145th Celebration

Camas Meadows Bible Camp has been around for 45 years and our founder Del Griffith for even longer! He just celebrated his 100th birthday on April 22nd. Such illustrious milestones demanded a bit of a party and so that was what we were up to last weekend.

So we gathered at the camp on May 12th. Campers, board members, counselors, cooks, nurses, speakers … those who love Camas Meadows and wished to celebrate with Del traveled up that twisting mountain road for a bite of cake and a time of reminiscing. 

It was a gorgeous spring day with scattered wildflowers blooming and the scent of new forest growth on the wind.

Camp people young and old packed the lodge to hear stories about the camp’s beginning years as well as a few of Del’s own tales.

It was a time to visit with good friends from the past and discover new folks with a connection to the camp or to Del. Looking out across the room was such a reminder of all the people Del and Autumn have blessed through the years.

A camp intern, counselor, and speaker sat on the couch … it sounds like the start of a joke, but they actually behaved pretty well. Yes, I’m talking about you Warhammer!

Once the beautiful cake was eaten and the many tales of camp adventures come and gone had run their course, everyone said goodbye and walked beneath the new sign placed at the entryway in Del and Autumn’s honor.

In 1973, Del and Autumn stepped out in faith and turned a crazy dream into reality. Forty-five years later, God’s work is still going on in this quiet mountain meadow tucked back into the forest. It was a delight to have the chance to thank Del for his lifetime of service and celebrate a monumental birthday together. May what they started continue for many years to come.

 

Boo Boo

 

 

 

Spring Break Survival Camp-2018

Over Spring Break, Camas runs a day camp that gets kids into their Bibles, out into the beautiful forest, and learning an abundance of skills from knot tying to how to safely start a campfire and sterilize a can full of water.

Choco began the week with teaching various kinds of knots and when and how to use them, but soon the campers progressed to that much-anticipate skill … fire starting! With snow still on the ground in many places, it was a perfect time to learn how to clear the area of debris, build a campfire, and both feed it constantly and watch the flames like a hawk lest they spark out of control. 

Just getting that little fire going was a Herculean task in and of itself.

But survival is always made easier by the help of a friend.

Next came shelter building. With a drizzle of rain falling, the campers were even able to test exactly how waterproof their survival shelters were in real life.

Of course, the children of a certain unnamed camp photographer and blog person always love being photographed!

Some members of each team worked on watching the flames of their campfire while others gathered a few dry branches.

Of course, sticks are incredibly useful for many different projects.

Not only does this shelter appear cozy and dry to young boys …

… but young dogs seem equally interested.

Choco, demonstrating how to boil water. No, really, it is harder than it looks. I encourage you to get out there and try doing so without a stove. Fun times!

There were many different knots for various situations and jobs. This particular knot is useful for whipping around a log or branch in order to drag it to a new location.

Finally, time to learn how to use a compass. Do you know how to properly us a compass? A huge thank you to Choco and our other volunteers as well as Bald Eagle who provided the wonderful devotionals from the book of Daniel. Survival, friendship, and fun in the great outdoors. It was such a delightful week. Thank you, all.

 

Boo Boo

 

Spring CamasCon-2018

Let me catch everyone up concerning the last few Camas camps on the schedule this Spring. At the end of March, Camas Meadows once again hosted our Spring CamasCon.

Hundreds of games, a room full of dedicated board game enthusiasts, and the entire weekend to play long into the night, pause to connect with our Lord Jesus, and meet other Christian gamers.

As you can see, the selection of games was wide and varied. Do you enjoy co-ops, deck builders, worker placement games, dungeon crawls, games that involve a giant praying mantis attacking either New York or Tokyo, area-control fighting games (my kids call them”face smashy” games), or quiet games about Japanese art that have adorable little paint pots as game pieces? Well then, CamasCon is the right place for you … especially if you know what all that jargon means. But even if you do not, there is always someone willing to teach a newcomer and cultivate a love of all things competitive … or cooperative, depending on your choice of game.

There are games for rivals, families, and games for good friends.

Then again, you might find that the words: friend, family, and rival can be used interchangeably more often than not.

The game above is full of all three.

As well as fun gaming and chapel sessions digging into God’s word, CamasCon also hosts a raffle benefiting the Camper Scholarship Fund. This young gamer won a copy of Stuffed Fables. An RPG wherein a troupe of lovable stuffed animals battle nightmares in order to save their little girl. Which honestly, is just about too cute for words. Adorable!

And that, my friend, is what CamasCon is all about. Connecting Christian Gamers: to God, some amazing games, and each other.

