Senior High Teen Camp–Battleground!

Not the war on drugs, not the war on terror, not the war on furbies … this is the war on you.

Van Helsing was our speaker for senior high camp and this year’s theme was Battleground!

During Monday’s chapel, Van Helsing spoke on The Battlefield of Faith.

What exactly is faith?

Faith is a belief that leads to doing something.

Monday Night’s Tactic: Join Up!

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

On Monday night, the campers went on a Star Trek to Inspiration Point. Choco brought his guitar and they sang worship sons under the stars. Then Scruffy had them sit in silence for four minutes as they look at God’s wonderous creation spread out above them. A youth pastor took this photo near Inspiration Point with his really good camera years ago, but it continues to inspire.

One of the campers shared about her experience at Inspiration Point during the Friday night campfire at the end of the week.

She had come to camp with many worries and concerns weighing her down. Then she and her cabin walked up to Inspiration Point in the dark. She gazed up at that ocean of stars and felt so small. Beneath that giant sky, all her problems felt suddenly small, too. Knowing that the God of all those huge and brilliant things had made her and loved her brought an unexpected peace.

During Tuesday’s chapel, Van Helsing spoke on The Battlefield of the Heart.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly parted.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Are emotions good or bad? Why are relationships so hard? What is the secret to a good relationship with your boss, friends, coaches, or romantic interest? What is the secret to a good relationship with God?

Tuesday Night’s Tactic: Battle Buddies!

What is a Battle Buddy?

When Boo Boo wanders around trying to get things done but starts to get confused because she is dehydrated, Bomber stops her and asks if she needs a drink of water.

When Boo Boo needs to talk over a sticky problem, she goes to her good friend Daizy who was a camp counselor with her way back when they were young and foolish.

When she needs prayer, to share the burdens of life, or to converse about an interesting piece of Scripture she goes to Scruffy.

These are her Battle Buddies.

Now sometimes Bomber might pray with her or Grandma Smurf might remind her to get a drink of water, but the point is that she is not fighting the battle alone.

Do you have Battle Buddies? Pray that the Lord will provide encouraging people in your life for the journey and learn how to encourage them, treat them with grace and respect, and work together as you navigate the sometimes rocky path of life.

Another fun thing that Van Helsing did this week (with the help of Mina) were the vs. verses. What are vs. verses, you ask?

Well, the speaker always has a daily memory verse. In order to encourage the campers to memorize these verses, Mina helped Van Helsing set up a variety of battles that the campers could vote on. However, they could not vote unless they had said the memory verse to Van Helsing!

Thor vs. Wonder Woman

Puss in Boots vs. Jack Sparrow

Perry the Platypus vs. James Bond

Miles Morales vs. Tom Holland

Chuck Norris vs. Scruffy

Who won? Well, it all depended on who said their daily memory verse and got to vote!

In case you are curious the winners were: Thor, Puss in Boots, Perry the Platypus, Miles Morales, and Scruffy!

Puss in Boots won the grand championship over everyone else at the very end!

On Wednesday, Van Helsing spoke about The Battlefield of the Flesh.

The physical world causes many struggles, weather it is a battle over unchecked desire or the physical struggles of pain and illness, there is much to fight on this front.

Tonight’s Tactic: Prepare to Fight!

One of our camp counselors, Boromir, faced an unexpected battle of the flesh this week.

He was walking on the trail from his cabin with his campers and had a seizure. His campers rallied around him. Running to get the nurse, guarding him until the seizure passed, and helping him to Scruff’s car.

Scruffy drove him down to the ER and while Chat Noir stepped up to be with them in Boromir’s absence the campers waited to hear Scruffy’s report on how he was doing. After a day at home recovering, Boromir returned amidst the cheers of the boys in his cabin. It is such a difficult thing to ask for help, but after this tough battle, Boromir said that he came away realizing that he should. Have you faced a battle of the flesh today? I bet you have. There are many battles on this field, but one way to victory.

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:2

And yes, if you are wondering, Boo Boo did indeed shoot this apple off of Scruffy’s head in one shot with an archery tag arrow! Don’t worry, they have a big foam tip to prevent skewering.

One of the campers’ favorite night games is Walkers!

This is a night game we don’t play at any other camps and campers look forward to finally being old enough to come to Senior High Camp so that they too can fight zombies in the forest.

Thankfully, Mina’s brother Mini Van works at a thrift store and acquired some amazing wedding dresses that the girls used in their transformation into monsters.

Combined with Lea’s amazing make-up talent, Walkers was a memorable time running through the woods battling evil and earning cabin points!

During Thursday’s chapel, Van Helsing talked about The Battlefield of the Mind!

“The deadliest enemy is the one you cannot see. But you can still fight back… with the right weapons.”

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4

Tonight’s Tactic: Weapon Up!

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

During the Walkers game, Partake was leading a group of girls through the “zombie infested” forest. One of them was concerned. “We can’t see anything,” she said.

“We’ll be fine,” Partake said before confidently striding into the dark forest, tripping over a log, and bashing her knees.

That was a lot like Partake’s week of camp, actually.

She was our program director this week and is an organized person who enjoys schedules, being on time, and orderly games and activities.

Through events outside of Partakes control, this week was not easy to wrangle!

However, in the midst of the unexpected, God was still clearly at work.

During Friday’s chapel, Van Helsing talked about The Battlefield of the Soul.

“I have given you power to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19

There wasn’t just a chapel session titled Battlefield of the Soul, there was also a night game!

This involved whacking people with sock flails, nylons full of color powder, and of course running through the woods. What was the enemy? Those dangerous influences that are not from God.

Those sock flails were actually more painful than expected and unfortunately, did dye light blond hair in bright colors.

We were short on girl counselors for this week, but we got a surprise addition to our staff at the last minute.

The mom (Chiquita) of one of our young counselors used to be on staff with us nineteen years ago.

She has been helping out with camp work behind the scenes and doing such an amazing job, but the lack of girl counselors for Senior High Teen camp started to weigh on her.

However, she was able to argue against such a drastic measure as coming back to camp as a counselor. She was a mom, what teen girls wanted to hang out with a mom all week? She was solidly in the adult part of her life, she liked sleep, and wasn’t fond of running around in the forest at night with people dressed as zombies. A week of camp simply did not sound … comfortable.

Then she ran across this quote: “The end of comfort is where life begins”

Hmmm … and so after a nineteen-year hiatus, Chiquita joined us on staff as a counselor!

What teenage girls wanted to hang out with a mom all week? As it turns out, her daughter and all of her daughter’s friends!

There was some mortal embarrassment when they failed at pranking the boys two times and Chiquita agreed to take the blame for their bad pranking and even got them breakfast in bed when they refused to show their faces ever again … which didn’t actually last very long, just long enough to get breakfast in bed. But then her campers gave her one of the greatest compliments ever.

“You have the most fourteen-year-old water bottle I’ve ever seen!”

Chiquita summed up her week like this: “It was a gift to be a part of these teens lives. An old person is not who they want. But each time they pulled me aside and shared their hearts with me was a gift.”

So there you have it, bring a youthful water bottle and you too can be a camp counselor even if you are beyond your teen years.

One of our counselors, Katara, described a moment playing Battle for Souls in the meadow that was an image of camp for her.

We were in the meadow, battling with sock flails, and in between screeching at groups of campers I got to stare at the stars and have a conversation with Jesus. I prayed and saw tons of shooting stars.

It was a perfect encapsulation of camp. The Lord takes a moment in the breaks and shows himself between all the craziness.

Our camp hike during senior high is to Weathertop.

This steep climb takes us to a rocky ridge where you can look down on the meadow from above.

One of Van Helsing’s favorite memories from the week was having a deep conversation with a camper standing right on that narrow ridge with people shuffling past as they sought a closer look at the view.

She wasn’t self-conscious at all about sharing her story right there with the whole camp milling about on the ridge.

Having a thoughtful talk about the Lord and what He was doing in the middle of all the tough things she had faced was more important.

