Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2018 Summer Camp Dates: Changes to MADD Camp Dates

As Camp Magruder prepares to announce the 2018 summer schedule we want to share a few changes to our Music Arts Dance & Drama (MADD) camp that we hope will help the camp grow and bring even more high schoolers into its special community and incredible incorporation of artistic expression. Last year, due to a wet and icy winter, MADD was moved to the July summer camp week, and this year it is moving back to the traditional June week.

Also, in 2018 MADD camp will be held June 17-22 which changes it from a Sunday-Saturday camp to a Sunday-Friday camp, matching the rest of Magruder’s children/youth camps that week. This change will drop the cost of MADD by $90 which we hope will include more high schoolers who may have declined camp in the past for financial reasons. It will also make coordinating travel and rides to pick campers up more convenient for parents with children in multiple age groups.

What will most definitely stay the same is MADD camp’s ability to create a meaningful community of young people who accept and care about each other. It will continue to bring in talented artists who share their gifts to make something beautiful and wonderfully fun to be part of. Campers will still make memories that will stay with them the rest of their lives and friendships in just one week that remain for decades.


We hope these new dates make MADD camp more accessible for campers to feel its impact which has touched thousands over the years. If you know someone who is passionate or even interested in the Arts and who might want a powerful life-changing experience, tell them about the special week that is Magruder MADD Camp.  

Keep a look out at gocamping.org. Summer camp dates will be posted and registration will be open soon. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The News from Magruder October 15-21

The coast is inching itself more and more into the rainy season as each week goes on. We have had rain nearly every day this week at Camp Magruder, but on none of them has it rained the entire day. Still, there is enough precipitation to make camp a pretty soggy place. The lake level is rising. The newts are getting more and more adventurous. The ocean is roaring, sounding like its even closer than it actually is. But, we are still having visits of sunshine nearly every day as well. For now, we are getting the sampler platter for weather: rain, overcast, sunshine, wind, calm.

It is incredible to me how our bodies are tuned into the world, even for people who live lives mostly out of nature. When it gets dark, our bodies are more compelled to sleep. When the rain and cold weather come, our stomachs call for warm drinks and our legs and chest call for warm, soft blankets. As the rain comes on and the nights begin sooner, we can feel the slow time of the year on its way to Camp Magruder, even though we still have about a month of groups. It will be the preparatory period, the time to plan, the time to deep clean, the time to redecorate. Then the afternoon sun comes out, and our bodies tell us it is time to go outside and be with people.

This week Outdoor School had a split week, where one school group is in for the first half of the week, and when it leaves another group comes in on its heals and stays until the end of the week. This set-up makes for a pretty hectic Wednesday mid-day. One group eats lunch at 11:00am, loads up their luggage, gets on the bus and leaves. Then another group of buses show up, unload their luggage, orient the new students, then have lunch at 1:00pm. It is an impressive logistical feat that happens multiple weeks at Camp Magruder each Spring and Fall.

While we were setting up chairs and tables for our upcoming retreat group, Kevin told me about how powerful the ocean has been this week with the wind and rain. He said driftwood was getting dragged out and tossed back onto shore, that some major reshaping was happening out there. He talked about how there was a large driftwood post that had been planted in the sand near the jetty early in the summer, and he wondered how long it would last. In the morning it was there, and in the afternoon it was not. We've had a large log blocking the center of our North beach trail way too large to move by hand that our chainsaws wouldn't cut through. It's occupied the space where the trail opens up to the beach for 5-6 months now. This week it was picked up by the ocean and set back down a little farther down the path. This is a time of turnover and transition. A time of shifting identity a little bit.

Hosting a site like this, we have so many identities. We are welcoming hosts. We help facilitate and
environment of learning where we hope to equip people to better do good. We work to get guests open to the spirit that might be moving in nature and in the community they build. We work to make people comfortable with this unfamiliar surrounding. We pray for people and hope that our time spent together transforms both of us. We hope that this time we spend together makes a difference, when we see the cars arrive all the way up to the time we tell them goodbye and turn the lights out.

