Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Sarah Allen

With the summer here, 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 Sarah Allen. You may also see Sarah at Camps Latgawa and Suttle Lake.

Name: Sarah Allen

Hometown: Nehalem, OR (Currently living in Burley, Idaho)

School/Job: Boise State University

Major:  Masters of Social Work

Favorite Color: My favorite color changes depending on my mood. I really love blues and purples, and sometimes bright neon colors.

My greatest spiritual gift is: I think my greatest spiritual gift is listening/caring for others.

Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: Anytime on the beach!!!

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: Either Mac and Cheese or Grilled cheese!

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life?  Sarah Hyland

What is your spirit animal? Polar bears! I absolutely love them and think they are such amazing animals

Favorite get to know you question: If you could spend the rest of your life only eating one food, what would it be?

Ideal Vacation Spot: Paris

Dream Job: Any job that would pay for me to travel all over the world.

Fun Fact about me: I was once an extra in a movie.

Something you want to say about this summer: I am super excited to be spending the whole summer in such a wonderful place on the coast

Sunday, June 26, 2016

This Week at Magruder 6/19-25

This week and our summer opened with a sunshiny day, which is what you hope for. When the cars pull in to drop off excited campers, you want the sun to beam down on you and them as you greet each other. You don't want to have to cover your head or feel your sleeves begin to drench in the rain. We will, of course, make due in the rain and still manage to have a good time. After all, it's camp. But, the sunshine is a beacon of something, an encouragement to be warm and welcoming.

Our first Program Week included Elementary I, Middle School I, and MADD (Music, Art, Drama, and Dance) Camp. It is a joy to see familiar faces return, a year older. It is an equal joy to welcome new faces, knowing they will become familiar in a matter of 5 days. It is a whirlwind how things can change from the start of one week to the end. The first camper pulled in, then another, then another. The check-in line grew, shrunk, grew again, slowed until each camper was checked in.

There are these inevitable moments of satisfaction while a camp week goes on before your eyes. No week goes completely smoothly. Outside us, there are things happening we don't understand, things that hurt to know, things we don't exactly know how to respond. It is great comfort to walk next to the field as children and youth play games, getting to just be kids. That there are teenage, young adult, and older out there also tapping into their childlike qualities. It is a comfort to see that that play is
fostering something. That playing silly games with hula hoops, potato sacks, and tug-of-war rope might be building something that could eventually smooth out the bumps, something to redeem the things we don't understand.

There is nothing like the feeling of walking a stretch of land and having people greet you by name, give you high five, run up for hugs, ask you to play the next round of gaga. There is something to community building that refreshes the soul. Beyond that, though, we need it. The more community is broken the more we hurt, the more we take on a yoke all alone. I was so proud watching our counselors in their element--many counseled for their first time, but I felt like each camper was in the hands of young people, wise beyond their years. I watched their energy as they played, I felt so touched by what they were doing, and I dreamed that this would be the seeds planted of our church.

I think of talking to a camper on the deck of a cabin after a touching worship, where we swapped stories and offered comfort to each other. I've had so many conversations like this under a starry night sky, as we pondered our place here, what it is we are doing, why it is things happen as they do. When you push off the boat the next day, say the mealtime blessing, wave goodbye as the car pulls out of the drive to Highway 101, those conversations linger. Each time you interact, there is a part of you being passed back and forth without even thinking. This is what it means to live side-by-side. This is what community looks like.

The week passed quickly. It is hard to believe it is already over. A few months from now, we will likely consider how quickly those months passed since the first camper pulled in. We will do this with our lives inevitably. I thought, as I watched the MADD performance, seeing these youth in the prime of their lives dancing, performing, laughing how nice it would be just to freeze that moment and stay in it for a time. No doubt, there are moments of doubt and pain in store for everyone some time or another. But, singing together, clapping, watching these gifts on display, the parts of the world we'd prefer to hide from seemed to be hiding from us. All that was clear was the time we shared together.

I can see how those campers will hold onto that moment their whole lives. I wished I could sit there with them in that happiness longer. We would soon step out of Sherlock Lodge, then the next day the cars would pull in and drive out. I hope, though, that time stays somewhere, that those campers decide they will not lose that feeling completely, that they will bring it up in the darkest times and it will be comfort. That they will be that version of themselves because it is their best shot at happiness, their best shot at love. I hope that what we do here matters.