 

Boo Boo

Jr. High Winter Blast–2018

I’m a little behind, but in March was the Jr. High Winter Blast up here at Camas. Sadly, I missed out on Faramir’s wonderful chapel sessions and cannot elaborate upon them, I thought that everyone might enjoy a few pictures. Yes, of course we have snow for the tube hill in, March. Why do you ask?

There’s nothing like having your mother sneak up and take a picture of you when you’re playing games at camp. At least he got to wear his beloved bathrobes to soothe his soul.

How many Jr. High girls can you stuff onto a single couch? I bet they could fit at least three or four more.

The famous “darting out of your chair while wildly fighting off a friend before charging across the room game.” Does it have a shorter name? I’m not sure. 

Hiking to Inspiration Point

Is that Donkey Kong’s cabin?

 

 

 

 

Dauntless and Mini Van are in deep thought …

Princess Leia is always eager to join Partake’s cabin … or any cabin really.

Hiking attire at its best! 

Leia is making sure Captain ‘Merica’s cabin doesn’t get too close to the edge.

Finding fascinating snow chunks and other hobbies.

Will he make it down?

Um … .

Time for a break.

What’s so funny?

Snow games.

See you next year!

 

Boo Boo

 

 

 

Walking With

God is so baffling. 

Deep inside, I think all of us really would like Him to simply swoop in and take care of business. I mean, do we really need to live through that toddler having a diaper explosion in the restaurant? Couldn’t he just nudge us past the calls from the school principal, the stomach flu, losing a beloved grandma, or holding that old and faithful dog in our arms as the vet puts him to sleep?

Goodness, I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. I know that He can. I’ve seen miracles, I’ve lived beside miracles, but for some reason that is not God’s usual modus operandi. 

On most days, He simply walks with us or rather, draws us into walking with Him.

Our family experienced just such a moment this week. The terror and the beauty of journeying through something we absolutely did not want to experience and yet being struck by God’s undeniable presence throughout it all. 

Last week was the Camas Spring Break Survival Camp. A day camp where kids get to learn how to (safely) start a campfire, tie knots, boil water, set snares, build survival shelters, and use a compass among other skills. Scruffy was sidelined with a fever and chills and so Choco took up the slack. I stepped in to help as well and things were proceeding despite his illness. Our camp nurse asked if we needed any help, but we couldn’t think of anything for her to do and declined.

Then we got the news from our mechanic, our car was on its final lap around the track. Yikes! So I jumped online to see if there was anything in our price range. A vehicle, 2.5 hours away, that seemed perfect. Scruff was feeling good enough to car shop, but we were needed at Survival Camp. So we called up that camp nurse and said that yes, we needed her help after all. 

Right before she arrived, Scruff began to experience chest and jaw pain. I went to camp and had a chat with her. We found out that jaw pain was a huge red flag and so I called our Dr. who recommended an ER visit. Scruff didn’t want to go in, but said that it was my call. We sat on the couch, trying to decide and I looked back over the day. Everything just lined up too nicely, enabling us to get to the ER, now that the nurse had arrived to help. Was God nudging me to take him in? I didn’t know, but told Scruff that we were headed to the ER all the same.

At the ER all his tests came back great. He figured that we were wasting their time and the nurses and Doctors told us that we would be on our way home as soon as Scruffy’s blood work came back. Then our room began to fill with medical professionals. 

There is an enzyme released when the heart muscle is damaged. It only shows up 4 to 6 hours after heart damage. We arrived at the ER 4 hours after his chest pain, they drew blood for the test at 5 hours, perfectly within that window. That test came back positive for heart damage. Something had happened and we arrived exactly when we needed for the Doctors to discover it. 

As Scruff was talking to the cardiologist, another heart episode occurred. “You are having a heart attack,” she informed us in stern tones. “Sign these consent papers!” As various nurses were stealing his pants and putting nitro pills under his tongue, he signed on the dotted line and they rushed him away on a rolling bed.

We had plans for a 7.5 hour drive the next day. In case you are wondering, Nitro is not readily available at your average gas station or greasy spoon. 

Another heart event occurred in the night. It required a Nitro drip and an hour and a half to resolve. We should have been in Oregon, far away from home and doctors and all those powerful medicines that saved the day.

Scruffy did not have a blockage, however. It was inflammation of the heart muscle and lining. With a good diet, calm exercise, and taking it easy for a few months, his heart should heal just fine. We are heading into the summer camp season where diet is extravagant, exercise is extreme, and taking it easy is unheard of. But now he knows to guard his health and get the help he needs rather than just pushing through and doing everything on his own.