On Wednesday, I made it back to the office after the 11am pizza lunch. I began getting back into my office brain, answering emails, drawing out plans for the work we have in front of us. The rain came down and the wind tossed the trees about a little. Several yellow school buses passed the office window. I could hear the commotion of students getting off the bus. I could hear the outdoor school leaders cheering with enthusiasm as if they hadn't just finished with another group moments ago. I smiled hearing all the sounds harmonizing into something that is quintessentially camp life. Another round of people transporting themselves to a new world, something for the body, mind, and spirit to respond to, to take in, the breathe out, and let it make some of them new too.

This weekend we are hosting the Oregon Mycological Society, a group passionate and curious about mushroom hunting. As they brave the wind and rain of the Oregon Coast, spend some moments in prayer with us that their time will be life-giving and memorable.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Camp Magruder Has a New Logo

We are excited to introduce a Camp Magruder logo we will use in our communication representing the camp. The logo represents features of the camp that are unique to Camp Magruder and symbolize some core beliefs we have about who we are and the way the spirit of God moves through our beautiful site.

Camp Magruder’s most distinctive feature is the ocean. From nearly every part of camp, you can hear the Pacific Ocean. The ocean shapes the landscape and the weather. The ocean is larger than we can visualize, deep in a way that is difficult to comprehend. We can never know the entire ocean, we only know the part we see at our shoreline. But, even this encounter with a small part of this enormous, powerful thing can be revolutionary, life changing. The water represents how we cherish this thing so much bigger than us and seek to remember how it is constantly present and shaping us into something new.


Shore Pines, like the one featured in the logo, make up much of the woods bordering the beach sand. They were planted by Magruder leaders over the years. Some of the trees produce arm-like branches that start near the trunk. They are called Octopus Trees and many campers and guests have enjoyed climbing them over many years. Magruder began with the vision of a small group of faithful church members with a dream. Over the years, many branches have sprung from that trunk, taken their own direction and bore their own branches. The Shore Pine represents how we celebrate the many ways this camp has provided Christian hospitality and environments of learning for wide ranges of groups who make the world better. We also celebrate how all these possibilities sprang from the trunk planted many years ago by faithful dreamers.

Look for our new logo on our social media outlets, our shirts and other keepsakes, and on our paper correspondence in the near future. We hope you'll begin to recall some of your wonderful Camp Magruder experiences whenever you see this image. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

The News from Magruder September 24-30

Fall has come to Camp Magruder. It is such a joy after living years of life on this planet to be able to feel the arrival of a season with the senses. There is a Fall dryness to the air, a crisp feeling as leaves and needles make their lazy drop to the ground. The air still wants to be warm, the sun still wants to hang around a little longer, but their strength is fading. It is a sweet lazy feel on days like this after Outdoor School has left and our weekend retreat groups have not yet arrived. The birds and squirrels are out making final preparations before the winter. The light is dwindling a littler earlier. Still, on the right days, you can go out and feel the sunlight on your shoulders and a cool breeze balancing each other out perfectly.

As the week turned over, we began the second half of our Needlework Camp. This is a camp with many repeat campers, but we also had several new needleworkers. During an afternoon break, it is a great pleasure to drop by the Edwards Lodge and navigate the labyrinth of sewing machines and in-progress quilts. These slower fall days afford a little more time to stop and have a conversation about the projects or whatever other conversation project comes up. The doors are open to let that crisp fall air mingle with the work. Fall lends itself very well to sitting, working with your hands, having a good conversation.

