Posts Categorized: Stories of Ministry

For My Father’s Glory: Life & Service

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

What is Echo? Echo is a two-week program at Mount Hermon where students, grades 10 through Super Senior, learn and experience what it means to live the resounding life of abiding in Jesus Christ through prayer and obedience. Also, within the program, students work with the accommodations department. While working in accommodations, students learn what it means to humble themselves through service.

This year was my second year attending Echo but my 14th consecutive year coming to Mount Hermon. Out of all the years I have attended family camp, I strongly believe that Echo helped me grow one step closer to Jesus.

However, my first year at Echo was different compared to my second year growth wise. In my first year, I came in with a negative mentality about Christ. I grew up in the church but at that point in my life, I did not make my faith my own. In fact, I was far from believing in Christ. For the first two years of high school, I wanted to “do life” on my own terms and be the leader of my own life. Doing life on my own resulted in developing depression, becoming suicidal, trying to find acceptance and love through guys and becoming a chronic liar. I was self-conscious about what I looked like not only on the outside but the inside as well.

These things of my past are what drove my desire to not attend Echo. My parents, however, strongly encouraged me to go. During my two weeks; I learned that it’s more important to focus on God than on the past.  I also learned that “[Jesus Christ] is the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15:1–2). Because our Father loves each of us so much, He prunes our imperfections away. When something in our lives is distancing us away from our Father, He cuts it off saying, “I love you my child; this part of you is no more.”

Natalie Loo Photo

Learning these things my first year at camp was beneficial. I came back home with a new perspective on life and God. However, this last year was particularly hard because I did not know how to continue my relationship with Christ at home. We did learn some tools that could help us, yes, but, the material did not fully sink in until my second year of doing Echo. For my second year of Echo, I knew that I had a relationship with Christ. However, it was my parent’s faith and not my own. Echo, this year taught me what is means to trust, love, and be patient with God and how God will love us despite all of the sins we have committed.

While in Echo, working in accommodations has helped with my relationship with Christ. I learned that it’s not about serving yourself but about serving our Heavenly Father in everything that we do.

It even says in Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” I remember one day in accommodations during my second year of Echo there was this cute family we encountered. They had a friend that was in surgery that same week they were at family camp. After my team was done with our accommodations shift for the day, we took the time to pray over that family and over the families at family camp. We were obeying God’s command of prayer for one another in brotherly love. Praying for the families wasn’t to boost anyone’s self-pride, it was about serving the people at Mount Hermon in our Father’s Holy Name.

Coming out of Echo a second time, I know that my faith in Jesus Christ is real and I want to keep pursuing Him for the rest of my life. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I am praying and hoping that He will reveal his plans for me soon. Echo has helped me realize with school, taekwondo, or any extracurricular activity I participate in is for my Father’s glory.

Learn More About Echo!

Velocity Bike Parks / Felton Meadow Project Draft EIR Publishing Soon!

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

This week we’re celebrating a huge milestone–
and reaching out to you for help.

Over the past 14 months we’ve been working with the County of Santa Cruz planning department and environmental consultants to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Felton Meadow project, which includes Velocity Bike Park. The EIR is a long and detailed process that looks at all aspects of our proposed plan – the level of detail required to complete the EIR ensures that the project meets and in many cases exceeds required development criteria.The Santa Cruz Planning Department will soon be publishing what is called the Draft EIR for public comment. While it is called a “draft” it is the complete document which is finalized after the public comment period. The official public comment period is scheduled to last for 60 days and is your opportunity to submit letters of support.

What we need from you

This is your opportunity to support Velocity Bike Park – by writing a letter to the Santa Cruz Planning Department. It is critical that the planners and County Supervisors see that the support for this project is deep and wide.

Sign the Petition

What happens next

Once the 45 day public comment period closes we are required to respond to all the comments – which is part of the EIR process. Depending on the volume and complexity of the comments we receive this could take a few months. Once all comments have been responded to we’ll be added to the list of projects waiting for a hearing before the Planning Commission – who will vote and have the final say on the project. We’ll need your help at this point by coming to the official hearing where you’ll again have the opportunity to support the project with your presence. The timeline will look something like this:

Public Comment
60 days

Comment Response
30-90 days

Waiting for a hearing
30 days

Public Hearing
August or September

Please help us now by writing your letter of support, and thank you for your support up to this point. It’s been a long road but we’re almost there!