Sure, God didn’t swoop in the save the day. Yet, in a way He did. He was so clearly with us, every step of the way. So I want to encourage you, just because the path is dark and the obstacles are horrendous, that does not mean that you are forgotten by your Creator. He walks beside His children. He tugs at their heartstrings and draws them to walk beside Himself. He loves, He moves, He is there in all His Glory and Grace. It just doesn’t always look like what we would have chosen but is no less real all the same.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. –Psalm 23

 

Boo Boo

 

Autumn Maurita Griffith

We had to say goodbye to our camp matriarch, Autumn Griffith, this week. On the morning of March 1, she left us to greet her Lord during the quiet of a spring snowstorm. As Del says, the camp would have never happened without Autumn. 

The daughter of a southern belle and a fast-shooting Jack-of-all-trades who was deputized to bring in criminals who fled into what was then Oklahoma territory, Autumn started keeping house at the age of ten when her young mother passed away. She is pictured here as a toddler with her father, Ben. I have never seen the gift of hospitality shine with a warmer light than it did in the talented and gracious hands of my grandmother, Autumn.

Autumn married Delbert Griffith on July 25, 1942 at the home of Clarence and Lily Snode in Wenatchee, WA. She loved horses and wildflowers, hunting and long walks in the forest, caring for her friends and family, and feeding anyone and everyone who walked through her door. Our camp founders settled down in Chelan where Del was a milkman and Autumn poured her heart into raising their four children, Terry, Sharon, Clint, and Greg.

As their family grew and left home, Del and Autumn wondered how they could honor the Lord with their beautiful piece of property on the Camas land. Autumn and her youngest son Greg had been praying privately about the problem when Del came over to Autumn and said: “You know what I’d really like to do with that property?” He didn’t know of their specific prayers, but Autumn once told me that at that moment she knew that what Del was about to say was God’s answer. “I think we should start a Christian Youth Camp,” he said and so they did. Camas Meadows Bible Camp was founded in 1973 and Autumn chose 1 Peter 5:7 as the camp verse. “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

There was no electricity, indoor plumbing, or running water when the camp first began to minister to kids in 1973 but they managed all the same. Del worked the grill while Autumn did the baking and washed dishes with her sister Lily. I still remember the taste of the no-bake cherry cheesecakes she would make for the campers when I was a girl. Delicious! The picture above shows Del and Autumn celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary in the camp lodge. 

I have about ten different pictures of us trying to pose for the camp Christmas card here, but in this one, Autumn is laughing as Scruffy and I attempt to wrangle our rowdy boys. So many children called her “Grandma.” Her own eleven grandchildren, twenty great grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren as well as the innumerable young people who felt the warmth of her love and care when they met her at camp or were invited into her home.

Autumn was known for serving amazing, home-cooked meals on blue willow china and urging passing children to take a candy from their special cut-glass dish, whether their mothers thought they needed a candy or not! Here she is on her 90th birthday, celebrating with family in their log home near the camp.

Autumn and Del celebrated 75 amazing years together in July. This photo was taken just a few days before the big day. An amazing group of friends and family made it possible for Autumn to stay in their beautiful log home until her very last day. It is fitting that she would depart to meet her Lord from the place where she spread His love for so many years. Whether it was a cup of tea and a story, homemade cinnamon toast baked in the oven for a cold child rushing in from outdoor play, or simply a smile and pat on the hand, Autumn brought the brightness of Heaven into whatever she set her hand to do. She is surely rejoicing with Jesus today and all of us who knew her, loved her dearly, and wish her well as she embarks on new adventures with her Lord. 

A funeral service will be held at Telfords Chapel of the Valley 302 9th St. Wenatchee, WA at 2:00 pm Thursday March 8th. The family will be greeting friends and relatives at Camas Meadows Bible Camp at 5:00 pm that evening for a potluck get-together. Burial will follow the funeral at Evergreen Cemetery in East Wenachee.

If attending the potluck, those whose last names begin with A–L please bring a main dish, M–S please bring a salad, and T–Z please bring a dessert. Thank you so much!

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to Camas Meadows Bible Camp, P.O. Box 304 Cashmere, WA 98815. 

 

Boo Boo

Summer Staff Winter Retreat-2017

Winter Camp

A silent night, with the snow sifting soft.

Acoustic guitar, all our hands held aloft.

Fast songs and motions and hair in our eyes.

Polished pine and Christmas lights, together we rise. 