Our first week of outdoor school campers arrived on Tuesday, a large group of kids very excited to be at camp. The dining hall was noisy and full of energy at each meal. There is so much energy in the first week of camp. The staff is one their toes, still getting the routine under their belts. You walk around knowing many people are doing something for the first time. Reality is shifting, becoming something new. Of course, reality is being altered for the campers who just got off the bus and a new place, with a new bed, new roomates, an ocean right outside their window. All this while the seasons are also becoming something new. There's a freshness to that realization, knowing you are entering something new when you wake up and leave out the door in the morning.

On Wednesday temperatures climbing into the 80s. It honestly felt like one of the hottest days of the year on the Oregon Coast--at the end of September. Still, in the midst of the heat, it did not feel like our warm days in the summer. The air was different, there were pockets of cool air as you walked through the woods. The leaves were turning yellowy and brown. This is warmth you don't take for granted, because it could be gone the next day, maybe the next hour.

On Thursday I dressed in long pants, long sleeves, and wool socks. By the middle of the day it was so warm, I felt the need to change into short sleeves, running shorts, and sandals. I came back from lunch feeling much more suited for the weather. Not more than an hour later, though, a marine layer floated in over camp, and the temperatures dropped significantly. Now I was getting chills, closing all the windows, without the sun to warm my shoulders and heat up the office. The fall change can be quick and unannounced.

Regardless of the face Fall is wearing, I am finding it relaxing and refreshing. We are excited for all our Fall groups to experience this air, these changes with us. Let's go out and crane our heads straight up to look at the trees as they change. Let's sit down for a long conversation with the windows open listening to the birds chirp and the ocean ebb and flow in the background. It won't stay like this forever. Take it in while you still have the chance.

This weekend we welcome Christ UMC, Salem UMC, Trinity UMC, and University of Portland Campus Ministries. Take some time with us to lift them up in prayer.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The News from Magruder September 3-9

The final days of our summer season came this week with our Labor Day Family Camp which started last Friday. On of the first evenings of the camp, we took the group wave jumping. Tom, who has been a camper for several decades went wave jumping for the first time. It was a special moment for him and our staff. It's an awesome thing to witness something happening for the first time. 

As we stood on the beach, watching campers enjoy the ocean there was a smoky haze in the air. The sun was still high in the sky, but it was the color it normally takes on as it sits behind the horizon. We are far from any of the forest fires raging in Oregon right now, but reminders like smoke in the sky set up residence with us this week. Much like the news of the fires this week, regardless of what we did here on the coast, the knowledge that parts of our dear state was burning loomed in the background. It was our regular meal conversation, our regular prayer request. 

Our Labor Day Family camp left on Monday. We spent time with old friends and new ones. Tom also got on the trampoline for the first time. It was a proud weekend for all of us to see him take on those challenges he has seen here at camp for so long. When the campers left, we put on our swimsuits and began the work of taking down the trampoline and swim boundary lines. This is big symbolic act that represents the end of summer to the permanent staff. We unhooked them from their D links, pulled them in, soaped them down, rinsed, dried, folded, and tucked them away on a boathouse shelf. 

As we worked through the afternoon, the sun remained shrouded in a smoky haze. We frequently made comments about how odd it felt. At the end of our trampoline breakdown, we deflated the giant blue doughnut. Everyone laid on it. This was very relaxing work for us. We sprawled out like we
Smith Lake with trampoline and swim boundaries freshly removed
were laying in a hammock. Everyone laughed as they sunk deeper and deeper. Some of us fell asleep. It was a nice way to close out our time together. We have seen a lot this summer. We've worked ourselves into late nights. We've had uplifting moments and disappointing moments. Now, it was just six of us laying on a giant trampoline while it deflated. It felt lazy and satisfying and intimate.

We welcomed the Campus Compact of Oregon, an Americorps training event. A day later we would welcome seniors from Oregon Episcopal School. There is something uplifting about spending days welcoming and cleaning up in the kitchen with young people on a mission. There is a great deal of energy and hope and courage. It's one of my favorite ages to work with, because they are so gifted and excited for new work, and they are also still molding who they are. They listen more readily, trust a little easier, put themselves on the line more quickly. 

