a new full–time position open with Mount Hermon Adventures. After quite a bit of internal struggle and prayer, and lots of frustrating silence from God, I decided not to pursue that position. Despite my decision, a little piece of my heart was undeniably still at Mount Hermon and that little piece did not seem to be shrinking. Instead, it was making it increasingly difficult to be present and effective in my current role. After two long, challenging, extremely powerful months of relying on God, on a whim, I checked the Mount Hermon jobs site. I was unexpectedly flooded with emotions (and tears) to see a full–time position for Adventure Operations Coordinator sitting there on the list. I knew it was the perfect fit! I returned in April of 2013 to begin serving in this role.

Share some of you passions outside of Mount Hermon.

I have always loved the ocean and about a year ago decided it was time to learn how to surf! There were many, many months of falling down and getting back on the board, and falling down and getting back up . . . but I am now standing up consistently and having a lot of fun out there in the waves!

My sister now works at Mount Hermon up at Outdoor Science School so I enjoy spending time with her! And my awesome roommates!

What’s new on the horizon for you in your area of ministry this year?

We always seem to be growing and changing at Mount Hermon Adventures, thanks to our fearless leader, Nate! We have recently added two new levels to our Sequoia Adventure Course, (now called the Sequoia Aerial Adventure), and are excited about our Grand Opening in March. We have been going through the various preparations; exploring the course, training our staff, discussing how it will operate, creating new staffing models, marketing and hiring more staff.

How can we pray for you?

More staff! More housing for our existing and future staff. We are hoping to hire 38 staff this spring (not counting summer staff) to run our programs and courses at full capacity! Housing is a huge, tricky and very expensive factor here in Santa Cruz for all of our staff.

Next time you are in the Adventure Recreation neighborhood make sure to stop by and say “hi” to Laura, our Adventure Girl!

Explore the Mount Hermon Adventures site

Laura-Ellen-mountain-top


Summer Staff Lives Transformed

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

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“Having not come from a Christian family or strong Christian community of friends, KC provided me with an opportunity to work alongside fellow believers. Going through the summer by solely relying on God for His strength and guidance allowed me to take one step closer to Jesus in my day-to-day life now that I am back at school. Prayer, acts of selfless love and engaging conversation about the Lord with other staff members encouraged me to continue to pursue God’s best in my life.” – 2015 River Team Staff Member

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It’s not only the campers who have their lives transformed each summer at Kidder Creek but it’s the staff as well. This summer we will hire 58 summer staff to join us in our mission of helping campers meet Jesus through a super fun-filled and adventurous week of camp. Those staff that join us in that mission will also leave transformed as they take one step closer to Jesus by relying on God for strength and His work in their own lives as they strive to serve and love the campers God brings to camp.

Previous staff consistently point to two things that they love about working at Kidder Creek and that lead to them having a life transforming time at camp. The first is the community:  being a part of a team of peers who have come together to do God’s work, to encourage and build each other up in that ministry, and to have supervisors who care about you, pray for you and want to see you grow in the Lord. The second is the ministry: laying it all on the line, setting aside your needs so you can meet someone else’s, to be completely empty of your own strength and to have to rely on the Lord’s strength to keep loving the campers.

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“I learned to better rely on Him for strength when I was weak, I learned to better see and love others the way that He does, I learned to trust Him to speak through me when I was unsure of what to say and He gave me the words I needed to say.”  – 2015 Ranch Camp Staff Member

God uses our summer staff to impact the hundreds of campers that attend camp each summer, and God is using their time at camp to draw them to Himself, to serve Him in the present as well as to prepare them for future ministry.

Apply for Summer Staff!


Craig Thompson Moving On But Not Away

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

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We are sorry to see Craig go! 

Craig Thompson first came to Kidder Creek in the 6th grade and spent the next six summers coming to camp. Craig remembers his counselor, Jon Vengley, from that first summer and how he one day wanted to be just like Jon. Craig’s life was transformed that first summer when he put his faith in Jesus.

Craig realized his dream of being like his counselor Jon and came on summer staff for the first time in 2003. Craig has spent 10 summers serving the Lord at camp in various roles.

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This will be Craig’s last summer as the Associate Director as he is going back to farming and  ministry full time at Rockside Ranch. Rockside is an organic working ranch just down the road that offers apprenticeships to young men overcoming adversity. We will miss Craig’s smile, his great storytelling and the hard work that he has given to this ministry. Thankfully he is not going far and he plans to to spend time volunteering at camp.

Thanks, Craig, for all  you have done and will do to pour into camp and create opportunities for campers to have incredible adventures, meet Jesus and have their lives transformed.


The Top Five Things You Shouldn’t Do in Kids’ Devotions

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Kristen GearhartBLOGGER: KRISTEN GEARHART

Managing Editor, Keys for Kids

Reviewing Pre-Submission Manuscripts for Editorial Review and Meeting with Writers at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22.