Changed Perspective

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Adventures Updates, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Our staff are not all the same. I know that seems obvious, but it has been a profound opportunity that Mount Hermon Adventures has been able to embrace— the fact that our amazing staff is a complicated collection of individuals. We are all created in God’s image, loved and invited into relationship with Him, but some of our staff don’t know all that when they join our team.

In every interview process, we explain what Mount Hermon is, our mission, vision, values, heritage, and how we use adventure to invite people one step closer to Jesus. We open a conversation that some who we interview have never had—and even though they may not fully understand, they join our team of intentionally missional adventure staff. Every year we hire a handful of staff that don’t yet know Jesus and over the past seven years many of them have found Jesus because of their work at Mount Hermon.

Adam came to us in the hiring process humbly disclosing a background of some poor, adolescent choices that could cause some employers to shy away from hiring him. Impacted by his humility and openness, we asked him to join our team. At first, Adam worked primarily in our recreation area— helping overnight guests in the McAfee Fieldhouse, leading archery and helping with our community recreation leagues. He emerged as a hard worker, responsible, engaged and most of all questioning what made Mount Hermon different. As Adam continued to learn and grow in his position, he was also learning and growing as part of the Adventures staff community—participating in staff activities and building relationships with staff. He added skills to his repertoire by serving as a Redwood Canopy Tour guide, working on the adventure courses, and developing teams as a Team Building Facilitator.

One day, Adam called Laura Messerly, our Adventure Operations Director, to let her know that he was going to the doctor because of a toothache. The toothache led to the discovery that Adam had a brain tumor. He called to tell Laura the situation and was sad he wasn’t going to be able to work as much.

Upon receiving this devastating news, the Adventures staff rallied around Adam, prayed for him, assisted with care and meals, and showed him love. Initially, the doctors gave Adam a very low likelihood of survival—but Adam continued to join us for work as he was able through his brain surgery and chemotherapy treatment. It was during this dark time that Adam came to understand what a relationship with Jesus was all about, the saving knowledge of Grace, and the power of a loving Christian community.

Adam’s treatment went on for several months, and he continued to work as he was able, sharing his journey with us. His growth during this time was tremendous. His presence blessed staff and guests. Eventually, Adam won his battle with cancer and began the long road to recovery, gaining his strength and stamina back. As he began to discover that there was life ahead of him, he intentionally gave back to the Mount Hermon community by mentoring younger staff, leading by example, and even sharing his story at our men’s Boot Camp program.

After several years with Mount Hermon Adam’s time on staff drew to a close and we were sad to see him go, but excited about the next chapter of his life. About a year after Adam had left I ran into him at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. He shared with me how grateful he was that we had hired him all those years ago and given him a chance when other employers might not have. He shared about how grateful he was for the community and the impact it had on his life and during his fight with cancer. Lastly, he wanted me to know how much being on staff at Mount Hermon had changed his life, and the lives of many other staff and that what we do was special and had great impact beyond the guests that we serve.

Adam’s story is just one of several where a staff member has encountered Jesus while working at Mount Hermon. We are honored and blessed to work with some of the most amazing people, experiencing grace and life-transformation together.

Adventures Photo

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.

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.

lisa-photo

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

Learning Lessons the Hard Way

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

ShannonPhibbs

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.
Phibbs600

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.

kidder-volunteers-1200x726

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.

dishwasher-1200x800

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!

dininghall-1200x446

 

Doc: The Man on Fire

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

doc-web-image

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.

KC-hugsSmiles-600x400

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

We Planned For the Future, But…

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

LisaOlsonFamily1000In The LOG we always like good Redwood Society stories – about people so touched by God at Mount Hermon that they’ve chosen to extend their legacy here with an estate gift. It is humbling to discover how some bequests arrive at an “appointed” time and in the exact amount needed for a crucial ministry opportunity. God delights in making this happen.