One of Zoboomafoo’s favorite moments was definitely “planning” their crazy skit.

“On the final day of skit prep, his camper suggested a unique element. “We should shave my beard during the skit!” Another camper said, “Samson and Delilah!”

Thus, the Chipmunk cabin’s skit was born and Scruffy and Boo Boo had the dubious honor of watching their son play Delilah in front of the whole camp!

It is amazing how God uses you for His kingdom at camp, in so many ways that you don’t expect.

In line getting groceries at Costco, Scruffy had someone flag him down to talk because they knew him from camp.

Because he worked at camp, this man pulled him aside to share part of his family’s story and Scruff was able to tell him, “God’s not done with your child, give her the message that we love her.”

Because of what God does at camp, Scruffy and Boo Boo and Bomber have so many unexpected spiritual conversations in grocery stores and other random locations.

You never know what God will use for his kingdom work.

Boo Boo spends most of her time at camp either taking photos or telling the camp counselors what to do or not to do.

There are many many motherly moments where she must give a stern eyebrow and redirect some kind of craziness.

In fact, she is pretty sure that the counselors sigh with a deep weariness when they see her coming.

That is why the Friday night campfire was such a surprise.

She didn’t expect Scruffy to share. He never shares. She didn’t expect him to share about how they had lost their sweet Newfoundland, Princess Leia Freyja right before camp. She didn’t expect him to talk about that incredible sorrow of trying to face the summer camp season without her constant therapy dog presence to give them encouragement.

How they didn’t think they could survive the exhausting 100-hour work weeks and deep emotional cost of camp without her softly padding up to give kisses and a helping wag.

She didn’t expect to burst into tears right there, sitting in the grass at the outskirts of the campfire ring.

And she most certainly did not expect one of the staff members she had shushed and shooed and told what to do and what not to do more than once that summer to pull her into her arms and hold her while she wept.

In fact, two other staff girls came up and held her toe in an encouraging fashion while she cried.

God can use you even if you are the one who has to tell people that duct tape is not allowed on the log buildings, girls are not allowed in the guy cabins, and hitting a wasp nest with a stick is foolish.

God can use you even if you are the one who needs to be shooed and shushed.

God can even use someone holding your big toe as you sit out under the stars and weep.

God even used Dauntless’ crazy skit.

It didn’t look good at first. They prepped for skit night. Had ideas, scrapped those ideas, came up with new ones but didn’t know the theme.

Finally, Dauntless asked Scruff to join the skit. Immediately the theme made itself known. The Chipmunk Cabin acted out every single one of the vs. verses battles. Yes, we got to see

Thor vs. Wonder Woman

Puss in Boots vs. Jack Sparrow

Perry the Platypus vs. James Bond

and finally …

Chuck Norris vs. Scruffy

The Squirrel House won skits and they won the week-long cabin competition, as well.

Everyone has a battle to fight. In the Old Testament, there were literal battles that God intervened in to save His children. But that doesn’t mean our battles are less terrifying, less overwhelming. It doesn’t mean that God will let us face them alone.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“But the LORD says,
“The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved.
For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.” Isaiah 49:25

Boo Boo

Middle School Camp 2–Running From God!

Junior high campers are absolutely hilarious! They are fun and rowdy, sassy and bold, full of passion and capable of incredibly deep and meaningful conversations about God and just life in general.

This is the age group most likely to make a decision to follow Christ.


One, they are rowdy about absolutely everything. If they are not being rowdy about prayer, Bible learning, or the very idea that God exists, they are being rowdy about food, gaga ball, night games, or just the forest basics like pinecones and squirrels.

This rowdiness comes with an incredible capacity to grow and change and decide for themselves.

It is at approximately the age of twelve that the human brain matures sufficiently to grasp concepts like metaphor, abstract thought, and right and wrong outside of previously established boundaries. It is at this amazing age that children realize that they have the choice to follow Jesus or not. If their family has always followed God, they still have a choice. If their family has never followed God, they have a choice. Such an amazing revelation!

Speaking of families, it was incredibly exciting to be able to take a photo of three different generations of women who have been involved in camp ministry here at Camas Meadows. Grandma is the wife of one of our former board members and even worked as a camp counselor once when she dropped off campers only to realize that we did not have sufficient staff. So she stayed to counsel a cabin! Xena (yes, that is her camp name) was a counselor way back when I (Boo Boo) was a counselor and also served during Scruffy’s very first summer leading camp! Xena’s daughter was a camper this week and it was crazy fun to watch her jump into camp activities knowing that her mom and grandparents have been a part of Camas Meadows Bible Camp for so many years.

We had such a beautiful variety of middle schoolers tumble into camp this week with all their vivacity and obstreperous charm. There were children who had grown up steeped in every aspect of the Christian faith, who could zip their way through the books of the Bible blindfolded, and give a thoughtful answer to tricky theological queries with aplomb.

Among this raucous splash of humanity were also children who had no faith background at all. Sometimes they would giggle when a counselor prayed or shout out a wild and perhaps slightly sarcastic, “Amen, brother!” during chapel as they attempted to navigate a strange social situation that was completely foreign to them.

Oh how precious each young camper is. It is such an incredible honor to invite every one of them into the world of Bible camp. Weather they just came for the camp part or are happy to learn a bit of Bible, too, every child was an honor to serve.

Our speaker, Faramir, often works as a substitute teacher at our local public schools and is also a soccer referee. He was not in the least bit phased by the wide range of campers he was called upon to teach. In the very first chapel he acknowledged that prayer, the Bible, and God talk can be so very strange. But he encouraged each one to be willing to take just one step on their journey, weather that step was putting their faith in Christ or simply deciding to close their eyes in contemplation for the first time during a prayer.

That is one of the things that I absolutely adore about camp ministry!

Children who serve as missionaries with their family love camp and children who are self-proclaimed atheists also love camp!

Christian camping holds a fairly unique place in the body of Christ. Stepping into a church building can be so intimidating for someone who doesn’t know and follow Jesus. Even more so for a child.

I don’t know any young atheists who love to attend church.

However, I know multiple young atheists who ADORE coming to camp!

Camp is an exciting and growing experience for everyone. Weather a camper dares to play paintball for the first time or figures out how to find the book of Jonah in their Bible for the first time, children stretch out of their everyday experiences and realize that, yes, they have what it takes to do new things.

During chapel this week, Faramir spoke on the reluctant prophet.

Yes indeed, he spoke about Jonah, the “man of God” who ran away from the Lord.

Now, Jonah, he would have been one of those who knew his Bible verses off the top of his head and every right answer ta boot. In his case, it was the Torah but yes, he knew all the right answers and he knew God, deeply. That is why he ran, he knew that the God he served was merciful and there was a terrible chance that God just might be merciful to some people that Jonah felt absolutely justified in hating.

So, during Monday’s chapel, Faramir spoke about Jonah’s call.

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.'”

Just in case you were wondering, the word for wickedness in verse two can also be translated “calamity” and is used multiple times in this small but punchy book of the Bible. It comes up again at the end of the story in a powerfully ironic way. Also repeated, “the Lord provided.” The Lord provides all sorts of things to help Jonah on his reluctant journey of faith. From a whale to a worm the Lord is constantly providing for Jonah’s growth as he comes face to face with his own lack of grace and compassion.

Can you tell that I love the book of Jonah? What a perfect chunk of Scripture to study with this delightfully pesky and sarcastic age group. There is a great deal of irony in this book of the Bible and more than one sarcastic sentence. Please, do yourself a favor and read it again. Then, when you read Jonah 4:2-3 imagine that the most snarky teenager you know and love is saying the words. It is my firm belief that this imagining will bring you closer to the reality of Jonah’s words than any monotone reading every could.

Faramir shared that while each of us may not have received detailed travel instructions from the Lord, each of us is unique and absolutely does have a call upon our lives that comes straight from Him!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

While junior high campers are delightfully pesky and rambunctious, so many of them are also deeply hurting. They can be all of these things simultaneously of course, just to keep camp counselors on their toes.

