Friday, December 16, 2016

The News from Magruder 12/11-17

As a large part of Oregon found itself blanketed under snow this week, we saw flurries on the coast along with some below average temperatures. Below average on the coast hovers around freezing, so we're in no place to whine, but there is something about a chill from the ocean air that seems to get into the bones a little deeper. We've definitely felt an unusual chilliness this week. You can tell when you spend a little too much time close one of those older windows. These days you will be reminded of the cold even if you manage to get away for a time.
There has been a lot of shuffling in the office recently, and new people are filling new spaces. Because the camp has entered its slow season, December has become the ideal time for us to go through filing cabinets, rearrange, recycle, and relocate folders and files. As we go through our archives deciding what is important to keep around and what will help us declutter our office lives, we are walking through years and years of camp paperwork. We are building forts of filing cabinets, electronics to be recycled, and banker boxes filled with camp financial records. We are doing this in hopes of having tidy, comfortable spaces to do our work. I believe in creating spaces that encourage growth. It's really what camp is for if you think about it. 

Though it's been cold and we've had a few moments of precipitation, the skies have been clearer than normal, especially at night. The full moon rose up over the coastal range on Tuesday night, bright enough to cast a shadow. The beach sand and the foam of the ocean waves by moonlight were beautiful, and the stars glimmered along with the lights from Rockaway Beach and Manzanita. I get a nostalgic feeling walking under a cold, clear night sky. Something about it feels open and rugged. During Christmas time, it's tough not to think about Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, feeling the cold air of a desert night, looking up at the glimmering stars. 

We are in some rare quiet moments at Camp Magruder. There is time to reflect on cleaning up our spaces, on peace, on the stars over our heads. I have great hope that all this internal work will lead us to better our outward work as this quiet season gives way to another more busy one. This Saturday the Magruder staff will gather for our Christmas party. Jay and some kitchen staffers will put together a Christmas dinner. We'll exchange White Elephant gifts and likely reminisce on 2016 like you do when you reach the close of a year. 

We'll part ways for a little while to be with our families and celebrate the season. Then, we'll come back together and get back to the work of this camp. We'll continue to clean and organize. We'll put together plans for training and new staff. We'll check the reservations and be sure they are in order. We'll put out the welcome sign and wait for the next guest groups to pull and come into the office. Then we will be reminded of what all the quiet reflections and work to put the house in order were for.

But, for now we are still in this time of quiet. This time of anticipation. This time of taking silent walks under the stars as we breath our visible breath into the night sky. These moments to think about the baby to be born. Moments to remember what we've seen this year. Moments to remember our guests, our seasonal staffers, campers. Moments to wonder how they are faring these days. We will hold them in our hearts like Mary, as she did in the stable, that space that she and Joseph moved into and created to make into something transformative. We will hope in our quiet time that the experiences to come at this place will also transform the world. We hope will come to us rugged and open like the night sky, and we will walk out into it amazed.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Magruder staff. We'll be back with more posts in the new year. 


Friday, December 9, 2016

The News from Magruder Dec 4-10

The temperature the past few weeks has trickled lower and lower, and this week on Wednesday morning the sun rose to reveal a thick layer of icey frost covering the grounds here at Camp Magruder.  Somehow the frost made up for the bitter cold, as if affirming its presence.  Plus, it's a pretty site to see frost creeping out to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean.  We didn't get much from the winter storm advisory that predicted ice, and possibly even snow, but the local schools took extra precautions and closed in anticipation.

Something about cold weather really does usher in the anticipation of this season.  Piling on warm sweaters and bundling up next to the fireplace are some of the most iconic ways to embrace the Christmas season.  Last week the office staff loaded up and headed over to Bay City City Hall to help them organize their donations for the Christmas Store they hold for low income families across the northern region of Tillamook County.  There were tables and tables of toys stacked high, and then fewer, but still several, tables stacked with clothes and adult gifts.  Observing a community take special care and concern for its children, the most vulnerable members of its population, left me feeling hopeful.  It also made me hope the adults that needed that special care and support, too, were receiving it in their own ways.  I continue to be hopeful that we will find ways to love and care for each other even in a season of the world that feels dominated by negativity and hateful discourse, especially if you check social media too often.

I was named Hope by my parents, who say they just knew the name fit when they heard it.  One of the kindest compliments I receive is when people say the virtue is fitting for who I am.  In this season of Advent, I remember that sentiment more frequently, thankful that my name is a reminder of such an important action.  "To hope," I believe it helps us spring into action, it helps us envision something better, something attainable.

The quiet season here at Camp Magruder is a lot about that hope.  There aren't many guests that come through.  Many days the mail lady is the only car outside of the full time staff to drive under our welcome sign.  We spend our time in the office, hunched over computers, scouring emails and charts often tracking growth, often imagining the future.  We remember the guests that have visited us over the past year.  Sometimes I still receive snail mail from summer campers.  We think back to the spring, summer, and fall, we hear laughter echoing the grounds where the frost now sits, we think of the kids who are back at school, and we hope that what we do right now, what we do at this place will grow something in someone else that can build a world that's easier and kinder to live in, a world where we continue to find ways to love and care for each other,  not just in this season of Advent, but in every season.

By: Hope Montgomery, Program Director