This week, we welcome Camp to Belong, a week-long camp that reunites siblings separated in the foster care system. Among the many other prayers you life up for us, join us in praying for peace, reunion, and joy.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The News from Magruder 6/12-18

This week, we saw many, many things. There was sunshine, there were clouds. There was wind and there was rain. We spent the week in staff training, while also hosting several retreat groups. Adam,
Anna, Ben, Carlee, Dawn, Emma, Forrest, Maddy, Melia, Rikki, Rose, Sarah, and Tanner were on hand getting to know each other, learning hard skills, exploring their faith, and envisioning all the ways they might grow and challenge themselves this summer.

It was a whirlwind of a week, as training weeks tend to be. We had long days and late nights. We had hilarious dinner conversations. We piloted boats on the lake and waded into the ocean. We studied scripture, sang songs, and built fires. We played games and practiced emergency responses. We discussed diversity and safe sanctuaries. We became a family.

On Thursday, many of year round staff joined the summer staff on the beach for a fire where we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  I remember looking around at this family that already seemed so close to each other. It didn't matter who you sat next to. We had shared so much in just a week.
Who knows what this little group will look like by August. We were supposed to finish up on the beach at about 7:00, but Hope and I looked around at everyone, and we just couldn't bring ourselves to end it yet.

There's something magical about beginnings. We are brought together by so many different forces. We vaguely know the purpose when we arrive. As time moves on, a deeper understanding grows. Our bond to each other motivates us further. We start to realize that what we've entered into is much larger than we imagined before. There is so much promise, so much hopefulness. I've seen enough of these to know that there will be low points, bumps in the road, valleys. But, I have faith this group will push on and find some pretty brilliant high points.

On the last day of our training, we ended at the prayer labyrinth. I had the staff consider what they had arrived with, what they had brought to camp on their way to the center. At the center of the labyrinth, I asked them to consider the past week and what it meant to them. Then on the way out of
the labyrinth, they were asked to consider the coming summer and how they hope to walk out into it.

I walked the path with them, finding myself very close to staff members at moments and far away after one quick turn. I thought about how there will be plenty of moments this summer where we will
feel the same way, distant then close. How we will be working in parts of camp, completing different tasks, tackling different problems that may seem to set us apart, when in reality we are on the same path, right behind each other.

Many of us made it to the center at the same time. I sat on the ground, crossed legged on the floral center pattern. I bowed my head to pray and meditate. When I looked up, I saw the faces of these people, deep in reflection and prayer. There we were tightly squeezed together in this peaceful moment, the ocean waves and bird songs in our ears. It felt so comfortable sitting still, sunshine on my shoulders, surrounded by this group of people who will give themselves to our work this summer.

We would each get up and make our way back around the winding path. I was exhausted, glossy
eyed, slower than normal. It was a long week for us all. But we were walking out, walking into something new and big. I looked at each one of them as we made our way into the beginning of our summer together. I felt proud to be associated with this group of people. Proud to walk next to them. Proud to be trusted with this cause. Proud and humbled all at once.

Very soon the first campers of our children/youth program camps will arrive. Pray that their time will look something like our dreams for them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Forrest 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 Resident Counselor Forrest Deters. You may also see Forrest at Camps Latgawa and Suttle Lake.
Name: Forrest Deters
Hometown: Dallas, Oregon
School: I’m graduating from Central High School in Independence, Oregon, and next fall I’ll be attending Willamette University
Major: I am very unsure of what I want to study, but I’ll be involved in the choral program and probably pursuing a degree in physics, biochemistry, or communications with a double minor in political science and environmental science.
Favorite Color: green. But not, like, dark green or neon green. More like a nice, vivid, deep green. Like really really good looking grass or something.
My greatest spiritual gift is helping people love themselves.
Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Peter 4:8
Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: BEACH SOCCER or hiking the Big Dune
Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: grilled cheez 4 dayz
Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? David Tennant
What is your spirit animal? The mighty llama
Favorite get to know you question: Who’s your favorite superhero?
Ideal Vacation Spot: some island somewhere
Dream Job: particle physicist
Fun Fact about me: I really, really, really, really like the Pentatonix. Also I administer and curate a Go-Gurt Memes Facebook Page on the side.

