Sunday, May 26, 2019

Planning for Summer 2019

This will be my fifth summer as the Program Director at Camp Magruder. When Troy and I talk about the summers, we remember the different staffers.  We reminisce on all the characters that have served with us, who've made camp fun and special each year.  We like to talk about the weather, so we compare each summer's climate to the year we are currently having.  We remember summers when the smoke from forest fires filled the skies for the entire season.  We talk about summer 2015, which gave us blue sky after blue sky.  This Memorial Day Weekend has been a wash.  Friday and Saturday were two of the rainiest and coldest days we've seen in a while, but today has been beautiful and tomorrow is supposed to be as well.  You'd never guess that yesterday I changed into dry clothes twice.  I wonder what this summer will be like.

I love Memorial Day weekend.  I say that, but I say that about every group.  I do love family camps though.  I think one of my favorite activities is to stand at the side with parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles.  We spy on their young ones.  We say, "Last year I never would've thought they'd ever wanted to boat!" or "So-and-so is so different from their older brother; it's so cool to see how they both flourish in their own ways" or "It's wild to see them here at camp.  I remember coming with my parents when I was their age." 

My mom was a child development agent when I was young; she was always observing and commenting as she watched my friends and me grow older.  I find it fascinating, too.  One of the most fun things about working at camp over an extended period of time is watching people grow up.  First they're young and prone to the occasional tantrum; their parent worries they'll never grow out of it.  I watch that same kid a few years later teach a younger kid to make a bracelet or boat alone for the first time. Later, I know I'll see them be counselors, and if I'm lucky, they'll be summer staffers, too.  I've known Troy a long time; he watched me through a similar progression.  Even though we know the general cycle, we never know what another year will bring.  We never know what will take root, what will be lost in time.  We, of course, can't predict the unexpected.  That's like the weather.  What will I remember of these camper in years to come?  How will they grow in the future?  Then, will we give them the tools they need?

I hope so.

I get nervous at this time of the year, too.  What will the weather be like?  What will the staff be like?  What will our guests be like?  Can we meet their needs?  Can we offer the space and support they need to grow? 

This weekend several ex-staffers (and some who will continue to serve in 2019) showed up to help me.  Melia, Andrew, Hope, and Trisha all came in to either plan or to lead activities.  This year when I made a call for leadership for Memorial Day Family Camp, we had two people volunteer-- Jessie Connor as chaplain and Jennifer Heine as dean.  With all of them here, I feel really taken care of.  Jessie reminds me to nap.  Jennifer smiles and bustles around taking care of her friends at camp.  Melia, Hope, Andrew, and Trisha are endlessly at my side offering to clean this, organize that, or lead this, in addition to the tasks I brought them here for.  I'm so thankful.

That support has settled me; it's centered me.  It reminds me of all that it takes to make camp work.  Today, instead of feeling overwhelmed, I'm feeling a bit more in awe of it-- the way that people show up, the way so many people's talents form a web of something beautiful.  The butterflies in my stomach bring more excitement than worry for the anticipation for what's to come.

I reminded over and over again all of the preparations it takes to make camp happen.  It takes our volunteers coming to get trained every year -- volunteers to live in the cabins with campers, to dean each camp, to lead us in our spiritual practices.  It takes our summer staffers, with loud voices and smiling faces, to lead campfire songs.  It takes Nick and Peter, our chefs, rethinking our menus to serve as many special diets as we can.  It takes our Program Board to guide trainings and to give us vision.  It takes you, reading this blog and sharing in our community even when you're not here.  It takes me, ready to greet you when you come through the gates to this special place.  How could I ever be worried?

It's said often, but it's worth saying again: It takes a village.  If you're looking for another way to support our community and help us prepare for the summer, Camp Magruder has made an Amazon Wish List for the Summer 2019.  It's a range of things, some big, some small, that we need for the summer.  Dishwashing gloves for tie dye, wet suits for wave jumping, instruments for campfire and worship, a projector for Sherlock Lodge.  We'd love your help in preparing for the summer.  Using this link ( you can visit our list.  We've listed each item's priority level and how many we need for this season.  There are items ranging between $10 and $1,000.  Any gift is so valuable to us.  We hope you'll share this with your family or your Sunday School class or the friends you've attended camp with each year. 

