The News from Magruder 2/14-20

This week we saw the steady rain we've come to expect this time of year on the coast. Even though the thermometer hasn't warned us of any drastic temperature drops, it's felt colder outside. Maybe it's the wet air that just gets into your bones more. Or maybe it just looks like it should be cold and our bodies are fine to indulge us in the delusion.

We opened up the camp week with Magruder's annual Choir Camp finishing up their retreat. This is a camp that invites choir members from all over Oregon and Idaho to come together and learn several choral pieces to perform on Sunday night. If that doesn't strike you as something, I'll explain again. A group of people who don't normally sing together get together for two days, and by the end they perform about an hour's worth of songs in beautiful harmony.

Monday morning, the choir campers had a night's rest following their performance and just had clean-up, worship, and a set of skits by their staff called "Monday Morning Surprise" left. We were treated to skits with singing toothbrushes, medieval suitors with frequent costume changes, puppets, and animal head gear. This group was full of such kind souls, such a range of talents, such a delight just to sit in the corner and watch.

One of the great blessings of working at a camp is the opportunity to welcome so many different people, passionate about so many different things. I will hear stories I could never gather together all on my own. I witness skills I couldn't compile in ten lifetimes myself. Because our great passion here at camp is to welcome people and create community, we reap the benefits of all those passions brought together under one roof. It is an amazing thing to witness sometimes when people offer up their gifts, their great loves and put it together into this bigger gift, this greater love.

Several building touch-up projects continued this week. Jay managed to get the main wing of the kitchen painted in a light blue color that reminds me of cool mint over the Christmas holiday. Jay has been working since a piece at a time to get the store rooms, his office, and the gluten free part of the kitchen painted as well. They are also hoping to get new tile in those areas before we start serving mid-week groups in March. Rik is carrying on with the renovation of Atwood, setting tile in the floors, that the rest of us agree looks very classy for a camp bathouse.

That's another joy of working at a camp--witnessing our fellow staffers excelling in their work. I marvel at how each person is so good at certain aspects of their job. It's a great motivation to work alongside people who enjoy their work, watching them in their element, seeing how it makes the camp better. It makes you want to be better yourself--it makes you want to fall in love with the work all over again.

This weekend, we host the Association of Northwest Steelheaders who are doing a family camp, where they will spend the whole weekend teaching people young and old how to fish. They'll talk about different species of fish, different areas of Oregon to fish in, and all types of skills from lures to cleaning. Today leadership got work, preparing for their group. They constructed a holding area just off our swim dock and filled it with fish. This will give the younger fishers a better shot at catching something. I watched as a truck pulled in filled with fish and watched as they set up a hose that looked like a plastic bag that would feed the fish from the truck into Lake Smith.

How could I have predicted even a few weeks ago that at the beginning of the week I would be watching singing toothbrushes, and by the end I would watch fish pumped into our lake through a hose? This is the beauty of camp work, but it's also the beauty of life in general. It's such a big world out there full of so many wonderful things and so many wonderful people in love with something
special. The church is fully into the season of Lent right now, a time to slow down and examine who we are and who we want to be. I hope we are all able to slow enough to witness how many wonderful things happen daily just within walking distance.

This is the NW Steelheader's first retreat at Camp Magruder. We are excited to host them. Help us in our prayers that the retreat is enjoyable, powerful, even life-changing for some of its participants.


  1. The fish camp was all that and more. My son (and I) had a very tough week leading up to camp. It was JUST what we needed.
    Thank you!!!!

  2. The fish camp was all that and more. My son (and I) had a very tough week leading up to camp. It was JUST what we needed.
    Thank you!!!!

  3. So glad you had a great weekend, Michelle. We really enjoyed getting to host the group.


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