Something you want to say about this summer: I am so excited to meet all of you and to spend an entire summer at camp! Hoping to make some good memories.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The News from Magruder 6/5-11

At the beginning of the week, the first of our summer staff arrived. They were here to get certified as lifeguards, to be trained as level 1 archery instructors. They brought a shift with them, a feeling of beginnings. It is the infant stages of our summer. We are learning to walk, grabbing things and looking closely at them. It is a time of growth and the growth must be quick. In about three months, we'll be saying goodbye. This group will know this place like a bedroom. We'll have inside jokes. We'll memories that will already be changing us.

Yes, we are about to begin the summer at Camp Magruder. We have started our orientation, even as I type this dispatch to all you loyal readers. The planning has already started. The preparations are being made. Growth is happening already. Learning is happening already.

It is time for wave jumping, for row boats. It is time for s'mores stuck to fingertips. It is time for sand hidden in shoes and socks.

These are the days of late nights telling jokes and stories, the days of hugs under the spruce trees, the days of sand candles, wood cookies, and tie dye t-shirts. The days of new friends and old friends. People we look up to, people we fall in love with.

These are the days of smelly wet towels, life jackets, sun screen, and bug spray.

We will walk through the woods in pairs or triads or 5x5, singing silly songs like canon. We will warm ourselves by the fire as the darkness takes hold. We will share pows and wows, peaks and valleys, highs and lows, the places we saw God.

We will stand in lines by the ocean looking out over the vast sea and sky feeling a small part of something big. We stand on top of large hills looking out over treetops and thank God that we have even a small time here together.

We tell secrets we've never told here. We make promises we keep here. People find themselves here.
People are themselves here. People discover who they want to be here.

These are the days of blue skies and sun. These are the days of swim trunks. These are the days of huckleberrries and salal. These are the days of smoke smell in t-shirts. These are the days of laughter through goodbye tears.

We are preparing for late nights and early mornings. We are preparing for washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms. We are preparing our smiles for cars pulling into the North Ballfield. We are preparing
our singing voices, our gaga serves, our campfire stories.

This is where we make bracelets and memories, sand forts and life-long friends.

It is time for growth. It is time for sunshine and light. It is time for giggles and embraces. It is time for teary eyed goodbye hugs. It is time to get back to nature. It is time to meet new brothers and sisters. It is time for summer camp.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Carlee Hunt

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 Carlee Hunt. You may also see Carlee at Camps Latgawa and Suttle Lake.

Name: Carlee Hunt

Hometown: Salem, Oregon

School: Linfield College

Major: Undecided (maybe environmental science, or something related, but I’m not really sure!)

Favorite Color: Orange, because it’s a happy color

My greatest spiritual gift is: my positive energy, and optimistic attitude.

Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: Boating!

Favorite Food youve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: Anything related to sandwiches

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? Jennifer Lawrence because she is fierce

Favorite get to know you question: Two truths and a lie

Ideal Vacation Spot: Any place warm! One place I have always wanted to go to is New Orleans for the food and history.

Dream Job: Entrepreneur

Fun Fact about me: I can wiggle my ears

Something you want to say about this summer: I am very excited to meet everyone and I  cannot wait to see what this summer will bring!

Friday, June 3, 2016

The News from Magruder 5/29 - 6/4

We're seeing this pleasant mix of Spring and Summer out on the coast these days. There's still a slight chill in the mornings and evenings. We're not quite to shorts and T-shirt weather all the time, but it does feel great to be outside, and in those moments when you grab about 30 minutes of sunshine on you're shoulders, it's positively golden.

Magruder started its week by concluding our Memorial Day Retreats that got to spend an extra day with us because of the holiday. We had Camp to Belong, a large camp that works with foster families, and our own Memorial Day Family camp, which this year had nearly 40 participants. On Monday morning, I woke up at about 6:30am to meet a brave group for Memorial Day family campers for a polar bear swim.

