Monday, March 28, 2016

Meet the 2016 Summer Staff: Melia Deters

As the summer gets closer, we want you to get to know our Summer Staff a little bit better. We got our 2016 staffers to tell us a little more about themselves. We hope you'll get a chance to meet all of us this summer, because we are excited to meet you. Our next staff profile is for Resource Staff member, Melia Deters

Name: Melia Deters
Hometown: Dallas, Oregon

School/Job: Whitworth University (Spokane, Washington)

Major:  Sociology and Speech Communications

Favorite Color: the color of leaves when the sun shines through them

My greatest spiritual gift is: Being able to appreciate God’s creation in different ways every day of my life.

Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: F3  (Football, Futbol, and Frisbee)

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: GRILLED CHEESE

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? : Sir Ian McKellen

What is your spirit animal: an egret

Favorite get to know you question: If you had a cow and any three liquids could come out of its udder which three liquids would you choose?

Ideal Vacation Spot: Ewok village on Endor

Dream Job: dog walker or maybe something that uses my degree(s)

Fun Fact about me: I have a fake tooth.

Something you want to say about this summer: I’m so excited to be in fellowship with everyone who steps foot on Magruder soil this summer! You all make me so excited!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The News from Magruder 3/20-26

The Spring continues to take a stronger grip on the weather, as we see the total domination of rain dwindle a bit, giving way to occasional sunshine each day. We are less waterlogged and more consistently damp out here on the coast. It's been a quiet week at Magruder--it's Spring Break, so outdoor school has the week off. This weekend we have a group who comes in annually and does their own meal, and then we host a community sunrise service Easter morning, so there's much less preparation necessary. With the hiatus, most of the camp staff has taken the opportunity to lay low.

There's something about a rest week that can seep into the body if you let it. Even if you're in the office every day, there's a feeling that things are less rushed, less mandatory, that we can take it as it comes. It's a Biblical thing to even let the land rest, and walking around a place on the quiet day after
lots of activity can be really refreshing. It's not that the busy time is a bad thing, it's not like we should always be at rest, but when we find that moment of balance between the two, we find something beautiful.

We are nearing the end of Lent. As I write, it's Good Friday. By the end of the weekend, we'll be at Easter. This time of reflection, of holding back and examining our weaknesses will be drawn to a close. It will usher in this time we shift our focus to new life, and I can feel that happening before my eyes at camp right now. Spring is ushering in new plant life. Song birds are returning. I hear their songs more and more as I walk around camp. The squirrels will soon be back at work in response to the evergreens pollinating.

We have almost hired all our summer staff, and we will be training the next generation of counselors and deans in just two weeks. I am still finding quiet moments around camp, time to walk the beach at low tide and think about the power right next to me, time to stand next to the lake with a mountain backdrop realizing the fortune of being at this place in this moment. The quiet moments won't disappear as the year goes on, but they will be more difficult to find soon. We will be celebrating the joy of growth, the joy of sunshine and warmth, the joy of a huge group of people gathering together.

Right now, we are taking in a few more moments of reflection, of preparation. We are still examining. We are walking the camp as it rests, knowing that rest is not forever. Soon, there will be children, families, students, nature lovers, seekers, servants roaming these grounds looking for ways to play,
ways to learn, ways to grow, ways to seek joy. Today, in these waning days of Lent, we still feel the quiet, still experience the reflection, the wondering at how it will all turn out.

We watch it and we are hopeful. That hope leads to excitement. That excitement leads to action. Under this blue sky with puffy white clouds, we have a taste of what is to come. Summer is on its way. But, today we are in Spring, and in this time, in this place, it is pretty darn good itself.

During this holy weekend, keep our time with the Lents Tongan Retreat and our Easter Sunrise service in your prayers. We hope you find something new and beautiful as Lent draws to a close and Easter emerges, new and alive.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Meet the 2016 Summer Staff: Anna Allen

As the summer gets closer, we want you to get to know our Summer Staff a little bit better. We got our 2016 staffers to tell us a little more about themselves. We hope you'll get a chance to meet all of us this summer, because we are excited to meet you. Our first staff profile is for Resource Staff member, Anna Allen.

Name: Anna Allen

Hometown: I am from Nehalem, Oregon but currently living in Burley, Idaho.

School/Job: Para-educator

Major:  BA in Communications

Favorite Color: It changes depending on my mood, I like a lot of pinks, blues, and purples.

Favorite Bible Verse: John 1:5  “The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out.”

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity:  Big swing

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: Macaroni and Cheese

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? Tatiana Maslany

What is your spirit animal?: a wolf

Favorite get to know you question: I don’t have a favorite question, but my favorite game is 2 truths and a lie. 