 

THE TOP FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO IN KIDS’ DEVOTIONS

Every year, I receive hundreds of children’s devotional submissions for publication consideration at Keys for Kids Ministries—from both new and seasoned authors. Our daily devotional is one way to break into children’s publishing to get some clips and also expand an existing author’s platform, so I see all sorts of writing levels on a day-to-day basis. Here are some examples of things I immediately decline publishing:

  1. Stories that have lofty messages or use complex theological terms. Devotions are meant to speak directly to readers. They should be able to see themselves in the situation or relate in some way. Every story should have a biblical/spiritual application, but presented in a way kids can relate to without getting too complicated.
  2. Stories told from an adult’s point of view. Because kids don’t want to read about someone’s grandma’s personal connection to her garden.
  3. Devotions that feature mythical creatures. In order to be biblically sound, I hold myself to being as truthful and upfront as possible for 6-12-year-old listeners/readers. While fantasy has its place, I’d rather not potentially confuse children by weaving biblical elements with imaginary beings.
  4. Devotions that are condescending to the reader. I don’t like it when someone wags their finger at me because I should or shouldn’t do something. I’m pretty sure kids don’t like it either.
  5. Stories that are poorly constructed or do not follow the writers’ guidelines. While I know it’s my job as an editor to smooth out plots, beef up character development, and clean up grammar issues, being forced to crawl through confusing dialogue or messy writing hinders me from truly connecting with the story.

Of course, these are just my opinions—another publisher might be interested in publishing stories featuring spiritually hungry Amish Leprechauns from outer space. Who am I to say?

__________________

Come meet Kristen Gearhart at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Click here to Register Now!


3 Things I Wish I’d Realized Before My 1st Mount Hermon Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Jill OsborneBLOGGER: JILL OSBORNE

Children’s Author; Serving on the Critique Team, March 2016; Teaching an Afternoon Workshop

3 THINGS I WISH I’D REALIZED BEFORE MY 1st MOUNT HERMON WRITERS CONFERENCE

In 2010, I stepped onto the Mount Hermon campus for my first ever Christian Writers Conference. It was one of the best weeks of my life. The valuable skills I learned, the encouraging people I met, and the spiritual guidance I received shaped me into the author I am today. I love Mount Hermon, and, God willing, I plan to come back every year.

But, when I replay the movie of that first week in my mind, I can’t help but wish I could hit the pause button at a few of the more awkward moments and yell out to my newbie self,

“Cut! Can we try that again?”

There’s the scene where I almost went home the first night, because I couldn’t pitch anything—much less an elevator.

There were scenes in the dining room where I kept stuffing my mouth with salad so I wouldn’t have to converse with “scary” agents and editors. (Stomach alert! Don’t ever eat that much salad in one week.)

And then, there was the mid-conference dark moment, when, tired and overwhelmed, I crawled back to my cabin, fished out my eyebrow pencil, scribbled a giant unibrow on my face and pronounced, “I am not a real writer.”

Friends, don’t let this become your movie!

Here are three things I wish I had realized before my first Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I offer this advice as a gift to you, the first time attendee. Memorize these points. Write them on your forehead if necessary. (It’s a better use for the eyebrow pencil.) Recite them to yourself throughout your time at Mount Hermon.

  1. You Belong Here

If you find yourself doubting this, consider the facts:

  1. You’ve been writing, or you’ve been thinking of starting for some time.
  2. God spoke to your heart and led you to sign up. And then he provided the funds!
  3. Every published writer began somewhere, and a writers conference was one of their first important steps. Congratulations, this is your first step!
  1. You Have Something to Offer

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the lingo—like what an elevator pitch is (I found out it has nothing to do with pitching an elevator). The people sitting next to you in the dining hall may wear the title of literary agent, editor, or best-selling author of over one-million books, but they’re real people. They struggle with family issues, job stress, and health challenges, just like you do. They might have a killer headache when you arrive on the scene. You can offer a smile, an encouraging word, or even an extra-strength Tylenol. People who have worked in a profession for a long time are energized by those who are just starting out. They need you! So be bold. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know much about this writing business.” You never know where that conversation will lead.

  1. Your Journey Is Unique

 You will hear plenty of helpful advice about next steps to take in your writing career. Some of that advice will work for you, some of it won’t. That’s okay. God’s got your story in the palm of his hand, and thankfully, it doesn’t read like anyone else’s. A short, straight path to a desired destination is not necessarily the most scenic. If your next chapter involves trudging uphill, you’ll build the muscles you need for the next long haul. God will never short-change you in the character-building department. So, stride into that next step, breathe, and enjoy the journey. Remember what it says in Philippians 1:6:

And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Welcome to your first Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. This week will be life-changing for you—in a good way! Embrace both the beauty and the chaos in each moment. Don’t forget to laugh. Find a banana slug on the redwood trail. Meet new people and invite them to join you for ice cream or coffee. Be still, and listen for God’s voice.