My own journey with my will and estate offers a word of warning. My husband, Mark, and I created a simple will when our first daughter was born. (Young parents, be sure you do that! Select a guardian yourself, not a court-assigned judge.) We also purchased ‘income replacement’ life insurance policies, with face values of ten times our salaries. By investing the proceeds at current interest rates the survivor could replace the income of the one who’d died. We were advised that would sufficiently sustain our lifestyle.

Then as many young couples do, we filed it, and never thought about it again … until. Twelve years later Mark was diagnosed with acute leukemia that took his life after a fierce nine-month battle. When serious illness is diagnosed, it is too late to revise your plan; you have to live – and sometimes die – with it.

Mark and I were both sobered to realize that, now as a ministry leader, his income had more than doubled in those twelve years. Also, we’d underestimated our income when we purchased our life insurance, as more than a third of our compensation was in tax-free housing, utilities and perks. Our premiums were low, but so would be the proceeds.

Plus, our family had grown! We now had four children, ages 6, 8, 10 and 12, one with autism, one with epilepsy. I worked part-time to help with speech therapy and medical expenses, and was consumed with being a mom.

There was nothing we could change, so we focused on fighting the cancer. It weighed heavily on Mark that I would immediately need to work full-time, since our meager life insurance proceeds would not begin to cover his income portion.

And that’s what I did. Within two weeks of Mark’s home-going I was working full-time so we could keep our medical benefits, and I cut our budget to fit within my salary alone. God has faithfully enabled me to provide for my kids, and the insurance was enough for a down payment on a house. In that way, Mark was able to provide that first home for us, for which I have been extremely grateful.

Even with few assets, our will still had a charitable clause: if our entire family suffered a catastrophic event, our estate would pass a substantial portion to our ministry as secondary beneficiaries of our life insurance policies. That would have represented a significant gift, marking our legacy there for generations to come.

Though we had an ‘estate plan’ – a will and life insurance – we did not review it annually as our family grew and needs changed. If you are without an estate plan that covers current needs, please address that today. Many free online tools can help you prepare a simple plan. Then revisit it annually! And don’t forget to include Mount Hermon in your will or as a beneficiary to an insurance policy, HSA or retirement plan, leaving a legacy for those who will follow you here in the redwoods.

Literally…Life Transforming

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

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Experiencing the truth of Jesus’ love in a camp environment is not to be underestimated. I’ve known it personally in my own life, I’ve see it in the life of my son and I’ve watched it all around me at Mount Hermon for over 18 years. This reality and truth comes in many forms: a powerful message spoken to us through a speaker, the open heart and listening ear of a counselor toward a tender, restless youth, the “respite” for parents as their child with special needs is lovingly cared for, allowing them to reconnect as a couple, or to quietly walk through Gtod’s majestic creation.

The impact is life-transforming, literally.

For generations Mount Hermon has provided a loving hand to those who need a little help to get here. Generous donors have opened their hearts to make this possible. In 2015 over $440,000 in camperships were granted. Some give because they’ve experienced Jesus’ love here and want others to do the same. During a leaner season of life others have had the blessing of receiving a campership so they or someone they love could come to camp. Many times we see this latter group “return the gift” through their support of the Campership Fund—to pass their blessing on.

Below is a note we received by just such a person.

“When my daughter was struggling in her faith as a teenager she attended camp at Ponderosa Lodge. Her interaction there with Christ and her counselors sustained her during a dry season. As a single mom with limited resources I could not have made that experience a reality without the support of a donor who sowed into her, never seeing her face or knowing her name. I am sowing this gift to do the same for another—may the Shalom of God be with the child and parent. Thank you!”

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This story is very close to my heart because that girl is my niece, Jordan, and that note is from my sister, Vana. Jordan is now 27 and still powerfully recalls the summers she spent at Ponderosa Lodge. Jordan says:

“Attending Ponderosa was a gift that gave me a reprieve from the onslaught of the world at a pivotal age. It showed me a world where people my age were striving hard to live for something bigger and better than just themselves. The camps, and later working on summer staff, have helped to strengthen my bedrock with the Lord and grow me into the woman I am today. I am forever blessed and grateful for the effect Mount Hermon has had on me and my walk of faith.”