These young people have changed our world this summer, and they will return to their other respective worlds soon. I hope they go out seeking the same kind of change there. We are quite literally in a world that is burning right now. But, I feel optimism after weeks like this living in loving community. I know we can not avoid tragedies. But, I have seen that there is love to counteract the terrible things. I know there are people among us seeking to make the world better. I have faith in them, and in all the powers guiding them.

This weekend we welcome the Annual Men's Retreat, Linfield Concert Choir, PSU Ambassadors, and the women of Primera Iglesia Ebenezer. Pray with us that their time will be fruitful. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The News from Magruder, August 27 - September 2

As August came to a close at Camp Magruder, we saw our summer slow down near the season's end. If you are a regular reader, you've noticed our several month long hiatus from blog posting. It has been a busy year at the camp with a great deal of staff turnover, an ACA visit, and Troy having his first child. This all, of course, is in addition to the normal summer busyness.

This week, we hosted the Western Oregon University Ambassadors as they prepared for their Fall. It was our only group, which gave the summer staff ample opportunity to clean, to go on a few outings, and give good attention to the WOU Ambassadors as they boated, swam, and did archery. It feels very relaxed compared to our weeks early in August, where the entire dining hall was filled by guests. It is nice to close the summer out with chances to reflect and spend intentional time together. Meaningful things can sometimes just fly right past us if we don't take moments to soak them in, to ponder them, to articulate what they mean to us. The end of Labor Day Weekend finishes what we call the summer season. We don't want it to just pass us by and be gone.

Early in August the cross that looks out over the beach went missing. We don't know what happened to it, but it did not seem likely the cross was lost to winds or the ocean. That cross had stood there for a long time--it was not the first, but it had a great deal of sentimental value to many of our campers and staff members. It was disappointing that the cross which was a symbolic beacon to many people who know Camp Magruder had vanished, that there was an empty space where it had stood. 

This week our staff picked several pieces of driftwood from the beach to make a new cross. A Summer Staffer Andrew had created a temporary cross to stand in place of the old one until a new one could be constructed. They used one of the pieces from that cross. Rik took the pieces and fashioned a new cross. On Tuesday evening, we carried the cross, together as a staff, to the beach where the old one had stood. We wrote prayers on pieces of brown paper and buried them in the hole we dug for the new cross, then we planted it and filled in the hole with sand. 

We gathered around it and placed our hands on it. We prayed a prayer of dedication. We not only prayed for the cross as a symbol and what it will represent to us and generations of campers. We prayed about loss and disappointment. We prayed for the hope that can rise up out of loss and wished for that in our lives and the lives of so many around the world. We are at no loss for sadness, pain, anxiety, and disappointment these days. I know the staff here at Camp Magruder all want us to grow something big and wonderful out of all the occurrences that impact us negatively. We hope not to dwell in the pain, but fill those empty spaces with something new and beautiful. Something we create together. Something that will carry the wisdom of the past and a hopefulness and ingenuity for the future. 

On Friday our Labor Day Family Camp arrived. The weather is still warm and sunny on the coast, but we know that the leaves will soon be falling from the Alders. The sea air will turn cooler. The clouds will return, and rain will begin falling more frequently. Monday is the last day of our Summer Staffers' 2017 term. We will put up the lake trampoline and the swim boundaries. Camp Magruder will have served another summer. The Summer Staff will go on to school and jobs in other places. We will focus in on evaluations, Outdoor School, preparations for the Spring and Summer of 2018. We hope, though, that this summer will stay with us. We hope that when we return to that spot on the beach so many people recognize and see the cross there, that lots of memories and emotions will
return for us, that it will mean much more than it is.