And come say hello to me during one of the meals! I’ll be the one not eating salad.

If this your first writers conference, what are you most concerned about?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come meet Jill Osborne at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

Click here to Register!


The Gratitude Jar

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Joy HarrisonBLOGGER: JOY HARRISON

Joy manages the Writers’ Conference Bookstore in Ivy (Upstairs street-side corner of the dining hall).

 

THE GRATITUDE JAR

I’ve been fortunate the last decade and more to be part of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Most of the time I am in the Writers’ Conference Bookstore helping attending authors check in their books for sale, find a book to purchase relating to their continuing writing journey, or to listen.

The bookstore in Ivy Dining Room is set up just for this conference and is unique in many ways. One of my favorite little known perks of this job is overseeing the Gratitude Jar. People stop by all day and take a moment to write down something they are thankful for concerning the conference.

It might be something they learned, how they arrived at the conference or someone they met or spoke with that day. It can be just a word or several paragraphs, but all the papers entering the jar testify to how grateful we are to be where we are.

Each day before dinner I randomly draw one of the notes and, if it is signed (because sometimes people just want a place to say thank you), I reward a book to the note writer. It isn’t about winning a book because being grateful is its own reward. But it is fun to get an unexpected gift.

Some of my favorite Gratitude Notes have mentioned a moment in conversation with an editor or a new acquaintance speaking words of encouragement, cementing the resolve to continue writing. Or this one, “I’m thankful for my grandma and my church, who helped me come here.”

Stop by the Writers’ Conference Bookstore to see what your fellow authors have published, to find a book for your return flight, or to find a book for the kiddos you left at home. When you do, I hope you’ll write a grateful note to put next to all the others in the Gratitude Jar.

I hope to see you during the conference. I’m in the bookstore and always ready to help, sometimes with a smile or a prayer or a hug. And certainly I can direct you to the books your instructor has recommended.  Just ask for Joy.

Click here for Book Consignment Guidelines

Click here for Book Consignment Form


Rooted

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

interconnectedRoots-grey

There are so many messages coming at us in today’s world.  It can be easy to feel blown around by the winds of pop culture.

That’s why it is so important to invite kids into the hope of the eternal truth of God’s Word. In Colossians 2:7, Paul gives the instruction to “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Our theme for summer 2016 is “Rooted.” We each have roots and we each have to choose where we allow our roots to grow. Do we allow them to grow down into our personal talents, our outward appearance, our social status? These options are temporary and unsteady. Instead we’ll be challenging campers to allow their roots to grow down into God’s eternal love for them. Once firmly rooted, they will be prepared to navigate the joys and difficulties that they face every day.

Please join us in prayer as we unfold this theme in the coming months. Our desire is that campers would leave Kidder Creek with a better understanding of how to grow in their faith in Christ.

Read More about Kidder Creek


Strategies for First Time Conference Goers

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

A writer as green as spring grasses arrived at the San Jose Airport, looked for the Mount Hermon Shuttle Sign, boarded a van, and began an adventure into the publishing industry that resulted in long-lasting relationships that deepened her spiritual roots and nourished her as a writer and speaker.

I’m that writer. Mona Hodgson.

Mona-0858-Edit[1]

Twenty-eight years and hundreds of publishing credits later, I still look forward to returning to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference every spring.

Now it’s your turn. You’re the one arriving at the conference for the first time. And you’re probably feeling as green as spring grasses. Excited. Nervous. Maybe even scared.

I’m hoping these 15 Tips and Tidbits will help prepare you for your God-ordained adventure at Mount Hermon!

1.  Connect with Mount Hermon Writers on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll continue to post updates there and on the blog.

2.  Are you flying in to San Jose and signed up to use our Airport Shuttle Service? At the airport, go to Terminal B Baggage Claim and look for a friendly face. Bob, Linda, or Marci will be waiting for you and holding a Mount Hermon sign.

Bob HodgsonLinda SmithMarci Seither

 

3.  Upon arrival at Mount Hermon on Wednesday or Thursday, go to the Administration Building (beside the Mount Hermon Post Office). That’s where you’ll check in, receive your room key, and your conference packet. For Friday arrivals, if the weather permits, you can check in at the kiosk next to the Mount Hermon Book Shop, across the street from the Administration Building.

4.  Cruise the website with frequent stops on the pages under Program, Faculty, Resources, and Blog.

5.  Take advantage of the free critique available as part of the pre-conference manuscript submission feature. Even if you plan to pitch to an editor or agent, make sure at least one of your two pre-conference submissions go to the Critique Team.

6.  Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be shy. New friends are waiting to meet you. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. The benches around the fire circle are a great place to meet and greet. So is the line at the Expresso Cart in Central Lounge (above the Mount Hermon Book Shop).

