As the summer progressed, the end the season meant that Suttle Lake Camp would be losing one of its critical and vital staff members, Food Service Director, Chef Abel Salas.
It is often surprising to people to find this segment of forest tucked away in Clackamas county.
As you land at Portland International Airport amidst the noise, traffic and buildings of the city, you can see Mt. Hood looming, but it seems that wilderness is so far away. You probably leave the city via congested interstates and will soon find yourself in sprawling suburbia. And finally, because of planning policy that limits that sprawl, the suburban landscape eventually gives way to farms stretching over miles and miles. But somehow, it is that last turn that is most surprising, the one from the winding country highway onto our driveway and you suddenly realize that you are leaving the the farms behind and entering a towering forest. Forty-five minutes from the blessings and curses of the modern age, you enter into a healthy and diverse forest.
Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries operates as a team together where directors share and learn from one another in growing in our ability to fulfill our mission as “People dedicated to providing quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning.”
Keeping our environment clean and helping reduce waste is something we are very passionate about at camp. Since I am an Earth Day baby, I feel more connected to preserving the land and watching what goes to the dump. Although not everyone cares about waste management or cares about where the food waste goes, we try to make it a little more fun for the campers to really grasp where all of their waste goes. In order to help promote creation care, we sometimes get creative. This is the story of one of our creative solutions.
I remember the first day that I stepped foot on Camp Magruder property. I’m from Tennessee, so even the tall pine trees along the main drive of camp seemed spectacular to me. One of my favorite early memories of Magruder was seeing the sunset’s colors light the sky and sprinting to the ocean from main camp because it felt like something we couldn’t miss.
One of the ways-of-being that we cultivate in people through Camp and Retreat Ministries is to observe more deeply, more contemplatively. We teach ways to become a part of, to recognize, and to listen to the voice of nature, which has its own language and way of communicating. I hope one day I can communicate both as powerfully and as gently as nature. I hope by learning from creation I am drawing closer to the force that beckons all of us towards deeper interconnection.
Camp Latgawa just finish its application to become American Camp Association (ACA)-accredited and is waiting for the review process to be complete, joining our other sites that put on the bulk of our children and youth programming: Magruder, Suttle Lake, and Sawtooth. Wallowa Lake Camp and Alton L. Collins focus on adult programming and go through a different process.
So, why do camps go through this painstaking process? Read this article, written by Ken Atkinson director emeritus at Geneva Glen Camp in Indian Hills, Colorado.
It is hard to have an appreciation for something that you do not notice. It is entirely possible to spend time every day passing over something that is truly amazing. Many have likely seen videos where some of the best musicians in the world go and play on the streets. In nearly every case, the vast majority of people simply walk by and take little notice while some of the most beautifully played music in the world calls to them. If they had noticed what beauty was there for them to take in they would not only stop and pay attention to it, but would draw others in to see it as well.
Nestled on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, Suttle Lake Camp is a special place where the vivid green of Western Oregon mingles with the sunny beauty of the eastern part of the state. Located in the Deschutes National Forest, it is cradled between three wilderness areas in the heart of the Metolius Recreation Area. Suttle Lake is a natural place to explore God’s creation and experience Christ’s love in a caring community. This has been true for many years.
Believe me, I understand the irony of this article. most likely read on a mobile device! In the other part of my life, I also work for the Missional Wisdom Foundation, an organization that has a Rule of Life, found here: https://www.missionalwisdom.com/rule-of-life/. One of the substitutions I would like to make in my life is under the 'Prayers' heading: "We will fast from food once a week." Not only is this the one part of the Rule that most people stumble over when they first read through it, but I don't know about you, but I have a cell-phone addiction, so fasting from all mobile technology would be a more challenging and mindful practice than fasting from food. Check out this blog-post from Gregg Hunter of Christian Camp & Conference Association (CCCA). His last question seems directed toward me - what would it look like for me to leave my cellphone in the car when I am a guest at camp? - Eric Conklin
Ahhhh…. God’s majestic creation! We are all called to be stewards of God’s creation and to live and teach appreciation of it.
Today's Camp Magruder is not your grandparent's church camp - NOT TRUE!
My journey with creation care and appreciation began when I was a young child. When our family would go camping, my sister and I were paid by our parents 1 penny for every scrap of garbage that we picked up. This helped us to live out the “leave it better than you found it” mantra. There were field trips, scout trips, and of course, church camps, which all demonstrated and encouraged me to live out these values.