The cross as a symbol is full of messages. It began as a symbol of pain and disappointment. But, it was taken over hundreds of years and generations and has blossomed into many nuanced meanings. Now, the cross as a symbol is incredibly complicated. It means many different things to different people. We hope through the work we are doing here that when people see the cross they will feel hopeful, they will feel welcomed, they will feel comforted. We hope the time spent this summer has worked to grow that meaning for us and for our guests. 

This weekend we host our Labor Day Family Camp. Next week, we host the Campus Compact of Oregon and the Oregon Episcopal School Senior Trip. Pray with us that these groups have experiences that will stay with them for years to come. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The News from Magruder April 16-22

Spring continues to toy with our emotions out at Camp Magruder. On several days this week, we had the types of beautiful days that are legendary on the Oregon Coast. Crisp blue skies that make you feel like you have some sort of special glasses making everything high definition. Whales have been spotted near the jetty the past few days. Life is waking up at camp. Then, there are still days of rain and wind that seem to come out of nowhere, drenching the ground and our socks. Our roof project continues to be postponed, because we can't string together enough dry days to get the roofers out here. 

The week started off on Easter Sunday. Magruder has hosted a sunrise service for the local communities for many years. This year we moved it from Carrier dining hall to Sherlock Lodge. Anytime you make a change with something that is a long-standing tradition there are many potential pitfalls. People may end up at the wrong place, because it's so routine to go to the old place. People may miss the old place because there is a special attachment with it. There are routines built into the old place that may not transfer to the new one. It is a scary thing to try something new. Still, Sherlock made much more sense for us this particular year, and so it was moved. 

While I was traveling between lodges to get supplies before the service, I encountered two ducks who have been spending a lot of time on Smith Lake the past few weeks. They were in the gravel lot near Carrier, and they quacked around until I got too close for their comfort, and they retreated through the air back to safer waters. I thought about how very soon they would have several little balls of fluff following them around over land and water. I thought about how life is returning to this place in nearly all its forms and how that is such a perfect setting to reflect on Easter. 

As the service began, I looked around at this community of people who had woke before dawn to participate in this ritual, how I'm growing to know many of them and share faith with them. I looked over at my wife who also worked early and helped me transport pastries and coffee to Sherlock. I thought about how this feeling could come about anywhere--in Carrier, Sherlock, on the porch outside, on the beach in the rain. The power of that time spent really has more to do with the way we fill the space than the actual space involved. Those spaces that means so much to us, mean that because of how we fill them. 

This week we welcomed St. Pius X Catholic school, and they have the special distinction of being the first group to do boating at Magruder this year. To prep for them, I woke our fleet of row boat from their winter hibernation, flipped over on the side of the swim area. These boats are heavy and sturdy, and it takes the correct lifting techniques to avoid dropping one on an important appendage or finishing out the day with major back pain. I turned #2 and #5 over, scooted them into the lake, and attached the oars. It began to drizzle, then rain harder, but this had an incredible calming affect on the lake water itself. I sat in the center and began the familiar motions rocking forward and backwards, taking the boats over to their slips at the boat dock. This seemed almost like something sacred, something holy. 

Boating didn't happen that day. The moment the rain stopped, wind began to rush in making the water way too choppy for a bunch of middle schoolers with minimal boating experience to navigate the lake. The next day we tried it again, and this time we were successful. It continued to rain, which again had a calming effect on the lake. I was soaked by the end of the morning. My toes and fingers felt icy. But, I had done some true camp work. The work of getting outside and having an adventure, even if the conditions weren't perfect. The work of exposing people to something new, something maybe out of their comfort zone. The work of playing in a way that soothes and heals. Even if the weather was going to continue to toy with us, even if the conditions are not the way we idealize them in our minds when we imagine a boating period, the most important thing was the way we filled the space on that particular day. 

This weekend we welcome Cornerstone Church High School Retreat and First Unitarian Church of Portland Men's Retreat. We pray that they are able to fill the space with something life-changing regardless of what the Spring weather decides to give us.