MH fire circle

 

7. Make education a priority. It’s tempting to focus on the pitching, networking, selling yourself or your work, but be sure you engage in a Major Morning Track (or the Morning Mentoring Clinic, if that’s the option you choose), afternoon workshops, and night owls. Visit The Critique Team in the Hospitality Center (Multipurpose Room, below the Dining Hall). Get comfortable with the idea that your first foray will be a learning experience. Be sure to join Nick Harrison in the Auditorium, Friday, March 18th at 1:45 pm for the First Timer’s Orientation.

8. Remember, it’s not just about the writing. Or publishing. Be open to God’s plan for your conference experience. Anticipate and welcome the work God wants to do in and through you. One way to prepare for that is to come with prayer support. Ask friends and family to be praying for you.

9. Expect to be overwhelmed. Information overload and over-stimulation is a normal reaction. And it’s bound to happen more than once during the conference. Pace yourself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do it all, all of the time. Take a walk. Find a quiet corner or bench where you can breathe and pray.

MH FLowernig Tree bench

 

10 Download “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music onto your phone and listen to it every time you begin to have doubts. (Maybe not during a workshop or one-on-one appointment, but soon there after.) By the way, even faculty members and seasoned veterans experience doubt and insecurity. You’re not alone.

11. Set goals realistic with your level of experience. Prepare emotionally and spiritually for the fact that your expectations might be unrealistic. Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know. Give yourself grace. That’s the beauty of the conference, it provides you with a place to learn what you don’t know.

12. The folks on the faculty have left families and desks that will pile high to meet you, to serve you. Sit with different ones at lunches and dinners. Introduce yourself to them and the others at the meal tables. They are coming to the conference to bless others and to be blessed by their Father.

13. Schedule time with God during the conference. Visit the A-frame chapel or one of the tables in the field down the road from it.

Chapel Exterior

 

14.  Be open about any health problems or physical limitations that might impact you at the conference. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it.

15. For questions or concerns about the Mount Hermon grounds or accommodations, check in with the front desk in the Administration Building. For program related questions or concerns, see Gay or Lynn at the Hospitality Tables in the Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room, below the dining hall) or connect with me (Mona).

Do any of those tips and tidbits speak to you? I hope so.

I can’t wait to meet you!

Mona

Director, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference


Making Friends at Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Tamela Hancock Murray 2BLOGGER: TAMELA HANCOCK MURRAY

A Literary Agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Tamela will teach an Afternoon Workshop, participate in an Agents Q&A, and meet with potential clients at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference next month.

MAKING FRIENDS AT CONFERENCE

Conference time is exciting for everyone, especially those who are looking forward to meeting people they’ve only met over the Internet and reconnecting with old friends. For certain, strengthening relationships is one of the best benefits of any conference.

But what about the person who’s new, who hasn’t had a chance to make lots of friends yet? What about the shy person who doesn’t like social media, and must gather up all her courage even to go to a conference? Conference veterans know to expect lots of hustle and bustle, especially at larger conferences. Experienced and multi-published writers know they have a place. Often, they are sought after and even revered. But what about the newbie who suddenly feels even smaller among all the authors, editors, and agents? What about the writer who’s struggled for years, and is finding he feels even more intimidated amid the brouhaha?

It’s easy to pass around hugs to your immediate group and start chattering away. I know I’ve done this many a time, to great joy. But at conference, let’s all be mindful of the people who need us to step aside enough to let them in to our little circles of friendship and camaraderie. If you see someone approaching your circle, let that person in. You might discover this new person is not an intruder, but could end up being one of your best friends.

If you see me at conference, feel free to tap me on the shoulder whether I’m with or without a group of friends. I’d love to talk with you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come meet Tamela Hancock Murray and make new friends at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

 

Click here to Register Now! 

 


Appreciation Banquet – March 12th

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

KC-AppreciationBanquet

We are excited for the upcoming Kidder Creek Appreciation Banquet on March 12th in Yreka. The banquet will be a time to say thank you to the many volunteers, donors and friends of Kidder Creek Camp, to thank them for the investment of time, talent and treasure to this ministry affecting the lives of hundreds of campers each summer. Kidder Creek would not have the impact it is having locally and regionally if it were not for these generous supporters that have joined in the mission of seeing lives transformed as kids come to Kidder Creek and meet Jesus.

In 2015 we had over 100 different donors give more than $85,000 in general or campership giving.

We had over 100 different volunteers help in all areas of camp from kitchen to program to maintenance and what a turn out to help with the Fall Festival!  Wow!

We praise God for the many supporters of Kidder Creek that have joined us in various ways to help us reach our vision of seeing campers take one step closer to Jesus. We are grateful for the opportunity to say THANK YOU to our friends on March 12th at the Kidder Creek Appreciation Banquet.

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.


Checklist for Conference Deadlines

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

IMPORTANT CONFERENCE DEADLINES

With so many SPECIAL FEATURES that make the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference a favorite among writers, editors, and agents, I thought it might help you with your prep to see a listing of the opportunities with deadlines.

