Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Adam Barton

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 Resident Counselor Adam Barton. You may also see Adam at Camps Latgawa and Suttle Lake.

Name: Adam Barton

School: University of Mississippi (OLE MISS)

Major: Political Science

Favorite color: Blue

My greatest spiritual gift is: Leadership

My favorite Bible verse is: Psalms 121:7-8

Favorite Camp Magruder activity: Recreation

Actor who would play me in a movie about my life: Liam Hemsworth

My spirit animal is: A stag

Favorite Get to know you question is: If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Ideal vacation spot: Costa Rica

Dream Job: Sky Diving Instructor

Fun fact about me: I played college soccer

Something I want to say about this summer: Summer is my favorite time of the year for a few reasons: camp, warm weather, and a change of pace from my busy school year. This summer is going to be a blast at Camp Magruder!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The News from Magruder 5/22-28

This week we've seen mostly pleasant days out on the coast. There's been the occasional drizzle here and there, and we've had stretches of gray overcast, but sunshine has not eluded us for too long on any given day. There's still a chill in the air in the mornings and evenings, but the middle of the day often encourages you to shed a layer or two and soak up the warmth on your bare arms. As we move nearer and nearer to summer, the air itself seems to be inviting out to spend more time in it.

In addition to our regular Outdoor School group this week, we also welcomed Sunnyside Environmental School for their 7th grade Marine Biology Trip. This group would have several Magruder staff led activities which generally means there are more opportunities to get to know the group a little deeper.

This was our first guest group to do boating since the new boat dock pier was completed, so it became necessary to move the rowboats and rescue boats back over to the boat dock slips. I got out to the lake in the morning, before the group arrived and went to the work of flipping the heavy row boats onto their hulls. I made a few trips from the boat closet with oars and a life vest. My little dog Digby was out, assisting with all of my labors along with sniffing the bushes for raccoons.

I find great pleasure in these moments, setting up all the pieces for activities, anticipating groups to come and what they will do. It is the quiet before the storm in many ways. There are these intimate moments of closely inspecting the equipment. This time to listen to the sounds of the birds, gauge the wind and the sky. Time slows down, and you absorb what is right around you, allow it to tell you things and educate you.

I sat Digby down in each boat, rowing from shoreline to boat mooring. We stood, propped on the sides of the boat, scanning the water, this strange world compared to the hard ground he is used to scampering over. I rowed each boat in this fashion, and the world seemed to open up as we moved farther towards the center of the lake. Life feels a bit different on top of the water, even if it is just a lake. As we made our voyages, I thought of all the people, myself included, who would ferry a boat out into this expanse of water and look at the panoramic view rising up all around of tree covered mountains and dunes. What a pleasure it is to be one of the caretakers of these experiences.

I love how connections grow with a group during their stay. It begins when a group of 20-30 campers come walking down the gravel drive to the boat house to hear the rules. They are shy or cocky, trying to figure you out as you talk to them. You begin to check everyone, seat everyone, remind them of rules and paddling techniques. These stretches continue in other activities. You see each other at meals. Some begin to say hi when you pass at random. You get to know some, and they make it a point to tell you goodbye before they leave. Who knows what it will be like, when paddling the boats to their place or wheeling out the targets for archery or setting out the plates for meal time. You could be making preparations that lead to something far bigger than a simple activity.

On their last day, Sunnyside put together an art show in the Kimberly Center of the Edwards Lodge. They displayed dioramas in cigar boxes, hand made drums and kites, and several other projects. The students had boated, swam, dissected squids, built forts and tunnels on the beach, and sat down with us three times a day to share food. Thinking about their work, I imagine all the things we create in our life, and how we can express ourselves in so many ways. I think about the watching and the inspiration, then the motivation and the doing.

