Sunday, February 26, 2017

The News from Camp Magruder February 19-25

We caught a chill this week at camp, the cold, wet ocean chills that get in your bones and won't get out. The temperatures were probably not lower than plenty of other parts of Oregon, but that wet cold is a different type of cold. These have been days you wanted a warm, hearty soup. These are days you want a hot drink within arm's reach at all times. These are the days you long for a toasty fire in your room.

As we move closer to the arrival of outdoor school, the weekdays are still quiet. We busy ourselves with the preparation, and we are at no loss for tasks, but the camp itself is still resting a bit. Soon we will have middle schoolers gracing our doorstep every week leading right up until the summer. Classrooms will be out of the classroom. Kids, rain or shine, will be out getting their lessons, learning with mind and body. In the mean time, we continue work away, hoping we will be totally prepare to receive them lovingly in a way that might transform them.

Towards the middle of the week, we welcomed our new Camp Chef. We will make an official announcement on the blog soon. The new chef had a chance to touch base with some of our kitchen staff, to look at menus, tour the kitchen. It is another moment of transition for us, another moment of welcoming someone new to the family. We look forward to growing in new ways, in seeing what our camp family looks like in a year or so.

We also said our farewells to Jay, who has been with Camp Magruder for several years now, helping to make our food a part of camp that regularly gets rave reviews. Jay is typically a quiet guy who prefers to stay in the kitchen, preparing the food, the orders, the cooks. Jay has a dry wit, that is hilarious if you pay close attention. In Thursday night, we made a taco bar and sat around the table together, sharing memories and talking about the next big adventures.

We also said goodbye to Anna who, over the past several months had become one of the prominent bakers in the kitchen. We will miss her scones, the snicker-doodle cheesecake, and on and on. But, we'll also miss her warm spirit, her smile and laugh whenever you talk to her out on the serving line. She has done wonderful things for herself and for us in this very short time she's been here.

When you work at a camp, you see so many faces come and go over the years. You see this with the guests you serve, but you also see it with the people you serve next to. Camp is very much about relationship building, and those relationships are full of hellos and goodbyes. We tell our camp friends goodbye at the end of the camp week, through tears and hugs. There are the hellos the next year when get of your car and run to your friends. There are the goodbyes we say to mentors and leaders as we graduate, as we move to new places. There are hellos waiting in the future with some of those people as well. We never know when our paths will cross again, but when they do, we sometimes feel like something was bringing us back towards each other the entire time.

On Friday, the Conference Camping Property Comittee arrived to conduct their bi-annual meeting. They toured our staff housing, talked about emergency preparedness, and discussed designations for CARE Funds that help all our camps with maintenance issues that impact health and safety. It was a pleasure sitting with these professionals who have a place in their heart for camping, who want to use their gifts to keep the property safe and maintained. As I walked them around our camp, I pointed out our buildings and the projects attached to them, but I also was sure we took time to look out over the lake and ocean, to stop on the evacuation hill to see the view on all sides, to name the trees in our woods.

These are things we do in a camp community. Walking together, appreciating the world together. In our daily lives, we often get so burden with our tasks and our personal worries and habits that it is difficult to take time to walk and observe. It takes great intention to sit at the table with loved ones and have a conversation. It is difficult to bake bread, to share it, to thank each other for their part in it.
It takes work to tell people goodbye lovingly and meaningfully. It takes great energy to give someone a warm welcome as if you have been waiting for them for an entire year. But, we love our time here, because something about places like this encourage that kind of energy. And so, something like this encourages that we will receive those gifts.

This weekend we had the pleasure to host our Property Committee, Grace Lutheran Church, and Open Meadow Alternative School's Step Up Program. Keep their good work in your prayers and your gratefulness.

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