Ideal Vacation Spot: The beach with my family

Dream Job: Travel writer

Fun Fact about me: I am a twin 

Something you want to say about this summer: I am very excited to be on staff this summer and I am looking forward to new experiences and meeting new people. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

The News from Magruder 3/13-19

This week has been quintessentially Spring: unpredictable, uncomfortable at times, breathtakingly beautiful in others. These weeks give us a sneak preview of summer. They encourage us, "Hang in there a little longer, deal with the rain, there's something else on the way." We, of course, do fine assimilating into our rainy environment, but a warm sunny day really boosts the spirits.

The Outdoor School staff welcomed their first school, Springville Elementary, this week. The staff was happy to have a lot of returning high school counselors who knew the ropes, as they started the Spring season that will extend through the next several months. There's a nice, relaxing feeling, when you welcome in familiar faces, faces you've worked with before. When you know the expectations and what to expect, it makes those early moments of a camp much less stressful. You don't have to concern yourself quite so much with teaching the basics. "We got this," you say.

On top of how it makes the general work easier, there's nothing like those moments when someone you know walks in the door after you've been separated for a stretch of time. Their hair may be different, they may have changed up their fashion choices, but you know them when they walk in. You yell out their name, and go running to each other. You embrace. Some go for the leap into the other person's arms. Some wrap around the other person like a backpack. Some knock each other down. Some grip hands strongly and go into a very manly bro-hug. Whatever it is, the energy from these moments is palpable, and it just adds to the excitement of the adventure that is camp work.

On that first day, in the dining hall, we looked out the window to see overcast but dry skies over Smith Lake. By the time we sat down, rain had begun, and before we could finish, the rain had passed. The next precipitation was a little too loud to be rain, and we realized the sky had unleashed bb sized hail that would go on about 5-10 minutes. Fortunately, by the time I made my trip back to the office, the skies were clear again.

Despite several pop-up storms and the wet air that feels colder than it really is, outdoor school staff and students have had fairly dry weather for lessons, exploring our marine ecosystems. They did run into problems early in the week making it to the beach, though, because the tide was so far in, there was hardly room to walk. In the limited space left east of the sea were piles and piles of driftwood that had recently washed up, which presents all sorts of dangers at high tide. The ocean also washed up millions of tiny velella-velella jellyfish. They aren't as large as those that washed up Spring of last year, these are hard to make out unless you look at them closely. As tiny as they are, large groups of them rotting on the beach have a very distinct smell--the sort of smell that in small doses reminds you of the ocean, so it is slightly pleasant, but in larger doses reminds you of decomposing sea life which is pretty gross.

Rik and Tommie have begun deconstructing the boat dock, which was heavily damaged during the flooding last Fall. Planks and beams were picked up off the piers and then set back down in a different spot, to where it looked like the reflection of a dock in a fun house mirror, or a dock made from the materials you use on Hot Wheels ramps. They've been detaching beams in the neighborhood of 100 lbs and stacking them on the shore until they can lay the support beams again and begin placing them again. It involved getting wet and lifting really heavy beams, and even now the lake isn't low enough for them to start the rebuilding phase of the project. These are times, we keep our fingers crossed that the Spring will continue to lean towards dry sunny days, so we can have a dock again by the time a lot of groups are requesting boating activity periods.

Thursday was a beautiful day. It warmed up, the sky was blue and the sun was shining into the windows of the office, warming the place in a way that can't be duplicated. In the evening, the moon came out along with a panorama of stars. The students were in bed, and it seemed like we were in for a quiet night. Then it got a little too quiet. At about 12:30 am all the lights went out with no warning, no heavy wind gusts, no lightening strikes, no rotten trees giving up the ghost. It turns out a supplier line went out, leaving everything north of Garibaldi dark. I went out to crank up the generator that supplies the dining hall with the juice it needs to keep the food cool, but couldn't get it to crank. I called and woke Steve up to see what I was doing wrong. He tried to troubleshoot over the phone, but nothing seemed to be working. He came down and tried. No dice. We called a support line. Still no dice. They dispatched a technician, but he would be coming from Portland. At this point, it was 2:30am, and the kitchen staff had to start breakfast at 5:00 am. Out of ideas, Steve and I retired saying we'd see each other later in the morning.

I discovered later on that Steve had trouble getting back to sleep and was hit with a thought that he wanted to test. His hunch proved to be correct. He finally got the generator running about 4:00 am, and saved breakfast for a dining hall full of 5th graders. The power came back on about 6:00am and the technician arrived about the same time. His work wasn't in vein, though--he adjusted several things on the generator that should keep it from giving us any trouble in the future. And, he got to eat breakfast with us too, which is definitely worth a trip.

