Showcasing God’s Creation Through Outdoor Education

At the heart of Twin Rocks Friends Camp is its amazing natural location midst lake, forest, and stream, just one block from a magnificent Pacific Ocean beach. As such, God’s creation has always been an integral part of any Twin Rocks experience. And yet until recently, Twin Rocks had no onsite “naturalist” – a staff person available to help campers interact with nature and delve deeply into its beauty and intricate design.

That has changed in recent years with the hiring of Joel Thomas to coordinate outdoor education programming for Twin Rocks. Joel combines his passion for the outdoors with wonderful gifts of teaching and administration. “I’ve always liked going outside, where there’s the potential for surprise!” states Joel. “When you start looking closely at nature, you find bizarre and fun things all the time. There’s so much more than you expect.”

Through Joel, Twin Rocks provides outdoor education assistance to a wide variety of schools – public and private; elementary, middle, and senior high; and located in Tillamook, Washington, Clackamas, and Yamhill Counties. And on the side he serves as naturalist to Twin Rocks summer camps, travels to schools to provide assemblies and in-class instruction, and even squeezes in time to teach nature classes to senior adults.

For some schools, such as Kraxberger Middle School in Gladstone, Joel’s involvement is minimal. Since Kraxberger has been coming to Twin Rocks for 30 years, it has developed its own strong outdoor school curriculum, and Joel merely fills in gaps, such as teaching a tide pool class. The students visit nearby Tillamook Bay tide pools, then return to Twin Rocks for in depth instruction from Joel, utilizing Twin Rocks’ saltwater aquarium and its sea cucumbers, limpets, sea urchins, and other intertidal creatures.

For schools with less history in outdoor education – like Joan Austin Elementary School in Newberg – Joel takes the time to meet at the school with teachers and parents several months in advance of the program. Joel provides teachers with a Twin Rocks site-specific curriculum and supportive tools to help their outdoor school run smoothly and effectively. And with a little bit of instruction from Joel, parents become prepared to participate in leadership, serving as cabin counselors and teaching some of the outdoor school classes.

And for Christian institutions such as Horizon Christian School in Tualatin, Joel’s outdoor education curriculum adapts to emphasize the Creator behind the creation. Says Joel, “That’s the sad thing about ‘science’ today. It ignores the possibility of a Creator. I believe you can see the work of a designer in everything around you.” At this year’s outdoor school, Horizon Christian’s students were led by Joel in a shark dissection.

Teachers enjoy the smorgasbord of Joel’s detailed lesson plans, enhanced by the varied ecosystem at Twin Rocks – forest, wetlands, lake, stream, ocean, and nearby bay with tide pools. Teachers choose among eighteen different options, from mammal tracking to soil and water sampling, from bird watching to sea star dissection.

In 2012, Joel is inviting homeschooled students to an outdoor school the week of September 17-21. It will be geared for children in 4th-7th grades and utilize several parents in the teaching process. (For details about this special week, please visit

Joel loves to teach kids about the out-of-doors: “I like watching people get introduced to things which seem so basic, but upon close examination turn out to be so amazingly complex. In fact, the smallest things in nature are more complex than entire machines made by man. Sea stars produce glue that holds them onto rocks! And there are these big black wasps we have in camp which actually have three stingers: The center stinger lays eggs, and the outside stingers inject a chemical into wood which soften it and give the wasp’s larva a chance to survive. It’s something you wouldn’t expect. Kids learn things they never knew that they never knew!”

Joel keeps extremely busy. In addition to his outdoor education duties, he oversees the grounds department at Twin Rocks. When in 2010 the camp completely overhauled its road system, Joel and his cadre of volunteers were called upon to place thousands of plants throughout camp to quickly return Twin Rocks to its natural state. The results have been beautiful. And this fall, Joel’s life took a wonderful turn when he married longtime friend (and friend of Twin Rocks) Roxanna Schaad.