What I mentioned about a twelve-year-old’s brain development earlier is key here. It is at this age that children stop taking what others say as absolute truth and begin to weigh out right and wrong for themselves.

If they are part of an unhealthy friend group, they will begin to notice that something isn’t right. If they are in an abusive environment, they will suddenly realize the injustice of their situation. If someone they trust has been lying to them, they often figure this out in junior high.

Oh, the painful power of a maturing mind.

Some of these hurting children know how to treat others well … and some of them do not.

This week, the camp counselors spent so much of their time gently teaching campers how to be good friends and to resolve conflict with friends and cabin buddies with grace and respect.

On Tuesday morning, Faramir taught the campers the S.O.A.P. method of studying scripture!

  1. Scripture – Read a short Bible passage out loud and/or write it out.
  2. Observation – What do you notice about the verses? What do you think the main message is? What words or ideas jump out to you?
  3. Application – Ask God how He wants you to apply the verse to your own life.
  4. Prayer – Pray for yourself and/or for others.

On Tuesday evening, Faramir talked about Jonah running away. If we all have a call from God, then we all have a choice whether to answer that call or not. Our choice matters. Just like Psalm 1:1-3 says, connection to God matters.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” Jonah 1:3a

On Wednesday night, Faramir spoke about Jonah on the ship!

God showed Himself to Jonah and everyone else who rode out that terrible storm. Sure, it wasn’t the most peaceful encounter with God shown in Scripture but even in the middle of the howling wind and smashing waves, God’s grace is clear in this passage.

Oh, the incredible irony of Jonah 1:4-16! Who is it who urges God’s prophet to call on his God? The pagan sailors who have never even heard of Yahweh! We know this because when Jonah oh so casually mentions that he serves God who created both the dry ground and the sea, these sailors are absolutely terrified. Who could run from a God like that?

The answer … you guessed it, Jonah!

Who was it who sought out God, attempting to get information about the terrible storm and what could be done to improve the situations. Yep, that would be the pagan sailors once more.

Go sailors!

What was God’s prophet doing … running, hiding, and sleeping! That’s what. Plus, we have another use of that fascinating word “calamity” in verse seven.

“Then the sailors said to each other, ‘Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.’ They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.” Jonah 1:7

On Thursday night, Faramir talked about the Great Fish. Sometimes God knows it will take a little bit extra to get our attention … or in Jonah’s case, a lot!

On Friday night, Faramir talked about The Turn. Interestingly, when Jonah turns, repents, and decides to go to Nineveh … well, all of this happens at the hinge of the book of Jonah, right in the middle! So “The Turn” for Jonah spiritually is the hinge of the book, which I find absolutely delightful.

So, just like God wanted the Ninevites to turn from their calamity and for Jonah to turn from his calamity, God calls us to repent from the things we have done wrong. Turn away from the old and follow Jesus to a new life that brings God’s light to others instead of darkness and pain.

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Matthew 4:17

It was such a great joy to see so many of these awesome young people turn to God that night and choose to follow Jesus.

Teenagers can spot something fake in a split second and there is a brutal honesty to the book of Jonah that speaks to those longing for something true.

Jonah is angry. Truly and deeply angry with God. Not because he thinks that God isn’t loving. Oh, no! God is loving to the wrong people. The irony of Jonah’s journey, saved from the depths of the sea by a monster that God provided, and still Jonah wavers when it looks like God will give mercy instead of judgement to the Ninevites.

God provides a lot of things in the book of Jonah: a great fish, a plant to shade Jonah, a worm to snork down that plant, and a scorching east wind.

Not everything God provides is comfortable, however, each item helped Jonah along on his journey of discovering the value of God’s incredible mercy.

Finally, on Saturday morning, Faramir spoke about The Aftermath. Yep, in Jonah chapter four not only do we have God’s own prophet grieving over the life of a plant but Jonah is bold enough to chastise God Himself for valuing the lives of actual people. Here, we finally come to that delicious and ironic use of the word calamity concerning Jonah himself.

Well, the whole reason that God sent Jonah on this trip in the first place was because of Nineveh’s calamity, translated in Jonah 1:2 as wickedness.

Well, in chapter four there is a whole lot of calamity going on! I’ve put the words that are the same Hebrew word as “calamity” in bold below.

“But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshis. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3

“Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.” Jonah 4:6

Oh, that terrible moment when reading the book of Jonah and you realize that God’s own prophet values a plant that he did not tend or water over a city full of people who did not know God.

Perhaps the plant eased Jonah’s calamity for a moment, but the calamity ran deep and at the end of the book God holds the life of that plant up to Jonah and compares it to the lives of every man, woman, and child (and their animals, too) in the city of Nineveh and asks Jonah that fateful question: “Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

Oh the cutting satire of the book of Jonah. That painful truth that sometimes those who should honor God the most are the slowest to hear His voice. May we catch our breath at the beautiful honesty in Jonah’s story and walk away different than we were before.

The power of Jonah’s story was not lost on the wonderful young teens we served this week.

One of our guy counselors had encountered much frustration attempting to facilitate a discussion time with his group of rowdy boys. On that last night, everything finally came together for them to truly talk in an honest way about God, His Word, and what Jonah’s strange journey might mean for people wondering about God’s judgement and mercy today. There were so many great questions and the campers were engaged as they honesty explored the depths of God’s Word. It was such a beautiful moment together after a long hard week with some especially precocious teens!

At the Friday night campfire, one of our campers put it so well. He said that before camp he used to think that there was no God at all, but that now he thought he could see Him in the kindness and love people show to each other.

There is a reason that Jesus Himself said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Perhaps that particular camper didn’t choose to follow Christ on that particular night. But he saw Jesus. We each have a choice and junior high kids feel that reality and that weight keenly. Multiple children did choose Jesus during this week and so many more learned about both His great power and His baffling love as Faramir taught them about God’s reluctant prophet, Jonah.

Finally, let me share with you my favorite verse in the Bible. Think about it for a moment. Think about all that Jonah did to escape God and God’s call. Think about how every single character in the story behaved better than God’s own prophet, including a sea monster, some cows, and a worm. This verse is deceptively simple, but gives me such hope every time I read it.

Jonah 3:1–“Then the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.”

Boo Boo

Junior B Camp–Adventures With Peter!

Our second junior camp brough a whole crowd and running leaping shouting nine to twelve-year-old’s to Camas Meadows for an amazing week of camp fun.

Our speaker for Jr. B Camp was Squeegy, a long time counselor who was actually our camp intern when Scruffy’s oldest son Hiccup was a baby. We have so many amazing memories of serving the Lord together with Squeegy. Yes indeed, we even have photos of Squeegy holding little Hiccup in his arms.

Now Squeegy is a father of three and accompanied his own young camper here this week. He spoke on the apostle Peter and his many ups and downs with Jesus.

During the Monday chapel, Squeegy talked about the calling of Peter. How Jesus didn’t look for someone who was especially talented or brilliant at studying the Scriptures.

Jesus sought out Peter, a simple fisherman, and asked if he would follow. In the same way, Jesus calls each of us, just as we are, into a new life with Him.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

And thus the week began! There are so many stories interwoven throughout a week of summer camp. Too many to tell. But one of my favorites, one that started months before this camp began was about someone who wasn’t even here this week.

Many years ago, the son of Scruffy and Boo Boo’s pastor decided not to serve as a counselor at camp. However, when his summer baseball plans didn’t work out, he ended up at Camas and training to be a counselor.

He did a fabulous job! His new enthusiasm for camp passed to his sister and she became a counselor as well and we had several wonderful years of serving together. Camp became a deeply important part of their walk with God and they passed that love of Camas Meadows Bible Camp on to their grandmother.

Well, long before summer was upon us, their grandmother contacted Scruffy. She had been chatting with someone who was working maintenance in their building. With grandmotherly skill, she talked him into sending his kids to Camas. She got ahold of Scruff and arranged to cover their camper fees because through her grandchildren, she had grown to love camping ministry too.

And so a young family was able to attend camp all because one teenage boy took a risk and became a camp counselor.

