A Space to Encounter God
For Don and Lori Swan and their five children— ages 12-24—Twin Rocks Friends Camp has served as an integral hub of their lives. They have been coming to the camp since the early 1990s and in the last 10 years alone, members of their family have attended 29 camps/retreats at Twin Rocks and logged more than 1,200 hours in voluntary service.
Here is how Lori describes the Swan family’s love of Twin Rocks:
God truly has touched our lives through Twin Rocks Friends Camp! I can’t even begin to express all of the ways. It’s fun to think about all of the programs that at least one member of our family has been involved in. Twin Rocks is embedded into the lives of our family with God’s love emanating from each of those memories in beautifully varied ways.
Don and I first got connected with Twin Rocks Friends Camp in the early 1990s. We attended several retreats as a young couple, including young adult retreats, marriage retreats and Seminar by the Sea. Individually, Don attended men’s retreats and I participated in restorative women’s retreats. We were initially attracted to Twin Rocks as an opportunity to enrich established relationships and to build new relationships.
Twin Rocks first impacted our kids as a place to have some special times together as the Swan family as well as a church family (on church retreats with Tigard Friends Church). I still remember one of the first skits that my kids did for the talent show night. We sung “there were four in the bed and the little (Eliana) one said ‘roll over, roll over…’” Then the four of them rolled over the platform and one fell off. It proceeded as you would expect, and they were really cute and had a lot of fun with it.
As the kids got older they began going to camps without us: Boys Camp, Girls Camp, Tween Camp and eventually, Surfside. Our summer plans often revolved around camp dates. I’ve made t-shirt quilts for the older three boys as they’ve moved out of the house. Many significant quilt squares come from Twin Rocks t-shirts. Those squares are significant because of the many memories connected to them: friendships, fun activities, character growth and significant encounters with God.
Our older three sons have also participated in Twin Rocks’ Servant Leadership Program (SLP). This seemed to be the clincher in which each of our boys came home with Twin Rocks as a part of them that would never fade; more confident in who they are as God created them to be, with a richer understanding of God’s love for them and how He uses community to shape us. Samuel, our second son, also participated in Summer Staff. He says that it was life-changing and the best summer of his life. A double blessing was having his brother, Isaak, on SLP at the same time. Though they were in different programs, that time together deepened their friendship through the sharing of many common experiences.
I myself have been challenged, encouraged, renewed, invigorated, reunited, comforted, and inspired at Twin Rocks over the many years. I have communed with God, myself, and others while retreating from the distractions of daily life. One of my favorite memories at Twin Rocks was the first year that my daughter, Eliana, and I participated in Girls Camp. At home, we lived in a house of boys (five, including my husband). I have loved having a house full of boys, but the contrast to my everyday life made the week of Girls Camp especially delightful. It warmed my heart to see a camp full of girls walking hand in hand through camp, singing together at the campfire and sharing their hearts during cabin time.
I think Twin Rocks does many things very well. It brings groups of people together for a great variety of purposes. It provides comfortable lodging, delicious food and space to enjoy God’s creation. But most of all, Twin Rocks provides space for people to encounter God.
Preparing the Camp for Its 100th Birthday
In 2018, Twin Rocks will reach 100 years of age. In anticipation of its upcoming Centennial anniversary, Twin Rocks is engaging in a Million Dollar Makeover that will ensure the camp is fully prepared to provide positive, life-transforming experiences for our next generation of campers. In addition to the Makeover, Phase One of the Centennial Campaign includes plans to expand recreation activities with a few new Terrific Toys that will draw campers in year after year.
Million Dollar Makeover
Just over a year into the Makeover, the generosity of the camp’s donors made these updates possible:
■ Created a 350-seat Lakeview Amphitheater
■ Resurfaced the Shelter (gymnasium) floor
■ Fully remodeled two Cabins of the Trees
■ Reroofed Hadley Hall
■ Painted the exterior of Pacific Woods Lodge
■ Built a “Gaga Pit” (dodgeball game)
■ Rebuilt the decks of the Arts & Crafts building and Heron Cabin (completed with expertise provided by several “Volunteers on Wheels”)
■ Purchased 187 new mattresses (half of total camp beds)
■ Installed a new dock at Spring Lake (special thanks to the Gray Family Foundation)
■ Received two brand new trucks: a Ford F-150 and a Ford F-350
■ Replaced aging ovens with four new convection ovens in the kitchen
These upgrades alone add up to 217 years of life gained for camp facilities (calculated from the last date of these improvements).
What an incredible gift!
By early 2016, we will complete a remodel of Larch Cabin to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards and install new carpet in several meeting rooms.