The next day, as our school groups completely cleared out and Memorial Day weekend began, we welcomed our holiday Family Camp and Camp to Belong, a retreat that works with foster care families. At Magruder, we would just reset and wonder what unique experiences lay in store with this new set of people. There were a few moments of quiet to breath in the smell of the trees, take in the sound of the ocean. Some time again to set the table for a new set of visitors, also with no idea all the possibilities one visit might hold.

As you center your prayers on the holiday, on memorials, on safe travels, on quality family times, consider all our guests this weekend, that their time spent is truly special.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Rikki Earle

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 Rikki Earle.

Name: Rikki Earle

Hometown: Amity, Oregon

School/Job: I’m a 4th year at Western Oregon University. I work as a student leader for the Peer Mentor Program on campus. 

Major: I am currently declared as a double degree in ASL(American Sign Language) Studies and Communications with a minor in Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling. I am considering changing to an interdisciplinary studies degree where I will have 4 different focus’ ASL Studies, Communications, Special Education, and Psychology.

Favorite Color: My favorite color is green, but not just any green. Lime green, the limyest of greens it makes your eyes hurt.

My greatest spiritual gift is:  My greatest spiritual gift is my ability to find joy in the little things.

Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: My favorite camp activity is greased watermelon football in the lake

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: My favorite camp food would definitely be the oatmeal in the morning with salal and strawberries

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? I would definitely have Melissa McCarthy play me!

What is your spirit animal?  A Bear

Favorite get to know you question:  If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you and why?

Ideal Vacation Spot:  Ireland

Dream Job: My dream job would in some way involve me advocating for and working with men who have been involved in dating violence, have been sexually assaulted or been in domestic violence situations.

Fun Fact about me: I can break an apple in half with my hands

Something you want to say about this summer: I am so excited to be spending another glorious summer at Magruder. The connections I’ve made throughout all my years at camp are ones that I will cherish forever and I can’t wait for all the new faces that will walk through the gates.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The News from Magruder 5/15-21

We caught a little bit of a chill on the coast this week. There wasn't quite as much sunshine as we've
been treated to lately, so we spent more time in the 50s, rarely experiencing anything that felt like the 60s. It's been breezy this week, especially out on the beach. Still, it is so beautiful outside, you don't mind forgiving the coolness. A medium jacket is certainly not too much to ask to experience what we have outside in the middle of May.

I you are a dutiful United Methodist, you know that General Conference is happening right now, and this time around it's happening in our back yard. For those who don't eat, sleep, and breathe Methodism, General Conference is the gathering of UM leaders from all over the world to access the direction of the church, church stances, etc. This gathering happens every 4 years, and Portland was chosen as the host city for 2016. The church is grappling with some big, impactful decisions, the biggest being the debate about LGBT inclusion. In the camp office, we kept up with the proceedings from a distance that seemed a bit farther removed than it actually was physically.

Reality on a large, legislative scale is so much different than it is locally, on the ground. The big decisions on a General Conference floor seem to carry this world heavy weight, a weight that feels like it will permanently alter the world, and maybe it will. I big part of the changes have been happening more locally all over the place for a while. I appreciate the part we get to play in the changes that will be carried up the ladder to the rest of the world. I made my first gay friend while working at camp. We were friends long before I knew he was my first gay friend. By the time I found out, I was interested, intrigued, but it hardly seemed consequential to our friendship. Too much history built at camp together. Too much trust already established.

There was no way this experience wouldn't influence my perspective. I don't know what the Methodist Church will do with this going forward, but I believe the seeds for whatever that is have already been planted in places like we have here at camp. They are sprouting, growing, adding layers, determining a way to subsist and sustain, a way to reach balance in the ecosystem.

On Tuesday, a choir from Africa University (a UM school in Africa) with volunteers from Newberg UMC visited Magruder. College students are their mentors were here from such a wide range of nations on the continent across the Atlantic: Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Ghana. I sat on a
piece of driftwood with a music professor watching the students play chicken with the ocean tide, kick the soccer ball, and take selfies next to the Pacific Ocean (I guess that's a universal thing for all college students). We talked about what it is like to live in the place we live. We talked about how we each got where we're at now. We each offered the other a very brief tour guide's intro to the place we live.

