Changing Lives at Girls Camp: A Rich Tradition
It’s been over 60 years since Alice Maurer attended Girls Camp as a camper, but she still remembers it fondly. It’s the leaders and counselors she remembers most. “The impact of their lives, to this day, is what made lasting impressions even more than what they taught. They communicated love and caring and Jesus.”
Since the 1940s, Twin Rocks Girls Camp has been a place where 4th through 6th grade girls experience fun, develop lasting relationships, and most importantly, find Jesus. Last summer, 160 girls attended Girls Camp, an all-time record.
Fun is everywhere at Girls Camp. Where else can a girl sleep in a tent with friends, catch a trout, kayak, swim, fly on a swing, jump waves, cook pancakes on a tin can, make a kite, sing funny songs, or wear wacky skit clothes—all in the same day? Current Co-Director Michelle Akins says, “Silliness is a priority at Girls Camp. We believe God loves laughter! All our activities are designed to be safe, but always lots of fun. It’s also fun to see the girls’ confidence grow as they participate in recreation and skits.”
Friendships blossom at Girls Camp. Again and again, camp evaluations reveal that making new friends and strengthening existing friendships is a highlight of Girls Camp. Girls experience a weeklong sleepover with good friends, complete with bunk chats and bedtime prayers. A girl might discover a new friend through a mutual love of swimming, or a shared fear of the Extreme Swing that they conquer together. Or a friendship starts with a young girl’s realization that someone else has a difficult home life, too.
Mentoring relationships are key. Long before the girls arrive, prayerful planning goes into building a mature staff of counselors and leaders. “I find energy in working with a team who is committed to one goal, and that is to make sure that each camper knows they are loved by Jesus Christ,” states Michelle. Co-Director Lecia Retter shares her excitement: “When the girls come I love that moment of connection when counselors look into campers’ eyes and determine to pour themselves and their love for Jesus into them.” A high counselor-to-camper ratio encourages that connection. Counselors and girls eat together, laugh and play, and discover God in the scriptures. Camp speakers and other adult leaders go beyond their roles as teachers to interact with the girls throughout the week, learning their names, offering to row a boat, helping to glue crafts, or showing them how to shoot an arrow.
Helping girls discover Jesus is the number one reason for Girls Camp. Counselors seek out one-on-one times with the girls during the week and share with them their own spiritual journeys as part of their desire to encourage a love for Jesus. Through cabin and worship times, girls learn how to read their Bibles and to hear the till, small voice” of the Holy Spirit. Because of Girls Camp, each summer girls go home with God’s message of hope and love for their lives. Make plans now to attend Girls Camp in 2011 – or to send someone you love – the week of July 3-8.
A Twin Rocks Legacy: Herb and Betty Lou Sargent
Betty Lou Sargent remembers the tent frames she stayed in the first time she came to Twin Rocks Friends Camp in 1951. “Herb and I slept on cots with straw tick mattresses with four month old baby David in a bassinet in between us.” That was the beginning of a decades’ long relationship with the camp that would see Herb and Betty Lou Sargent as not only campers, but counselors, volunteers, and full-time staff members.
In their young adult years, Herb would often come to counsel for youth camps from his pastorate at Cherry Grove Friends Church. Betty Lou has fond memories of counseling at what is now Tween Camp. She can still recall the girls’ names. “I remember seeing poodle skirts lined up against the wall in Hadley Hall where my girls were staying!”
As their family grew, children David, Roger, and Diane attended Twin Rocks youth camps and worked several summers helping out with maintenance and baking in the kitchen. During that time Herb’s sons would often ask him to come from Cherry Grove to help with camp maintenance needs. When then-director Charlotte Macy was looking for Twin Rocks’ first full-time maintenance/ grounds manager, Roger knew his father would be perfect for the job and encouraged him to apply.
That’s how Herb and Betty Lou’s six years on staff began. Reflecting on his 1973 decision to come to Twin Rocks Herb says, “I felt like Twin Rocks was the church’s longest reaching arm for bringing people to Christ.”
Charlotte and Herb made a good team in those days, Betty Lou recalls. “Charlotte had vision for the camp, and Herb had the ability to carry out that vision.” Charlotte dreamed of winterizing the camp for year round use, and Herb made that happen with the help of volunteers.
Herb’s hard work during those years established much of the infrastructure that operates Twin Rocks today. He and volunteer John Meeker drilled several wells that established a 100,000 gallon water system for the camp. Herb recalls their joy at discovering water. “After we had drilled two dry holes, we prayed. I took fourteen steps and the Lord told me to stop and drill there. That’s where we found water.” During Herb’s tenure he also put in a new sewer system, fire system, and built several buildings including Central Restrooms, a maintenance shop and two staff homes (including the log home slated to soon become the camp’s Welcome Center).
When Charlotte died in 1977, Herb took over as director and was responsible for hiring the camp’s first full-time cook and long-time Facilities Director Terry Baron. He still spent much of his time caring for the camp’s maintenance needs. During that time, Betty Lou worked as secretary and bookkeeper in the office and she and Herb would communicate by CB radio. “His handle was Green Jeans and mine was Salt and Pepper,” she relates. In this way they both kept the camp running.
