The Silent Summer

How do you say goodbye to a summer?

The lodge is empty, quiet, hollow. Normally, at this time of year the entire building echoes with giggles, shrieks, shouts, singing, the clatter of forks on plates as heaps of pancakes are consumed, and the rhythmic pounding of cups on tables as counselors teach another generation of campers that super annoying cup game. In case you were wondering, I am an expert at the cup game. But this skill will do me little good this year.

Camas Meadows has provided our own summer camps every year since 1986 when my father left his pastorate to usher Camas from a purely rental facility to a place that planned, staffed, and ran summer adventures for kids ages nine to eighteen.

Not this year.

This year, we are grieving the loss of a summer ministry that has been a part of Scruffy’s life for the past twenty-one years and part of mine for the last thirty-four. Yes, as a girl I slept in the corner of Robin’s Roost Cabin (before it was Robin’s Roost) on a make-shift bed while my dad ran staff meetings. Camp has been the focus of my summer since before I was even old enough to be a camper.

One time, I drove past an orchard that was being cut down. The trees were in the full-blush of spring bloom. Covered in a glorious snow of pale-pink blossoms. Full of beauty and life and the potential for a fruitful year. But they had all been cut down. They lay on their sides, in full bloom, dead. All of a sudden, I find myself feeling like that orchard.

Camas has run summer camps when forest fires raged in the Cascades, after my father’s sudden death, and even during Scruffy’s first summer when he was hired in May (with a landscape architecture degree and three year’s experience working at a Christian music warehouse) and had all of one month to prepare.

This summer, a global pandemic has forced us to rest the land.

We, as a people, are not used to resting. It has been shocking as business grinds to a halt and anxiety skyrockets. If Scruffy is not a camp director, if I am not Boo Boo (camp director’s wife, camp blogger, camp photographer) with all of the vital tasks and important daily details that this job brings with it … what are we?

In the Old Testament, God commanded the people of Israel to rest the land every seven years. If produce grew on its own, it was available for the poor and wild animals to eat. Then every fifty years came the year of jubilee, where the land rested once more, but in addition, property that had been sold was returned to its original owners. The people and the land both rested before the Lord in obedience as a sacrifice and expression of faith.

Why haven’t we rested the land before this? Well, we are not under Old Testament law … and rest is difficult, expensive, and simply does not come naturally. There are a million and one things to do and so many people that we do not wish to disappoint.

But this year rest has been forced upon us, and though painful, there is good here, too. Good amidst the sorrow of seeing a quiet summer and an empty lodge. As we were discussing these difficulties, another camp director told Scruffy, “We consider this our year of jubilee.” I do not want to miss this opportunity to trust God and learn the important lessons He has for us in this time of upheaval.

This sudden quiet is a forceful reminder of the incredible value of our calling. As Scruffy and I have fielded phone calls, emails, and facebook messages about camp, parents and kids are showing us again and again that Camas Meadows has played a vital role in not just their enjoyment of a fabulous and fun summer, but in their walk with God as well.

With so many children being separated from their school friends and spending more and more time inside in front of a screen, the need to get out into God’s creation with a bunch of new buddies has never been higher. It hurts to hear the hopes of parents and children alike and to have to tell them that this year a summer camp experience is not an option. But if we ever doubted the vital nature of camp ministry, this has shown the need so clearly. Kids need the woods, new friends, leaders they can look up to, and a week-long encounter with Jesus.

There are indeed moments during the hustle and bustle and constant insanity that is summer camp when I am overwhelmed. Will I ever have an uninterrupted conversation with Scruffy again? Who exactly thought up a schedule that doesn’t allow for a day off from May until the end of August? Will my sons ever stop singing There’s A Hole At The Bottom of the Sea? Why did Zoboomafoo think it was OK to have 26 verses in this song?

