The Camp that Built Me

by Jacinda Thomas, Twin Rocks Intern

We were sitting in the back seat of my mom’s Toyota Previa when my cousin taught me my first Twin Rocks camp song. “The Beaver Call” consisted of numbers, hand motions, and beaver-like noises. I was smitten. I joined in, wishing that I could experience Twin Rocks for myself.

Fast forward five years and one family move to Tillamook, and I was signing up for my Surfside cabin, my very first time as a camper at Twin Rocks. I imagine there was upbeat music, balloons, a bubble-making machine, and maybe a snow-cone stand to greet campers on that day. However, I remember very little: I blame it on having been to so many weeks of Surfside since then (five as a camper and three as a counselor), but truth be told, I was nervous! I knew a handful of people and felt overwhelmed by the combined loudness of the counselors and my own heart beating. I participated in crazy recreation games and strange initiatives designed to nudge campers outside of their comfort zones. I also received encouragement from compassionate counselors, wave jumped until I felt numb, and cultivated an appreciation for creating space to listen to the Spirit.

As a college student, I decided to apply for a position on Twin Rocks’ Summer Staff. I was thrilled when I was offered a spot. Summer Staff 2012 was one of the most profound experiences of my life. College-aged strangers from different states, we summer staffers sat on faded denim couches and made small talk that first day. Through the course of a summer filled with playfulness, deep conversation, counseling, and working hard together, we came to know each other and to take ownership of the community we were forming.

During that summer I also saw life behind the scenes at Twin Rocks. I saw camp from both a staff person’s vantage point and a counselor’s perspective. The gracious Twin Rocks staff made room for us (the temporary, hearty summer staffers) and modeled a commitment to excellence, kindness, and servant-heartedness. My friendships with staff members grew as I sliced melons into green and orange crescents, sanitized the Cabins of the Trees, and pulled stubborn weeds from the hillside. Some of us went on to counsel during the summer and those relationships cemented when we offered and received encouragement, laughter, and care. I delighted in the role of counseling because of the connections I made with campers and the rich conversations we had about how God was at work in their lives.

In the years since, I have returned to Twin Rocks as a volunteer counselor at Surfside. Counseling high schoolers is such a gift to me. For one week I have opportunities to facilitate community among the girls in my cabin and enjoy who they are becoming. I love dancing with them before recreation and seeing how they grow more comfortable in the space to be free and joyful.

Today, along with the rest of my amazing intern cohorts, I deep-cleaned the site of those impromptu dance times. Our intern staff has committed to growing through the rhythms of work and programming and building relationships in the Twin Rocks staff community. I get to work with people who have watched me grow and embraced me when I visited in between their busy duties around camp. I now have an official wooden nametag, programming duties, operation hours, and keys to the camp facilities.

A walk through camp can stir a host of formational memories for me. I remember snippets of the conversations I had with God under certain trees, in special nooks, on the Boardwalk. I remember breaking down during a one-on-one discussion with my Grad Camp counselor, scared that life would shatter when I went to college in the fall. Three years later I would stand only two feet away from that same spot while I comforted a Tween camper as she cried.

For these reasons and many more, Twin Rocks is dear to me. It’s a place where the staff offers gracious hospitality, where the steady rains nurture the soil and enhance my appreciation for sun-filled days, where the legacy of past prayers and care offered still impact me. Twin Rocks is my home, not only for this year, but for many years to come.

“Into the Spotlight”

“Into the Spotlight was so inspiring! My family loved it,“ enthused long-time camp supporter Beth Banham. The beautiful Newmark Theatre in downtown Portland was the site for “Into the Spotlight,” a gathering of over 400 friends of Twin Rocks who, like Beth, came to celebrate the 96-year ministry of Twin Rocks Friends Camp and hear about future plans. Newmark’s elegant rotunda welcomed arriving guests as they greeted each
other, sipped tea, and listened to the lovely strains of the Effesenden String Trio, the first of several professional performers that afternoon. Attendees were drawn into the intimate Edwardian-style theater by a shimmering seascape of Twin Rocks that shone on the stage’s large projector screen. With no seat further than 65 feet from the stage, all had a choice spot to enjoy the festivities.