 

 

Screams in the dark, as we play in the snow.

A dusting of starlight, leaves an ethereal glow.

Plunging terror as we speed down “The Hill.”

Snow forts and fights, cheeks bright from the chill.

Curling wood smoke and the scent of the sky.

Salty tears and a prayer lifted high.

Goodbye hugs, until next year.

When you drive “Freese’s Hill,” better use first gear.

Del and Autumn’s house on a winter evening

 

 

Now that our poetic moment is over, please enjoy these pictures from our 2017 Summer Staff Winter Retreat!

 

 

 

 

Boo Boo

 

 

 

 

Ladies Shower Make-Over

On the feedback forms that we hand out to campers, the showers in the ladies restroom were pointed out to be “scary” and perhaps needing a bit of TLC. Yes, there was a large gaping hole in the ceiling above them wherein shower users could view the various and sundry bits of plumbing. But if one is not fascinated by plumbing, a shower user might imagine all kinds of terrors descending upon her whilst she is bathing. Spiders or vampire bats or horror of horrors, a live squirrel.

And so the ladies showers went onto “the list.” Now, this list of needed improvements is quite lengthy and the showers remained upon it for some time. 

But then Indy, one of our old old old, really old counselors from bygone days (ie, he was a counselor back when Boo Boo was counseling) took the project on.

Indy brought his young family along and promptly began a weekend long attack upon the large and unsightly gap that loomed above the shower stalls.

This involved some sheetrock and loud sawing noises and some painting, but most importantly, it involved an exploding Mt. St. Helens amount of dust!

But all of that dust was not raised for naught. Behold, the non-scary ladies showers!

They are complete with not only an entire ceiling, but new blue paint as well, which seamlessly blends with the rest of the freshly-painted wall in a totally non-creepy manner that does not invite shower-users to fear any kind of creature that may or may not be lurking within the walls.

Which is good, because last time I was over there, I totally saw a squirrel eyeing me with its fierce little black beady eyes. No, the squirrel was not in the shower, it was frolicking elsewhere. But you never know with squirrels, they have proven to be more trouble than one would imagine.

Thank you so much, Indy! This just makes us all want to give you a hug … oh, wait. You’re really quite terribly dusty! Maybe later …

 

 

Boo Boo

 

Septic Tank Surgery

 

It started out as a roof problem. The roof in the Bobcat building was inexplicably pulling apart. Then the propane tank simply rolled off the hill where it had been sitting happily for decades. Praise the Lord, the gas had been turned off the day before it took that unexpected tumble. The ground was swollen where the tank had been. Strange, so very strange. 

Jon Torrence, one of our board members came up to assist Choco in fixing the roof. During the repair, they noticed water pooling by the Bear’s Abode stairs near the water spigot. Choco tried shutting off the water and it began leaking under the sidewalk. Only the main valve, closest to the reservoir would shut off the leak. Something was definitely going on. The next day, Jon brought up his excavator and they delved deeper into the problem. 

A broken pipe led to more broken pipe which led to a new sinkhole which revealed a septic tank that had been completely crushed by the force of the leaking water. Consolidated Supply donated a septic tank.There was much digging, moving of gravel, the earth opening up and consuming the dearly purchased gravel, more digging, and the acquisition of still more gravel, followed by additional digging. One dark and stormy night stands out in my mind as I watched Jon and Choco drenched and freezing as they dug in the darkness as a rainstorm rattled the forest around them. There’s nothing like rain in November to show you the meaning of cold.

But praise the Lord, the ground finally dried out (after swallowing an entire load of gravel) and they finally got that septic tank installed and all the surrounding pipe fixed and in good working order. So yeah, the next time you wonder what everyone does up at camp during the off season, now you know. Stuff, there’s just always stuff going on.

 

Boo Boo

The Mountain Muse

 

Our inaugural Mountain Muse Christian Writer’s Retreat was held on the first weekend of October.

Although we did pause for meals and a few learning sessions and a chapel or two, pretty much we just wrote. Ah, the writerly bliss. We wrote and wrote and wrote. Then brainstormed together for a bit and then wrote some more!

A quick hike was needed when our eyes began to blur, but don’t worry, after briefly being inspired by God’s lovely creation, we got right back to writing.

So that was how the weekend went.

Walking in the gorgeous fall color.

Writing

Autumn leaves and crisp fall sunsine

A dash of worship

Some mountains, some mirth

A little more writing, or a lot … .

Then finally having to bid each other goodbye until next year! A huge thank you to everyone who came and made this such a delightful time together.

 

 

Boo Boo