You may have a similar story because someone opened their heart to make the way for you! We are immeasurably grateful to you who choose to give the gift of camp to another. Vana and I will never be able to thank the person who paved the way for Jordan, but we campers are going to have some beautiful stories to share around the campfire in heaven.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Family Camp Summer Theme: Settlers of Hermon

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

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This summer at Family Camp we will be invited to “Come and Settle” with God. Using Psalm 23 along with a portion of John 10, campers will be encouraged to explore what it means to have God as our shepherd.

On Monday we will look at the first stanza of Psalm 23, and explore the idea of God as our shepherd who provides for all of our needs. He provides us rest, renewal, and refreshment. On Tuesday we will jump to John 10, where Jesus tells that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us. Thursday will focus on God’s presence with us in hard times, including dark valleys and attacks from our enemies. Finally, on Friday, we will see how God initiates a relationship with us and pursues us relentlessly, no matter our response.

To contextualize our spiritual curriculum, campers will be invited into the land of Hermon. Hermon is a quaint and quiet land. The Army first came to the area to build an outpost but quickly saw the potential of what a great settlement it could be with rich veins of ore, rock and coal, land for wheat, overgrown forests for responsible foresting, pastures for livestock, mainly sheep, and clay for building houses, buildings, and more.

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The Army sent a call to those in the East inviting them to come and settle this fine piece of uninhabited land. Many came. When they arrived, they discovered it was just as the Army had reported, a land ripe for settling and leaving the stresses of their old lives behind them.

As news of Hermon began to grow, people did come, but some came for other purposes. Some pioneers came only to stay for a little while and then plow through to see what was next, missing the whole point of what the land had been intended. And with new people, came other kinds of people. People who didn’t care about working the land, or finding new land. Just people who felt that they could benefit from the work that others did and left behind them.

But the Army has stayed true and consistent since the beginning. They came to set up the fort, they guard the roads keeping the Settlers of Hermon safe during the harvest season and are quick to assist when trouble arises.

Ponderosa Summer Theme: Through the Woods

Posted by & filed under General, Stories of Ministry.

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Last summer as I read through all the student evals, I was struck by the reoccurring statement that I saw students write: that they “learned that they could become more like Jesus no matter what they struggled with or did in their past.” As we grow closer to Jesus, we learn that He loves us and His love covers our sin and struggles. And yet how often do we still fear that there is something that will keep us from being able to truly experience His love? These students’ statements made realize that we needed to camp out right there, in the middle of all the things that we think could separate us from God’s love. And to shine the light of the Gospel truth that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

The theme this summer at Ponderosa is “Through the Woods.” “The Woods” is the place in each our lives where we hide our secrets, sin and shame. It’s in this darkness where we hide from God, convinced that if He saw what we hide or do in darkness, there’s no way He would still love us. And yet the truth we’re declaring to students, as Paul writes in Romans 8, is that not even the Woods can separate us from God’s love. His love is the light that shines in the darkest parts of our lives, and calls us to journey through the Woods and live with Him. Romans 8 is the central truth to this theme and how Paul drives it home in verses 38-39 in which he declares “For I am convinced that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Please pray for the students and staff who will embark on this journey this summer, that they would be led one step closer to Jesus and know the truth about God’s incredible love for them.

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Kidder Creek Summer Theme: Rooted

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

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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.

Redwood Summer Theme: Port Redwood

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

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After narrowly escaping death on the open sea, ship destroyed and captain lost, four swashbuckling pirates wash up on shore in their dinghy. In desperate search for water to quench their thirst, they stumble upon an unknown treasure. Loading up as much as they can into their small dinghy, they head to Port Redwood with one mission in mind, get another boat without being seen or suspected and get the rest of that loot! Just as their quest begins the pirates discover they have stolen the treasure of the Dread Pirate King. They begin to hear the rumors of the dread that follows this king and any who cross his path. As they continue preparations the crew realizes they are missing one of their own and fear the worst… The Dread Pirate King has taken him captive. Soon after they receive correspondence from this mysterious King, leaving them to wonder who this mysterious Pirate King is and what he wants with them. After hatching a plan to discover the truth of this ominous king, the crew recruits the townspeople of Port Redwood, to help them discover the truth of the Dread Pirate King.