In the next three years leading up to the Centennial, several Million Dollar Makeover projects (pending funding) include:
■ Purchase beach and trail capable wheelchairs
■ Add wheelchair accessible restrooms to Macy Chapel
■ Replace deteriorating Kilchis and Quechua cabins with two new cabins, increasing by 40% the number of ADA-compliant cabins in camp
■ Create a Nature Center in lower Friendship Center to enhance outdoor education opportunities
■ Overhaul and expand the camp’s busy Nursing Station, including ADA accessibility
■ Fully remodel Central Restrooms with a terrific new look and ADA functionality
■ Re-carpet the mini-golf course
■ Install new furniture at Harbor Villa Retreat Center
■ Upgrade staff homes with minor improvements
■ Paint camp buildings, as needed
■ Replace gravel in the Central Courtyard with sidewalks and pavers
Twin Rocks offers a wide variety of recreational activities that are enjoyed by campers of all ages. The addition of a few new recreational components will refresh and expand the “toys” that Twin Rocks campers look forward to each year. In the next three years, we hope to:
■ Install ziplines that will allow campers to soar high above Cammack Field
■ Expand indoor recreation activities in the Shelter
■ Enhance the lakefront with a water slide and other activities
■ Purchase beach bicycles
■ Develop a tree climbing activity
Centennial Campaign Phase Two: Restoring the Historic Core (2018-)
After completing Phase One of the Centennial Campaign, which includes the Million Dollar Makeover and Terrific Toys, in 2018 Twin Rocks hopes to begin implementing Phase Two: Restoring the Historic Core. These historic core enhancements will improve the camp’s ability to provide a space for the personal and spiritual growth that occurs at Twin Rocks. Plans are to:
■ Enlarge the Meetinghouse to increase capacity and add restrooms
■ Expand the Dining Center, improving overall spaciousness and adding seats for 100 campers
■ Reconfigure rooms in Hadley Hall and add restrooms
A Shared History
An interview with Jeff Sargent, Director of Facilities and 3rd generation resident at Twin Rocks Friends Camp. Jeff has been on full-time staff at Twin Rocks since 2007.
When did you first become connected with Twin Rocks?
My first time here was probably 4th grade for Boys Camp, and then I came as a high schooler for Surfside. I knew from a young age that my parents and grandparents had a connection with Twin Rocks; that we kind of had a family history with Twin Rocks. And I’ve become more and more connected since I started working here.
How far back does your Twin Rocks lineage go?
My siblings came here. My parents came here, and they worked on Summer Staff and directed Surfside. Before them, my grandfather on my dad’s side, Herb Sargent, was the facilities director in the mid- to late-1960s. Then he became the interim Executive Director until Harlow Ankeny took over. My grandfather on my mom’s side, Roger Minthorne, came here as a counselor and then was Boys Camp director for many, many years. He’s now served on the Twin Rocks board of directors for 60 years, and has been involved at camp for over 70 years.
How does it impact you to work at a place where your parents and grandparents have invested so much?
My time working here has given me more and more connection to my family, because I’ve realized how much they’ve had their hand in here. I share their history. For example, I have remodeled buildings that my grandfather, Herb, built. I’m able to have some tangible connection with the stories he’s told. And my grandfather Roger just loves this place so much. When I listen to his stories, I think, “Oh yeah, now I know how we acquired this piece of the camp property,” and I enjoy talking with him about that.
Your children now attend camps at Twin Rocks. What’s that like?
I think that Twin Rocks does fantastic camps, so I’m excited that my kids get to be a part of that. They come to TRACKS and Day Camp for now, since that’s the age group they’re in. Their mom is the co-director of Day Camp, so it’s fun that they get to be campers, and that they get to be involved in camp at such an early age. I like to say that they’re 4th generation “Twin Rocksers,” meaning that they’re the 4th generation of my family to actually live at camp.
In what ways have you most enjoyed investing your time at Twin Rocks?
I like a mixture of things about being here. I like that it’s rewarding work. It’s doing something that I feel is of direct benefit to the Kingdom. I love my chances to interact with guests, with people, and with campers. I also like that I get to build things and maintain this place so that it goes into the future, and so that what I do here is going to last for a while. Again, one of the ways that I’ve connected with my grandparents is through their dreams for the longevity of this place, and seeing the longevity of this place. My grandfather, Herb Sargent, recently wrote that “we’re seeing our dreams come true,” referring to all the foundation work that he and my grandma did when they were here back in the 60s and 70s and seeing it coming to fruition now. I would love to say that one day, too.
What is a favorite memory you have of Twin Rocks?