I think back to so many times in my life when my perspective or my opinion has been shaped and reshaped just by being in the same space with someone I had not been with previously. I think about how talking about normal, mundane things with someone, how breaking bread with someone, how sitting and sharing an appreciation for something beautiful with someone can create an understanding that decades of logic and rhetoric couldn't reproduce. We are thinkers and feelers both, all of us. Thoughts can change feelings, feelings can change thoughts. Both together can mold our actions. I see these transformations so much at camp--it is this beautiful crossroads of many people, coming from many places, carrying many different things we might exchange.

Angie and I were walking from the office to Carrier Dining Hall for lunch, and it began to rain about the time we stepped out the door. So much can happen in a short amount of time on a simple stroll from point A to point B. We intercepted a parent coming to pick up a student. We talked to several outdoor school staffers as they passed on foot or bike. The rain consistently got heavier and heavier as our journey went on. Still, it wasn't heavy enough that we felt the need to change pace. It was a rain we could stomach.

I went out to the beach as the sun sat on Tuesday. The wind had blown dunes into the sand. All the footprints and movement had been reshaped into something new. We couldn't see the paths we had created with our feet just a few hours earlier. The Earth is constantly bringing about change, covering
over some things, revealing something else long hidden. In our lives we are turning over in the same way. One day we walk out and we see the story of so much before us. On other days, we encounter something new that the wind is bringing in.

Back in the office, Steve, Angie, and I met to talk about reporting ACA standards, and sitting there I scratched an itch and found a small pile of sand in my ear that had piled up from the wind while I sat on driftwood watching the Africa University students play on the beach. Things get planted sometimes and we don't even realize. We carry pieces of all we encounter. It shapes us, it becomes part of us.

This weekend we host the Portland Gay Men's Choir. Join our prayers that their experience offers them something they will want to carry back.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Dawn-Hunter Strobel

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 Resident Counselor, Dawn-Hunter Strobel. You may also meet Dawn at Camp Latgawa or Suttle Lake this summer.

Name: Dawn-Hunter Strobel

Hometown: Weeeeell I was raised in Joseph, Oregon and consider that home but when I was 12 I moved to Kingsport, Tennessee where I still live and I consider this my hometown too. I have moved around a lot as a product of my dad being a pastor.

School: Graduating from Dobyns-Bennett High School in a month, attending Willamette University next fall.

Major: Theatre

Favorite Color: I want to say all sunset colors but that’s just so broad so sunset Yellow (which could be a number of different yellows but hey the sentiment is the same)

My greatest spiritual gift is meeting people where they’re at and taking them for who they are.

Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:8

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity Beach Walks!!

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

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? I want to say a younger Audrey Hepburn (if time travel were possible) but honestly probably Jennifer Lawrence.

What is your spirit animal Meerkat

Favorite get to know you question: What are you passionate about?

Ideal Vacation Spot: Germany but also..everywhere else ever.

Dream Job: Theatre teacher/director. For a while I thought I wanted to teach theatre for secondary school but I’m liking the idea of high school. We shall see what the future brings.

Fun Fact about me: I am a published author.

Something you want to say about this summer: I am overwhelmingly excited to be in my favorite place in the entire world all summer! I look forward to working with all of you and having some serious God encounters.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The News from Magruder 5/8-14

Sunshine has been on our shoulders much of this week, and as the calendar tells us we are closer and closer to summer, the sky is saying the same thing. We've had warm days that draw you outside and encourage you to look up into the tree canopy as you walk. Breathe a little deeper. Smell the spruces and the spring flowers. It is out there, floating in the air we step through. And this air recently has been a pleasant air.

