Staff Training 2018

Staff Training is arguably the most important week of ministry during our long and busy summer here at Camas Meadows. That may seem odd, as there are no campers in attendance, only staff.

But pause and mull that over for a moment. This is the week that we devote to training and ministering to our staff. Without Staff Training, there would be no one ministering to the children.

Those six days may seem long, but they feel short to us. There is so much to teach, so much for them to learn. How exactly does one lead a cabin full of ten-year-old boys in a discussion of the Bible without everything spiraling into a chaos that would rival any epic superhero movie? I challenge you to place yourselves in that cabin and not flee in gibbering terror. Yet, the counseling staff accomplish that epic task and more during a summer full of camp ministry.

How do you run the dunk tank in a fun and safe manner? How do you unplug a toilet? How do you lead a hike, a meadow game, or that classic camp activity where everyone races to chew up a pickle and spit it into the top of a soda bottle?

How do you run the camp clothes washer? Because you will need to know when that camper has an accident at 2:00 am. and you sneak her bedding out to wash it before any of her peers finds out. And the drier, you will need to know how to use the drier as well.

How many times do you need to make your campers apply sunscreen on Lake Day? It’s three or more, if anyone is wondering. What precisely is the reason we don’t let anyone chat with lifeguards or bop them on the head with pool noodles?

And is duct tape really that difficult to remove from log buildings? Yes, it is! So don’t use it in your pranks, painter’s tape only!!!

What should you do about homesickness, food fights, bullying, night terrors, grasshoppers that are captured and then released in a plague-like horde within the cabin, or that kid who does not want to shower?

How do you pray with a child? How do you accomplish all of those complicated hand motions to the camp songs? How do you continue to serve, even after being woken up five times to check under the bunks for Sasquatches?

It is an honor and a privilege to teach and learn with this fabulous group of young people for a week. Campers catch a glimpse of Jesus not only in the chapel sessions but also on the paintball field, at the dinner table, in the meadow, and during skit prep because of this amazing week spent training the staff who have volunteered to be the Lord’s hands and feet over the summer.

They are truly an answer to prayer. Scruffy and I spend so much time asking that the Lord send just the right counselors each year. Sometimes He waits until the last minute, but look at what He has done! Here they are, ready and willing for a summer of service.

Please join us in praying for the summer here at Camas Meadows Bible Camp. As you lift up the campers, speakers, and numerous activities, don’t forget a prayer or two for this hardworking staff!


Boo Boo



Camas Ladies Retreat 2018

Camas is transformed with wildflowers in May. Every year, on the weekend after Mother’s Day, a horde of ladies swarms the meadow to enjoy the beauties of God’s creation and learn from His word.

This year the speaker was my own wonderful mother, Momma Smurf. Well, her camp name is Momma Smurf but I suppose you might also know her as Judy Baker.

Years ago, as she was caring for my stepdad during his battle with cancer, Judy discovered anew Proverbs 18:10–“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” As she clung to these and many other verses during the time of Dave’s illness, the Lord informed Judy that He would be asking her to share them with others one day.

Over two years passed. Dave died. She moved to a new home, a new role as “sweet widow lady with a fierce purse dog,” and a new occupation as the sole caregiver for her father. The Lord kept these hard-won lessons brewing in her heart and mind. Then the leaders of the Camas Ladies Retreat asked her to speak and she knew that it was time to share these particular verses with others.

During this encouraging weekend retreat, women from all over the state come together to relax in the rustic lodge, walk the forested paths, view wildflowers in the meadow, raise their voices in worship together, and dig into God’s word for a time of learning. It was a particular pleasure to hear more of my mother’s story during the chapel sessions, especially as I was there for many of the difficult times where she leaned on and learned from the Lord. The same circumstances that caused these verses to become precious to her.

In all honesty, looking at my mother’s circumstances, it is easy to feel like life and the Lord have somehow shortchanged her. We lost my dad when I was 14 and she was 39. Then Dave died before they had been married 20 years. She even lost her first feisty little purse dog (Don’t worry, we talked her into another dog).

But what she shared during the Ladies Retreat, was the way the Lord brought blessing among all that terrible hardship. He does not pluck us from this dark world, not yet. But He does walk beside is in all His strength, power, and comfort. I was blessed to be able to attend and to hear of the Glory of the Lord and His mighty power, even when everything around us appears to be crumbling.


Boo Boo