After two years Herb felt it was time for the camp to focus more on public relations, so new director Harlow Ankeny was hired, and Herb and Betty Lou moved to the Portland area to work in real estate.
The Sargent legacy continues. The underground utility system established by Herb in the 1970s remains in full force. What was an over-sized water and sewer supply three decades ago has stood the test of time to meet the needs of a much larger camp today. And now Herb and Betty Lou’s grandson, Jeff Sargent, is a full-time member of Twin Rocks’ current maintenance team. Twin Rocks exists because of the ongoing, faithful legacy of friends like Herb and Betty Lou Sargent.
Southlake Alpha: A Chance to Own One’s Faith
“People realize they are carrying around bitterness and unforgiveness like a burden. It is so freeing for them when they see that they can release that because Christ died for them!” states leader Keith DeClerk of Southlake Foursquare Church’s Alpha Program, which has come to Twin Rocks twice a year for five years.
Alpha is an eleven week opportunity to explore the validity and relevance of the Christian faith. Over the seven years Southlake has been conducting Alpha from its home in West Linn, it has welcomed 2000 people to its weekly program, seeing participation go from 30 people per week to nearly 150. Many participants have never been to church and find in Alpha a safe place to ask questions, which the leaders welcome. Others have grown up in the church, and once they reach young adulthood, find they need to discover Christianity’s claims for themselves. Alpha gives them a chance to own their faith.
Six weeks into the Alpha session participants go on retreat together, and that’s where Twin Rocks comes in. “Most retreats you come on a Friday night and don’t know who’s going to be there,” Keith explains. “With Alpha people know exactly who is coming.” Participants have already spent six weeks with each other, sharing in small groups, having dinner together, and watching a video presentation. Because of those established relationships, people are able to let their guards down and be honest with each other.
The weekend away is a significant time during the Alpha session. “We call these retreats our ‘Holy Spirit Weekends’ because that’s when we see significant breakthrough for people seeking Christ,” says Keith. At the Saturday evening testimony gathering, many people give or recommit their lives to Christ.
Alpha is a powerful program. Leaders don’t try to convince or confront participants. “That’s the Holy Spirit’s job,” says Keith.
Many people come with broken spirits, even suicidal tendencies, and find hope in Christ. They then become helpers in the Alpha program and share that hope with new members. Couples have come who are living together and after coming through Alpha move into separate residences and later marry. But the main joy, says Keith, is seeing people release the load of unforgiveness in their lives.
Keith states that Alpha would not have the same impact without the weekend retreat. “Twin Rocks is pivotal in what we do. We feel the Holy Spirit immediately when we step on the camp property. We know Alpha participants will meet the Holy Spirit there.” Twin Rocks is privileged to work alongside Alpha and see so many lives changed for Christ.
Twin Rocks occasionally posts a Wish List seeking specific donations. Last year, the camp became the grateful recipient of several wheelchairs, a commercial espresso machine, and a Jeep Liberty! Here are a few key items currently on the camp
■ Items to help stock our new and improved Undertow Espresso (which will soon be moving to the Welcome Center)…
• A commercial grade Blender
• A burr Coffee Grinder
• A “Kitchen Aid” or other stand mixer
■ A Network Server capable of running Windows Server 2008
■ To assist with our outdoor education program: An enclosed Cargo Trailer in good to excellent condition (Ideally, it would be white, 10-20 feet long, 6-8.5 feet wide, with a rear ramp, roll out awning on its side, and a side man door!).
■ To provide a much-needed equipment upgrade for our maintenance staff: A Tractor in good to excellent condition (25-60 HP, John Deere or Kubota, 4WD, 3-point hitch and/or backhoe, and bucket loader)
You Should Know…
■ The 2011 Twin Rocks Calendar is filling faster than it did in 2010. Already, the camp is set to host 10 outdoor schools, 38 women’s retreats, nine men’s retreats, 22 youth camps & retreats, four pastor’s conferences, seven family camps, 10 all-church retreats, and many more! However, there are still some great openings in the schedule. Contact the camp (503-355-2284) or visit the Twin Rocks website (twinrocks.org) for detailed information about how to bring a group to the camp in 2011.
■ Youth in 6th-8th grades are invited to Twin Rocks Friends Camp for Junior High Jamboree over President’s Day weekend, February 18-21, 2011. Isaiah 43:1 says that God has called us each by name, that we are His. The weekend will explore what it means to be called by God and adopted into His family through Jesus Christ. Bring a friend for this fun-packed weekend to play crazy games, enjoy great speakers, and lip sync with your cabin group to win wacky prizes!
■ Harbor Villa Retreat Center’s Center for Personal Growth in Christ is “hitting the reset button” – taking 2011 off to evaluate the past nine years and plan creatively for the future. Changes are already in the works for January 2012 that will allow for more participants by offering 3-6 day stays. Steve Fawver will serve as the new director of the spiritual retreat, likely to be renamed “Sabbath by the Sea.” Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead.