Rik and Tommie finished up the boat dock pier this week, putting the side railing to prevent anything rolling from rolling off the edges. The pier looks and feels so solid and strong. It is set up to be more accessible for people with mobility challenges. It is anchored to concrete to hold up better against future rising water. We can now begin to move the row boats back to their rightful summertime parking spot. This project took hard work and resulted in lots of sore backs. When you see the finished product, we gloss over the impressiveness that buildings and bridges and other structures remain standing in the place they stand. There's so much brain work and muscle work that goes into making those things that hold us up each day.

One of our Resource Staff members, Rikki, paid us a visit on Wednesday to practice swimming in preparation for her lifeguard class in about a month. Rikki was one of our strongest staff members
last summer and likely will be again this summer. She totally has the physical ability to swim and rescue people, but she's got a big phobia of tests. Last summer when I gave her an archery test, she got incredibly nervous, felt anxious each day leading up to the test. Then she scored the highest of all the staff. Swimming is definitely an activity that requires physical ability, but just as important, maybe more, is the ability to calm yourself and remember to breath. Much of what Rikki and I talked about was just slowing down and finding confidence, trusting your breath. If we can get in touch with that, often that's the most important thing day to day to holding ourselves up.

As Rikki and I walked down the main drive of the camp, I thought about how many times we will both make that walk in the upcoming months. The sun is coming out, the crisp warm smells of the season are becoming more pronounced. It all helps you imagine the summer more realistically. We have been planning all Spring, talking to volunteers about the opportunities of camp, training new people, developing new processes, and preparing fun and memorable experiences. I think about how these little experiences are pouring a foundation for something bigger we will build. I don't know if Rikki realizes this, but everything we talk about, everything she does to get ready may lead directly to something big a great for someone else. We are building something that will grow taller and taller, stretch wider and wider.

The Hillside Christian Fellowship's Men's Group arrived on Thursday for their annual retreat. This group of men have been coming to Magruder for many years. Their leader, Dave, talked about how some of the men here now came as boys, how it felt like a homecoming. Last year, this group built a fort on the beach that was bigger than my office. There were walls and even a partial roof. The structure of the fort was on the beach for the rest of the summer and part of the fall. Many groups
used the structure. We used it for a beach fire during staff orientation. A group of us sat there on the 4th of July. Retreat groups used it as a chapel for evening worships. It was finally completely dismantled when the Pacific high enough to wash it away in the early winter. One of the first thing the men talked about was building a new fort.

After welcoming Hillside, I was crossing the field, and outdoor school was doing their last campfire of the week. Staff member Basil saw me and waved me over, saying I could join them if I wanted to. I sat in the circle as the night came on and a chill entered the air, watching songs and skits, seeing this little community that had just formed over the week finishing up its time together, laughing playfully. From my observer seat, I thought of how we will be doing campfires soon, we will be dismissing a group of middle schoolers for the evening, we will be working to create this feeling of family around a campfire as the stars come out above our heads.

At lunch today, as the students were eating their last meal of pizza, carrots and hummus, I sat at the staff table, watching everyone pass by to their seats. One student passed, made eye contact with a head nod, and I said, "How's it going? Have you had a good week?" He said it had been great and, "I wish I could stay longer." I told him I wished he could to, then I said, "You can just come back as a counselor someday." I love planting those thoughts. So many of us find our selves in these fantastic
moments, moments that will at some point come to an end. It feels like it's over, but what if it's not? What if there is a way to return, a way to continue to be a part of it? What if that moment was just the foundation for something you didn't even know you were building? Something that will rise much higher, stretch much farther.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff:Rose Thomas

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 Resident Counselor, Rose Thomas. You may also meet Rose at Camp Latgawa or Suttle Lake this summer.

Name: Rose Thomas

Hometown: I spent the first few years of my life in Portland and moved to Eugene about 11 years ago.