Twin Rocks Board Director Sandra Fish emceed, starting by introducing top-notch performances by the award winning a capella group RESCUE. Rich Swingle, internationally acclaimed professional actor and former Twin Rocks summer staffer, gave his thoughtful and humorous one-man performance of “Big Fish, Little Worm,” based on the life of Jonah. The physical theater troupe, The Zig Zags, impressed attendees with their graceful silks and trapeze acrobatics. Guests heard Twin Rocks testimonials by longtime camp supporters Paul and Nancy Almquist, as well as Brent Olstad, leader of Joni and Friends,
which for the past five years has sponsored a weeklong summer camp for the disabled and their families at Twin Rocks. He shared the story of Joni and Friends camper Cheree:

“(She) was not a believer when she came to Family Retreat. Cheree, who suffered a stroke and is an amputee, attended Family Retreat at the insistence of her sister. She witnessed a place where God was honored and worshipped and where love abounded. Cheree accepted Jesus as her Savior that retreat and the next year I had the privilege of baptizing her in the lake at Twin Rocks.”

Brent’s story highlighted what guests had come to celebrate that night: Twin Rocks is a place where God is met and relationships nurtured.

Executive Director Ken Beebe gave a peek into Twin Rocks’ future by introducing its Million Dollar Makeover (see accompanying article), a four-year campaign that ushers in the camp’s 2018 centennial. Attendees were encouraged to write down their reasons for loving Twin Rocks before they left the theatre.

As the spotlight dimmed, delicious desserts and fragrant coffee enticed the crowd as it spilled out of the theatre and back into the rotunda. As with all good Twin Rocks Camp experiences, the evening resulted in lives shared and happy memories taken home.

Centennial Campaign: Million Dollar Makeover

Throughout the next 8-10 years Twin Rocks will engage in a Centennial Campaign in recognition of its upcoming 100th anniversary, and institute several important facility improvements:

Million Dollar Makeover (2014-2018)

The #1 priority specified in Twin Rocks’ Master Plan is to “Keep the Camp in Top Condition.” And recent surveys of the camp’s constituents have consistently echoed a similar refrain: “Don’t build anything new without first maintaining the great camp we already have.” During the 1990s, nearly every building in camp received a massive overhaul (Hadley Hall, Meetinghouse, Dining Center, Shelter, Lighthouse, and Shorebird Cabins were all upgraded during this time period). And in the past decade, most of Twin Rocks’ focus has been upon things “new” — a pedestrian bridge to the beach, a road around the perimeter of camp, a greenway, Osprey Cabin, and a Welcome Center.

Camp facilities installed or upgraded 15-20 years ago are now showing signs of wear-and-tear. And while campers’ fees cover the routine maintenance needs of these buildings, they fall short of replacing decks, docks, carpets, couches, paint, roof, and mattresses. To continue keeping campers’ fees affordable, these types of upgrades need to be undertaken by the generosity of the camp’s donors. Therefore, the Centennial Campaign’s first priority is a $1 million investment into Twin Rocks’ existing structures in advance of the 2018 centennial. This Million Dollar Makeover will ensure that Twin Rocks is fully prepared and ready for its next generation of campers.

Some of the projects slated for the next four years (pending funding) include:

■ New carpet will be placed in Pacific Woods Lodge (and elsewhere, as needed).
■ Restrooms will be added to Macy Chapel.
■ Two new cabins will be constructed, replacing the deteriorating Kilchis and Quechua cabins.
■ 100 new mattresses will be purchased and distributed where needed throughout camp.
■ A Nature Center will be created in lower Friendship Center, enhancing outdoor education.
■ Decks on the Arts & Crafts building — and elsewhere, as needed — will be restored.
■ The camp’s busy Nursing station will be overhauled and expanded.
■ Central Restroom facilities will be fully remodeled.
■ Three Cabins of the Trees will be upgraded.
■ The swimming and boating dock at Spring Lake will be replaced.
■ A new 350-seat outdoor chapel — Lakeview Amphitheater — was constructed on the edge of Charlotte’s mountain this past summer.
■ A new roof will be placed on Hadley Hall (and elsewhere, as needed).
■ The Mini-golf course will be re-carpeted and Shelter (gym) floor restored.
■ New furniture will be installed at Harbor Villa (and elsewhere, as needed).