One of them is planting a tree in honor of my grandparents at the board retreat last May. It’s cool that I got to be part of putting in a tree that was dedicated to my grandparents, the Minthornes. Jeff is married to Emily, and is the father of Daniel and Levi. He is the son of Roger & Louise Sargent, and grandson of Herb & Betty Sargent and Roger & Mildred Minthorne.
Interview by Rachel Clarkson, Twin Rocks Intern
You Should Know…
■ A Giant Sequoia was planted in Cammack Field in honor of Roger and Mildred Minthorne to recognize their 70+ years of faithful, sacrificial, and generous service to Twin Rocks Friends Camp.
■ Surfside Camp numbers were at an all-time high with 289 campers in attendance.
■ Celebrating Long-time Staff Members. Twenty Twin Rocks staff members have been employed at the camp for five years or longer. What a blessing it is to have staff who are deeply committed to the mission of Twin Rocks and who continue choosing to serve.
■ Twin Rocks once again earned accreditation through the American Camp Association, which ensures safety in all aspects of the camp through passing a rigorous, 157-point inspection.
■ Family Camp attendees in 2014 donated nearly $2,000, making it possible to install an additional Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) at camp.
This year, Family Camp pledged funds toward a new recreation activity: human foosball. So far, over $600 has been raised. Thank you to Family Camp for seeing needs and fulfilling them!
■ In 2015, the camp partnered with 241 outside groups, including 21 primary & secondary schools, five colleges, churches from 21 denominations, four ethnic groups whose first language isn’t English, and specialty camps for outdoor education, band members, sports teams, quilters, actors, government agencies, and the chemically-dependent.
■ Ron and Deb Mulkey began work as Harbor Villa Caretakers this fall. Ron will also serve as Camp Chaplain, and both Mulkeys will help with grounds maintenance and housekeeping. Ron and Deb spent the past 10 years serving as pastors at Metolius Friends Church.
■ A brand new Ford F-350 was anonymously donated to Twin Rocks by a generous friend of the camp.
■ The Gray Family Foundation gave $35,000 to help fund a brand new dock at Spring Lake.
■ Twin Rocks welcomes 2015-16 program interns Rachel Clarkson, Lavinia Budurovici, and Kendy Astleford, as well as maintenance intern Caleb Grimms. Program 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-to-day camp operations. The new position of maintenance intern was created based on Caleb’s desire to minister in both the maintenance department and day-to-day camp operations.
■ Joel Thomas is wrapping up a banner first year as full-time Outdoor Education Director, serving 1,824 campers for 22 schools and programs.
■ The True Cost of Camp. For 2016, Twin Rocks will institute a voluntary tiered-pricing structure for summer camps. Rather than raising all camp fees to levels that fully cover camp expenses— and risk losing out on ministry opportunities for those who might not be able to afford camp—we are giving campers the option to pay more if they are able.
■ Gary & LaRene Farmer of Custom Graphic Services provided impressive vehicle decals for the camp’s 11-passenger van and two trucks.
■ Sabbath by the Sea offers space for extended personal retreats with God. Week and half-week options are available from December 31-January 31 and March 17-20, 2016. Register online at twinrocks.org.
■ Leadership development opportunities stand at the core of Twin Rocks’ mission. College-aged young adults and high schoolers are encouraged to apply now to join Twin Rocks’ Summer Staff and Servant Leadership Program (SLP) for the summer of 2016. Information and applications for both are available under the “Serving” tab at twinrocks.org. The deadline for Summer Staff applications is February 29th, and the deadline for SLP applications is April 1st.
From the Director’s Desk
“Trust me. Hold my hand.”
I stood at the back of the camp’s Lakeview Amphitheater observing a sea of middle school students. It was the last night of Tween Camp, and as part of the worship experience campers were asked, “What is God saying to you?” I found myself moving from observer to active participant. What was God saying to me?
“Trust me. Hold my hand.”
I had been worrying, full of anxiety and fear for the future. I was facing problems along several fronts of life, trials in which I didn’t know where to turn. I felt the need to step up and “do something” to solve them, but I couldn’t identify what that “something” might be.
“Trust me. Hold my hand.”
God is trustworthy. He cares. When I act on my own, bull-like and blind, I make a big mess – creating problems rather than solving them. I exude bitterness and selfishness.
“Trust me. Hold my hand.”
That night I was able to step back and relax. Trust him. Hold his hand. Life’s problems aren’t mine to fix. The Lord sees the bigger story and often proceeds in directions I’ve failed to envision. I am to follow God fully, doing whatever he asks, when he asks. And the rest is up to him. Over the past four months I have revisited the two phrases numerous times. And while much of life remains difficult, my job is straightforward and surprisingly easy:
“Trust me. Hold my hand.”
— Ken Beebe, Executive Director