Three conversations

 

MARCH 1, 2016

Application for Pre-Conference Writing Genre ClinicsMarch 1, 2016

The Next Level Pre-Conference Mentoring Clinics are designed to give new-to-intermediate writers an opportunity to focus on and move toward their next level in their writing journey or profession. Mentoring groups are formed by genre (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s) focus and writing level. Groups limited to six writers. Apply now.

Application for Morning Mentoring Clinics (during Main Conference) ~ March 1, 2016

Gain valuable insight from a skilled professional in your genre, who is committed to coming alongside other writers. Instead of participating in a Major Morning Track, you might prefer having your work-in-progress evaluated by a multi-published author and mentor. This option is specifically designed for writers who are ready to deepen their skill in a small-group setting. Groups limited to six writers. Apply now.

 

MARCH 10, 2016

Airport Shuttle Request Form ~ March  10, 2016

Mount Hermon coordinates airport shuttles for its writers. The shuttle service is from Mineta San Jose International Airport (and back again after the conference). It’s approximately a one-hour ride to Mount Hermon, but allow two hours for shuttle groups. Reserve and pay for the Shuttle Service with your conference registration at writers.mounthermon.org/registration, no later than March 10, 2016.

 

MARCH 14, 2016

Free Pre-Conference Manuscript Submissions ~ March 14, 2016

As part of your registration, you may submit TWO manuscripts for a total of TWO faculty readings.

You have the option of readings by professional writers for a critique of your manuscript or readings by an agent or editor to review (not critique) your manuscript as a possibility for their agency, periodical, or publishing house. If you have never had your writing critiqued by a published author and/or you’ve never been published, we strongly suggest you choose two critiques.

 

Sign up to receive feedback on work-in-progress in the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic, March 16-18, 2016!

I hope we see you at Mount Hermon for the 47th annual Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22, 2016

Click here to register for conference now!


The Right–and the Left–Way to Prepare for Writers’ Conferences

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Sarah Sundin Right-Left (357x400)

 

BLOGGER: SARAH SUNDIN

Historical novelist Sarah Sundin will serve as a mentor for the Morning Mentoring Clinic, teach an Afternoon Workshop, and serve on the Critique Team at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

THE RIGHT–AND THE LEFT–WAY TO PREPARE FOR WRITERS’ CONFERENCES

Are you a left-brained, analyzing writer? Are you a right-brained, spontaneous writer? If you’re attending a writers’ conference, engage both halves of your brain and plan the right way—and the left way.

Experience has taught me to let the left brain reign before the conference and the right brain fly free during the conference.

The Left Way

Before the conference, analyze and plan. Proper preparation allows you to get the most out of the conference and be relaxed.

  • Decide which tracks and workshops to take. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and consider where you are in your career. Pick workshops to target your weaknesses or solidify your strengths.
  • List the editors, agents, and authors you want to meet. Make a list of professionals you’d like to meet—at workshops, meals, etc. This can keep you focused during the flurry of a conference.
  • Prepare your pitch. The most common question at a conference is, “What do you write?” Be prepared to answer with a sparkling one-to-two sentence description. Also be prepared to answer follow-up questions with more detail. But not too much detail. Really.
  • Business Cards. A simple and professional way to remember the wonderful people you meet. Make sure to include your photo, email, and website.
  • Prepare your One-Sheet. (Optional, and only if you’re pitching a completed project). A one-sheet is “you and your project” on a single piece of paper. A catchy tagline, one paragraph about your project, a short bio, and your contact info. Include your photo and don’t overload with graphics.

The Right Way

At the conference, work your plan but let your right brain frolic. Serendipity produces the best conference moments.

  • Let your creativity play. You will learn so much and be surrounded by hundreds of creative people. Soak it in. Brainstorm. Explore new ideas.
  • Veer off your list. Your list of professionals to meet is a guide, not Scripture. Try to meet others, even outside your genre. The publishing industry is fluid, and the editor from House A may be with House B next year—or have become an agent. That casual conversation over dinner might lead somewhere unexpected. And don’t forget, these people know the industry. Ask questions, absorb, and simply enjoy them as people.
  • Meet new friends. Don’t overlook the person next to you at lunch. I’ve met some of my dearest friends this way. We struggled together along the pre-published road and now we’re exploring the world of publication together.
  • Watch for God appointments. My best conference moments come when I set aside my plan. Pray with those who’ve been rejected, who need a boost before an appointment, or who face personal issues. Introduce people with similar interests. Listen for God’s voice about your writing and life. When you look for God at work, you’ll find Him.

I hope to see you at Mount Hermon! Please veer off your list to say hi!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sarah Sundin (501x800)

Meet Sarah Sundin at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

Click here to Register Now!