Terrific Toys (2014-2018)

A camp’s recreational components need to be continually refreshed to encourage campers to return year-after year. Over the next four years, Twin Rocks plans to add a few new components to its already wide array of camp activities.
■ Dueling ziplines will emerge high above Cammack Field.
■ Indoor recreation activities will be expanded in the Shelter.
■ Expanded lakefront options with water slide will enhance activity at Spring Lake.

The total cost of the Million Dollar Makeover and Terrific Toy enhancements — spread over the next four years — is $1.25 million. Enclosed in this edition of the Sandpiper is a pledge card which we are hoping you might fill out and return to Twin Rocks. For further details about the Million Dollar Makeover (including Into the Spotlight video presentations), please visit

A Sneak Peek (2018-)

When Twin Rocks reaches 100 years of age in 2018, the camp plans to raise funds for the second chapter if its Centennial Campaign, a revitalization of the historic core of camp:
■ Meetinghouse. As the camp’s largest meeting room, the Meetinghouse (originally constructed in 1928) is insufficient in size. By adding 2-3 rows of seats, plus a foyer and restrooms, the Meetinghouse will become a 400-seat chapel of choice.
■ Dining Center. Overcrowding in Twin Rocks’ dining room (built in 1948) will be eliminated by expanding southward, changing capacity from 300 to 400 campers.
■ Hadley Hall. By adding some restrooms and reconfiguring sleeping spaces, the Hadley Hall dormitory (1935) will become more camper-friendly.
■ Central Courtyard. Replacing gravel with stone pavers, the Central Courtyard will become more attractive and will increase in usability by mobility-impaired campers.

Men’s Retreat Moves to September

Steaming crabs, shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, and grilled oysters on the half shell awaited the men lined up for the “SeaFest” dinner Friday night of the first-ever September Men’s Retreat. Formerly held each winter, this year’s Men’s Retreat took advantage of the great September weather and moved into the timeslot formerly occupied by Adult Fellowship Camp.

Billed as a camp-out and a retreat, men had the option of sleeping in cabins or setting up a tent in Cammack field, where each church had a designated “camp-out” space. Here men gathered each morning over a campfire and hot cups of coffee to eat together a breakfast they made themselves. At nighttime they gathered again for more conversation, cocoa, and s’mores. The emphasis on church community was intentional in the hopes of reinforcing relationships and allowing men to take those new connections home, thereby strengthening their home churches.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director of Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, Washington, encouraged the men throughout the weekend with his talks on “Wisdom for Life,” gleaning insight from the book of James. “Everyday living is a real challenge,” Ed said. His stated goal for the weekend was to “bring wisdom into the realities of life and seek answers for the issues that are right in front of us.” Musician Timothy James Meaney led the men in worship throughout the weekend.

The warm September weekend allowed the men a chance to truly be campers: kayaking on the lake, hiking up Charlotte’s Mountain, and beachcombing. Twin Rocks’ first-ever “Try-Athlete” competition had the men vying over standup paddleboards, archery, and a potato gun contest.

The Twin Rocks’ kitchen cooked amazing meals all weekend, preparing not only Friday night’s regional “SeaFest,” but other special meals like a teriyaki chicken buffet for lunch and an outside steak barbeque Saturday night. Over sixty men attended this year’s Men’s Retreat. Stated one happy camper, “This was just one super-great experience.”

If you missed Men’s Retreat this year, plan on joining next year’s retreat scheduled for September 18-20, 2015. The campfires will be waiting!

“Best Men’s Retreat yet!”

“A highlight was hanging out with the men from my church around the campfire.”

“I wouldn’t normally come to Men’s Retreat, but the format of pairing us within our church group was great for me. I’d come again.”

“A highlight was having the opportunity to do some things I rarely get a chance to do like climb the mountain, walk on the beach, do archery, and canoe on the lake.”

Thouvenel Farewell

This past August, Twin Rocks said goodbye to Joseph Thouvenel, who came as Program Director in 2004. Joseph oversaw all aspects of Twin Rocks’ programming, guiding the work and ministry of Friends camp directors and college-aged summer staff, as well as planning programs like Couples Conference and Family Holiday Weekend. An expert and relational listener and communicator, Thouvenel mentored many during his ten years at the camp.