But oh what we would give for a splash of insanity right now. Camp is a wild, intense, passionate experience with God. Yes, it brings about bone-deep weariness. A weariness that I am seeing more and more as a badge of honor and the mark of a job well done. This forced quiet has caused me to take a good long look at the fatigue that I so often struggle with during the summer and see that there is a great and mighty worth in that struggle and the work that is accomplished.

God has provided something we did not ask for, want, or even consider possible. A quiet summer, resting the land, thinking upon our calling and the nature of the work He has placed us in. I refuse to waste this opportunity. Yes, it is shocking, painful, and something I have never done before. But we could spend this quiet in anxiety and fear or we could pour it out like a drink offering, a jubilee to our Lord. As Scruff and I walk through a meadow filled with wildflowers, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and care. As we stand in the empty lodge and long to serve the rowdy hordes of campers once again, our calling becomes crystal clear. As we listen to birdsong in the morning and the low hoot of owls at night, the deep import of camp ministry settles upon our hearts. This time of reflection is important.

After so many busy summers, perhaps a moment of quiet is vital, lest we grow weary of doing good and forget why we lead water fights and insane songs and encourage kids to throw cheese slices dipped in mayonnaise at each other in a competition to see how many will stick. The camp belongs to the Lord. He is faithful and we can trust Him with its care. So now, we will let the land rest. And when He calls us into service once more, we will be ready. Stronger, more focused, absolutely certain of our calling. Sometimes, rest is actually faith, worship, and trust.

Boo Boo

Jr. High Winter Blast 2020

This was our biggest Jr. High Winter Blast yet with 49 campers, 15 counselors, a big kitchen crew, and several hundred snow ducks! (Yes, this was before concern about the corona virus increased. I know you were worried about all those ducks, clearly not practicing social distancing!!!)

Parents and youth leaders urged weary vehicles up the snowy camp road and into the parking lot where the rowdy fun immediately commenced.

What was the very first game of the weekend?

The chair game, of course!

The goal is to keep the person in your chair from escaping when the person with the empty chair calls their name. This allows staff and campers to learn each others names.

It is also more than a little bit entertaining to watch.

Of course it isn’t camp if you are not outside. So Scruffy took the campers who were bold, brave, and had two working legs, on an amazing hike into Poison Canyon. Down, down, down … and then ALL the way back up!

Poison Canyon is just a wee bit steep. Hiking here causes Princess Leia Freyja to whine with concern and give everyone revitalizing slurps.

Here she is, looking worried for the health and safety of others. Which is actually a fairly common expression for our sweet camp dog.

During the amazing hike, some campers played board games in the lodge or worked on crafts.

Others built a tower of Kapla blocks that rose all the way up to the second story! Campers reached through the rails on the second story balcony to place the final block, until I got out my camera and the invisible power of its nearness seemed to cause the tower to fall right as I snapped a photo!

On the first evening, Scruffy dusted off that Watchamabob favorite of old, the Chocolate Marshmallow Drop.

The participants were ready and eager to go.

The chocolate was gooey and drizzly!

The results: stickiness overload!

The benefits: eating a marshmallow if you actually succeeded and of course the pure and unadulterated joy of having chocolate on your face!

Of course, Watchamabob naturally morphs straight into–all the camp people know the answer–worship!

Hand motion songs first, then quiet worship, and then the lesson.

Our speaker this week was Faramir, and he spoke about turning points.

Of course, he told an amazing story about the time that (although he is terrified of roller coasters) he let his youth kids talk him into riding a super scary roller coaster since he was trying to impress them. Then the operator saw that no one else was in line, gave them a cheery smile, and sent them around the track a second time! The point of no return. That moment that the front car on the coaster (yes, his youth group kids talked him into sitting in the very front) is hanging over the edge of the precipice and it is only a matter of time before the other cars follow. Sometimes we come to a point of not return in life. A time where we must decide the course that we will follow. Faramir did a wonderful job of urging kids to make a decision to follow Jesus when they come to these important turning points in their lives.