The schedule had not listed a polar bear swim, but Jocelyn had requested it, and if you truly want to pursuance people to do something the best tactic is having a cute, 6 year old ask for it. At 7am, the sun has technically risen at Camp Magruder, but it's still hiding behind the coastal mountain just east of camp. The world feels a little different before it emerges. It is quieter, mistier, you feel like the world is still waking up in the same way you are still waking up. What's better to wake you both up than to jump into a big lake that has been steadily chilling all night?

I was excited to see that there were adults joining the kids in this delightfully insane activity we do throughout the summer. There is something about jumping into the cold water that feels very much at the heart of being a kid. In our adultiness, we must spend so much of our day doing important, serious things. Things that legitimately must be done, that make our life better. As we do those things,
though, we slowly train ourselves to let go of some of that childlike wonder that keeps us full of joyand fascination with life, with this wonderful world we get to live in. I love to see adults latch back onto that childish spirit, sharing it with the young people in their life, giving them hope that growing up is basically code for "giving up all your joy."

During the week, we hosted one of PDX Village School's 8th grade classes. This was essentially a time for this group of youth, many who had been together since starting school, to be together one last time before parting ways and moving on to different high schools. It was a time for them to debrief, to play together, and to think about what their time with each other had meant. I led the challenge course with them, and before we started I asked what they hoped they would get out of the experience. Most said they wanted to be closer, to spend quality time together a little bit longer, to feel like they trusted each other more. We did some trust building exercises: simple trust falls, blindfolded walks. We did the criss-cross.

It's so humbling to step in a be a momentary part of a group's story. To pick up on some of the relationships, the baggage, the bonds, the joy, the longing to grow in the groups you encounter at camp. We get to step in a try to help them grow, to give them a space to focus more fully on that. I see so many people get closer to the idea of who they truly want to be. I see so many groups leave with a clearer picture of how they want to live in the world. These youth are like any other youth. They are figuring out how to form relationships, doing inspirational things, making goofy mistakes, for maybe the first time really asking that question, "Who am I? Who are we?" I love to be a witness to these growth points, to times at camp when a set of dots get connected. I hope that this 8th grade class takes this experience and it helps the inevitable challenges of high school be a little easier to deal with. I hope they are motivated to push on because of what they have seen from each other and themselves.

This week marked the final week of Outdoor School's Spring term. The staff that has been here for months now will pack up their stuff soon and ship out. Some are traveling to the other side of the country for new opportunities, some are going to California for the summer, one is going to Alaska. Some will hop into summer jobs and be back with us in the Fall. Others we may never see again. On
Thursday night, they did their last camp fire. There was lots of silliness. Lots of stuff that was incredibly confusing out of context (and probably still confusing in context). Everyone laughed. I noticed a few sneaking out a tear or two. As they transitioned to the more quiet reflective part of campfire, and people began singing, I started to look around at people, wondering what they were experiencing. The teachers here for the week, who got a chance to step into a slightly different role with their students. The students in a different sort of classroom, seeing their peers in slightly different lights her around the fire. The staff who had watched many schools come and go, who could do a campfire on autopilot. There were probably moments from this night some of these people would remember the rest of their lives. Which ones were they? What was it about the moment?

The staff sang their final song and the students were dismissed. They hung around the fire, making jokes, talking about some of the campfire acts with each other. It was the last night of the last week. In the moment, exhaustion and responsibility have a great deal to determine how we approach them. That is in the moment. Years to come, what will these moments mean? How many times will we go back to them as we grow older? As our older self, knowing where we've come, which moments will we see as the ones that shaped us most, that altered our path most crucially? Maybe they just
happened. Maybe we saw our self in a way we never had before, maybe it helped us get closer to who we are now or who we want to be in the future. Maybe jumping in the cold water, telling someone we wanted to trust them, standing up in front of our peers and singing--maybe that was one of the most important things we would ever do. Maybe not. But, it could happen at any moment. It might have already happened, or it could happen in the next 5 minutes. I hope we are ready for it. I hope we remember.

This weekend we welcome PNW Kiwanis, Mountain Park Church AWANA, Banks High School Graduation, and a few summer staffers getting trained as life guards. Share with us thoughts, prayers, and gratefulness that we get to share the journey with so many.