Road Construction Nears Completion

A new road is in place, ushering in a new era at Twin Rocks Friends Camp.

In  matter of weeks, roads will no longer crisscross through the center of camp. Cars won’t park among cabins, delivery trucks won’t back into pedestrian areas, and campers won’t wander through maintenance facilities.

A season of construction is nearing completion. The end is in sight. Already, new sidewalks among the Cabins of the Trees have replaced a gravelly space previously encumbered by cars. Overhead power lines have been removed. Parking lots have been expanded.

By next summer, new sidewalks and grassy lawns will be fully in place. Arriving campers will be greeted at a kiosk at the camp’s entrance and assisted at a nearby Welcome Center. Kids will play and enjoy the peaceful serenity of camp while vehicles meander around its perimeter.

The framework for this structural overhaul to the camp’s grounds has been in place since 2006, when after two years of extensive research and surveying of camp constituents, the Twin Rocks Board of Directors approved a new Master Plan. Anchoring the Master Plan was a commitment to rerouting vehicular traffic around the edges of camp, thus improving safety and revitalizing the center of camp by reserving it solely for campers.

Ultimately, the entire new perimeter road will be paved with asphalt. However, the camp’s Board recently decided to delay paving (likely until 2014) to keep the overall cost of the project on pace with projected funding. This reduced the $1.25 million initial goal to less than $1 million. Thus far, Twin Rocks has raised $650,000 toward its revised goal of $950,000, and has been bolstered by the promise of a $100,000 “top off” grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust once the camp secures the remaining $200,000.

Fundraising Flourishes

Good news continues to accompany Twin Rocks’ fundraising efforts. This year more than 300 families have contributed to the camp, bringing the Greenway & Parkway capital campaign total to $650,000, more than two thirds of the way toward its $950,000 goal. And another $100,000 has been promised to Twin Rocks – a gift that is “waiting in the wings.”

Party by the Parkway Fundraising kicked off in May, when Twin Rocks hosted a Party by the Parkway celebration at the camp, attended by nearly 800 people. As a result of the Party by the Parkway, more than $425,000 was raised. Throughout the summer, several hundred families who were unable to attend the Party were contacted and an additional $62,000 in Parkway pledges were secured.

Sylvia Hofstetter Estate In August, a $63,000 estate gift was received from Grover Hofstetter, given in memory of his wife, Sylvia. The Hofstetters’ strong connection to the camp resulted primarily from trips they made to Twin Rocks in the 1980s to visit Sylvia’s sister, Thelma Rose, who was then serving on Twin Rocks’ staff.

M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust In late August, and for the fourth time in a decade, Twin Rocks became the grateful recipient of a sizable grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust – this one in two parts, totaling $200,000. The Murdock Trustees granted the camp $100,000 outright, and an additional $100,000 with a contingency:

Top-Off Grant. To date, Twin Rocks has received $650,000 in four-year cash and pledges, leaving it just $300,000 short of its $950,000 budget. When the camp secures $850,000 in gifts and pledges, the Murdock Trust will “top off” the project by contributing the final $100,000!

Can You Help Twin Rocks Access A $100,000 Gift?

The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has promised to grant Twin Rocks $100,000 if Twin Rocks can raise a final $200,000 (reaching its $950,000 total goal). In essence, Murdock will contribute $1 for every $2 you give or pledge. If you’ve not yet contributed to the camp’s Greenway & Parkway campaign, now would be a great time to make such a pledge (payable by May 2014). Or perhaps you’ve already given and believe you can expand your pledge. Either way, please  utilize the enclosed pledge card or go to and click on the “Make A Donation” button.  Thanks for your kindness!

Murdock Trust Continues to Bless Twin Rocks

Twin Rocks has repeatedly benefited from the generosity of the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, having received $120,000 to help renovate the Shelter Recreation Center in 2000, $125,000 to construct the Bridge to the Beach pedestrian overpass in 2003, and $54,000 to expand and enhance Twin Rocks’ Internship program in 2009. In addition, several Twin Rocks staff and Board members have had the opportunity to participate in extensive Murdock-sponsored workshops on such topics as mentoring, development, fiscal management, and Christian leadership.

Coupled with the $200,000 Greenway & Parkway gift awarded in August 2010 ($100,000 outright and $100,000 with contingency), total Murdock grants to Twin Rocks this decade now total $499,000! According to Executive Director Ken Beebe, “Each Murdock gift has seemingly arrived at just the right moment, providing a burst of encouragement that’s enabled us to complete several key projects. It’s pretty amazing how integral the Murdock Trust has been to our camp’s growth, safety, and overall success.”

The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of the late Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon and a resident of Vancouver, Washington. Since its establishment in 1975, the Trust has focused its grant making efforts in five states of the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The Trust’s mission is to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants to organizations that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Although the major funding interests are education and scientific research, grants are also given to a wide variety of organizations, including those that serve the arts, public affairs, health and medicine, human services, and people with disabilities.