On Saturday, every cabin participated in an epic broom hockey match-up!

An afternoon well spent.

Although Princess Leia Freyja was quite dissapointed that Scruffy wouldn’t let her play. She totally understands the game. The first person to run through the gauntlet of smacking sticks, grab the puck, and wildly charge between people’s legs with it in their mouth as their tail wags happily … is the winner!

After hockey, snow duck production went into overdrive!

Sweet Tea, our wonderful camp cook, let campers use her new snow duck makers. They look like salad tongs with half a duck on each side. When you pack them with snow and squeeze the duck halves together, voila, a snow duck! It started with just a few ducks watching the hockey game.

Then two stern leaders in parlay were discovered having a serious discussion in the middle of the ping pong table.

But what is a king without his army? So, two opposing armies of ducks were born.

One side consisted of bald ducks and one side was made up of ducks with charming hair made of lichen. There was also a spy in the midst of one army and a few ducks who really loved Legend of Zelda and created this iconic monument.

Of course, after all of this hearty snow duck creation, it’s also nice to just sit on the couch with friends. A whole lot of friends! Which inevitably turns into a competition. Exactly how many campers and counselors can fit on these particular couches. And a dog … there should definitely be a dog on the couch. Don’t worry, Princess Leia Freyja was happy to help out.

We didn’t let them sit too long. There were still more strange and baffling games that absolutely needed to be played!

OK, these two sisters are ready to go!

What is this? Obviously, some kind of face off between two determined campers. But why?

Hmmm … not sure that this makes things any clearer.

Well, balloons are always fun.

OK, more balloons more fun.

Aha! A chase, a mighty battle!

The goal of this game was to hop after your opponent and pop their balloon without allowing them to stomp on yours.

Princess Leia Freyja seemed concerned.

But the campers had a great time!

Finally, it was Sunday and time to clean up the camp and present cabin awards. No, we do not normally ask the campers to mop with their cute toesies. But when presented with a mop, this cabin of girls begged for permission to mop their own way. They also charged out of the bathroom and seized the camp photographer so that their triumph could be captured on film!

While the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place cabins received bags of candy in various yummy sizes, the staff team got something even better.

A bag of russet potatoes!!!

Little did they know that in a few short weeks Scruffy would walk into Costco to find every single bag of potatoes gone!

Or perhaps they did know, deep down inside. Either way, the potatoes were received with great joy and were distributed among the staff while the candy was distributed among the winning cabins.

It was such an amazing weekend. Not only were many snow ducks created, wild games played, God’s beautiful forest enjoyed, and songs sung at a tremendous volume … but several campers raised their hands to follow Jesus for the very first time. And please do not discount the vital role that a weekend of camp plays in the life of a young Christian who already knows the Lord. Without the encouragement of fellowship, teaching, and the fun of being with a whole herd of rowdy young believers, their Christian walk would be much more difficult. Through the grace of God, we were able to provide a safe place for these 49 children to learn about their Lord and rejoice in the beauty of following Him.

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.”

Boo Boo

Fall CamasCon 2019

CamasCon is our strategy board game camp. A way to connect Christian Geeks and Gamers with each other, some amazing games both new and old, and with their Lord through the awesome chapel sessions.

This of course necessitates the arrival of many games. So, so, so, many games! Games with beautiful cover art and massively thick rule books.

Games with fascinating miniatures and intricate pieces of all kinds.

Games with adorable Medieval villages and towering cityscapes.

Games with cool spacecraft.

Games with galloping camels.

Actually, there’s more than one game with galloping camels!

Games with fearsome lady pirates and their unique pets.

Games with intricate maps of the world, both realistic and fantastical.

And everyone’s favorite, games that employ both cute, wooden meeples and ferocious dragons!

Amidst all these games, are competitors of all kinds. New gamers, lifelong gamers, non-gamers who simply wandered in, and even individuals who work in the gaming industry. Though they employ many different stratagems and love many different genres, they all share a passion for table top board gaming and the way it brings people together.