School/Job: I currently attend Lane Community College and am in the Oregon Marching Band at U of O. I work at this super cool health food restaurant called Cafe Yumm! So if anyone wants a Yumm! bowl let me know!

Major:  The plan is to get a degree in Human Services and then attend seminary to be come an Episcopal Priest.

Favorite Color: My favorite color is blue! When you get to know me you will start to notice that I wear blue everyday! (Of coarse this is not intentional, but a lot of my clothing is blue)

My greatest spiritual gift is out reach. I believe that one of the most important things a Christian can do is out reach. I love helping people in anyway they need it.

Favorite Bible Verse: Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, Eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. (I love food so naturally this is my favorite verse)

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: Other than FOB, my favorite activity is camp fire.

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: Mac and Cheese, 'nuff said.

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life?: Hopefully Mia Mitchell, but sadly I am not Australian.

What is your spirit animal: Most people say I am a cat (because I like sleeping), but I am allergic to them so I don't think that would work out very well. So if I can choose I would like to be a sea otter. Did you know they hold hands with other otters when they sleep because they don't want to float away?

Favorite get to know you question: Which character in Harry Potter would you be? P.s. I would be Professor Flitwick.

Ideal Vacation Spot: New Zealand. (You've seen Lord of the Rings right?)

Dream Job: Dutch Bros drink tester. (Not like I haven't tried everything on the menu anyway)

Fun Fact about me: I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do

Something you want to say about this summer: I am really excited to be an RC again this summer. Last year was amazing and I have hope this summer will be just as amazing if not better!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Announcing Resident Counselors for Oregon-Idaho Conference Camps for Summer 2016

We are excited to finally announce the 8 counselors who will be serving three of our United Methodist Camps this summer. These 8 are part of a program Camp Latgawa, Camp Magruder, and Suttle Lake Camp are partnering to provide a paid summer position for counselors. These Resident Counselors will serve 1 week at Latgawa, 5 weeks at Magruder, and 2 weeks at Suttle Lake. All of our sites will still incorporate volunteer counselors, but we hope this core of trained, experienced counselors will offer stability and role models for our entire camping program and build up a culture of new young leaders.

Are Resident Counselors are:

-Sarah Allen
-Adam Barton
-Forrest Deters
-Emma Dewitt
-Carlee Hunt
-Dawn Hunter-Strobel
-Tanner Morton
-Rose Thomas

Look for these counselors at one of our great youth camps this summer. 

To get to know a little more about each counselor, check back on our camp blog. We post a profile of one of our staff members each week. 

Keep us all in your prayers as we prepare for our summer. We hope to see you sometime soon.

Meet the 2016 Staff: Emma DeWitt

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 Resident Counselor, Emma DeWitt. You may also meet Emma at Camp Latgawa or Suttle Lake this summer.

Name: Emma DeWitt

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan

School: Calvin College

Major:  Elementary Education

Favorite Color: White. Because it includes all of the colors

My greatest spiritual gift is: Showing God’s love to others

Favorite Bible Verse: Deuteronomy 31:6- “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: This is my first time coming to camp Magruder (and Oregon for that matter), so I don’t know much, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I’m excited to see what Magruder’s got!

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: I haven’t had any yet, but I’m sure it’s delicious because camp food is the absolute BEST.

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? Amy Pohler for sure!

What is your spirit animal: Without a doubt a bird; and if we’re getting into specifics here, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher because it’s small and colorful.

Favorite get to know you question: I have two: 1) who is your favorite superhero? AND 2) what is your favorite compliment that you have received?

Ideal Vacation Spot: Anywhere I haven’t already been (which is a lot of places).

Dream Job: Food critique (Free food!)

Fun Fact about me:  I can make a pretty impressive snake balloon animal.

Something you want to say about this summer: I’m extremely overjoyed and ecstatic to embark on this journey that God is sending me on. I can’t wait to see how He works through all of us to make an impression on campers and influence their lives. I’M SO PUMPED FOR THIS SUMMER YO!