Party by the Parkway

Nearly 800 people representing 360 families enjoyed a Saturday at the Oregon coast on May 22, 2010, in an event accompanied by live music, free espresso, a sprawling seafood buffet, petting zoo, inflatable play structures, photo booth, camp museum, cotton candy, summer staff reunion, and more. Members of the Association of Oregon Kiters (who hold an annual kite-making retreat at Twin Rocks) colorfully decorated the camp with dozens of their kite creations. Adults gathered in the Shelter for dessert and an overview of the Greenway & Parkway project, and were given a chance to contribute toward its construction.

From the Director’s Desk

I’m sure you remember the feeling you get when friends stop by while you’re deep-cleaning your house. You’re embarrassed by the mess, but simultaneously proud to show off your wall-to-wall piles of books, papers, clothing, and trinkets, because you know that these heaps represent immense, strategic progress – a beautiful, revitalized space is just moments away. But your friends’ untrained eyes just see “cyclone.”

If you’ve been to Twin Rocks in the past few months, the word “cyclone” may have crossed your lips. Right now it’s hard to find a parking space, a sidewalk to stroll down, or a quiet place to sit and talk with a friend. Shortly after 7am each morning, you’re jarred from sleep by the incessant backup “beeps” from heavy construction equipment. Massive mounds of dirt are seemingly everywhere.

And yet I have a joy-filled heart:
■ Our new perimeter roadway will officially open within the next two weeks;
■ New sidewalks are transforming the Cabins of the Trees from “parking lot” to a grassy, treelined camper community;
■ We just completed a wonderful summer of camp ministry – one of the best I’ve witnessed in my 16 years at Twin Rocks;
■ Construction-to-date is occurring within budget, thanks to the diligent work of Bill Howard (Earthworks Excavation road contractor) and Jim Fisher (serving voluntarily as the camp’s “Owner’s Representative” for this project);
■ We’ve enjoyed a tremendous response to fundraising efforts, with $650,000 of our $950,000 Greenway & Parkway target already raised. And the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has offered to grant us an additional $100,000 once Twin Rocks secures the remaining $200,000.
There is much to do before we can declare the cyclone fully behind us, but we’re already beginning to celebrate. The Lord has truly been blessing us. We’re grateful for God’s kindness, and for each of you and all you do to make Twin Rocks such a special place.

Joni & Friends Come to Twin Rocks

While their mothers wheeled them down the beach side by side in their wheelchairs, Rebekah Tolbert and Steffi Edwards laughed and sang the theme to “Chariots of Fire.” Because of a beach access wheelchair owned by the camp, this was the very first time Steffi could cruise around the sand and roll up and down the shoreline.

Rebekah and Steffi were part of Joni and Friends, a new group to Twin Rocks and a nationally renowned Christian ministry to  disabled persons. Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic since a diving accident in her teens, founded this ministry that bears her name. Through it, countless disabled people and their families have been touched by the truth and love of the gospel of Christ. As one arm of the Joni and Friends ministry, camping provides disabled persons and their families chances to “get away”  rom life’s usual pace by relaxing in the beauty of God’s creation, finding hope while sharing with other families affected by disability, and participating in camp fun.

“I can’t wait to go fishing with my dad!” For days one young camper had been anticipating a special row boat excursion on Spring Lake. His wheelchair posed little problem as his father adeptly strapped it into the boat. Secured and ready they pushed off the dock and their fishing adventure began. They caught several fish and enjoyed trout for dinner that evening.

An integral part of the Joni and Friends camping experience is its STM (Short Term Missionary) program, in which volunteers are paired with disabled individuals and spend their week serving them and their families.

During the day and a half in which STM volunteers from their teens to their eighties join together for training, STM’s Annette and Darrell Spratt were introduced to the world of disability and what lay ahead for them. As Annette tells it, “Monday morning I learned my assignment would be with a 30-yearold young woman with spina bifida. I showed my husband my information sheet and we both began to weep. Thirty years ago our full-term baby died in my womb. Leah suffered from spina bifida. Now, God hand selected Michelle, my 30-year-old friend with spina bifida, for me. What a perfect match!! Only God knew what I needed to complete some healing in my own life.”

Like Annette, Twin Rocks’ staff was blessed to be a part of Joni and Friends. Months of pre-planning allowed for the assessment of special needs around camp. Days before campers arrived, the camp’s maintenance crew busily made risers for tables in the Dining Center and adjusted showers. They also built ramps to cabins and a special one to the stage in the Meetinghouse, allowing campers access for their talent show.

Camp Coordinator Brent Olstad said the theme for the week focused on Ephesians 3:20-21, that God can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Campers were encouraged to take hold of this verse and not focus on their disabilities as a hindrance.