If you are more able to give of your time than your donations-- thank you!  We are also on the lookout for van drivers for our Resident Counselors.  We need volunteers Friday, June 21 (Magruder to Latgawa), Saturday, June 29 (Latgawa to Magruder), Saturday, July 13 (Magruder to Suttle Lake), and Saturday July 27 (Suttle Lake to Magruder).  We, of course, needs counselors!  We'd love to have you serve with us (ages 16 and older).  We serve youth camps June 15-21, July 6-12, and August 3-9.  Contact me at for more information.

Then, we hope to see you soon.  Camp is just around the corner; register at

I hope to see you this summer.  Thank you for being a part of this village that I'm so thankful to call home.



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Help Us Light the Way in 2019

Improvements planned for the Corbett Patio at Edwards Lodge
This Spring Camp Magruder is raising money for a campaign we call Light the Way. The funds raised will continue improving our grounds and creating a welcoming camp, conducive to reflection, community, and growth. Projects are planned right now to enrich the discovery experienced in an intentionally hospitable, inspiring place. Our goal is $50,000.

Keep up with our campaign and donate at:

We want to “shine the light,” by improving our directional signs and the lighting along our most-used paths. We hope to “shine the light,” better on Magruder’s history by commissioning plaques explaining the history of the each building’s namesake. And, we want to “shine a light,” for more outdoor community by improving the Borgny Corbett patio outside the Edwards Lodge to be even more inviting for gatherings and relaxation.

Donations from friends like you will help guests better navigate our beautiful site and encourage interaction and relationship. Many stories will be shared about how Camp Magruder and its circle of friends has been important in people’s lives. From this work together, many new stories and friendships that will come.

Our mailing sent out just a few weeks ago, and we've already just about reached $10,000, which will make it possible to get started on our first project. You make these projects happen.

If you have a story for us about a Magruder building’s namesake, contact us. If you know someone with a story or who could help us reach our goal, help us connect. And, as you see our posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Blogger please like, tag, comment, and share. It really helps the word get out far better than anything we can do on our own.

Lastly, if you’d like to raise money for the Light the Way campaign yourself, please contact us. We will make it easy and even fun for you.

Contact to tell your story or become a Light the Way fundraiser. We’ll have more to tell you soon.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Camp Magruder's Response to 2019 UM General Conference Decision

In this time of division over the United Methodist Church’s recent decision towards a more traditional approach to human sexuality, Camp Magruder will continue to train, support, employ, and learn from LGBTQ+ persons who have been called to be part of our great mission of offering Christian hospitality and learning.

The process within our global faith tradition to work through these issues is far from over. Through
this time of continued reflection we remain committed to partnering with people and groups doing good in the world whether gay or straight, gender nonconforming or conforming. We believe this commitment is a key to what the church will be in the 21st Century.

If you have felt hurt, neglected, or unheard by the General Conference decision know that Camp Magruder is working to create a safe place for all. We want to love our neighbors, not just in principle, but through the actions of listening, sharing, and working side-by-side in community. May we continue our sacred work around the campfire together.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The news from Magruder July 22-28

This week Camp Magruder entered into one of its fullest weeks of the year. We welcomed the
Northwest United Church of God youth camp, which topped out around 220 people. This group has been coming to Camp Magruder for many years and never fails to impress with their attention to detail and hard work put into making the camp a memorable one. During this week campers will ride horses on the beach, kayak, water ski on Lake Lytle, receive dance lessons, and attend a formal banquet along with much, much more. For as many people as this camp brings, they left about 50 on a waiting list this year. It is a testament to the hard work they put into the program.

Due to how thoroughly this camp handles their schedule, we are able to give our program staff and some of our administrative staff time off, which is a blessing in the midst of the hecticness of summer. It gives them an opportunity to recharge and start the second half of the summer off with a fresh battery.