In a world where our eyes are constantly glued to screens, a board game provides fun, competition, and a way to actually look another human being and see them for what they are, beautiful sons and daughters of the Lord.

This year our speaker was Chris Gwaltney of Love Thy Nerd fame.

With Choco leading everyone in some amazing worship

The campers took a moment to step away from the fierce competition, let go of the fact that Scruffy probably was a Cylon even through he swears to his humanity, and come together as the people of Jesus Christ, called to love in His name in a broken world.

After a beautiful weekend together, the CamasCon campers left refilled, refreshed, and ready to try out all the new games they learned on their unsuspecting friends.

Perhaps your passion isn’t strategy board games. But something that CamasCon always reminds me of, is that God made each of us uniquely. After creating us to be like none other upon His world, God then desires to use our passions and abilities for His kingdom. So what about you? How do you connect with others face to face? And are you willing to use that hobby, talent, gifting, or even geekiness for the Holy Kingdom of God?

2 Corinthians 4:7–“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Boo Boo

The Mountain Muse 2019

The small logging road we hiked during a break between writing sessions.

2019 marked our third annual Mountain Muse Christian Writer’s Retreat and this year brought us the fabulous (and award-winning) Becca Whitham to be our speaker!

I wanted the Mountain Muse to be similar to reading a great book on the craft of writing and then jumping right into the creation process immediately afterward. So Becca, brought us together for short sessions on the craft of writing and then released us into the wild to write or wander, whatever our creative process demanded.

For some, that meant rushing to the computer to get to work.

For others, it meant chatting with the speaker about their plot or characters.

And for others, it was a walk in God’s glorious creation to get those creative juices flowing.

This stunning view is only about a mile from the camp and was well worth the hike there.

Add in worship time with Choco

And the loving attentions of Princess Leia Freyja our Mascot

And the weekend was just what I had envisioned. A time for writers to gather, learn, encourage one another, and relish in some much needed quiet so that they could create.

Princess Leia Freyja is all ready for next year’s retreat! What about you?

Boo Boo

Still Good Cake!

Sr. High Teen Camp 2019

We went into Sr. High Teen Camp already broken.

We were just finishing up Staff Training and one of the younger counselors pulled Scruffy aside. The choices and struggles of someone else had left this amazing young man feeling the despair of standing by helpless as a loved one spiraled deeper and deeper into heartache.

Then Scruffy got a difficult email from a teen camp parent that night. Their family had recently faced a tragic loss and she wanted her child’s counselor to get a head’s up that all was not sunshine and roses right now and her teen might need some extra care.

So we took our staff to our home church to sing on the last day of Staff Training, already heart-sore over the weight that we knew these teenage campers would be carrying when they came to us on Monday for a week of fun, camaraderie, and teaching.

We were in charge of leading worship and sang some crazy fast songs before settling in for a few of the powerful worship songs that sound so amazing accompanied by drum, piano, and acoustic guitar.

Then the guest speaker, an army chaplain and good friend, opened the Word to talk about pain. Scruffy and I wept through his story of a staff sergeant who lost her son to an accident. He then told of driving up to the home of two soldiers who had lost their baby to SIDS. Several officers stood in front of the house, afraid to knock because they didn’t know what to say. When he arrived they sighed in relief and rushed him forward. He was the chaplain! He would know exactly what to do!

Only, he didn’t.

He knocked on that door at a loss. He’d been a Christian long enough to know that belonging to Jesus does not erase the pain and platitudes only make the suffering worse.

When the door opened, he walked inside, full of the knowledge that he absolutely did not know what to do or say in the face of such grief. Nonetheless, he encountered something amazing. Kneeling by the couch and the grieving parents was the staff sergeant who had lost her son two months before. Her tears, her understanding, her fresh and terrible grief was exactly what this young couple needed. Not words, not assurances, not false happiness or the statement that something good was sure to come. They needed exactly what Romans 12:15 commands, someone to weep with them as they wept.

As we searched the pew for Kleenex, hands held tight, Scruffy turned to me. “Do you know what Van Helsing’s theme for chapel is next week?”

I answered that I did not.

“Broken,” Scruffy said. “His theme is broken.”

This camper was not thrilled by the sudden hailstorm, but her cabin mates helped out!

We had not hauled a single suitcase or sleeping bag up the dirt paths to the cabins. We had not smiled at a single parent, sent a single counselor to greet their new camper, or checked in anyone whatsoever with the camp nurse. But Scruffy and I and the speaker himself walked out of the church with just a tiny bit of fear and trepidation. What on earth was God planning for this week of camp?

On Monday, registration was in full swing. Scruff had just finalized the cabin assignments (there are always several last minute changes to be made) and needed a moment to pull aside one of the counselors and let her know what the mom of her camper had written about their difficult circumstances. With various people asking where he had gone and when he was coming back, Scruffy found a quiet corner and relayed the message. The counselor was amazed. The same exact rare tragedy had occurred within her family, that very year. For just a moment, they paused amidst the hubbub. God’s care was so clear and powerful.

And so we jumped into the week. During that first day, Van Helsing asked each camper and counselor to sign a commemorative pot he’d brought to camp.

He knew what would happen to the pot and yet found himself growing more and more attached to it as campers and staff drew little pictures, encouraging messages, and signed their names in their own unique ways.

During chapel, Van Helsing brought up something that had been made so very clear to Scruffy and I during church the day before. The world is full to the brim with hurt and heartache. It will not spare something, simply because it is precious to us. He had everyone stand up who had ever had a broken bone, a limiting physical condition, a bad sunburn, baldness, or bad gas. Eventually, all were standing. In one way or another, we are all broken.

And then he did the unthinkable. Van Helsing took that unique pot, the one with all the signatures, doodles, and sweet notes. He put it in the volleyball court beneath a giant tripod that Choco built, and he dropped a 40lb weight smack on top of it.

Broken

But the beauty of Romans 12:15 is that not only are we to weep with those who weep, but we also rejoice with those who rejoice.

Even with such a brutal reminder of the sorrow that surrounds us as the whole camp stared down at that poor broken pot, that honesty made it almost easier to relish the crazy fun that is camp.

Don’t underestimate the value of a week of water fights and crazy singing, cabin competitions and night games in the forest, taking a hike out in God’s glorious creation and racing to eat a marshmallow covered in spicy mustard. This is the only break that some of our campers get, their only week to be a child.

Amidst water fights, sand castle competitions, swimming at Lake Chelan, and even paintball and slip-n-slide, the campers of each cabin guarded a fragile blown egg that they had decorated and named.

As you might expect, during the Eggstreme Egg Challenge, more than one of these delightful mascots were broken.

Here, a guys’ cabin mourns the loss of their egg after they chucked it down the dock at Lake Chelan in a bold attempt to win the latest challenge and get the egg to the end of the dock and back.

As the different cabins struggled to keep their eggs from breaking during the rigors of the Eggstreme Egg Challenge, Van Helsing continued to both smash items with the 40lb weight and speak on brokenness.

He asked one cabin to bake a truly amazing cake. They made each delectable layer a different color, spread flavoring between, frosted it with care, and applied a gorgeous decoration of sprinkles. Then they put the name “Love” on the cake and Van Helsing spoke on broken hearts.

Even though the human heart is precious and designed by God for love, friendships and romance can be fraught with peril. But as one boy shouted out when the wrecking ball demolished this lovely confection, “Hey, that’s still good cake!” He attempted to eat it out of the dirt, and indeed, the girl’s cabin that baked it had brought their forks to the demolition.