Like so many campers before them, Joni and Friends family campers fell in love with Twin Rocks, and are looking forward to next summer. Twin Rocks Friends Camp continues to be a place where people meet God and make life giving friendships.

New Caretakers at Harbor Villa Retreat Center

Gene and Phyllis Morse recently joined the Twin Rocks staff family as the new caretakers at Harbor Villa Retreat Center, positions that have been vacant since the departure of former caretakers Duane and Sherrill Comfort last spring. In July the Morse retirees were busy selling their Milwaukie home and “realized we were not really ready for the shelf yet, so at the encouragement of our sons and some friends, we applied and a few weeks later here we are!” Although Twin Rocks staff stepped up during the busy summer to cover housekeeping and general maintenance needs, Harbor Villa missed the careful daily attention to guest and facility needs the Morses have come to give.

The Morses have a long history with Twin Rocks, attending camps since they were young and making sure their children and grandchildren attended camps as they were growing up. Reflecting on their first few weeks here, the Morses think managing a retreat center is not much different than running a household, only on a larger scale. “Harbor Villa seems to be a magnified version of homemaking, grounds keeping, upkeep and hosting and yet it can be as simple as making guests comfortable and relaxed, pulling weeds, flipping a breaker switch and throwing a load of laundry in the washer. We know we will often be challenged, but we also know that with the help of God we’ll be able to be effective here.” The Morses have been enjoying the fellowship and encouragement of other staff members as well as their interactions with Harbor Villa’s guests. With welcoming smiles and an eagerness to serve, the Morses are a great addition to the ministry of Harbor Villa.

Grad Camp Returns to Surfside

Surfside campers now have the opportunity to experience something unique  when they come to camp as a recent high school graduate. Grad Camp has been described as a “camp within a camp,” providing time for campers to openly share about the formative transition they experience when moving from high school to college or career. This past August marked the second annual Grad Camp, once again hosting 37 participants. Break-out sessions were led each morning by counselors and staff. The topics of these sessions were chosen by the Grad Campers themselves, and included “Vocation vs. Occupation,” “Growth Spurts and Plateaus,” and “Parental and Youth Transitions.”

Grad Camp was housed at Harbor Villa Retreat Center, but each day from noon on, campers joined more than 200 other high schoolers in the regular Surfside Camp schedule, and enjoyed its free time, worship, Body Building Day, and co-ed group gatherings. This summer’s Grad Camp was co-directed by AJ Schwanz and Eric Muhr who handpicked staff and counselors they felt would best support Grad campers.

One Grad Camp counselor noted that throughout the week the youth transitioned from feeling anxious about their immediate futures to feeling more confident in God’s will for their lives. The open and honest environment cultivated at Grad Camp helped the campers feel more comfortable to share their own stories. By acknowledging their hopes and fears, they experienced peace in entrusting their futures to God.

One camper shared about the experience, “I thought Grad Camp was amazing. I feel a lot more ready and excited about life after high school.” AJ and Eric are enthusiastic about the way Grad Camp has progressed, and the ways in which it will continue to grow.

You Should Know…

■ At 867, attendance at 2010’s five summer camps (Girls, Boys, Tween, Surfside, and Day Camp) topped 850 campers for the fourth consecutive year. This compares to 760 total campers at these camps in 2005 and 695 in 2003. Girls Camp and Tween Camp each enjoyed record attendance in 2010.
■ In recent years the camp has responded to coastal tsunami concerns by detailing camp tsunami emergency procedures and shoring up supplies. Thanks to a gift from Adult Fellowship Camp, supplies will be housed in a new tsunami storage shed constructed on Charlotte’s Mountain near the camp’s water reservoir.
■ This September Twin Rocks welcomed a new group of interns who will live and work alongside full and part time staff: Scott Bay (Battle Ground, WA), Emily Smith (Newberg, OR), Matt Dayton (Meridian, ID), and Megan Harding (Portland, OR). All four have long histories at the camp. Scott and Emily began attending Twin Rocks camps as youth, and Scott, Matt, and Megan all served as Summer Staff. This year’s internship program has been enhanced and expanded by a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
■ During Adult Fellowship Camp this past September, some 70 individuals enjoyed dinner in the Friendship Center while hearing about estate planning through Twin Rocks’ Solid Rock Society. Estate planner Gene Christian was on hand to explain the benefits of legacy giving. Director Ken Beebe unveiled a Solid Rock Society plaque, which will list the names of those investing in Twin Rocks’ future through estate gifts. If you are interested in becoming part of the ongoing ministry of Twin Rocks through a legacy gift, contact Dave Hampton at [email protected].
■ In response to a “Wish List” in last December’s issue of the Sandpiper, Twin Rocks is now the owner of a two-port espresso machine (compliments of Jonah Ministries) and a Jeep Liberty with just 25,000 miles of previous use (thanks to a generous anonymous donor)!