■ Twenty-six families have already become members of Twin Rocks’ Solid Rock Society by committing to leave a legacy gift for the camp through their estate planning. These gifts will provide a significant impact on Twin Rocks’ ministry for decades to come. The camp provides free, low-key, no obligation assistance with estate planning. Contact Kelley Wong ([email protected]) for more information.
2011 Summer Camp Dates:
• Day Camp (for 1st-5th graders) – August 1-5, 2011
• Girls Camp (for 4th-6th graders) – July 3-8, 2011
• Boys Camp (for 4th-6th graders) – July 17-22, 2011
• Tween Camp (for 7th-9th graders) – July 10-16, 2011
• Surfside Camp (for senior high) – August 7-13, 2011
• Family Camp (Labor Day weekend) – Sept. 2-5, 2011
• Adult Fellowship Camp – September 16-19, 2011
From the Director’s Desk
I love that scene in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” where the battle for Helm’s Deep is raging, the enemy appears on the verge of victory, and all hope seems lost. And then at the last possible moment, Gandalf and thousands of reinforcements appear on the hillside to swoop own and claim victory.
It kind of felt like that this fall at Twin Rocks Friends Camp, minus the spears and horses. We found ourselves with an enormous amount of work to accomplish on our Greenway & Parkway project, and it was difficult to see how we could possibly get it all done before the blustery Oregon Coast winter overtook us.
Thankfully, when we needed it most, help appeared on the horizon in the form of dozens of wonderful volunteers. On October 6, I put out an email to friends of the camp, stating “Every once in awhile we find ourselves in immediate need of volunteer help. This is one of those times. If you can rake dirt, we can really use you.”
And the volunteers rushed in! During the ensuing six weeks, Twin Rocks enjoyed more than 900 hours of labor from nearly 60 individuals. Some came for a day, others for several weeks. Some came alone, others part of large groups. Some came with a youth group, others with their families. (See next column for a list of their names.)
And if that weren’t enough, God stepped in and provided us several extra weeks of fall sunshine, holding off the rains just long enough to keep the camp from becoming a muddy mess all winter long.
God is good – and so are our camp’s friends. Thanks for coming to our rescue!
Volunteers Make the Difference at Twin Rocks!
Many thanks to these tireless and selfless workers who’ve volunteered at Twin Rocks since midSeptember:
Mary Lou Long
Newberg Friends High School Youth Group
North Valley Friends High School Youth Group
West Chehalem Friends High School Youth Group
21 Men from Mountain Men Ministries
A Greenway & Parkway Takes Shape
Much has been accomplished on the grounds of Twin Rocks Friends Camp over the past six months! Here are some photos of the camp’s new “parkway” road that now encircles the perimeter of camp, and images of the “greenway” full of green grass and sidewalks which now sit where old roads once cut through the center of camp.
Can you help Twin Rocks?
The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has offered a $100,000 “top off” grant to Twin Rocks Friends Camp, but this gift comes with a contingency. It’s not available until Twin Rocks raises $200,000 to finalize its Greenway & Parkway capital campaign. It’s like having luscious hot fudge waiting on your kitchen counter, but without the vanilla ice cream necessary to complete your hot fudge sundae.
Twin Rocks Friends Camp has already raised $650,000 toward its $950,000 Greenway & Parkway campaign target. Once the “ice cream” ($200,000) has been supplied by friends of Twin Rocks, the Murdock Trust will top off the campaign with “hot fudge” ($100,000).
To make the analogy complete, Twin Rocks is teaming with Dairy Queen of Garibaldi to provide free hot fudge sundaes to any donors who help the camp raise this final $200,000. For decades, the Dairy Queen in Garibaldi, Oregon, has been a favorite place for campers to stop on their way to or from Twin Rocks Friends Camp.
Each family who makes a new pledge to the Greenway & Parkway campaign (or expands an existing pledge), will receive a gift certificate for two free hot fudge sundaes at Dairy Queen of Garibaldi – as a small token of the camp’s appreciation for your kindness
The Road Ahead. What is the Greenway & Parkway campaign?
For the past several months, Twin Rocks Friends Camp has been constructing a few road around the perimeter of camp — a “parkway” that meanders amongst the tall evergreens of Twin Rocks’ magnificent forest. The presence of this beautiful new road around the camp’s edge has enabled old roads that ran through the center of camp to be removed, reclaiming the core of Twin Rocks’ property for campers. Grassy lawns, coastal shrubs, and pedestrian-friendly walkways are being installed in their place, providing increased camper safety and a dramatic transformation to the overall feel of camp.
A kiosk is now located at the camp’s new entrance (slightly to the south of the old entrance), where arriving campers are greeted by camp staff. A nearby Welcome Center will soon (pending funding) provide a place for campers to access staff assistance, and converse with friends while sipping lattes in the log home’s Undertow Espresso camp store.
To complete all elements of this Greenway & Parkway campaign, Twin Rocks needs to raise a total of $950,000 in gifts and pledges payable over the next four years. For more details about the various elements of the plan, and to see photos of construction to-date, please visit www. twinrocks.org and click on the “Parkway Update” button.