I couldn’t help but stop and ponder that campers words. Isn’t that just like Jesus when we come to Him shattered. Perhaps it was our own mistakes that dealt the destruction. Maybe the sin of others running rampant through our lives or just the ugliness of a fallen world leaving casualties behind. But we are broken and we know it and yet when He sees us shattered and wondering if there is anything worth salvaging, the Savior shouts out, “Hey, that’s still good cake!”

Broken homes?

Yes, so many kids in both Christian and non-Christian homes struggle with this heartache.

When Van Helsing asked a cabin to watch out for this special unicorn all week, they were concerned. “You’re not going to smash Dude, are you?” But when Van Helsing spoke on broken dreams, Dude’s fate was sealed.

We had so many different and amazing campers that week. Campers who were bold and loud, raising a hand in every discussion and always ready to give the speaker something to think on as he addressed the camp. We had campers who were so shy they wouldn’t talk at all. Each of them faced their own struggles and God was faithful to give help when we asked. Like that moment in staff meeting when we realized what it meant to a shy camper every time we used her name. Seeing a bold camper ask for help and a quiet camper stand up and speak in front of the whole group. Watching these kids learn and grow was a true honor.

Teens today face difficulties that have sent many an adult into a tailspin, but it is so hard to talk about what is truly and deeply tearing you up inside.

All those crazy illustrations, from a beautiful smashed cake to carrying around an egg named Lil Sassy, brought out laughter and tears and the ability to pause a moment and address that real thing inside that life has shattered.

If a decorated egg needs to be smashed so that a cabin can hold the pieces and speak of that family tragedy, the bully that was supposed to be a friend, that addiction, the terrible heartache that is making it so hard to trust God, well … smash away! Sacrifices, honesty demands sacrifices.

Those silly eggs, that shattered toy house, the sad and broken unicorn, they gave us a moment to laugh and then to weep because so much more is broken with us as a people than a tasty cake or a little egg with dog hair glued to its crown.

As amazing as each cabin egg was, as lovely and tasty as that gorgeous cake appeared, none of them compared to the value of each beautiful teen we were privileged to serve during the week.

And the hard truth was that, yes, they were broken, too. We all are broken.

Teens absolutely need those carefree moments and delightful rowdiness and fun. This is a balm to the soul.

But they also need honesty. So many teens are deeply hurting and they don’t appreciate the adults around them glossing over their pain and giving them platitudes instead of our hearts. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

But when we gather the strength to both rejoice and weep together, to face what life has dropped on us, to be honest and real, then we can look at the climax of the story. Jesus Messiah, broken in our place, broken for us.

And what about that young camper who was struggling through the rubble of a family loss? She debated about whether to share or not. I don’t blame her. It is difficult to be that honest, so hard to bare your heart. But eventually she talked with her counselor. As they spoke, strange coincidences started popping up. Both the camper’s family and the counselor’s family lived in the same town, faced the same trial, and even had the same name! They realized that they were actually cousins and would have never known if she hadn’t taken the risk and told her story. God not only gave this camper a counselor who understood her particular struggle, He introduced her to her family. A young woman who was a little older, had been following the Lord a few years longer, and was facing the same brand of hurt.

Even broken, especially broken, with such a Savior standing in our place, we absolutely do have the strength for what we face. For He has the strength and in the end, His strength is what will win the day.

So yes, Sr. High Teen Camp was an amazing week. A week where we rejoiced, wept, and were broken.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” –2 Corinthians 4:7

Boo Boo

*to protect the anonymity of our campers, I make certain not to pair a picture of that particular teen with their own story.

Spring CamasCon 2019

300 or so games in the lending library, two additional shelves upon which campers store their own games, and five days spent packed around a cluster of tables bending the mind and focusing the will on strategic victory.

What could this possibly mean???

It’s Spring CamasCon of course!

Forty campers made their way into the mountains, bringing carloads of strategy board games with them.

No need to toil away at work, cook, clean, or even venture more than the few feet between the dinning area, gaming tables, and bathrooms!