To learn more about Twin Rocks’ outdoor education program, visit the camp’s website ( or Facebook page

An Invitation to Enjoy a Sabbath by the Sea

By Steve Fawver, Sabbath by the Sea Director

I want to personally invite each of you to consider taking some time to come away and be with Christ this coming January. In this day and age of noise, pressure, busyness, and hectic life, Sabbath by the Sea is a place to stop and attune our lives to our loving God.

A continuation of the wonderful ministry founded by Bob and Marcile Crandall more than 10 years ago, a fresh group of leaders has spent this year preparing, praying, and considering ways to create space for individuals to stop and be with God. Bracketed by simple morning and evening prayers, each day offers unplanned time to walk on the beach, soak in God’s word, nap by a fire, explore prayer, read, meet for spiritual guidance, eat scrumptious food, and just be with Jesus. Although the name has changed to Sabbath by the Sea, the retreats will continue to be spacious, restful, and open for you to be with God. Limited to 12 participants per session, this unique ministry has just the right blend of solo and group interaction.

Because schedules often limit the number of days people can get away, we now offer half-week options (Monday-Thursday or Thursday-Sunday) in addition to the traditional week-long Sabbath sessions. This change will allow individuals to tailor a retreat that is just right for them. We are excited to see how these adjustments will open up space for individuals, couples, pastors, retirees, leaders, students, young adults, those in education, and many more to come and listen to Christ.

Visit the web site or give us a call ( / 503-355-2284). We will send you a brochure or you can find details online. It will be well worth the time and effort to get away! If for some reason you can’t attend yourself, maybe you will consider inviting (and perhaps financially supporting) someone who could use this type of life space right now.

The potential impact for the Kingdom of Christ is significant as we allow God to transform us into the image of his Son. The meals will be ready, the fire will be made, coffee will be brewed, the beauty of the beach awaits, and Christ is ready to meet us all. The table is always set and Christ invites us to come away to listen, rest, and abide with him. I hope to see you there!

Up Next: A Welcome Center!

The core of Twin Rocks Friends Camp looks better and better with each passing month. Following 2010’s successful removal of roadways criss-crossing through the center of camp, 2011 has been a year of restoration as green grass, shrubs, and seedling evergreens now grace Twin Rocks’ core.

The final major component to this phase of Twin Rocks’ Master Plan will be the creation of a Welcome Center. The Welcome Center will host an expanded and relocated Undertow Espresso & Camp Store, as well as the Camp’s guest services and program offices. It will be where adults check in upon arrival for weekend conferences, where youth enjoy summertime smoothies, and where friends sit to converse together.

If funding allows (see “Buy A Brick” below), the Welcome Center will be constructed this coming summer through an extensive remodel to a log-style facility which formerly served as the director’s residence. The log cabin atmosphere of the Welcome Center will create cozy, fireside environs, and on sunny days campers can step outside to a large patio and deck.

Buy a Brick!

Twin Rocks would like to install a brick engraved with your message in the patio of its new Welcome Center. For a donation of $200, you can secure a brick engraved  with your message, while also helping fund the construction of the patio, the Welcome Center, and the remodeling of several nearby cabins.

Here’s how the “Buy A Brick” campaign works:

■ Each brick will be 8”x8” and accommodate up to five lines of text — 16 characters per line, including letters, spaces, and punctuation.
■ The message you place on the brick is basically up to you. Feel free to be creative!
■ Payments for bricks may be made in advance, or as pledges to be paid over the next two years (by 12/31/2013).

To purchase your brick(s), please go online to and follow the simple Buy-A-Brick instructions!

Spotlight on Mary Kyle

By Samantha Thorson (Twin Rocks Intern)

Mary Kyle is a dearly beloved staff member at Twin Rocks Friends Camp with a history of over 15 years of service as the camp’s Housekeeping Coordinator. As I sat down with our interviewee, I was encouraged by her answers which were filled with wisdom, her passion for camp and people, and as always, laced with Mary Kyle humor.