On Tuesday, Squeegy spoke on how Peter walked on the stormy sea while his eyes were fixed on Jesus. What a beautiful thing for these little ones to learn. That while the world around them may be in utter chaos, with eyes and heart fixed fast on Jesus, Peter could do the impossible. With eyes and heart fixed on Jesus, we can do the same.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble.

One fun thing that our camp nurse Trauma Trooper does is keep track of which cabins are in the lead for scrapes and bruises.

She did it last year and the campers found this so entertaining that they rushed to the nurse again and again in order to make sure that their cabin was competitive! In fact, one of Mina’s campers said: “If you haven’t visited the nurse at least once you are not having fun!” On the last night, Mina’s girls in Eagle’s Loft went to the nurse before chapel, during chapel, after chapel, and during snack!

So, without further ado, mathematically accounting for cabin size, here are Trauma Trooper’s nurse stats for Junior B Camp.

Most cuts/scrapes visits: tie Robins (10) and Eagles (15)

Fewest: Sasquatch (4)

Most bloody nose visits: Squirrel (3)

Most stings/bites visits: OwlCats (8)

Fewest: Chipmunks (0)

Most strains/sprains visits: Eagles (11)

Fewest: Mountain Panther, Bears, Squirrel (0)

Most stomach, head, throat pain: Robins (10)

Fewest: Sasquatch, Bears, Squirrel (0)

Most hit head bangs, sore heads: Squirrel (5)

Most allergy problems visits: Support staff (3)

Most eye visits: Robins (3)

1st visit: Squirrel at 3:25pm Monday

Last visit: Mountain Panther at 12:30pm Saturday

Most serious visit: Robins 

Average visits per camper for the week by cabin:

Most: Robins- 6.55

2nd Eagles- 3.9

3rd Owls- 3.7

4th Squirrel- 3

5th tie Sasquatch and MtP- 2

Fewest tie Bears and Chipmunk- 1.8

There you have it. The consensus, Junior Campers visit the nurse a lot! Thankfully, those visits did not include anything too exciting like broken bones or a mauling Sasquatch. The camp nurse position is so important because children this age often simply need someone to check in with them. To ask how they are doing. To find out if that stomach ache is from the stack of brownies they ate or from homesickness. Thank you Trauma Trooper for your fine work!

On Wednesday, Squeegy talked about how Peter had a life changing experience on a mountaintop while witnessing Jesus’ glory and hearing a message from God.

Coincidentally, each Jr. B camper was on a mountain meadow having a unique experience and learning more about God, as well. There is so much beautiful symbolism from the Old Testament about Jesus on top of that mountain, being revealed in glory to the simple men who chose to believe before He was shown to them in His full splendor.

When God gives us a unique moment, an experience in the forest, at camp, at a church service, or just with a good friend … may we grow from that glorious moment into someone who can weather the everyday with new strength because we have indeed seen Him.

Mark 9:7 – Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

There were so many growing moments for campers this week.

Two of the guy counselors had campers who had a conflict with each other. This disrupted the camp experience for two different cabins and took a lot of patience and loving care to resolve.

However, at the end of the week, one of these guy counselors told us that the difficult times he had to navigate with those feuding boys brought about one of his favorite moments.

Sitting in the cabin, gathering his boys around him and reading to them out of 1 John.

Sometimes a child goes too far, ruins their relationship with their friend or acquaintance, and then doesn’t know how to make it right.

Those boys realized they had someone at their back, cheering them to be better, helping them figure out how to be kind to each other, to be like Jesus to each other.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11

For Thursday’s chapel, Squeegy talked about how in his fear and weakness, Peter denied even knowing Christ. However, God is full of love and mercy and is ready to forgive.

Psalm 103:8 – The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

There was a moment around the fire pit in the meadow when a camper came to the end of themselves. Something happened and it was just the final straw. He broke down.

But campers gathered around him. Maybe they hadn’t even known him before camp started on Monday, but they sat with him, patted his back, comforted him in his difficult time.

The body of Christ doesn’t just look like a group of adults sitting in pews.

The body of Christ is also a mob of children on wooden benches in a meadow, patting the shoulder of a weeping boy.

On Friday, Squeegy talked about when Peter hears of Jesus’ empty tomb. How he runs to see for himself.

Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

On Saturday, Squeegy’s chapel session was about when Jesus forgave Peter’s denial and reaffirms His calling for Peter, asking Him to lead.

The message of forgiveness and calling was so important this week. It is hard to learn to live well with others in a way that honors Christ. As campers went through the process of learning how to do this, the reminder that even Jesus’ disciple Peter had to fail and then find the courage to ask his Lord’s forgiveness and the strength to try again was just the right Bible story to study. The Lord is gracious, taking us right where we are at and teaching us His ways.

John 21: 17b – Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

One of Meteor Knight’s campers told him that he really wanted to have time to talk. Though the week was incredibly busy, Meteor Knight found a quiet moment for him.

This camper was eager to tell his story. How he was in the foster system and it was incredibly difficult. How he finally landed with a loving family and now feels safe.

He hadn’t wanted to come to camp at all, but his foster dad had been doing maintenance at a lady’s building and she’d talked and talked about Camas. She had convinced him to send his kids and so this camper and his foster brother came to camp.

This camper was really struggling to find the verses of the day in his Bible, but Meteor Knight helped him out all week. This camper said that he really enjoyed camp and that it brought him “a whole bunch closer to God.” He hadn’t even wanted to come this week and now he couldn’t wait to come back.

Small steps of faithfulness, offered up to our Lord. A faithful young counselor inspires his sister and his grandmother to invest in camp. Grandma meets a family with kids and encourages them to take a brave step and send their little ones up into the forest for a week of adventures and Bible learning. A child finds encouragement and hope after the incredible difficulty he’s faced in his short life. God is able to do so much with the little bit that we have to give. Miracle after miracle after miracle.

Luke 18:27: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

Boo Boo

Middle School Camp 1–Story!

Middle School Camp 1 started out with some of the only rain we’ve seen all summer. Look at those beautiful clouds!

As the campers began to arrive, the wild thunderstorm stilled and our wildness came from this delightfully rowdy group of campers instead.

How do you keep the attention of a large group of Jr. High children?

With stories, of course!

Our speaker for the week was Wiggin. He came to us from a large family full of great camp counselors. First as a camper, then a counselor, and finally as our amazing camp speaker!

This year, his theme was STORY.

During Monday’s chapel Wiggin spoke on “Knowing Your Story.” Yes, a variety of events have happened in your life. But what is the significance of each story event? What does each stop mean on your journey toward Jesus?

That day’s Bible passage … Mark 1:40-45!

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”

What an amazing moment in that man’s story with God!

Now, if you have ever tried to teach a Bible lesson you will know that it is incredibly hard to gain the focused attention of children who do not know and trust you.

It is the same for adults. How many of us have stopped paying attention to the words and teachings of a minister or even a friend when we discovered that they had missed the mark?

Some people think that the ministry part of camping ministry only happens during chapel time and cabin discussion.

This is so far from the truth!

Archery, mini golf, Gaga Ball … each and every activity shows the campers that the counselors are people who have sacrificed their summer so that they can show the love of Jesus to kids just like them.

A child who shrugs off the good teaching of someone they don’t know, just might listen to that camp counselor who listened to their wild stories on the Star Trek to Inspiration Point to see the stars.

Who taught them how to play carpet ball.

Who made sure that they drank enough water and had a flashlight for the dark parts of the trail.

The one who leaped into the pond with them and made sure they didn’t miss their horseback ride is the one who children trust to have a listening ear and to tell them true things about God.

And so, with the important work of play building strong cabin bonds, Middle School Camp 1 was off to an amazing start!

On Tuesday, Wiggin spoke on Story + Identity how our stories shape who we are.

The passage, Luke 19:1-10.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

It is so amazing to see how that short story with Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ identity.

He went from an enemy of Israel to a man welcomed by the Son of God.

He was a cheat and a thief who became a generous man.

Zacchaeus went from being an outsider to welcoming the Messiah into his home.