During his tenure, Joseph was promoted to Associate Director of Programs and Spiritual Formation. His role also included the oversight of 5-6 interns annually. He was instrumental in acquiring funding from the M.J.Murdock Charitable Trust that enabled the expansion of the internship program, which 32 interns have now completed, including new Program Directors Matt and Megan Dayton. Joseph, with his wife Stephanie and children Hope and Tad, has moved to Newberg, Oregon where he recently joined the staff of George Fox University as a Career and Academic Planning Coach with the IDEA Center.

Joseph reflects fondly on his time at Twin Rocks:

“I am so grateful that we will have memories from our time at the camp that will last throughout our lifetime. I’d like to think I carry with me a spiritual groundedness and an awareness of others that grew through my time of service at Twin Rocks. So many people in this area have a deep respect for the work of the camp and its impact on their lives and families. It makes me so proud to be able to say we were a part of the impact of Twin Rocks on so many people’s lives.”

Joseph and his family will be greatly missed by both staff and constituents of the camp. He is excited to see his former interns Matt and Megan Dayton stepping into the role of Program Directors at Twin Rocks:

“Stephanie and I were able to know them as Summer Staff, as Interns, and as friends these past years. Now we get to see them as Program Directors, carrying on an amazing aspect of the Twin Rocks ministry with a renewed passion and commitment. Joy and gratefulness all around.”

Dayton Hello

This fall, Twin Rocks welcomed new Program Directors, Matt and Megan Dayton. The Daytons come to Twin Rocks from Idaho where for the last two summers they served as Summer Staff Directors at Quaker Hill Camp in McCall. Last May, Matt completed a master’s degree in Youth Development and Urban Studies from Eastern University. Megan worked as a Family Advocate for Headstart.

The Daytons met at Twin Rocks and come with extensive experience in the programs they will oversee. Matt was on Summer Staff in 2006 and Megan in 2007. Both came back to serve another summer in 2008. With this helpful background, in the summer of 2009 they were both hired to lead the high school Student Leadership Program. They returned for a year-long internship program in 2010, heading up the 2011 Summer Staff Program. After a courtship that began during their year as interns, they were married in 2012.

Matt and Megan are excited about their new role, saying “It is such a privilege to have been recently hired as the Program Directors for Twin Rocks Friends Camp. We have both experienced incredible personal and spiritual growth through Twin Rocks programming in years past and it is both humbling and exciting to be continuing these excellent programs. We look forward to seeing God at work actively and powerfully in the lives of many campers and guests in the coming years.”

You Should Know…

■ Sabbath by the Sea at oceanfront Harbor Villa Retreat Center is occurring during the month of January. The half or full week personal retreats have become an annual staple for many who come to meet with God and refresh their spirits before the beginning of a new year. If you would like to learn more about Sabbath by the Sea, visit for details and registration.

■ Twin Rocks’ new Welcome Center opened in mid-January to rave reviews. The beautiful log facility in the heart of camp serves as the new front office and also houses the Program department. Guests often comment on the wonderful wood smell as they walk through the building and reminisce over the Twin Rocks memorabilia that graces the walls. Comfy leather chairs and intimate tables beckon guests, as does the promise of a good cup of espresso. The Undertow Espresso and Camp Store, which moved from the Dining Center porch, enjoyed a busy spring and summer as campers delighted in the coffee house atmosphere of the new location. On warm days campers spill out onto the new patio to sip lattes and converse around outside tables. Long-time board member Jim Fisher calls the new Welcome Center a “home run!”

■ The installation of two “Park Model,” single-wide, modular homes has been completed. The homes are located near the miniature golf course alongside other staff housing and have been outfitted and furnished to accommodate long-term volunteers. Since late spring, several volunteers have already called the park models “home.”