Samantha Thorson: When did you first begin working at Twin Rocks?
Mary Kyle: The summer of 1995 as a summer staffer. Then I stayed on.
ST: And why did you stay after your summer here?
MK: I love the ocean (although, I don’t like the feel of the sand). But come on, a sunset over the ocean? It’s amazing. And I love kids, so I wanted to be in a place where there were kids.
ST: Why are you still here after fifteen years?
MK: Because I feel that this is where God has placed me and this is where I believe I am supposed to be.
ST: What are your favorite parts of the job?
MK: I love working with the high school part-time staff. They are such a neat group of people. If I feel as though the day is going to be long, they never fail to make the day “a kick in the pants.” There are great, in-depth conversations that come up between all of us. I love seeing the young staff take ownership of the camp and step into leadership roles among their peers, such as in the dish room or as “cleaning captain.” It’s the same with the summer staff. They are always amazing; having them here blesses our staff so much.
ST: How do you see God in the day-today?
MK: I start my workday early in the morning and I see God in the sunrise and in the animals I see out and about. I also see Him in the lives of our staff – miniscule things like giving me a hug, or big things like them sharing their hearts with me. I also see God in the chocolate chip cookies!
ST: Yeah chocolate chip cookies, I love those too! How do you integrate your faith into your job?
MK: I figure that each person that comes to Twin Rocks is here for a reason. If I was Christ, I would want to make sure that the reason and needs are met. With every person I come into contact, I want my faith to be evident – whether that’s just a smile at the coffee bar or engaging a kid at the fish tank.
ST: What is a meaningful moment that has occurred here for you while on staff.
MK: Shortly after I first began working here, a full-time staff member had fulfilled what God wanted them to do at Twin Rocks and they moved on; it was very hard to say goodbye to them. It was good to realize that what God had wanted them to do here had been accomplished and it opened up a spot for someone else to come here and do what God had for them. Just because staff leave Twin Rocks doesn’t mean that God’s work here is done. There are always things happening because of the people on staff (not to toot our own horn), but I think each staff person that has come through the camp has been instrumental at ministering to people at different times.
ST: Do you have any dirt on Ken Beebe?
MK: (Laughter) Wait, one moment.
(At this point in our interview Mary’s kind heart and passion for her job shines through as she learns of a guest that is sick. Her assistance is instantaneous and laced with concern. It is a blessing to see the way that Mary really integrates her faith into her job.)
MK: Ken is a practical joker, which you don’t expect since he’s the executive director. One of my favorite memories is when Bev Chapman and I saw a truck parked behind the staff room, its trailer filled with hot water. The guys had made their own hot tub! Ken Beebe popped up out of the water – he was just hanging out with the guys. I love that. He can be very serious taking care of the camp, and he can be very fun doing things like that.
ST: What do you like to do on your days off?
MK: I’m a big kid at heart. I like playing video games. I love going for drives along the coastal areas; it’s so beautiful. I love reading and going to antique stores (to look, not buy – it’s too expensive). I love hanging out with my kids – I consider the interns my kids – I like to take them under my wing and go on coffee dates with them, play games at home, and convince them that it’s good to go out to eat every now and then.
ST: What is your favorite thing about community life here?
MK: That it really is a family. I experienced that in a big way when they got together and re-did my house before I came home after my accident in December of 2005.
ST: What do you hope to leave behind as your legacy at Twin Rocks whenever it is that God calls you away?
MK: (With a mischievous smile) How to clean up puke.
ST: (After laughing) Go on.
MK: Even when you feel like your “pickle bucket” is empty, there’s always one more “pickle” at the bottom of the bucket that you can scrape out to give away. Also, the verse that hangs above my computer, Colossians 3:23: “In all the work you are doing, work the best you can, work as if you are doing it for the Lord, not for people.” I think that says a lot. Even if I’m cleaning a toilet, or cleaning up after someone has been ill, it may be unpleasant but if I’m opening a door for someone to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it’s all worth it.
ST: Where do you want to be in five years.
MK: HERE! I love this place.
ST: And how can readers of the Sandpiper be praying for you?
MK: In general that my health stays good, that I can keep up with the demands of the job. There are times my left leg is still a bother and I’ll be limping. So, pray that I can take care of myself in the way that I need to so I can continue to do what I need to do here.
ST: Any final words for our readers?
MK: COME TO CAMP! I need to see you. I’ll give you a Mary hug. And you can bring me some skittles!