The man who was accustomed to being despised was the beloved of his maker.

How will our story with Jesus transform us?

Wednesday’s chapel was about story + belonging. We find a place to belong through inherited story and when our story intertwines with the stories of others. The great news Wiggin was able to share with campers was that Jesus became human and came to dwell among us. He sacrificed so much to intertwine His story with ours.

John 1:14a–“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

or as the message puts it:

“The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”

I saw multiple stories intertwine with Jesus’ story this week. One story from the very beginning of Camas Meadows Bible Camp. Another story that began before this blog was born. And a final story that started with a tragedy and showed itself this summer in a young man we know and love standing up to share his story and to change all of us in the process.

Let’s start with a tragedy that somehow someway, still shows God’s glory in the end.

One of the things that Wiggin talked about during chapel was that God “reaps where he did now sow.” God uses things in your life that He did not want for you. He never wastes anything. He takes the good parts as well as the awful parts of our story and uses them all for good.

We have watched this happen so many times at camp.

Scruffy and I have seen this again and again in our own lives as well.

This week, we saw this in the life of one of our new C.I.T.s.

He probably doesn’t know it, but I wrote about the death of his mom on the blog four years ago. She was my friend, she was a leader and a mother figure in the community and for our staff, and she was the amazing mom of two of our sons’ friends. Four years ago, they lost their mother and this year, her son stood up and paved the way for one of the most amazing campfires I have even been part of.

This young man had seen a lot in the last four years. He is a cheery upbeat person who has faced an incredible amount of pain. Sometime during the schoolyear, he shared the story of his mother’s death for the first time.

Those who were listening were incredibly moved and he realized that this was something God wanted for him, to share his story, even though it hurt.

And so he started looking. Looking for a place to share his story, a place where he felt safe and loved and knew that his words would have the chance to impact those around him.

Then he came to camp and the Spirit stirred and he talked with Scruffy, “I think I’m supposed to share my story.” So Scruff arranged for him to lead off the Friday night campfire by being the first to share.

After he spoke, others found their courage, stood, and told their stories, too. So often it is hard to keep kids from being goofy during campfire, not that night. Hearts were ready for honest talk because one young man had been waiting all year to share from the heart. People shared about the impact of camp and us who work here on their lives, people that we had no idea we had loved, encouraged, and inspired. It was shocking and lovely and truly glorious.

After a long hard season of personal loss and pain, to see how God had worked through our simple, everyday actions was amazing and also humbling. Do not underestimate what He can do my friend. Simple people, doing simple things in His name. He does some of His best work with simple.

The next story started fifteen years ago with a little girl coming to camp for the very first time. I wrote about her journey here, how she stood in the back of the room, tiny arms flung high, worshiping God with all her heart. Summers came and went and winter camps, too. I found myself once again writing her story here, about the quiet miracle that brought her back to camp nine years later. This summer, we were blessed to be a part of her story once again.

That little girl became staff for several years and then completely disappeared from our lives. Life and pain and distance happened. For a wide variety of reasons, we did not see her again for seven years. Then out of the blue, Scruff sent her a text inviting her to Camas Con, our board game camp. She ignored the text. However, it got her thinking and finally she replied asking to come and be part of our staff team once more. What we didn’t know is that when the hurt piled up and we didn’t understand, she left. She left us, she left God, and she ran as hard and fast as she could. But God is not alarmed when His children run. Jesus Himself paints the picture for us. A good shepherd, leaving safety behind to search for that one lost lamb. When she was finally ready to turn and look her Lord in the face, her heart burned, she had something more to do, another risk to take. Come back to camp. Be real. See if perhaps it was worth trying again. Perhaps His church here could learn and grow, just like she had learned and grown in her race away and back to Jesus again. A long, hard talk with Scruffy brought tears and reconciliation. Later, I snapped this photo. The same little girl, daughter of the King, arms flung high, worshipping God with all her heart.

The chapel on Thursday was about how our story isn’t our own. Our story finds completion within the greater story of Jesus sacrifice. How his death brings us new life.

Ephesians 2:4-5–“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” NIV

Friday’s chapel was about story + purpose!

As we live our story, we are called to represent God to those around us through self-giving love.

John 13:4-5–“… so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

John 13:12-17–“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them.”

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.'”

“‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.'”

“‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.'”

“‘Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.'”

“‘Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.'”

Saturday’s chapel was about the Daily Story.

Each day, we face a choice. Live our lives as part of God’s story redeemed to be more and more like Jesus or live our own story in our own strength out of our own brokenness.

Now, I have come to the final story I will tell about this week.

This one looks back ten-and-a-half years to the very first blog post I wrote for Camas Meadows Bible Camp.

It is about a man in his fifties who finally found Jesus and the amazing woman who stood with him as he did. Now, what that post doesn’t say is that Grandpa Del and Grandma Autumn’s pastor at that time was Pastor Boyd of Little Stone Church in Chelan.

It was to Pastor Boyd that they turned to when Del and Autumn realized that the Lord had called them to start a camp. He showed them how to start a non-profit, how to form the camp board, he even picked up a hammer and helped build the cabins.

They never called him anything other than “Pastor Boyd” I only learned his given name this summer.

Two of the campers at Middle School Camp 1 made plans months ahead of time to be baptized here at camp.

When Scruff asked them who they would like to help him baptize them, both campers chose their older sister, who is one of our wonderful camp counselors, Kindred.

This young man coming out of the water of the horse trough is named William. William Henry Acheson.

He was named after his great great grandfather, Pastor William Henry Boyd.

And so Pastor Boyd’s great great granddaughter, Kindred, stood with Scruffy (the husband of Del and Autumn’s granddaughter) in the horse trough. In the ancient rite of baptism, they helped two young campers show their allegiance to Christ.

Two campers who were also Pastor Boyd’s great great grandchildren. They sank beneath the icy water in a symbol of Christ’s death. And they rose, gasping in a breath of the fresh mountain air. A symbol of Christ rising again and giving His children new life.

Such a story.

Our story. My grandparents’ story. Pastor Boyd’s story. His daughter Margaret’s story as she stopped me every Sunday for a hug and to remind me how the camp began. Her grandson Dilbert’s story as he served as a counselor at camp. Kindred’s story. And finally, it is William’s story and it is Lucy’s story. They took a rich history and a name from their great great grandfather, but on that day in the meadow, they showed that it wasn’t just someone else’s story to them.

It was their story too.

Hebrews 12:1-2–“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Boo Boo

*In order to protect their anonymity (with the exception of the baptism photos for which I got permission) I do not place photos of campers above their personal stories. Although, I may do so with staff upon occasion.

Junior A Camp–Surrender!

Jr. A Camp dawned bright and sunny. Normally, we hold this retreat for 4th to 6th graders over the fourth of July. We finally decided to move it this year and the result, twice as many campers!

The lodge thrummed with nervous energy as forty-eight children leapt into the activities with gusto, some for the very first time.

This is such a great age group. Each new activity is an adventure. Every new experience is a victory for children who have never dared to play night games, ride a horse, or even stay overnight away from home.

Junior campers bubble with excitement as they face a week of camp with young fresh eyes.

Junior campers are young and brave and full of hope.

All of that innocent excitement is catching.

Even us old folk, some of whom have lived in a camp setting for over thirty years (cough cough … Boo Boo) are jolted back to a simpler time when surrounded by all of that energy.

It is a joy and an honor to facilitate a child’s first experiences with camp.

Our speaker for this week was Thing.

Scruffy and I remember when Thing was a baby. He is the son of the one Christian teen who was kind to Scruff in high school, years before he decided to follow Christ. Thing’s siblings were both campers and camp counselors, especially his little sister. The one we all miss so much. We’re still grieving her loss today.

This was the first time he’s served at camp since losing her and it wasn’t easy. Camp was a huge part of Sis’s life and she was a huge part of ours. We see her everywhere.

What did Thing choose to speak on this week?


Could he have possibly chosen a topic that was so simple a nine-year-old could completely understand it and also so difficult that the adults at camp were just as challenged by the messages as those kiddos?