You may have heard variations of this old "campfire" story before, or you may be reading it for the first time. Either way, be reminded that your flaws can create beauty in this world:
A waterbearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master's house.
Click here to read the whole story as told in AmazingWomenRock.com
Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with a group of high school students. We were talking about the importance of leadership for the summer as they were all going to be involved in a variety of our camps as CIT’s or first year counselors. Having little to no experience with these individuals, I wanted to make sure that they understood something: there is something different about being a spiritual leader than what the world tends to see as "leader". I was surprised that I found myself having a very easy conversation because they already seemed to understand. As I talked about how, as Christian leaders, they are to be servants, to follow the example of Christ and put others first, I was not greeted by faces that were hearing new information but by the nods of those who were already seeking to live it out and were ready to keep on going.
To grow spiritually and become a spiritual leader, one needs the space to listen to be able to hear the call of God. So, camp is a perfect place for these ways of being to be cultivated!
Being in nature is one of those “spaces”. Camp is the place where many people have heard their calling to a life of ministry, whether that means becoming a pastor or ministering to the world in some other way.
Tag is making a popular comeback, thanks to the new movie in theaters now, but do you know these variations of the classic game of tag? With all of these in the tool box, I can't think of an easier way for kids and youth to get out their energy!
The contributions leaders make to the ministry at Suttle Lake Camp are true blessings! These leaders are organizers, guides, mentors, and models of what it means to follow Christ. Many give of their time to be counselors, chaplains, activity leaders, deans and more. In their service at camp they shape a way of living and serving together that forms an intentional Christian rhythm throughout the time of camp. The community worships together, breaks bread together, plays together, prays together, and shares deeply together. Christ’s gift of grace and love become tangible experiences when leaders centered in Christ show the way and walk the journey with others.
In my office framed above my desk, there is a letter written in orange marker. It’s the second page of a two-page letter. The first page was dated summer of 2006. The letter was written to me from one of my favorite counselors at the United Methodist church camp I grew up at in Tennessee. The letter above my desk doesn’t say anything too profound. My counselor was responding to my letter that must describe a concert I’d been excited to go to, and really, that’s about all that’s contained in the substance of the letter. But, still, I look up about once a week and read it again. There’s not much to gain from that letter anymore. It’s there now more as a token from the road that got me here, sitting at this desk, writing this blog now.
Camp Magruder is happy to announce we reached our $17,500 fundraising goal in order to receive a maintenance grant from the Gray Family Foundation for $35,000. Around 50 people and organizations contributed to make this campaign possible.
Fostering leaders for the future of our church and our world is a sacred responsibility, and we are dedicated to faithfully carrying out this duty.
Our Camp and Retreat Ministries sites provide wonderful opportunities to seek out teachable moments that help us grow our capacity for being Christian spiritual leaders. What are the teachable moments that you can receive or share today?
With one small rock, a monumental moment was honored at the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference gathering, when it was noted 1.5 acres of land at Wallowa Lake Camp will soon be returned to its rightful owners – the Nez Perce Tribe.
I am proud that I am a part of a denomination whose forebears gave birth to these beautiful settings from the early days of the Methodist movement through to present day.
While working on site for Twinlow United Methodist Church Camp in Rathdrum, Idaho 20 years ago, I received my call to service as a clergy person in the United Methodist Church. In fact, most of the young adults I worked with over my years at Twinlow made significant changes to their prospective career paths because of their time working at camp.
It brings tears to my eyes to remember the youth who arrived never having heard of “Jesus” to when she left telling me “she would never feel “alone” again, that God loves her!”
The environment of camp is powerful. For nearly 96 years now, Suttle Lake has been a place where individuals and faith communities come for time away from daily distractions to focus on their faith development.
There is something sacred about nurturing something, no matter at what stage, when you see it grow beyond the place it began. We go in hoping to help one thing happen, and often those efforts result in more than we anticipated. At camp, I have seen faith bud and flower in ways I could not have guessed--and at that point they are far more beautiful than anything I could have just cooked up on my own.
Since the last mention of the Gray Family Foundation 2 for 1 matching grant program at Magruder just over a month ago, you have helped us raise $3,490 for maintenance projects at Camp Magruder! Putting my math skills to the test, that not only put us well over the halfway mark (68%!), but leaves us with just $5,615 to raise before September!