Our first group of outdoor school students loaded up the buses this afternoon after a pizza lunch, and we watched them roll out under our gates and out to Highway 101. I walked the camp this afternoon and saw the outdoor school staff, wrapping up with a staff meeting, cleaning up, then taking that walk to afternoon freedom. It's such a light feeling at the end of the week, when your group clears out, things get quiet and you feel this moment of autonomy, like you could do anything you wanted in that brief window. It's a satisfying feeling, knowing you've put in a week of work, made connections, helped someone learn or even fall in love with something. Now, you get to exhale, which prepares you to take something back in. This time, it's something for you.

I walked back to the office the long way, taking the beach route. The ocean was so calm today, waves hardly cresting even as they encounter the beach. The tide was low, far from shore. The beach sand was soft and dry, with plenty of room to roam. Much of the driftwood had been taking back out to see and redistributed. What a change from Monday, with high powerful tides and hail failing from the sky. Today was warm with sunshine, calm soothing ocean sounds. We know change is constant, we just don't know what the next one is. Some will frustrate and exhaust us, some will offer rest and satisfaction. There is something wonderful in all of these, something to hold to, and something to give away. And then, just like this evening, another group will come on the heels of the previous, and we will be offered a chance to experience all over again, in some ways something familiar in some ways something brand new.

This weekend we host First Unitarian Family Camp, Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation Retreat, and the Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries. We invite you to join our prayer that they will find something familiar and brand new during their time with us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Camp Magruder's 2016 Resource Staff

We are excited to announce the 2016 Camp Magruder Resource Staff! We're looking forward to spending a whole summer with these 5 people, who will become family on the Oregon Coast. We'll wave jump, plan worships, sing silly songs, meet lots of wonderful people, eat lots of marshmallows, and change lives.

The 2016 Resource Staff is:

-Anna Allen
-Melia Deters
-Rikki Earle
-Maddy Hickerson
-Ben Scranage

And Hope Montgomery is returning as our Summer Program Director.

We'll have more information on our Summer staff each week, so you can get to know them all a little better. On Saturday, we'll hold interviews for 8 Resident Counselors who will serve at Magruder, Latgawa, and Suttle Lake this summer. Keep us and the applicants in your prayers this weekend.

We hope you are as excited about this summer as we are. Great things are on their way!

Friday, March 11, 2016

The News from Magruder 3/6-12

It's been a wild and woolly week out here on the Oregon Coast. We've seen some pretty strong storms, some with hail, some with gale force winds, making the trees dance like those inflatable dancing tubes you see out in front of oil change places. The rain has been pretty steady like it has for the past few weeks. But, the rainstorms themselves seem much more Spring than in previous weeks. Spring and Fall storms are more unpredictable, more powerful. They mark transitions when one time is giving way to another.

NWRESD Outdoor School staff arrived this week and moved in for the season. We welcomed back some familiar faces who feel similar to family at this point, and we introduced new friends who we know we'll also know the same way when they leave at the end of the season. It's such a pleasure to see the early stages of this group's time together. I can't help but be reminded of the work we will do with our own summer staff in early June. We get to witness this group of strangers brought together. At each meal they take turns asking get-to-know you questions, would-you-rathers, and getting the basics of the camp, the students, and the activities they will know by heart in just a few weeks.

This will be their home for several months, and we have the blessing of being their hosts, of being the hands and feet that provide a place to do their work, teaching middle schoolers about the animals, the plants of this area, the way that they fit into the whole picture and what they can do about that. I've had a chance to talk to just about everyone. I know just about everyone's legal name and their camp name. I know this is a time, regardless of how the future unfolds, they'll look back with nostalgia. They'll remember how they came in relatively rested. They'll remember the relative quiet, the laughs they all shared, the calm before the storm.

Flowers continue to burst out, giving us further signals that Spring is out our doorstep. Just today, I noticed a few Salal bushes with flowers that will mature into the sweet grapey berries that we will pop like candy in June and July. Some of our Rhododendron bushes have begun to exhibit little works of art along the main drive of the camp, and we are the admiring visitors to their display. We are approaching the week soon where as many spring flowers as possible will sync up, and there will be colors everywhere you turn.

On Wednesday night, we had some very powerful winds. Steve was informed that there were hurricane strength winds out on the ocean. It was the type of wind you had to lean into, the type of wind where even a short walk from building to building feels pretty daring, with trees flapping back and forth above you. Just after dinner, the lights flickered a few seconds, came back on in full a few second, flickered again, and then went out totally. We didn't actually know, but it was pretty easy to surmise that somewhere a tree had taken out a power line. It was dark everywhere we looked, so it didn't seem to be limited to camp property.

I went over to Carrier Dining Hall to find the Outdoor School staff putting on their rain jackets, preparing for a journey into the darkness. They had almost finished the dishes when the lights went out. Angie had already been over to distribute lanterns, and Steve would soon arrive to turn on the Carrier generator to keep the fridges cool. Generator-powered lights came in the one building, and everyone went back to their regularly scheduled programming. My wife Allyson and I decided to spend some more time in Carrier, since the rest of the camp was still powerless. She practiced the guitar, as outdoor school staff and camp staff passed back and forth.