Now, this might be a surprise to you, but children do not attend camp for the chapel sessions no matter how carefully they are crafted.

But that is one of the beautiful things about camp. Just as camp ministry isn’t just about fun and games, it isn’t just about lessons and learning either. Camp is an incredible experience made up of so many different vital pieces. One of which, you guessed it, is GaGa Ball!

Every single element of camp is a vital part to showing kids the love of Jesus.

Why do children suddenly start sharing from the heart at camp?

Little ones who were content to just stand on their heads and pretend to listen during cabin discussion on Monday were inexplicably standing up at the campfire on Friday to share about what God did in their lives during the week, what they learned, how they saw Him in new and amazing ways.

How is this even possible?

Well, it wasn’t sudden. That is how.

One of our staff said it this way. “Campers started the week just wanting to play the games, but slowly, as the week went on they had a longer attention span for talking about God as they saw Him in the counselors.”

That, my friends, is the beauty of camp ministry.

Absolutely nothing is wasted.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner campers eat with their counselors around the table. They drink two cups of water to stay hydrated, sing at the tops of their voices, help each other by getting a second platter of pancakes, clean up together, and perhaps even play that cup rhythm game that is so loud the whole lodge rattles with the epic sound of it.

At morning jam and chapel campers sing!

Not like they sing at church, or school, or on their own. They sing camp songs! There are hand motions. There is running and leaping and praising God. There are both soft melodies of stunning beauty and raucous squawks as some hand motions require flapping like a bird.

Campers play! They play meadow games as a huge group. They play carpet ball, gaga ball, archery, dunk tank, slip-n-slide, and board games in smaller groups. The whole camp thunders through the forest in the dark for night games. Campers even enjoy quiet crafts with just one or two buddies.

They explore!

Scruffy leads at least two short hikes during each week of camp.

One of them, the “Star Walk” involves following an old logging road at night up to Inspiration Point.

It is only a quarter mile from the main lodge but feels like a different world as campers stare up at an explosion of stars in the heavens above.

Campers grow and stretch and try new things.

There were campers this week who were nervous around animals, but went horseback riding anyway!

Some campers had never run through tall meadow grass at full tilt, played a group game at night, or opened up a Bible with their friends.

Some campers had never spent five minutes in utter silence listening to the wind in the treetops or seen an endangered flower.

This week, the endangered Wenatchee Mountains Checker-mallow (pictured earlier) grew right next to the path the children traveled to and from the meadow.

Some campers had never been away from home for six whole days!

This is why the spiritual growth that happens at camp is never truly sudden or haphazard.

Each crazy song, delicious meal, rowdy activity, and stunning look at nature is an amazing experience that campers have with someone. With their cabin, with their counselors, with their new friends.

These shared experiences build strong bonds.

When the speaker who went on that amazing hike with them talks about surrendering to God, campers listen.

When the camp nurse who bandaged their scrape and brought them a cool drink asks if they are all right, campers know they will be heard.

When the camp counselor who led them through the forest playing capture the flag, led them in singing “I’ll Fly Away” a zillion times and always flapped like a bird for the motions opens up their Bible to share, campers can truly hear them.

They hear them, because they trust them. Campers trust them, because these same counselors spent six whole days being trustworthy.

Day and night. From breakfast in the morning to that moment someone had a nightmare or suddenly felt sick or homesick or thought they heard a Sasquatch or a squirrel or simply needed a flashlight glowing at 3:00am because they ate extra sugar and then zoomed around their cabin right before bed.

Those counselors spent six days showing their campers that Jesus loves them, because they spent those six days loving them, too.

During the chapel on the last full day, many children raised their hands wanting to follow Jesus. Three children called home so that they could arrange with their families to be baptized at camp. During the campfire on Friday night so many shared that they had learned something new about God. That they had heard about following Jesus before but never knew about surrendering to Him.

One camper said, “I thought the Bible was just a big old boring book.” After a week of camp he learned that it was so much more and inspired by a God who is so much more, too.

Camp may appear chaotic and random when viewed from the outside. It is not. Nothing is wasted. Every single crazy game, rowdy song, and yummy pancake is an act of love intended to lead children to the one who loves them the very most. Their maker and savior and Lord. Jesus.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Boo Boo


The second annual SamusCon was an all-around awesome experience!

More girls came this year and even more games were played!

And yes, some of those games involved throwing a burrito at a friend.

What? Your list of “things to do today” does not include throwing a burrito at a friend?

Clearly, you’ve never been to SamusCon!

Thanks to our fearless leaders Epona, Meowth, Kanga, and Bomber it was a wonderful weekend of gaming and fellowship.

Princess Leia Freyja even attended since she is indeed a lady dog and also loves chasing burritos.

At SamusCon, all kinds of games are played, including video games.

Here, old friends and new gather together for video game battles extraordinaire.

It was great to see summer camp friends after the long months of separation.

And get in some quality time with Princess Leia Freyja, the camp dog.

Yes, she was a bit confused when this camper decided to hold her paws, but she was happy to oblige.

Some games take hours to play, but this delightful card game is timed and each round is complete in just five minutes!

Of course, that time limit adds much tension to the experience. This one is fun to listen to as well since there is a good deal of shouting and laughter going on.

Yes, we successfully battled the Baby Barbarian!


Even a fire-breathing dragon couldn’t stand against our wild card-matching prowess.

The victory was sweet and the new friendships formed, even sweeter.

During one game, these girls managed to beat their final boss with a mere three seconds to spare!

Now that is a close call!

There were fun prizes to win as well.

Including, but not limited to, these sparkly and fuzzy slippers!

Here, SamusCon campers play a card game based on the cartoon Miraculous Ladybug!

Just like the rowdy program activities at summer camp, playing games together builds friendships and trust so that when it is finally time to sit down and study the Bible together, there is a firm foundation of fun shared experiences to draw upon as campers decide whether they will ask questions about the lesson, take a risk by venturing an opinion, or ask those around them for prayer.

It is also just plain fun!

It was so delightful to watch the campers laugh and talk about their favorite games, shows, and fandoms.

To see them discover new friends who loved the same things they did and were thrilled to have the chance to analyze them together over brownies and a cup of warm cocoa.

Yep, miraculous!

Epona led a devotion about hope, highlighting moments from Fire Emblem and Antman and Wasp.

“I’ll change the future into hope!” – Fire Emblem: Engage

Ant Man: “Hope? Are you real?”
The Wasp: “I’m real.”

Romans 4:17b–18 “…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’”

5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

Then Bomber led a devotion about finding peace through worship, which highlighted several Psalms that tell of the author’s despair and then show the peace that can be found as one turns a troubled heart to worship.

Epona ran a game of Horror Rules (the game written by our own Van Helsing) for the campers.

Boo Boo played this one with Meowth and the campers and assisted her fellow adventurers by … you guessed it, using her dog juggling skills!

A charming scarf to the rescue.

Also, this camper used her deadly hair of destruction during all-is-lost situations.

Yes, when one can juggle five angry Pomeranians and a surprisingly heavy but thankfully sweet Havanese, what could possibly stand in your way?

More acrobatic hair and climbing skills!

Epona was definitely kept hopping keeping these imaginative adventurers away from the sharks/attacking parrots and on their way to save the birthday of an innocent young lad!

One camper even brought up a game she’d made herself based on Lord of the Rings. It was hilarious and delightful in every way.

Yes, much laughing ensued.

Here is Meowth urging the campers to try a game of Shakespeare Munchkin.

Which of course they did!

All in all, it was an amazing weekend of play, fellowship, Bible learning, and connecting with other women who love everything about gaming.

Ecclesiastes 4:12–“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Boo Boo

Junior High Winter Blast 2023!

Junior High Winter Blast is one of our favorites here at Camas Meadows.

This is such a fun age-group to host.

Junior high campers have the incredible energy and capacity for adventure of children.

But their thought processes are maturing and they are able to hold deep conversations about life, the Bible, God, and of course snow ducks!