Camp Latgawa holds a special place in many hearts throughout Southern Oregon. Not just because it has been around for over 65 years but because of all the warm emotions that are felt when guest and campers are at camp with others that can relate to them.
This one should be obvious for a retreat center, right? I mean, what is the point of a Christian retreat center if not to provide a place and ways to nurture people in their faith? But the part of this that I want to reflect on with you today is the nature of Christian faith and discipleship.
I’ve been going to camp since third grade and the memories I’ve made are some of my favorites. I’ve always had a great camp experience and a lot of that was because of my counselors and the people in leadership roles. I remember my counselors always making sure I felt included and welcomed during camp. They made sure I stayed safe and had fun.
For over 100 years we have been engaged in the work of nurturing Christian faith and discipleship in some of this region’s most beautiful outdoor spaces.
We may not always be able to tell when someone is genuine, but often we have a good sense of it. This is why we work hard to hire staff who have a calling to offering hospitality, who feel that this is part of who they are. This is also why we continually talk about hospitality as a staff, to remind ourselves of our calling. By cultivating a community focused on offering hospitality, we work to ensure that it is a heartfelt expression.
The longer I am involved in this work, the more I realize everything we do is based in relationship building. This includes our food service, our facilities, and programming. When we welcome a guest to our site for the first time, all of these factors are opportunities to build trust and inspire confidence. That is why every decision we make makes an impact on hospitality.
What are we offering to guests that is more meaningful than just a hotel? I ask myself that, too. Those questions can spiral for me. They begin to point to something else. Why do we feel compelled to sing around the fire? Will these meals nourish more than just our bodies?
In 2018 Camp Magruder is eligible for $35,000 from the Gray Family Foundation towards camp maintenance projects. In order to receive the grant money, Magruder will need to raise $17,500.
We've raised $8,490 so far!!
While providing good food, comfortable beds, and friendly smiles to our guests are all important, we belief that true Christian hospitality means much more.
Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries Foundation 2: "Extend Genuine Christian Hospitality and Community" A Perspective from Wallowa Lake Camp by Peggy Lovegren, co-director of Wallowa Lake Camp Do not forget to ...
Our world is longing for places and times apart, but they are often difficult to find at home amidst the bustle of daily living, so it is a true gift to offer holy ground. At Suttle Lake Camp we see ourselves as "a place a part to be together."
Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries Foundation 1: "Provide Sacred Places Apart" A Perspective from Sawtooth Camp by Dave Hargreaves, Director of Sawtooth Camp Sawtooth, with its valley and hills, has always been a “...
Camp Magruder accepted for Gray Family Foundation Grant n 2018 Camp Magruder will be eligible for $35,000 from the Gray Family Foundation towards camp maintenance projects. In order to receive the grant money, Magruder will need to raise ...
Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries Foundation 1: "Provide Sacred Places Apart" A Perspective from Camp Latgawa by Sam Grainger, Director of Camp Latgawa Our work at Camp Latgawa is highly influenced by the foundation ...
Whether one is taken in by the tall trees, the harmonious architecture, or simply the atmosphere of peace that infuses the space, there is something special that happens as one enters the property.
The 7 Foundations of Camp and Retreat Ministries Executive Director Todd Bartlett Introduces this important communications theme for 2018 In the coming year it is our plan with this weekly e-newsletter to share with you about the Seven Foundations of...
I have shared some reflections about important elements to our experiences at our camps and retreat center. The current list begins with the physical elements of: land, water, sky and fire.
Letting go, for director Dave Hargreaves can feel like a free fall, especially if he is accustomed to “being large and in charge,” as his wife Candace says. But, there is great opportunity to stretch, grow and learn if we only can let go and trust.
Camp Latgawa has closed the books on a successful summer, and we have completed the requirements for our highly successful Gray Family Foundation matching grant program!
Early in August, the cross had stood at the ocean beach for a long time went missing. While it was not the original, this cross had a great deal of sentimental value to many. Needless to say the loss was disappointing.
In 2017 at Suttle Lake there were six young adults who served the full season, including an international staff member from Sahagun, Mexico. Their joy in being in ministry, singing and praying together, appreciating God’s beauty in creation, as well as playing games and laughing together enriched the camp and fostered their own growth.
Last September, I agreed to serve as the interim Executive Director for Camp and Retreat Ministries in Oregon-Idaho, until a national search could be conducted to hire the next Executive Director, which turned out to be me!