Weather-wise the week has been accented by a stubborn marine layer that parked above us for most of the week. We started off with sunshine and near perfect mild temperatures. Then about Monday low clouds moved in over our little area and took up residence. Often you could drive a few miles down the road and be reunited with sunny summer skies, but in our particular spot the clouds stayed around for nearly the whole week. There wasn't really any precipitation to speak of, but the clouds did keep it rather cool. Several times we even turned a little heat on to take the edge off.

It is a well known cliche in Oregon that if you don't like the weather just wait around, and soon enough it will change then probably change several more times over. It is a good lesson not to get too used to one thing or depend on just one consistently. Our world is full of change, and life is a progression of changes. Growth is an important part of life, and change is part of growth's definition. It can be difficult to swallow the notion that things will keep changing and we must keep adjusting.  I found after we became accustomed to the idea that this week might not be our typical late July week that it didn't seem to phase the campers at all. Sometimes our idea of how something should be is the biggest roadblock to enjoying what it actually is.

Wednesday a United Methodist pastor from Mississippi named Roger Shock dropped by the office. He and his wife, Jan, were visiting the Oregon Coast and, in a passing conversation with a friend, heard there was a Methodist camp nearby and decided to check it out. Hope and I were in the office and talked to them about where we were from. It turned out Roger was born in the town I was born in, and his wife went to college there. Roger graduated from college a few miles from where Hope grew up. They had babysat people we worked with at camp before moving to Oregon. We gave them a tour, talked about the history. They were wowed by the beauty of the place. They bought a few Magruder shirts to wear back home. It is crazy how small this world can seem even with the knowledge of how much distance it spans.

On Friday night our chef Nick put together an authentic Greek meal. I got in early before everyone else, because I needed to get the baby home for bedtime. We munched on pita bread with house made humus and tzatziki. We went to our table near the Carrier dining hall piano where a cabin of girls were practicing a song. We ate this incredible food as they sang. Both of us swayed back and forth taking our time with dinner looking out the windows onto a beautiful backdrop. The clouds had finally cleared and sunlight was beaming through. It was one of those moments you sit back and relax through, because you know it doesn't need to be rushed. Change will be coming around the corner, but lets see this moment through.

This weekend the United Church of God will be finishing out their camp. Be in prayer for their experience with us. We hope your week is a special one.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The News from Magruder July 8-14 2018

This week we welcomed youth campers for our second program week of summer 2018. These are the weeks where our staff and volunteers hold camp for campers of all ages. We play, we eat, we learn, we worship, we make new friends, we talk about ways we want to go out and change the world. While we only have 3 of these youth weeks a year, this is a major part of what we do at Camp Magruder. These experiences give summer campers memories that last the rest of their lives. These experiences prepare staffers to go out into the world and be spiritual leaders. Experiences like these helped shape me into who I am, and continue to guide my decisions and beliefs.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, child, tree, outdoor and natureThis program week has been special to me for many reasons. At this camp we have many staffers and counselors who got their start the first summer I was at Camp Magruder. In 2015 we knew that in about three years we would see these counselors mature, being the leaders for a new generation of young counselors. We are seeing that this summer. This is also the largest program week I have seen in my time at Magruder. We have a mini camp with larger numbers than last year, and Elementary or about 40 campers, a Middle School of about 40, and a Senior High camp we rebooted and have impressive first-time numbers. We have a great set of Deans for each camp, a great set of Volunteer Counselors, and a group of Resident Counselors who are coming into their own.

On the first day, as I walked down the main road past Sherlock Lodge and the Main Fire Pit, I passed multiple clusters of campers and counselors, could hear singing and laughing in multiple directions. There was a palpable energy in the air that comes where there are hundreds of people moving in a place. This is the sort of energy I long for during our weeks at camp. That feeling you get when activity is taking place all around you, and you know it is building towards something good as a collective. You know all these pieces of the collective stand to be impacted by that positive energy that is floating on the breeze because we are coming together to live, play, and connect.