Summer Camp 2011: A Terrific Success

Quotes From Parents 2011

She had such an amazing time! She really enjoyed her counselors and the other girls in her cabin. It was everything she was expecting and more!!! Thank you for giving her such a wonderful Christ-centered experience!! (Girls Camp)

I was especially impressed with the organization of the camp when we dropped off three girls in your care for a week. I felt there were a lot of safety/comfort issues in place and it made it easy for us to leave my daughter and her two friends there. (Girls Camp)

I cannot say thank you enough. Our son lives for Twin Rocks. You are like his second home – that is super awesome fun. All staff goes the extra step to make sure that our son is well taken care of. Thank you for being there for our son. (Boys Camp)

Thank you so much. It was such a blessing to find your camp! I have nothing but raving reviews. If you ever make a commercial, I’d be happy to be your spokesperson! (Boys Camp)

Thanks for making this such a wonderful experience. It is a joy to have our son attend and know that he’ll have a fantastic time and be safe, well fed (awesome meals) and enjoy the spiritual aspects of the program. What an awesome package!!! (Tween Camp)

I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such an amazing team of young people on staff making these summer experiences SO great! It is a blessing to me as well as to my kids!! (Tween Camp)

She went to camp only knowing one person and came home with all kinds of new friends! (Surfside Camp)

It is a highlight of his life, every year. This year seemed especially important to him. Thank you!! (Surfside Camp)

Thank you for putting on a wonderful camp and giving my son a tremendous opportunity to have fun, make new friends and move closer to God all at the same time! (Surfside Camp)

She liked that she got a Bible and could come home and show us what she had learned. (Day Camp)

It’s a pleasure to recommend this camp to others as it is so efficiently and sensitively managed. A great example of Christian love and outreach. Great counselors that seem to truly love kids. (Day Camp)

A Catalyst for Community

By Annette Collins, member of City’s Edge Church (Beaverton, Oregon)

It’s a Sunday in early November. In the northwest corner of the Friendship Center, five or six babies and toddlers are exploring a make-shift enclosure under the not-too-watchful eyes of a variety of friends and family members. Handcrafts ranging from crochet to quilting are in evidence. Across the room, another baby is taking some of her very first steps under her Grandpa’s proud eye. A grandmother and a ten-year-old have their heads together sketching from the same still life. A table in the opposite corner plays host to a noisy and multi-generational card game. Other tables bear a wide variety of snacks, hot drinks, laptops, puzzles, and games, and everywhere folks are reading, chatting, and enjoying each other’s company as they drift in from one of Twin Rocks’ justifiably famous breakfast buffets.

City’s Edge’s annual all-church retreat is drawing to a close, but no-one is in a hurry to hit the road: there’s still time for a few songs with the band, a brief message, and our traditional affirmation service. City’s Edge has been holding a fall retreat at Twin Rocks for more than a decade. At first we fit easily into Harbor Villa Retreat Center; then those quarters became decidedly “cozy,” and finally in ‘09 we moved to the camp proper. This year, our third at the camp, saw our largest group yet at over 60 attendees ranging from 10 months to over 70 years of age.

We’ve had some wild times. I remember a year when everyone –including not a few men – went crazy making hats on knitting looms. We’ve had karaoke parties and group games ranging from popsicle-stick bridge building to Deal or No Deal. There have been impromptu games of mini-golf. Basketball in the Shelter has caused a few injuries, but never seems to lack players. Weather permitting there are walks and play on the beach or the camp trails. Antiquing in nearby towns is popular, as are obscure, long-running board games. Then, of course, there are the formal sessions with singing, speaking, and sharing.

Put together, these weekends act as a sort of “community catalyst” for our church. Community is built all year long during our weekly meetings and a variety of small groups, but the chance to step away from our normal lives, eliminate the distractions of home and every day responsibilities, and just spend a whole weekend together as a group has been a shot in the arm that takes us to the next level. Add in the excellent meals in the Dining Hall, room for the kids to spread out and explore, and maybe a mocha in the morning from The Undertow, and it’s no wonder we felt like dragging our feet on the way home!