The Name Your Character Game

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Crystal Bowman from FBBLOGGER: CRYSTAL BOWMAN

Crystal Bowman will serve as a children’s writers’ mentor in the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic, teach an Afternoon Workshop, and serve on the Critique Team at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

 

THE NAME YOUR CHARACTER GAME

I’ve been writing children’s books for two decades and have learned many things along the way. Writing for children is much harder than most people realize—until they try it! The challenge is to write an engaging, creative story using limited vocabulary and word count. Another thing to consider is choosing the right names for your characters. Whether they are human or animal characters, names are important to the story.

Here are a few tips on naming your characters:

  • Be sure the name fits the time period. This is one of the mistakes I often see when critiquing manuscripts. If your story is set in pioneer days, then names like Kaitlyn or Parker are not the right choice. Writers often want to use the names of their children or grandchildren, and those names may or may not work.
  • Site word names. If your story is written for beginning readers, then the names you choose must be early grade level site words. Names like Kate or Jake are first grade words, whereas Charles or Abigail would be at a higher grade level.
  •  Characternyms: Similar to onomatopoeia, when the sound of the word defines its meaning, a characternym is when the name of the character defines the identity of the character. For example, Swimmy is the name of a fish, and Barkly is the name of a dog.  In my Otter and Owl I Can Read! stories, the first draft included actual names for the two characters. The otter was Rex and the owl was Ray. After several revisions, the editor and I found it to be very confusing and we kept getting Rex and Ray mixed up. I then decided to drop Rex and Ray and named my characters Otter and Owl. Problem solved! When used appropriately, characternyms can add fun and creativity to a story.
  • Names and book titles. In classic fairy tales, it’s common for the name of the main character to also be the title of the story. Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel are some examples. When a series of books are created around a main character, the character’s name is often used within the title. In my I Can Read! series based on Jake, a lop-eared rabbit, Jake’s name appears in each of the titles— Jake’s Brave Night, Jake Learns to Share, Jake’s New Friend.  This lets the readers know from the title that these books are different stories, but include the same main character.
  • Avoid the obvious! Although names are not copyrighted, a writer should never use a name that is already popular in another book or series of books. If you have a monkey in your story, do not name him George. If you have a duck in your story, do not name her Daisy.

Writing for kids is always fun, but never easy. The rewards may not be monetary, but having children fall in love with your books and stories and characters, is worth a pound of gold. And you can even put your name on the cover.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come meet Crystal Bowman at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 16-22.

Click here to Register Now!


At the Cross

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

BLOGGER: JESSE FLOREA

Editor, Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.

Major Morning Track Instructor, Magazine Writing: Starting Point or Destination?

Reviewing Pre-Submission Manuscripts for Editorial Review and Meeting with Writers.

Cross (420x560)

 

AT THE CROSS

There’s a reason Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference occurs during Palm Sunday every year. And it’s not just so David Talbot can lift our spirits to heavenly realms during the annual service on Sunday morning. This conference is truly focused on Christ. And nowhere is that more evident than during the predawn hike to the cross.

If you don’t mind waking up early and can put a pause on personal grooming (I, for one, never shower), you can’t miss this adventure. Just learning more about Mount Hermon as you wind up the roads would make the hike worth it. But the relationships and conversations you have with other participants makes it even better.

Walls don’t seem to exist at 6 a.m. And there certainly aren’t any walls as you walk through the redwoods. The conversations go deeper. Yes, there’s talk about craft, writing experience and comma usage (well, not so much that last one). But you also learn about the other person’s family, passions and hopes. And the coolest part is that you’re walking alongside some of Christian publishing’s best.

If you’re worried about the pace of the hike and elevation gain, don’t be. You need to be in decent shape, but everybody sticks together and encourages each other along the way. And while it feels like you’re climbing a lot, Mount Hermon tops out at 584 feet above sea level. (My house in Colorado Springs is at nearly 6,800.) As further motivation, you can remember that with every step you’re getting closer to the cross—which is what Mount Hermon is all about.

This writers’ conference is designed for you to grow closer to Christ. At the same time, it’s also set up for you to network with other writers and the faculty. Take advantage of one-on-one appointments, critique sessions, night-owl meetings, meals and general sessions to talk with people. Writing can be a lonely business. Usually, it’s just you, a keyboard and a blank screen. Use your time at Mount Hermon to connect with people who share your love for the Lord and build your writing network. And sometimes connecting means losing a little sleep and getting a little exercise.

Oh yeah, one last tip for the hike: Always bring a hat.

________________

Jesse FloreaCome meet Jesse Florea at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March.

Click here to register now!


Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic ~ 12 Reasons Why

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference is packed with Extra Features.

The Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic is a favorite among writers wanting to take their writing to the Next Level.

conversation amidst the trees

 

12 Reasons to Take Advantage of the 2016 Next Level Clinic opportunity!

  1. The ability to focus on your work-in-progress in a small group without the distraction of other conference options and crowds.
  2. The opportunity to take your work-in-progress to the next level with a multi-published mentor AND then participate in a Major Morning Track during the Main Conference.
  3. NEW: A mentor for CHILDREN’S WRITERS as a GENRE WRITING option.
  4. Receive FEEDBACK on your work-in-progress whether it is Fiction, Nonfiction, or Children’s.
  5. NEW: A clinic for INTERMEDIATE FICTION writers.
  6. NEW: A clinic for INTERMEDIATE NONFICTION writers.
  7. NEW: A clinic specific to BEGINNING FICTION writers.
  8. NEW: A clinic specific to BEGINNING NONFICTION writers.
  9. NEW: An interactive PLATFORM workshop as a CAREER BOOST option.
  10. NEW: A hands-on SCRIVENER workshop as a CAREER BOOST option.
  11. Personal ONE-ON-ONE TIME with your mentor.
  12. Meet and interact with other writers in your genre or area of interest.

A Pre-Conference Next Level Mentoring Clinic offers an added-value opportunity for a small additional fee. Don’t miss out!

Next Level APPLICATION DEADLINE is MARCH 1, 2016!

Click Here to Register Now, or to add the Next Level Clinic to your existing Main Conference Registration!

Take Your Fiction to the Next Level

Joanne Bischof - Headshot 1Joanne Bischof  |  Mentor, Beginning Fiction

MickSilva_2 (800x577)Mick Silva  |  Mentor, Intermediate Fiction

Take Your Children’s Writing to the Next Level

Crystal Bowman from FBCrystal Bowman  |  Mentor, Writing for Children

 

Take Your Nonfiction to the Next Level

Kathy IdeNEW! Kathy Ide  |  Mentor, Beginning Nonfiction

Jan Kern smlGROUP FULL! Jan Kern  |  Mentor, Beginning Nonfiction

Bill GiovannettiBill Giovannetti  |  Mentor, Intermediate Nonfiction

 

Career Boost Clinics

Take Your Platform to the Next Level

Kathi Lipp (533x800)Kathi Lipp  |  Mentor, Platform Workshop

Platform: How to Find Your Readers, Lavish on Your Audience and Sell Your Book

If you’re going traditional, publishers want to know that you have a built in audience for your book. For self-publishing, you want to know that you have a built in audience for your book. While our ways may be different, our goal is the same—we need to create a platform. Kathi Lipp will give you the step by step directions to building a platform that readers will love and publishers can’t resist.

Take Your Scrivener Savvy to the Next Level

RobinLeeHatcher350wRobin Lee Hatcher  |  Mentor, Scrivener Workshop

Scrivener: Make it Work for You

If you’re a writer, you’ve at least heard of Scrivener, and there is a good chance you have begun using it. But many only use a small fraction of the features of this powerful writing software. Come discover something new or share your favorite features with others. Bring your laptop with Scrivener installed (available free for 30 days if you haven’t already purchased) and let’s learn together.

FOR PLATFORM AND SCRIVENER, REGISTRATION NECESSARY, BUT NO APPLICATION NECESSARY!

 

A Pre-Conference Next Level Mentoring Clinic offers an added-value opportunity for a small additional fee. Don’t miss out!

Next Level Writing Genre Clinics APPLICATION DEADLINE is MARCH 1, 2016!

Click Here to Register Now, or to add the Next Level Clinic to your existing Main Conference Registration!


Make the Most of the Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Opportunity

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


John VonhofBLOGGER: JOHN VONHOF

John coordinates the Manuscript Retrieval Process during the Main Conference.

 

MAKE THE MOST OF THE PRE-CONFERENCE MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITY

One of the benefits of attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference is the opportunity to submit manuscripts for review by faculty. You may submit two manuscripts, pre-conference, by following the guidelines on the conference website. In this blog post, I’ll summarize the process.

Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Guidelines

You have several options. You can request an editorial review (not a critique) by an editor or agent as a possible match for their needs or you can request a critique by a professional writer. You may submit one or two manuscripts – one for a review and one for a critique, or both for one or the other.  Not sure which to do? Here’s help.

  • Critique – A manuscript for pre-submission consists of:
  • One article or short story (1800 word maximum)
  • One article query, with outline (3 pages maximum)
  • One book proposal. Please do not send complete books.
  • Up to three devotionals or fillers (250–400 words each, maximum)
  • No more than three poems (24-line maximum each)
  • Editorial Review – If you want to discover if a publishing house or magazine would be interested in publishing your manuscript or if an agent might like to represent you, request an editorial review. The same rules as above apply.

Complete details are on the conference website. Click here to see the submission guidelines. It’s important to read the instructions for submitting manuscripts.

  • Manuscripts should be typed, with your name on each page.
  • Your manuscript should be double-spaced. Other parts of your of your submission package may be single-spaced.
  • Manuscripts must be original (your work) and unpublished.
  • The manuscript is limited to 10 pages plus the other components (a cover or query letter, a book proposal, a 1 or 2-page outline for nonfiction or synopses for fiction, etc.).