During Camp Store snack time, I sat next to two mini-camp campers who had just gotten their snacks. I asked if they had had a good day so far. Both answered in the affirmative, and to my question of what had been good about it, they answered that they had become friends. They said they had really wanted to make friends this week, and they were excited it had already happened. I said that was awesome. One camper asked if I would help open his goldfish and then his rice krispy treat, to which I obliged. Eventually something exciting happened on the playground they couldn't resist, and they told me goodbye. Before leaving, the one I had assisted stopped, waved, and politely said, "thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it." It was a happy moment for all of us.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky, ocean, beach, outdoor and natureWith my feet more firmly under me as a director this year, I'm finding more time to be out on the grounds as camp is going on. I managed to be a part of nearly every age group's worship this week. I found myself in the Sherlock Lodge as counselors painted and created mixed media artwork out of strips of paper that we had written our hopes and worries on. I found myself on the meditation patio in an intimate worship full of personal sharing that ended with us looking at stars over Smith Lake. I was part of a walking worship that ended in a circle of people at Marvel Field as Venus began to shine above the ocean. I was in the Edwards lodge as Elementary campers answered questions about the week and offered up prayers full of depth and thoughtfulness surrounded by their crafts, pieces of nature, and a few burning candles.

It was the end of the week, and we welcomed car after car pulling in to take their kids home. Campers hugged their counselors, then ran to their parents and hugged them, then ran back to their counselors and hugged, then hugged their cabin mates, then hugged their counselors again, then hugged their camper friends again, as it goes. I looked at the counselors who had tears in their eyes, because this week had impacted them so profoundly. I have seen that many times, because I have been to camp many times. This sort of feeling is one we have worked hard to cultivate, and we have seen it this summer in new and exciting ways.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, ocean, water, child, sky, outdoor and natureAs counselors debriefed after the last camper left, I heard them recalling their experience. They weren't dwelling on how tired they were or on which camper was the most frustrating. They were lifting up the great successes and growth they had seen. They talked about how we were bringing the mission statement into reality. They talked about how we must next take this culture out with us and share it to the world. These kids are getting it. Not only do they get it, they are in love with it. This week is part of our dream coming true. As these campers go home and rest from all they experienced this week we also dream that they are thinking of how they might become more a part of this, about how they will someday be those counselors making it the highest priority to create safe places for us to be who we are, accept each other, connect to something bigger than us, to be transformed by it. Whether they know it or not, they have already started.

This weekend we host Portland State University International Students, Mountainside High School, and Calvary Chapel Bend. Hold them with us in your prayers. We hope for big, great things.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Magruder Reaches Fund-Raising Goal! Next Step $35K from Gray Family Foundation

Camp Magruder is happy to announce we reached our $17,500 fundraising goal in order to receive a maintenance grant from the Gray Family Foundation for $35,000. Around 50 people and organizations contributed to make this campaign possible.

Old Boiler we will replace
New energy efficient water heaters
With the funds, Camp Magruder will replace important parts of the
infrastructure of Carrier Dining Hall that were highly inefficient and failing. Most of the building’s hot water and heating were provided by an outdated boiler system that went down just before summer season began. Camp Magruder will replace the inefficient system with on-demand water heaters and heat pumps using a fraction of the propane. This will also allow for removal of all the pipes protruding from the ceiling of Chappell Hall meeting room, taking the first step in a long-term project goal of making that space more welcoming.
Wetlands trail bridge
getting a facelift

In this campaign, a donation was also received to repair and update
the bridge spanning part of Smith Lake on the wetlands trail that had been patched up after a tree fell on it several years ago. With any remaining funds, we will continue our replacement of Carrier Dining Hall’s single pane windows with more energy efficient versions that can open for fresh air.
Unsightly pipes that can now be removed

This process was such an uplifting experience for the Camp Magruder staff. Each day we received word of a new donation we felt the many hands involved in this work. Thank you for joining us in this mission to create spaces for learning and community drawing us all closer to each other and the spirit moving our camp. Stay tuned—we are shaping new plans that we’ll be ready to share later in the year to continue to improve this wonderful place.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The News from Magruder, May 20-26

The summer is upon us at Camp Magruder. We, of course, know this from the longer days and the higher frequency of sunny skies. We are also realizing its approach by the higher frequency of guests. This week was one of our biggest of the year, with an Outdoor School split week along with Sunnyside Environmental School. On the Wednesday when the first half of our split week left and the second half arrived, we served around 450 meals from our kitchen for lunch.