Wish List

Twin Rocks occasionally posts a Wish List seeking specific donations. During this last year, the camp became the grateful recipient of a Sunbeam mixer and a Cargo Trailer! Here are a few key items currently on the camp Wish List:
■ Office Chairs
■ 3-Speed Carpet Fan in good working condition
■ Two (relatively new) Canister Vacuums with attachments
■ Two or three Upright Vacuums in good working condition – the kind that don’t require paper bags is okay
■ A Tractor in good to excellent condition (25-60 HP, John Deere or Kubota, 4WD, 3-point hitch and/or backhoe, and bucket loader)
■ A commercial grade Blender
■ A burr Coffee Grinder

You Should Know…

■ The family of Sean & Becca Currans donated more than 12,000 plants to Twin Rocks last summer when they closed (at least temporarily) their Rugged Country Plants nursery based out of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. In addition to several varieties of wildflowers, the Currans provided numerous bushes and shrubs such as twinberry, spirea, and mockorange. This was the perfect year for Twin Rocks to receive these native plants, given the need to restore the land following 2010’s installation of a new perimeter road around camp. The Currans’ gift saved Twin Rocks thousands of dollars and enabled Twin Rocks’ Grounds Coordinator Joel Thomas to reestablish a natural camp landscape much faster than projected.

■ Leadership development stands at the core of Twin Rocks’ purpose. As such, programs for college age (Summer Staff) and high school (Servant Leadership Program) are offered each summer to help grow the next generation of Christ followers. For information about these programs and deadlines to apply, go to and click on the “Serving” tab.

■ Christina Becker took the reins as Twin Rocks’ Guest Services Director in June. In addition to her heart for faithfully serving God and her long-term love of Twin Rocks, Christina enjoys an extensive background in real estate. Her customer service savvy and commitment to excellence help ensure satisfied camper groups. Christina, her husband Bruce, and their two children Wade (12) and Aspen (9) have resided at Twin Rocks since 2009, when Bruce began as Assistant Food Services Director.

■ Hannah Frankamp left Twin Rocks in July to pursue a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy after having served 2½ years as the camp’s Guest Services Director. She and her family (husband Ben and children Asher and Katie) now reside in Newberg.

■ Thanks to the generosity of attendees of Adult Fellowship Camp, a trailer has been purchased to house outdoor education supplies. The trailer provides storage, plus the means for outdoor education specialist Joel Thomas to haul supplies off-camp when he visits school classrooms as part of Twin Rocks’ expanding outdoor education program.

■ Twin Rocks held its second annual Solid Rock Society dinner at the camp in September to honor a group of 29 families who have indicated that they are leaving estate gifts to Twin Rocks. A new plaque in lower Friendship Center lists current Solid Rock Society members and honors past contributors.

■ Through an alliance with an independent third party, Twin Rocks offers no obligation / no charge assistance to families seeking estate planning advice. Contact Dave Hampton (dave@twinrocks. org) to learn more.

2012 Summer Camp Dates:

• Day Camp (for 1st-5th graders) – July 30 – August 3, 2012

• Girls Camp (for 4th-6th graders) – July 1-6, 2012

• Boys Camp (for 4th-6th graders) – July 15-20, 2012

• Tween Camp (for 7th-9th graders) – July 8-14, 2012

• Surfside Camp (for senior high) – August 5-11, 2012

• Family Camp (Labor Day weekend) – August 31 – September 3, 2012

• Adult Fellowship Camp – September 14-17, 2012

• Home School Outdoor School – September 17-21, 2012 (New!)

■ This past summer, Twin Rocks thinned its forest to improve the health of Charlotte’s Mountain, following the guidelines of a Forest Plan set up by the Twin Rocks Board of Directors several years ago. About 40 percent of the trees on the upper portion of Charlotte’s Mountain have been removed, with areas closer to camp facilities left untouched.

■ Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Junior High Jamboree on February 17-20, 2012 at Twin Rocks Friends Camp! Middle school youth in 6th-8th grades are encouraged to attend this weekend retreat that offers fun activities, great speakers, and engaging worship. This year’s theme, “Called to Be Friends” will explore how God’s love for us impacts our relationship with him and with others. For more information visit the Twin Rocks website, or check with your local Friends Church.

■ Twin Rocks is honored to have five impressive Interns on staff for the 2011-2012 year: Michael Butler, Forrest Cammack, Kelsey Hampton, Samantha Thorson, and Roxanna (Schaad) Thomas. All five bring extensive previous Twin Rocks experience to their positions. Throughout the year, the Interns apprentice in various camp administration roles while helping oversee important Twin Rocks programs (such as Summer Staff, Servant Leadership Program, Day Camp, Junior High Jamboree, Servant & Leadership Training Program and TRACKS After-School Care).

From the Director’s Desk

I never cease to be amazed by the level of care and commitment people hold  for Twin Rocks Friends Camp. Here are just a few ways I’ve recently seen people express their love for the ministry of Twin Rocks:

■ The man who told me that he and his wife pray for Twin Rocks every day, and have done so for decades.
■ Joe Krueger’s comment (as he steps into his new role as co-director of Tween Camp): “Twin Rocks Friends Camp is very dear to my heart because it was the place that I first committed my life to Christ. It was my first year of Boys Camp; I can still visualize the speaker that called us forward, and praying with my counselor.”
■ Matt Burg, new co-director of Boys Camp, mentioning: “My grandparents [Don and Deloris Burg] met at Twin Rocks!”
■ Watching late night and early morning efforts of Twin Rocks staff members – seeing the extra work they put into their jobs, even when they don’t think anyone is watching.
■ The Tween Camp parent who said: “My daughter had a blast. She didn’t want to come home at the end of the week and hopes to go back, work and live at Twin Rocks!”
■ Witnessing Caleb Faulkner, a former part-time Twin Rocks staff person, return home from college and immediately begin volunteering in the Twin Rocks dish room.
■ Seeing this Facebook post from a former summer staff member, describing herself: “Chloee Timmons has been reminded about how thankful she is for Twin Rocks and their amazing staff…. Thank you for making Twin Rocks the best place on earth.”
■ Seeing the sacrificial giving of Twin Rocks’ donors.
■ The more than 26,000 hours worked by volunteers at Twin Rocks last year – equivalent to more than 10 full-time employees and saving the camp more than $250,000! Twin Rocks is a very special place, made so by the multitude of people who care so deeply about its ongoing successful ministry for Jesus Christ. Thank you!

—Ken Beebe

20% Discount for First-Time Groups

Twin Rocks is providing a special “20% off” discount to first-time groups conducting camps or retreats at its main camp during the first half of 2012 (if reservations are made by December 31, 2011).

Each year, Twin Rocks hosts dozens of groups at its wonderful Oregon Coast location. All-church retreats, women’s conferences, government seminars, youth retreats, pastors’ conferences, craft conferences, family reunions, and couples conferences are among the many types of activities held on the grounds of Twin Rocks. For these events, Twin Rocks provides terrific food, comfortable accommodations, well-outfitted meeting rooms, playful recreation options, and its magnificent coastal environs. Groups renting the camp provide the rest: speakers, musicians, and overall control of their program.

For more details about this offer, call the camp (503-355-2284), contact Christina Becker ([email protected]), or visit

Comments from groups at Twin Rocks in fall 2011:
“Honestly one of the best retreat centers I’ve been to in terms of food, facilities, and hospitality! Hope to come back soon.”
“I have been to at least 10 retreat centers in the Portland Area in the past 8 years. Undoubtedly, you are the BEST! We will come back again, and again!”
“Impressive to me – your constant upgrades at Twin Rocks – making it more and more attractive and comfortable for campers.
Great service & wonderful fellowship – we are so grateful.”
“We will always treasure our wonderful retreats at Twin Rocks. The accommodations are terrific, the food most delicious and the staff so helpful and friendly.”
“Best place I’ve ever stayed on a retreat.”