Or rubber duckies, depending what kind of duck is available.

This camper brought ducks with her this year because … ducks! Later, her cabin was delighted when Boo Boo found a snow duck maker and gifted it to them. More about that later.

But as was mentioned earlier, ducks are only one of the topics that junior high campers can wax eloquent about! Here, the campers worship God together with song. It was so delightful to have a quick visit from Choco and Partake as well as the joy of listening to Choco lead us in worship again. These kids know how to sing and they rattled the lodge with their voices. So lovely!

Faramir was our speaker this weekend. His topic: Uncomfortable Jesus. What Jesus doesn’t make you uncomfortable with what He says and does in the scripture? Perhaps, you should take another look!

Ah, yes. The gifting of the snow duck mold. These campers were ready for duck adventures!

One of the activities at Jr. High Winter Blast was the snow sculpture competition.

Wait a minute … that isn’t a duck is it???

Oh, my! A large duck, holding both a heart and a loaf of French bread, with smaller ducks perched upon his back! That’s a lot of ducks folks. So many!

What is this determined camper up to?

She crawls across the ice-covered meadow, on a quest to bring a helpful shovel to her cabinmates so that at long last they can construct …

The grand canyon! Plus, assorted viewing platforms and cairns. Yes, this was indeed modeled after the lovely image on a camper’s t-shirt. Great job, girls!

What is Gamgee up to here? Boo Boo was told that he was being a bear, crawling around in the woods, doing bearish things. He was also gathering sticks to use in the cabin snow sculpture!

Behold! A snowman lounging in the bathtub in shades with snacks!

This cabin put some deep spiritual thought into their snow sculpture. This is Jesus’ tomb with the hill of Golgotha complete with crosses pictured above. Notice the very nice sarcophagus inside.

Later, these campers went above and beyond to create Mt. Sinai. Their Mt. Sinai even spoke, answered questions, and entertained passerby with quips about the state of the world. Yes indeed, there is someone inside the mountain. Don’t worry, Boo Boo quizzed him sternly about his ability to breath freely.

Sometimes, it is hard to get the campers going on the snow sculpture. Especially, when a snowball fight is so easy to arrange.

However, they finally had success and this awesome snow castle was the result!

This has been a great snow year at Camas Meadows. Here, campers and counselors are climbing the icy pile that the snow sliding off the lodge roof created right in front of the back porch.

But snow sculptures are not the only outdoor activity enjoyed during Jr. High Winter Blast!

There is always the famous Camas tube hill or The Hill as we call it!

This awesome tube run sends campers zipping! Often, they come back with faces full of icy powder!

Time to take a break for puppy snuggles with Princess Leia Freyja.

Back to more tubing!

Or even sliding without a tube! These campers wanted to form a train. We do not allow trains of tubes (due to the broken collarbones of Christmas past) but when they just slide down, campers don’t get up to the same speeds and can do trains safely.

It’s always good to get a group photo before the weekend finishes up.

The ladies of Sasquatch.

The gentleman of Robin’s Roost.

The gentleman of Owl’s Perch.

The ladies of Eagle’s Loft.

And finally, the gentlemen of Bear’s Abode.

It’s not just the kids who make goofy faces for photos, ha!

Princess Leia Freyja tries to get in a quick doggy kiss before Boo Boo snaps the picture.

Children who were totally new to the camp experience sang alongside kids who grew up coming to camp with their families long before they were old enough to be campers. The lodge shook as they sang together, played rowdy games of Sit Ball and Grog, and made friendships that may well last a lifetime.

Seven kids made decisions to follow Jesus and so many more were encouraged in their walk with God or even simply shown God’s love for them and that they are deeply valued no matter what they choose to believe.

We were able to walk away from the weekend knowing that we fulfilled our call. Love kids as they are, give them a delightful weekend of fun, offer them the words of life, and give them a chance to choose Jesus.

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” I Thessalonians 2:8

Boo Boo

Senior High Winter Camp

Yes, Camas Folks, we do indeed run our very own Senior High Winter Camp!

2023 is the third year for this camp and the weekend has grown in so many fun ways.

Once again, Van Helsing returned as our intrepid speaker.

And yes, his “speaks” were just as rowdy as you could hope for and imagine.

Yet, he somehow managed to take the campers deep into God’s word as we all explored what it really means to seek purity of mind, speech, and action in our everyday lives.

Add some crazy worship songs and the chapel times were full of laughter and mayhem.

There is nothing like worshiping together at camp, with the wide outdoors stretching on and on just outside the windows and a fire crackling in the lodge as a warm background to our music.

Then, after singing and our Bible lesson together, the campers and counselors broke for discussion time with small groups. Some of the most thoughtful moments of growth come as campers get the chance to ask their counselors serious questions about Scripture and what it means to follow Jesus day to day.

Of course it wouldn’t be winter camp without a few runs down our terrifying tube hill!

The pictures are not the best quality, but hopefully these blurry images will help you hear the laughter and screams, and imagine these teens break out in smiles as the icy powder flies in their faces and their friends cheer them on.

Now, we have a rule that you cannot go down in trains of tubes. So … these pesky teens asked Scruffy if they could just make a train sans tubes, ha! Of course he said yes, as they are not likely to get hurt at these speeds. Even oozing down the hill on their backsides, they had a blast! Don’t worry, the campers who took tubes down the hill went at respectably zippy speeds!

A warm fire to light up the darkness completed the evening.

But tubing is not our only snow activity. These boys enjoyed a quick game of hockey with Scruffy and Princess Leia Freyja right before a snowy walk and … an even larger game of hockey!

After running around in the snow, its time to sit by the fire and play a game with friends.

And then … cabin pictures!

What do you think happened here? Did this camper require a ride to the photo location from his counselor and his friend?

And … Here they are!

The boys of Eagle’s Loft!

The girls of Owl’s Perch!

The boys of Bear’s Abode!

The girl’s of Robin’s Roost!

And the whole rowdy crew!

It was so good to host senior high teen campers again, this time in the snow! We know quite a few of these campers from our Senior High Summer Camp and love having them back for some amazing winter fun and Bible learning. It was hard to say goodbye once more, but Princess Leia Freyja was quick to hand out doggy snuggles as the campers headed back home.

We will miss each and every one of you until the Lord sees fit to cause our paths to cross once more. However, His work continues in each heart whether at camp or at home. Set your hearts on Him and rest in His love. He will do the work that heals and gives you the strength to honor Him in all your ways!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

I Thessalonians 5:11

Summer Staff Winter Retreat 2022

The Summer Staff Winter Retreat is one of our very favorite Camas-run camps!

Scruffy started this camp in 1999 and over the years we have seen so many staff and potential staff form strong bonds of friendship and grow in their relationships with the Lord as they get the chance to be campers!

Yes, our counselors and the support staff that keep camp running behind the scenes work incredibly hard. This camp is their chance to be campers and to just enjoy being together as friends after a long summer of focusing on work and ministry.

Princess Leia Freyja is always thrilled to see the staff she remembers from the summer come back to give her pets and belly rubs. If this were a painting, I think it would be titled “Leia Rampant” as she gives a little hop before charging into the game of hockey.

Princess Leia Freyja is a puck hog and whenever she plays, she bursts straight through all of the whacking hockey sticks to grab the puck and spirit it away. We usually leave her in the main lodge, but she occasionally escapes and rushes to join the fun.

Scruffy was our speaker this week and between hockey sessions, snowball fights, and games of King Elephant he led the campers in thoughtful discussions about living in the tension of following God.

Yes, this is a game of King Elephant. It is harder to play than it looks!

What did Scruffy mean by the tensions involved in following God?

Have you ever read Bible verses that say we should be smart with our money and talents? Have you ever read Bible verses that say we should trust God completely to take care of us?


Another one is God’s call to selfless sacrifice and God’s call to Sabbath rest and self-care. Jesus Himself urged His disciples to get away from the crowds to eat and rest and Jesus Himself urged His disciples to pick up their cross and follow Him in a life of sacrifice.