This is the joy of camp life, that even when the lights go out completely, you can gather with your neighbors, pool your resources, and find a way to pass the night. It might not always be according to plan, but at camp sometimes the strongest memories are the ones where we are forced to go off script. That's often where we really get to know each other. Where we go from acquaintance to friend. From friend to family.

Tomorrow we will spend some time with those who have applied for this summer's Resource Staff, and by the end of the day, we hope to move forward in making the decisions of who will join us for the work will do at camp this summer. The next step in this journey of putting together a team and that team learning and growing, passing something along to hundreds and hundreds of guests week after week of June, July, August, and even a little piece of September. To think that some of the conversations we will have tomorrow will lead to that time around the table gathered together that the outdoor school staff is busy with right now.

It is clear everywhere you turn that things are transitioning to something new. It is often easier to identify the transition than the change when it is complete. We often have to look back and see that we are indeed changed, once the change has happened. But in that transition time, when the weather changes, when new people come in, when the flora around us erupts into color, we see the signs of something coming, something that will probably change our lives. Strong winds have been blowing at Camp Magruder recently. Something is on the way.

This weekend we are hosting Laurelwood Baptist Church's Men's Retreat and My Flights of Fancy's Spring Retreat. Hold their experiences in your prayers. Also keep your Resource Staff Interviews in your prayers. Pray for calm nerves in interviews, for clear heads in decision making, and for everyone to find a home to serve out their calling.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The News from Magruder 2/28-3/5

The weather this week has been a bit bipolar, alternating between powerful storms and serene blue skies. The weather on the Oregon Coast generally keeps us on our toes. You might be shedding layers one minute, soaking up sunshine and the next moment sprinting for an awning with your shirt pulled over your head. This type of weather teaches you not to squander the beautiful moments and not be too disillusioned by the grayer ones.

Monday was the deadline for applications for Magruder Resource Staff. These are the activity leaders who will live onsite as a part of the family this June through September. Afterwards, they'll be a part of that extended family that is always a part of Magruder lore. I love the thoughts that some of these names will be the names of people I see nearly every day for three months. They will be names that children and youth will hold with rock star status for the rest of their lives. Some of the names among the forms that came in will have an important impact on someone's life right here on these grounds.

In a few Saturdays, we'll interview the applicants and make the tough decisions about who we think will best serve this year. Right now, I'm in coordinating mode--organizing the interview schedule, making lists of who's gotten in the First Aid Certifications, who still has references out. But, very soon, we'll begin the work of forming relationships, building, and teaching. Even those we don't hire this summer, I hope we can help serve their calling, grow in a way that they might do the work someday. I'm tired of the paperwork, ready for the real work. The face-to-face work. The memorable work.

One morning this week, we were all woken up by a bright lightening flash, followed quickly by a loud boom. Rain dumped on our rooftops like the bucket was tipped over all at once. I began to plan my day, thinking of how I would need to wear my light, fast dry pants, how I would need a rain jacket all day. The jacket would need to be hung up immediately to be dry by the next time I went out. By the time I left for the office, though, the sky was clear, the only rain falling from branches in the breeze.

It is March now, and we are seeing more and more signs of it. The days are getting longer, and we've even been treated to a few sunsets over the beach. Flowers are budding on many of our bushes. A few Huckleberry blossoms can be seen, precursors to the berries we'll pop like candy towards the end of the summer. This season of Lent is a time of reflection, a time of anticipation. In moments of anticipation, it's easy to just be impatient for the thing that's coming next. It's easy to be ready for the cool thing that's new and different, not like this thing we've been doing. Times of anticipation are also times of preparation, though, times where we get ourselves ready for what's coming. That way we know how best to welcome it, how to appreciate it, how to make it something truly special. We are preparing the best versions of ourselves to help what's coming be the best thing it can be.

I went home for lunch in the middle of the week. While at the sink, I looked out the window to a beautiful blue sky, the backdrop to the dark green shore pines. Sunbeams poured into the windows, and I thought of what a nice afternoon it would be. I imagined taking the long way back to the office, walking along the beach, soaking in the sun's warmth and a cool breeze coming off the ocean. Before I finished the dishes, clouds had come in and begun pouring rain again. I grabbed my rain jacket on the way out.

We seem to be straddling a doorway right now, one foot in one room, one in the other. It is our nature to want to know it will be one way or the other. It's also our nature to want the next thing. But, in that
time that we are hoping and waiting, we have a chance still to do important things. Opportunity is here right now. Let's plan the welcome party for the next big thing, let's get ourselves ready the way we think we should be. Let's be sure is something amazing, something worth longing for.

This weekend we welcome the Aphasia Network for a weekend retreat. We pray that you have a weekend filled with meaning and joy. Keep us in your prayers if you get a chance.