A Black Bear Send Off Back: Loyal Friesen; 2nd row, left to right: Norm Malmberg, Carol Friesen, Carolyn Jones, Dick Jones (seated); Front: Pam Malberg, Norma Jones
Dick and Norma Jones founded Kidder Creek Orchard Camp 40 years ago in 1976. Kidder Creek was the second camp established by the Joneses.
Dick and Norma, now in their mid-90’s recently moved back to Grass Valley to a retirement home near the site of Wolf Mountain, their first camp. Just before leaving I went over to have coffee with the Joneses. With tears in his eyes, Dick Jones shared this story with me:
“Way back in the early days of Ranch Camp I got a call from a mom asking if her daughter could come to camp. The mother shared that her daughter had not been able to go to any other camp because of a health condition she had and that she really wanted to ride a horse and come to camp.”
Dick asked, “Is she contagious?” “No,” replied the mom.“ Then, of course, she can come,” and he left it at that.
When this young girl’s week of camp arrived, she was elated. It became apparent however after the first riding lesson that her health condition could limit her ability to “ride and horse and come to camp.” This young girl had a condition that caused internal bleeding when her skin was rubbed. Riding a horse was causing some heartbreaking damage.
Her cabin sprung into action! They were going to do everything possible to make this work! They made some modifications to her saddle to ease the rubbing, and she was able to ride all week!
Dick reflected, “At the end of the week, during the Showdeo, you should have seen the smile on this young camper’s face as she rode into the arena and found her mom looking back at her from the crowd.” Dick was finishing up, and his emotions were welling up remembering this young girl. “We got word a few years later that this young girl had passed away. I still remember that smile on that girl’s face and more importantly, I remember that this young girl met Jesus while she was at camp that week.”
“I still remember that smile on that girl’s face and more importantly, I remember that this young girl met Jesus while she was at camp that week.”
We are so grateful that Dick and Norma followed a vision that God had laid on their hearts and, at great cost to them, founded Kidder Creek. The legacy they established of wanting to have a space for kids to be kids, to have adventures, and through those things to meet Jesus continues today.
We look forward to the next 40 years of camping adventures with kids and continuing to see life transformation happen here at Kidder Creek!