Friday, January 15, 2016

The News from Camp Magruder 1/10-16

It's been rainy nearly every day out here on the coast this week. It's been hardly more than a drizzle, but steady enough that you're not going out looking for outdoor tasks. This weather has kept the skies gray most of the week and the nights still come pretty early. Still, as we begin a new year and make plans for it, we are reminded that it won't stay this way. We'll be treated to plenty of blue skies, plenty of warm, dry days.

We hosted our first group of the year last weekend, the Beaverton High School Choir. On Sunday morning, we bid them farewell. It felt good to shake the rust off and interact with a guest group. The camp life can be feast or famine when it comes to human interaction. During the summer we are inundated with human contact, during the winter we are starved of it. There is so much joy waiting to be claimed just by welcoming people to a safe, warm place, to invite them into buildings, to share food, to join in a community. Teenagers like this are so primed to join in something like this. Even moments spent on mundane tasks like washing dishes turns into these moments of sharing and growing. I've seen as much personal growth around a sink sometimes as I have an altar.

The ocean latest reshaping job of the beach has left us with about a 7 foot drop our wooded area down to the beach. At the places where the access trail opens up to the beach, about a month ago you would have climbed a hill of sand to get to the beach. Now you have to step down. Large driftwood pieces are exposed that I suspect spend most of their time under sand. They extend under the shore pines that keep the sand intact at the back of the beach. If those shore pines were not there, much more sand would have been washed away. Who knows what all is buried under these layers of sand? When they excavated for the Camp Magruder basketball courts, much farther in from the beach, they found the remains of a ship wreck. Who knows what is just beneath us? Who knows what we'll unearth with this next act in these next moments?

The maintenance crew has been working to improve the Atwood Bathouse before retreat season kicks into full swing. They will be adding shower stalls, which are sorely needed for this building that serves many guests when the camp is full. It is an awesome thing to witness, when a group of people with the right skills can take a building in one moment that has X number of showers and through the right work and the right know-how turn it into a building with Y number of showers. That's impressive enough, but it's also awesome to see how this will effect the guests. How now that more people can shower, how there will be more time for other things, how groups will have an opportunity to accomplish more of their program or more time to grow closer. We can not imagine all the ways a gesture can reverberate into other things.

In the office, we've also been prepping for the days to come. There's been a lot of end-of-the-old-year/beginning-of-the-new-year financial paperwork that has to be competed and logged. We are making preparations for all the guests who will visit in 2016 and what their needs will be, trying to be sure we accommodation them well. I am searching for the deans, summer staff applicants, and nurses who will be the backbone of our summer programs. Each time I send an email, a facebook message, leave a voice mail, I wonder if this might be a person I spend a week or even a summer with, doing this work, meeting these guests and sharing this community. Could this person be one I get to share a life-changing experience with down the road? What will this message or that phone call bring? None of us can be sure until the time washes over and reveals what is underneath.

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