This summer we will discover who Jesus is, shining light on the myths about Him, while seeking to understand what it means that Jesus is King. Using daily small groups, founded in scripture, we will take the misconstrued ideas society has about Jesus and debunk them, one at a time illuminating Jesus’ Kingship. We will start the week showing that Jesus is not taking captives, but is inviting each and every one of us to follow Him! As the week continues we will dive into Jesus’ revolution not of violence, but of love and His new Kingdom here, where all are chosen! Campers will learn that they are worth “walking the plank” for as Jesus gave His life to save theirs, and they now have the choice to follow Him. We have weighed the evidence and decided Jesus is worth following, and now that they have all the evidence the choice is theirs.

Camp Sabbath Rest

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

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No Summer Sunday Morning Services

Summer at Mount Hermon is amazing, and I can’t wait for June 2016 to come. My favorite moment of the week is when families show up for Family Camp on Sunday afternoon as the energy and anticipation vibrates throughout the mountain! For three months we have the privilege of enjoying group after group, week after week. Additionally, placed between weekly Family Camps, we have offered Saturday night dinners and concerts, stay-overs, and Sunday morning worship services and meals. This place never slows down. Never.

After experiencing one summer at Mount Hermon I became quite concerned about our staff’s need for a “Sabbath rest,” and so we began to do some research. We learned that most other camps have built rest into their summer schedule between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, allowing their staff the ability to catch their breath and get ready for the next week of high energy activity.

Therefore, after months of prayer, discussion and input, we made the decision to no longer provide summer Sunday morning worship services at Mount Hermon. The two main reasons are …

  • To provide our staff weekly refreshment, both physically and spiritually
  • To allow our staff to attend their own local church and not miss that for an entire season of the year.

Be assured that Mount Hermon will continue to provide a delicious Saturday banquet and outstanding concerts throughout the summer. Those who stay overnight on Saturday can attend one of the many good local churches in the area on Sunday.

We appreciate that not all will be pleased with our decision, but we do hope you understand why this decision was made. We thank God for the many decades this Sunday service has blessed lives, including mine. To God be the glory!

The Lasting Impact of Summer Staff

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

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We love re-connecting with Mount Hermon Summer Staff Alumni and finding out where and how in their journey God has been using their staff experience. Meet Dr. Terry McGonigal, who helps shape young men and women for ministry at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. Terry served on Redwood Camp summer staff in 1972.

Q: How did serving at Mount Hermon impact you?

Terry: Dick Dosker, the camp director, deeply loved the campers, wanting them to grow in their relationship with Jesus, and into a life of discipleship. He showed me how to do truly relational evangelism with such a winsome manner. Ken Harrower’s mentoring as pastor to staff was also huge for me. Ken integrated serious biblical study, theological reflection and pastoral caring, and was a model of a life I wanted to emulate. I’m so grateful for both men.

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Q: What was your career journey after that summer?

Terry: After college, at Fuller Seminary I completed a Master of Divinity (’77) and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (’81). I then was Director of the Institute of Youth Ministries, a Young Life and Fuller partnership, from 1981-94. Our focus was integrating theological education with the practice of youth ministry. Since 1994, until recently, I was Whitworth’s Dean of Spiritual Life and Campus Pastor.

Q: What is your current role?

Terry: I am Director of Church Engagement. Through several grants we support various ministries, such as working with pastors to integrate spiritual formation with their craft of preaching. Our Academy of Christian Leadership equips lay people with ministry skills through tracks in Biblical Formation and Christian Leadership Development. This year we will support 55 Ekklesia Ministry Fellows, Whitworth students spending their summers expanding and deepening ministry projects around the world.

For information on these programs, see www.whitworth.edu/oce.

Read About Whitworth Programs