Thankfully for our small kitchen staff, we had a couple of visitors volunteering with us. Their names are Sam and Sarah Richardson, and they are on an amazing adventure to learn more about Christian Camping in the United States. For several years they have been traveling in an RV around the country, staying at religious camps and volunteering. During their time, they interview staff, take pictures and video, and write about what is unique about each site. Their project is called From Camp to Camp, and you can learn a lot more about their journey on their website. Serendipitously, they ended up visiting Camp Magruder on one of our busiest weeks of the year.

Walking around camp during this week was such a treat for the senses and the spirit. The weather was beautiful and warm. Everywhere you went, you were bound to pass a group of middle schoolers on to their next lesson, project, or activity. You'd hear kids singing their silly songs, watch kids journaling or drawing,  or momentarily eavesdrop on the conversation in progress. Encountering the camp so full of life does something for your own spirit, offering a sense of peace despite the busyness and hectic coordination necessary to make sure everyone has a bed and is fed.

At the beginning of the week, I felt a familiar vibe from the Sunnyside middle school students. The "I'm cool and not too interested in talking to you," vibe that middle schoolers (and lots of other ages for that matter) enter into a new situation with. By the end of the week, though, I knew about 2/3 of their names and they knew me. At some point, we had taken plates to the kitchen together, scrubbed dishes, learned how to paddle a kayak, or just shared goofy exchanges while standing in line. When you look out over a crowd of middle schoolers at the beginning of the week, it just looks like a sea of indistinguishable faces. By the end of the week, you recognize them. You want to make a point to say something to each of them as they pass you in the dinner line.

We also received lots of support from far away through several more generous gifts through our Amazon Wish List. So many people have been shipping us items, and each postal box is quite literally a little gift from someone who loves us. We get a notification when something new is on the way, and then a day or so later something shows up in the mail box. This has been such a heart-warming undertaking, because when you put yourself out there and ask for something like that, you have no idea if someone will step up and take care of the request. We have been so surprised by how many have joined this effort in such a short amount of time.

And as this post is being written, we are just about $1,000 worth of donations away from receiving our $35,000 grant from the Gray Family Foundation for maintenance projects. With these funds, we will update our failing boiler system to much more energy efficient heat pumps and on-demand water heating. The donations and grants are coming at the perfect time.

On the last day of our visit from Sunnyside, Sam and Sarah were also loading packing up their RV and moving on to the next site. In the hecticness of breakfast--refilling trays of food as they depleted, answering questions about ingredients for special diets, giving and receiving praise for a wonderful week--the Richardsons came downstairs to give me a hug goodbye. I wished them well with safe travels and lots of great adventures. I look forward to following their journey online and hearing more about what they discover along the way.

I look forward to the lessons they will learn about what our camps have to say about our faith. I hope to hear the insight they are gathering in the future. I hope their voices are heard by all of us. I look forward to continue to cross paths with them at National Gatherings and social media posts. Even more than that, I am so happy they are part of this growing family of people who have been part of the wonderful things that happen at this camp. They are a few of the many hands offering to shape this place, to build it, to impact its ability to do great things. Nick talked to me after that crazy Wednesday, saying if Sam and Sarah hadn't been there he didn't know how they would have made it.
It's true, they were lifesavers. I am seeing more and more of these in this work. More and more of the ways that there is help for the hard work, willing to offer what is available towards the efforts to transform lives.

There are so many ways to be part of sculpting those transformational moments here at Magruder. These days I'm seeing it at every turn. We hope you feel a part of that too.

This weekend we host our Memorial Day Family Camp and Camp to Belong. Next week is our last week of outdoor school. Take some quiet moments with us to celebrate the spring and prepare for an equally wonderful summer.