■ Much of the maintenance work around camp is being accomplished by the dedicated support of volunteers, many of whom come for a week, a month, or longer to help with new and ongoing projects. Twin Rocks was blessed by the following volunteers this past year:
• Long-time volunteers Dick and Kathryn Eichenberger returned for another summer. Dick provided the services of general handyman, completing a long list of small but important projects, like creating golf cart utility boxes and carved road and trail signs, and reinforcing our vintage dining room tables.
Chris Reid volunteered his summer in the maintenance department. A talented wood worker pursuing a degree in forestry, Chris used his talents to build wood boxes, split firewood, and help construct the new amphitheater.
Joe Roher, retired pastor from Friendswood Friends Church in Texas, volunteered in July, mowing lawns and spearheading the pruning, weeding, and mulching around camp. Joe’s upbeat personality and pastoral heart encouraged staff and campers alike.
Ed and Sandy Dealy, frequent Twin Rocks volunteers, offered their skills for a couple of months this fall. Ed spent countless hours painting all around camp.
• Eight retired friends of the camp with Volunteers on Wheels returned again this fall to help with the demolition of the Arts and Crafts Deck, and the replacement of two porches on the east side of Heron Cabin.
Jesse Waller and his wife Savannah, are spending the year volunteering in the grounds department and working part-time in housekeeping.
• Many local volunteers with the Tillamook Outdoor School program, including several local contractors, laborers, and an electrician, joined with Twin Rocks’ staff to construct the new Lakeview Amphitheater.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering on a short or long-term basis, visit our website,, or contact Volunteer Coordinator LeAnn Beebe, 503-355-2284.

■ A friendly, new face is greeting guests at the Harbor Villa Retreat Center. Katey Astleford, serving as the Harbor Villa Caretaker for the year, attends to guests’ needs and oversees housekeeping operations.

■ Mike Purcell recently celebrated 10 years as Food Service Director at Twin Rocks. Mike is well loved by camp staff and campers alike, impressing everyone with nutritious and creative meals. Mike oversees all aspect of the camp’s food service, including menu planning and purchasing, as well as the supervision of over 30 employees and volunteers.

■ Joel Thomas was recently promoted to full-time Outdoor Education Director. Since 2009, Joel has taken Twin Rocks’ outdoor education program from 10 to 22 nature-focused camps, serving public, private, and homeschooled students.

■ “Mr. Squishy,” Twin Rocks’ resident octopus was recently released back to the ocean after spending several months at the camp. The octopus was captured in nearby Netarts Bay and kept in a 300 gallon tank in lower Friendship Center. A Giant Pacific Octopus, the young octopus quickly outgrew his camp home. Mr. Squishy, as he was dubbed by Housekeeping Coordinator, Mary Kyle, quickly became a favorite of camp visitors and campers. A video of Mr. Squishy’s release can be seen on the Outdoor Education page of the Twin Rocks website (

■ College-aged young adults and high schoolers should begin thinking about joining Twin Rocks Summer Staff and Student Leadership programs for the summer of 2015. Information and applications for both will be available January 1st under the “Serving” tab at The deadline for Summer Staff applications is February 27th. The deadline for Student Leadership Program(SLP) applications is March 27th.

■ Twin Rocks welcomes 2014-15 interns Jacinda Thomas, Emma Hooley, Micah Holmes, Miranda Cooper, and Andy Harding. Interns minister through leadership of the Summer Staff and Student Leadership Programs, as well as overseeing several other critical camp programs while assisting with day-today camp operations.

From the Director’s Desk

Attendees at Twin Rocks’ recent Into the Spotlight celebration were given a chance to summarize reasons they love the camp. Some were humorous. Themes of family, nature, friendships, and food abounded. And what touched my heart most were the many references to Twin Rocks being a key component in the spiritual lives of campers:

Four years from now, Twin Rocks will celebrate its Centennial, 100 years after its 1918 inception. Facility-wise, the camp stands to enter 2018 in its all-time best-ever condition. More beds, more acreage, more amenities, than ever before. The camp’s founders would no doubt be amazed and impressed by the Twin Rocks structures of today.

My prayer going forward is that the Twin Rocks of 2018 will also be at its best-ever spiritually. These days, American culture seems focused away from Christianity. Fewer people attend church. A Christian worldview is often seen as out-of-touch. Committing one’s life to serving Jesus is less of a priority. The Bible goes unread. In the midst of this shifting world, it will be tempting for Twin Rocks to stray from its core purpose in an effort to remain relevant, to fit in with the larger culture.

As I see it, there is a greater spiritual need for Twin Rocks than ever before.

I covet your prayers for Twin Rocks and its future — that we will remain fully focused on connecting campers with Jesus; that youth (many who’ve never set foot in church) will come to summer camp and feel safe and loved, and be introduced to Scripture, prayer, and the wonderful news of Jesus. It’s my prayer that our next generation of campers will concur with Josiah Northcutt, who wrote: “I love Twin Rocks because…Jesus comes first.”

— Ken Beebe, Executive Director