CamasCon is all about playing games, so so many games, meeting old friends and new, and gathering together to rejoice in being connected as followers of Christ.

Of course Van Helsing brought board-game-themed lessons for the chapel sessions.

What? You don’t think The Man In Black has anything to do with the Bible?

Oh, you of little faith. Sit through just one chapel and you too will be quoting scripture in the voice of Vizzini! Whether you are looking for quirky Bible lessons,

games with stuffed rats and teeny weeny cardboard cheeses,

epic battles between armies of toothsome monsters,

adventure on the high seas,

tricky track-building travails,

a word puzzle that inexplicably involves adorable plastic pickles,

or just the simple pleasure of antagonizing a good friend,

there’s something at CamasCon for every gamer.

Whether young

and exhausted,

feisty and argumentative,

or an experienced campaigner who is long in the tooth and just might have a gray hair or two.

Thank you to everyone who came and all those who worked behind the scenes to make Spring CamasCon a delightful experience for us all!

Boo Boo

Spring Break Survival Camp

Over spring break, Camas Meadows offers our only day camp. A chance for children, grades 3rd through 8th, to get out of the house and test their mettle against the great outdoors.

Every morning at 7:30 AM, the camp van meets families at the Park-N-Ride on Blewett Pass to pick up campers for their day-long adventure.

After breakfast with friends and a Bible lesson courtesy of Bald Eagle, the campers practice knot-tying with Choco and learn about the survival skill of the day.

Shelter building, food preparation, making water safe to drink, finding edible plants, setting snares, navigation, and safely building a campfire are some of the many skills covered during the morning lecture.

Then comes the best part.

Getting outside to practice all of those fabulous new skills!

Navigating through a scavenger hunt around the lodge with a compass … .

No Problem!

Melting snow over a campfire to make clean drinking water …

or even hot fir needle tea …

got it covered!

Setting up snares without accidentally catching the camp dog …

… harder than it looks, but still possible!

The campers learned how to make survival bracelets which contained a massive amount of useful para-cord as well as a flint striker, small compass, and handy wilderness whistle.

Princess Leia Freyja was of course interested in the constant music of tweeting whistles.

The campers were so fun and delightful as they concentrated fiercely on each lesson and then poured out into the forest to practice every skill.

From shouted queries during the Bible lesson to breaking into their personal piggy banks or even pursuing a lightning fast career as a young entrepreneur in order to gain an extra day in the outdoors, the campers tackled every day with grit and enthusiasm.

Thank you, Choco and friends, for the informative lessons and making it possible for these 20 enthusiastic outdoors-men and women to enjoy God’s lovely creation.

A week in the outdoors is always week well spent.

Especially when there is whittling, fire-craft, and shelter building involved!

Boo Boo

Camas Family Camp 2018

In early December, Camas Meadows Bible Camp heats up the lodge and gets the cocoa ready for former summer staff who wish to bring their own children to play in the snow.

There is tubing “The Hill,” building snow forts, starting snowball fights, and all manner of winter time fun.

Sure, it’s a bit chilly. But the whoosh of snow in one’s face is well worth the rush and excitement of thundering down the tube hill at full speed.

It is hard work though, and sometimes one must pause to catch a breath and take in the beauty around them.

Here, families carry their inner tubes up the steep hill, getting ready for the speedy trip down.

Ready, Set, Go!

Once the shivering sets in, Mom or Dad can take chilly young ones into the lodge for a warm drink and a snack.

We also enjoyed some indoor activities as well. Consider all of these amazing structures that campers built with Kapla blocks.

Yes, much building occurred. As well as fighting, but the good kind!

Nerf fighting!

Everyone got a chance to shoot someone, especially their parents!

A quick lesson in making puffballs for hats was a big hit. Thank you Pippi!

There is always time to make a furry friend.

And of course one is never too old for games!