Choosing Whom to Review or Critique Your Manuscripts

The Resources page  has tabs for Editorial Needs by Genre and Editorial Needs Alphabetical. Use these lists to learn what the editors and agents are looking for. For critiques, use the Critique Team Listing.  Once the conference has started, the Manuscript Retrieval Team can help you think about faculty to approach about your manuscript.

What to Submit

The Query Letter & Book Proposal Guidelines webpage has information to help you prepare your submission. If you are unsure how to write a query letter or book proposal, you are encouraged to check out any of the books available about proposals. My favorite book is Ryan G. Van Cleave’s The Weekend Book Proposal: How to Write a Winning Proposal in 48 Hours and Sell Your Book. It includes fiction and nonfiction proposal examples, a chapter on query letters, and lots of tips on the different components of a successful proposal. You can also Google query letters and book proposals to see examples.

Make sure whatever you submit is your best work. Double-check everything for spelling and grammatical errors. If you are part of a critique group, have them review your manuscript.

Packaging and Sending Your Manuscripts

The Resource section on the conference website has a Letters, Forms & Guidelines webpage that has the Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Form that you need to print and fill out. It needs to be sent with your manuscripts. For each manuscript submitted, you need to fill in your: name, title of manuscript, email, cell number, circle the type of manuscript, check either critique or editorial review and by whom, and add any comments. Make sure you read and follow the instructions on how to package and send your manuscripts. Be sure to check the appropriate box on the manuscript submission form—Critique by a Published Author or an Editorial Review.

Each manuscript must be in a 9×12 manila envelope with the submission form taped to the top front side. Do not seal the envelope. If the envelope has a metal clasp, please tape over it and do not use it. Manuscript pages should not be stapled, clipped, or bound.

Make sure you do not send your only copies of your manuscript. Either print an extra copy and bring it in a folder or save your files to a USB thumb drive. The Hospitality Center can make copies from either source as needed for a nominal fee.

If you hope to submit manuscripts to additional faculty at the conference, please bring a few extra 9×12 manila envelopes.

All the above information and more can be found on the Free Manuscript Review webpage.

Deadline for Pre-Conference Submissions

All pre-conference submissions must be received at the conference center by Monday, March 14. Make sure your manuscripts are mailed early enough to make the deadline.

When You’ll Get Your Manuscripts Back

Saturday after lunch is the first opportunity to get any manuscripts the faculty has returned. Some are returned after that, depending on faculty’s timing.

Submissions After the Conference has Started

Once the conference has started, you may talk to a faculty member who asks to see your manuscript. Request a signed form from the faculty member and process your manuscript through the manuscript retrieval system in the Hospitality Center. The Manuscript Retrieval Team will get the manuscript to the faculty member. The faculty’s first obligation is to those who submitted pre-conference submissions.

All manuscripts must go through the Manuscript Retrieval System for tracking. Please do not hand your manuscript to an editor for review. Likewise, do not allow an editor to hand you your manuscript if it has not been checked back in through the system.

The Manuscript Retrieval Team

The Manuscript Retrieval Team, located in the Hospitality Center, is eager to help you with your manuscript questions. The team can look over your manuscript, query letter and book proposal; and help with ideas on faculty that you might talk to about your manuscript. We’d also be happy to answer any questions you may have about the manuscript process. Feel free to email me at: john@johnvonhof.com.

John Vonhof and Dan Kline

Manuscript Retrieval Team

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Come meet John Vonhof at the 47th Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22!

Click here to Register now!


Always Abounding in the Work of the Lord

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

While recently sitting around a table flanked by Mount Hermon’s Trustees I was impacted by a man who was stepping down after over sixty faithful years as a key leader of Mount Hermon. I’m referring to 91–year–old John Jenks. John has been both on the Board of Directors and a Trustee for over half of Mount Hermon’s 110 year existence! He has helped shape this transformational ministry in ways that only God fully knows.

5DMKII_CC_201305300062In John’s parting words to the Trustees (Trustees are those who oversee the spiritual protection and nurture of Mount Hermon), he quoted this verse:

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”

(1 Corinthians 15:58).

Think of these words from the Apostle Paul:

STEADFAST: Fixed in direction

IMMOVABLE: Incapable of being moved

ABOUNDING: Rich and well supplied

As John spoke I welled up with gratitude to the Lord as Mount Hermon has remained STEADFAST, IMMOVABLE, ABOUNDING in the work of the Lord for 110 years. This labor is not in vain as God is working! Through the touch of the Holy Spirit lives are being eternally transformed, marriages restored, tired and discouraged people refreshed and renewed, and God glorified. Praise be to God!

As a faithful Associate you are a key part in our abounding in the work of the Lord. Your generosity and sacrifice are having an impact on literally tens–of–thousands
of lives each year.

Thank you!