We are uncomfortable with God’s word when it is confusing. But what if God wants us to live in that tension?

Yes, it is 100% true that He calls us to live faithfully.

Yes, it is also 100% true that He calls us to rely on His grace.

We had some amazing discussions as we dug deep into God’s word and the confusing but amazing ways that He shows His love, power, and care to His people.

There were also some amazing snow forts built and a spectacular snowball fight!

Rowdy games of chair basketball.

Quieter moments of board games, crafts, and time spent sipping cocoa and talking around the fire.

It takes an incredible team of volunteers each year to make our Camas-run camps happen.

Taking the time to pour into the lives of those volunteers and potential volunteers is vital.

Yes, they need to be strengthened and have the chance to grow closer to their Lord just as much as the non-staff campers do.

Time to rest and talk.

Time to enjoy Princess Leia Freyja snuggles or a raukus game of Grog in the dark.

Time to boldly guard a piece of firewood from the attacking team.

Or dig snow tunnels together with friends.

Yes, even time to be amazed that this tree fell a whole inch away from this camper’s truck and not flat on top of it!

Scruffy and I are always exhausted this time of year. We go straight from Christmas to Summer Staff Winter Retreat the day after, to a rental camp that arrives the same day that our summer staff campers leave.

However, this camp is so important. An important time of learning, connection, and just plain fun together in God’s creation. The camps this summer will be all the better because our staff had a chance to grow and connect during the winter months. Yes, God has called us to both carry our own load and to bear each other’s burdens!

Confusing … but beautiful nonetheless.

Boo Boo

The Campfire Blog Turns Ten!

Boo Boo, Heather, and Becca at the ACFW Conference in 2012

Once upon a time, there was a young mother who refused to write a camp blog.

Her husband Scruffy was a camp director and he thought that a camp blog was an amazing idea … for her to write. But she was busy with her three young boys (ages 9, 7, and 5) and attempting to revise her angsty YA novel for the 16th time. She told the Lord that if He wanted her to write a camp blog, well, He was going to have to make that VERY clear.

Now, she loved camp ministry. Loved hearing the stories of camp adventures from staff, campers, and speakers. Loved taking photos and writing. Plus, she had always dreamed of being a photojournalist. However, none of this occurred to her as she stared at the overwhelming idea of starting and writing a blog for the camp where they lived and worked.

Then, some good friends who knew that she loved to write gathered the funds from an amazing group of helpful folks and sent her to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference in Texas! She was so thrilled! What an adventure. Now she could take that angsty YA book manuscript and maybe get an agent and maybe even find an editor who loved it!

The ACFW conference was amazing! Boo Boo zoomed from class to class learning new writer things, meeting agents and editors who were sadly destined to reject her manuscript, and even finding a critique partner! She and her critique partner have worked together on story after story for over ten years now. It was an amazing time.

During the keynote address each day, the conferees would sing worship songs together. During one of those worship sessions, they sang, “Our God” by Chris Tomlin.

Now, Boo Boo learned that song at camp. Worshipping with the wonderful camp counselors and a room jam packed with rowdy children. There is something completely unique about standing in a log lodge on a mountain meadow while fifty children sing at the tops of their lungs around you. Camp worship is Boo Boo’s favorite!

But there is also something incredible about standing in a room of several hundred women (and a scattering of men) and worshipping the same God together. The God who is our creator. The God who gave each one in that room a passion to write, to tell tales, to create beauty and laughter and story … just like Him.

As Boo Boo sang she was overwhelmed until she couldn’t sing anymore. So she just stood there and she wept.

And suddenly, that wasn’t enough. The incredible weight of having so many stories to tell, but not knowing if she was good enough, talented enough, if what she wrote would ever find a publishing home … the weight was so heavy.

Writing is a risky business. One can easily spend a lifetime penning words and never see “success.”

Added on to that weight, Boo Boo thought of that camp blog that she’d refused to write.

She felt the panic of it, the added burden of what she should be able to do and couldn’t. There were so many things to get done, and the list never dwindled.

She didn’t hear a voice. Instead, she felt a twinge, a nudge, an unease.

And that not-a-voice in her heart was so very clear.

“What if I want you to write the camp blog?”

She was the one who lived right there at camp and had been looking for a way to be involved while still parenting her three small sons. She was the one who loved to write, collect stories, and take pictures. And despite it being one of the hardest jobs she or Scruffy had ever done, Boo Boo loved camp.

Who else could take a story about a camper’s grubby feet and tell the gospel?

Who else had a front row seat to the Glory that God accomplished at camp every single week?

What if she’d been slogging along for the last eleven years, learning how to craft her words just right … for something other than a book contract?

What if God had stirred in her the desire to tell stories for such a time as this? A time when people needed to be transported to camp, to laugh, to cry, to wonder at all that He could do in the lives of simple people who ran smack into Him and were changed. Did God still send Esther moments? What if those moments didn’t look like one expected? What if writing and life and ministry didn’t look at all like you thought it would?

Boo Boo felt a new weight on her heart. Now that she had considered the possibility that she was called to this, she suddenly knew something for certain.

She was disobeying God.

Sometimes, it is easier to tell when you are disobeying God than it is to tell that He wants you to do something in the first place. With that weight of disobedience … not guilt … not outside pressure … actual disobedience to Him … Boo Boo knew for sure.

God wanted her to write the camp blog.

Weeping, she hit her knees in the middle of that crowded room and she said yes.

Yeah, she absolutely would write the blog.

Now, God didn’t say not to write novels, angsty or otherwise. He just said to write the blog and that He would give her the time for what was important. Sometimes, it is harder to trust God with our limited time than with other more tangible things.

On December 22nd, 2012 Boo Boo posted her first blog post for Camas Meadows Bible Camp. That was ten years ago today.

No one ever bought Boo Boo’s angsty YA manuscript … or the one she wrote after that.

Boo Boo plugged away writing her stories and very few of them were published. In fact, she has 27 unpublished book manuscripts languishing on her computer. But she wrote that blog, week after week, year after year, cataloging what the Lord has done at a little Bible Camp hidden on a remote meadow in the Cascade Mountains.

She told the story of that time Scruffy worked all week to befriend the grumpy kid … and found out at the Friday night campfire that he had hidden away a gun and a bullet at home. He’d told himself he would go to camp and when he got home, he would end his life. But that kid stood up during the campfire and said that he’d changed his mind. He was going to go home and he was going to live.

She wrote about that incredible off-trail hike where a whole cabin worked to get a camper who used a wheelchair through the woods, over logs, up a hill, and to the top of the ridge to see the amazing views.

Every single week contained so many stories, more than could be recorded. The bully who became a friend. The broken kid who started watching out for others. The one who learned to apologize. The one who learned to forgive. The camper who came to Jesus and the camper who did not … but for the very first time met Christians who were determined to live a life of love, no matter what their campers believe. Endless stories, endless beauty, endless work to do.

This blog is ten now. That means it holds a decade of those stories. Now, this photo was taken the year before Boo Boo started the blog. But it is still a good representation of what she and Scruffy’s life was like at the very beginning. This was the year she refused to blog, after all. Those busy little boys who kept their parents hopping are all taller than Boo Boo now. In fact, they all worked at camp last summer.

Ten years later, Boo Boo may not have sold any angsty YA novels, but she has Scruffy and three tall and sarcastic teenagers, and the knowledge that she obeyed. She wrote the blog. Then she kept writing it for a decade. God has used her simple words and quickly snapped photos to do His work. Sometimes ministry looks totally different than what you expect, but if it is God asking you to do it, it is important all the same. Obedience itself is success. So please, enjoy the blog. Each story and photo is a gift of love, even the ones that are blurry or weird (see foot photo above). God is so powerful and gracious, that He still makes beautiful things out of our fumbling attempts to serve Him. Thank goodness for that!

Let’s end this 10th Anniversary Blog with Boo Boo’s favorite Bible verse.

Jonah 3:1–“And the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.”

Thank the Lord that we serve a God who gives second chances!

Boo Boo