This one is Pitch Car. Besides this, many card and board games were enjoyed. Some books were even read, while the reader curled up by the crackling fire, with a cup of cocoa, watching her rowdy sons play games with their dad. Yes, the board games and family fun were enjoyed by one and all.

 

 

 

Boo Boo

The Roof is Done!

 

Yes, it has been a long and arduous journey, but the new roof is finally on the main lodge!

There were many setbacks and difficulties, but through the assistance of good friends along the way, the mission was accomplished.

Sure, they had to sweep some snow off the roof to finish, but the whole thing looks lovely. Even Princess Leia Freyja approves.

Now, we can enjoy the snowfall, knowing that the roof is solid and ready for every glorious fake and drift.

In addition to the roof, we finished scrubbing the logs on the Mountain Panther cabin and then put on a nice red-tinted oil finish that will protect the wood for years to come.

Here are some finished logs next to the old ones.

It definitely brings out the natural beauty of the wood, as well as protecting the building from our harsh winters.

So many people jumped into this project. Scruffy spent many many hours as well as each of our boys and various folks from work retreat campers to kitchen crew.

 

Their hard work has finally paid off and as winter blows in across the mountains, it is good to know that Mt. Panther is not only lovely with a fresh coat of finish, but well protected from both sun and snow.

Thank you so much to everyone who gave their time, money, sweat, and blood to each of these projects. Your love and hard work is greatly appreciated! Campers will be enjoying these improvements for years to come. With the fresh snow and blustery weather, it is so good to be able to come inside and thaw out somewhere safe and warm after a hard day of play out in the beauty of God’s creation.

 

 

 

 

Boo Boo

Fall CamasCon 2018

When the first weekend in November rolls around, one or two board games can be found here and there lying about on various shelves at the camp.

There are also occasional stacks of board games on tables, on the floor in distant corners, and of course on the new shelve above the firewood box. What has happened? Why the sudden migration of games in a Camasward direction?

Did I fail to mention that these games were accompanied by sixty boardgamers all revved up and ready to sit in their chairs for the next 3-5 days strategizing on how best to save the world/take over the world/grow lots of vegetables/beat Scruffy regardless of what happens to the world in various epic showdowns that take anywhere from fifteen minutes to eleven hours to complete?

Yes, CamasCon is our camp for Christian boardgamers, wherein they spend an entire extended weekend playing games, meeting other gamers from around the area, and worshiping the Lord together during chapel times. They also get to eat, but very carefully! No one wants pizza grease on all those teeny tiny pieces!

One of the more difficult parts of the weekend is choosing the next game to play. With so many options and so many different people to play with, the choices can become mind boggling.

Should one choose a quick game that non-gamers to join, or maybe a themed game featuring superheros; zombies; dinosaur theme parks; or large grizzly bears that have saddles and can be ridden, or perhaps that epic eleven hour march through history that no one else has ever been willing to play with you … until now!

Once a game is chosen, say Terraforming Mars, it is time to find one to five other people who also wish to play that very game.

Sometimes this means switching games a couple times until you find a winner.

There are just so many options.

A game that piques your interest and people excited to play it with you, the perfect match!

These teenage gamers are finding out whether the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, or Feringi will rule the universe.

There is also the famous Camas Meadows Settlers of Catan Tournament which had two preliminary rounds and one final match. These four talented gamers battled it out in the final game, with ‘Merica (on the far left) taking home the win.

Another enjoyable aspect of CamasCon is seeing all of the different kinds of games that campers bring to play together.

Look at all of these fascinating miniatures.

Our chapel sessions were brought to us by baseball-card-and-ultimate-frisbee-geek, Mike Rumleywells, who was also a missionary in Nicaragua until this year.

CamasCon is also a great time to hang out with both new friends and those you love most in all the world.

Of course if a camper happens to stay up way way way too late finishing that epic game or world-shaking import… there is also plenty of time for a nap and a furry friend who is ever willing to join in.