A Big Chorus Around the Campfire: A Note of Gratitude

In enjoy singing for the benefits a lot of people enjoy with it. It gives me energy, makes me feel deep emotions, it can be a lot of fun. I'm a decent singer, not a great one. I can mostly stay on key, occasionally harmonize well, and I can belt it out when I'm feeling it. But, anytime I sing alone in front of people, there will be some nerves. I will be very conscious of every note and feel the sweats come in if I don't hit them all correctly. Overthinking singing in this way often causes me not to sing as well. It's challenging. I will still do it. Sometimes it is still fun and even moving, but it takes some nerve to do it. 

Then there are the times I'm with a big group of people singing, especially when we are feeling it. Have you been part of those times when everyone is so into the song you are singing that everyone is singing loudly at their varying levels of skill, and you can't hear any one person, not even yourself? You are no longer a collection of voices--something blends and you become one voice. Sing at the top of your lungs--you won't hear you, you'll hear us. And, within that you can be free to miss a note or get a word wrong. Your imperfections are covered by the energy of all of you together. 

Last Tuesday (May 5) Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries participated in Giving Tuesday, a day designated for non-profits to lift up their needs and find support for the much-needed fundraising efforts brought on during the pandemic. Our six camps teamed up to raise funds to keep our sites running in this time where income has mostly dried up. A rough estimate for monthly utilities system-wide was $15,000. We decided a goal of $10,000 seemed bold and would get us most of the way there. We named the campaign: Keep the Fire Burning. 

We put out a call to people to help spread the word. Nearly 40 people answered the call. We saw wonderfully creative posts from all our camps from head shavings to beginner yoga to heartfelt devotions, and everything in between. On Tuesday we steadily saw our numbers grow. By the end of the work day, I left the Camp Magruder office about $1,000 shy of our goal. Before we finished dinner we had reached our goal. And the numbers kept climbing. As of Thursday, the numbers keep climbing. 

My heart has been touched by all the messages of love and support that accompany the donations. So many friends and families poured out their love and money that I'm sure is in short supply these days. Somewhere around 170 different people donated. As I write this post online giving sits at $13,725. We are close to covering that estimated utility cost. It is incredible. 

In this time of great uncertainty, this time of anxiety and worry. This time where some days it feels like we have the world to carry on our shoulders alone. When it feels like we are being shoved out onto a stage in a crowded theater to perform an opera on our own, Giving Tuesday gave me this feeling of many of us standing together, blowing the doors off with our voices together. This is going to be a hard time for our camps. But this feeling that many of us are doing the work together makes it feel like we can weather it. Thank you all who are part of this. Thank you for being part of this large, beautiful chorus. 

If you would still like to donate, the campaign will be live until the end of May. Just click here: