1918-2018: Centennial Reflections

“I was nine when I first attended Boys Camp in 1942,” says Dick Eichenberger. “The Meetinghouse actually had sawdust on the floor, and those were the days when the ‘sawdust trail’ meant responding to the altar call. Those were formative days in my life and literally thousands of people have had similar, lasting spiritual experiences at the camp since then.”

Betty Comfort was one of those thousands, “The summer of my 9th birthday, I wrote in my Bible that I committed my life to Jesus in a new way at Twin Rocks Girls Camp. Lucy Clark was the dynamic speaker that year. Through the following years, I received new inspiration and challenge to live more closely to Him.”

Twin Rocks Friends Camp celebrates its100th birthday in 2018. Over the past century countless campers like Dick and Betty have made Twin Rocks their camp home, many returning year after year to where they first met Jesus and nurtured lifelong friendships. Recently we sat down with several longtime friends of the camp to hear their Twin Rocks stories.

Roger Minthorne remembers his first time at Twin Rocks. It was the spring of 1944 when as a freshman at Pacific College Roger had just accepted Christ at a revival meeting. “They asked all the boys that were staying for the summer school to be counselors at Boys Camp. They had altar calls and we boys, including me, were asked to pray with those young fellows who came forward. So, it was a big spiritual step for me having been a Christian for only a few months and then suddenly praying with boys and helping them find the Lord.”

At not quite 10 years old, Verne Martin was one of the youngest attenders at the very first Boys Camp in 1941. He remembers seeing Roger for the first time at a Boys Camp and later was in Roger’s Sunday school class at Newberg Friends Church.

Verne remembers distinctly hearing the Lord’s call on his life as a teenager at Twin Rocks: “I can sit in the back of the Meetinghouse today and see the exact spot where I accepted Christ and where he told me what he wanted me to do with my life. He very clearly told me to spend my life working with kids.”

Also at that first Boys Camp was Gene Mulkey, who had been invited by Friends pastor, Walter Cook. “Boys Camp is where I accepted the Lord as my personal savior.” He remembers kneeling in front of the fireplace in what is now the Memorial Lounge. “I remember after the service, flying up the stairway to the third floor of Hadley, really exhilarated!”

Alice Maurer’s first memories of Twin Rocks preceded her actual attendance as she listened to her parents’ recollections of their stays. Her father was connected with Rosedale Friends Church and went to one of the first multi-generational conferences in the late 1920s. Her mother told stories of coming out from Scotts ills on the Cammack’s truck, sleeping on the wooden tent platforms after stuffing their “ticks” with straw they had brought, and doing their own cooking. “Before my own personal memories of Twin Rocks I had an impression that Twin Rocks was the special place on the coast.”

Personally, Alice remembers almost every year going to the altar. For her coming to faith was a drawing process. “For many years I had gone forward for things like ‘God, please forgive me for stealing cookies out of the cookie jar.’ But, it wasn’t ‘Take my life.’ That didn’t happen until I was 14. But, every single one of those going forward experiences and being responsive to the Holy Spirit was part of the growing process for me. They were building stones along the way.”

Other important milestones have happened at Twin Rocks. Verne met his wife Ellen at camp. He recalls sitting on the platform in the Meetinghouse helping Betty Brown (Comfort) pick four recreation teams for a round robin softball/volleyball tournament when he saw a girl (Ellen) with beautiful brown eyes walk through the door. “I told Betty, she looks like a good center fielder— let’s get her.” At Girls Camp this past summer, Verne and Ellen (camp grandparents) were given a special candlelit dinner to celebrate their 64th anniversary (along with 100 girls campers!).

Alice and her husband, Nick, got engaged at Twin Rocks. Together they had climbed Charlotte’s Mt. and sat on the stump overlooking the ocean and Twin Rocks. “Nick hadn’t had it in mind, but looking out over the majestic scene of those two rocks that had stood there together against the storms of life, it just kinda popped out. He asked if I would marry him. He remembers me saying, ‘I thought you’d never ask!’”

The camp looked a little different in its early days. Besides the wooden tent platforms, the only other housing was a couple of cabins and Hadley Hall. Unlike today, Hadley’s second and third floors were much more open and rustic. A long trough with spigots stood outside of Hadley for personal hygiene. Outhouses were the mode of the day. Nighttime bathroom needs were taken care of with gallon cans situated in the Hadley alcoves.

Both Dick and Gene remember that during WWII years Hadley Hall’s beach facing windows had to be curtained to avoid visibility by submarines. And because of gas rationing, families weren’t traveling as much; people sent their kids to camp. “Boys Camp was larger in those days,” reflects Roger. “We had two weeks of camp with over 100 boys each, about twice as many as today.”

In the early years campers did their own cooking until the first dining hall was built on stilts over the drop off on the north side of Hadley Hall. Verne remembers eating at long tables with pans of dish and rinse water at the ends for campers to clean their own dishes. “By Wednesday we were all so sick that we threw up over the balcony of Hadley.” Later the Dining Hall was built in its current location. During a college-aged camp she once led, Alice was allowed access to the kitchen to bake a blackberry pie using just-picked camp berries.

Alice remembers conference attendance swelled on the weekends when everyone came over for the Sunday service. Ellen Martin may have been one of those campers: “My grandfather had a cabin in Rockaway Beach, so we spent summers there ever since I can remember. Sometimes my mother and I would walk up to conference at Twin Rocks.” The Meetinghouse (Tabernacle) was not large enough to accommodate everyone for those services. Alice relates how part of the Meetinghouse east wall could go up like garage doors and be secured with stakes in the ground. In this way more could participate and be covered from sun and rain.

Roger’s wife, Mildred, was instrumental in the beginnings of the Shelter gymnasium. As Girls Camp Director, Mildred remembers a particularly miserable year where it rained every day of camp: “The girls were wet all the time.” Upon coming home she went to the library and in a Boy Scouts handbook found a picture of an a-frame structure she knew would make a good indoor play space. She said to Roger, “I want this next year for Girls Camp.” In 1965, the trees for the structure came from the property that ultimately became Camp Tilikum.

Over the years, Twin Rocks grounds and facilities have needed careful and ongoing oversight. Herb Sargent was the camp’s first Facilities Director. His wife Betty Lou remembers the summer their teenaged children worked at camp and helped director Charlotte Macy with repairs by calling on their dad who was miles away in Cherry Grove. After that summer the kids knew Twin Rocks needed Herb full-time. He dismissed the idea at first but Betty Lou remembers four months later when he came into the kitchen one morning and announced, “I think God wants me to go to Twin Rocks.” Herb served at Twin Rocks for many years, the last two as Director.

Like Herb, hundreds of people have felt nudged by the Lord towards Twin Rocks’ ministry. Verne was on the planning committee for the first Tween Camp. “I remember us sitting in the front room of the parsonage at West Chehalem Friends Church. Every person we called to teach or counsel at that first camp said, ‘Yes.’” Gene was instrumental in starting the first Family Camp, ensuring affordability for larger families and creating a structure that is still in place today.

Since that first Boys Camp and after years of attending Twin Rocks Camps, Dick Eichenberger and his wife Kathryn spent fifteen of their retirement years volunteering summers at Twin Rocks. “We were glad to be useful in kingdom work and enjoyed the camaraderie, as well as keeping up with the generations as youngsters came to camp.” Betty Lou felt the Lord’s nudge to pray for campers when she and Herb lived on the grounds: “I would look out my kitchen window at the ocean and I could see the surf and I would pray for the campers that would come as I washed dishes or cooked.”

After ten decades, Twin Rocks continues to be pivotal in the lives of campers, a place where the building blocks of faith and friendship are found and allowed to flourish. Alice reflects on the lifelong friendships that camp helped nurture in her life: “You felt that you were part of something bigger than your local church. You met friends that would ask you spiritual questions. It’s just a special place; it’s part of who I am.” Twin Rocks Camp was formational in Betty’s life, too: “I know that I’m a different person because of the evangelistic emphasis and bonds of friendship that have held strong and meaningful through time…more than 80 years!”

As part of a Bible study, Ellen learned that everyone in her group had met Jesus at Twin Rocks or some other summer camp. Gene recognizes that important decisions happen at camp: “As you grow, you change, experience new challenges, and gain new insights into the way God works in your life.”

Roger reflects on his experience as a new Christian helping to lead Boys campers to Christ that summer of 1944: “(Spiritually for me) it was from nothing, to something, to leading others, and that impressed me with the validity of the camp experience. That made me want to come the next year and the next year and the next year and make that part of my life.”

Verne doesn’t hesitate to add, “Everything that’s happened good for me started at Twin Rocks.”

Million Dollar Makeover Enters Season of Construction

As Twin Rocks enters its Centennial year of 2018, the camp is gearing up to celebrate. A major part of this preparation has been a Million Dollar Makeover, underway since 2014, designed to ensure top-notch camp experiences for a new century of campers. This Makeover culminates in 2018 with four final projects: (1) A new and improved, relocated Central Restroom; (2) Pavers and concrete pathways replacing gravel in the center of camp; (3) a Restroom for Macy Chapel; and (4) a 500-foot, Triple Zip Line high above Cammack Field. Each of these improvements will be accessible to those affected by disability.

To make this possible, during the past year the camp secured the concluding $380,000 of its $1.3 million campaign budget, including a successful summertime “Final 9%” appeal for $120,000, and a generous $243,000 award from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Construction now begins in earnest, with all remaining projects slated for completion during 2018. If all goes according to plan, most will be operational in time for July 21’s official Centennial celebration.

First on the docket is the new Central Restroom facility. The restroom will attach to the west side of the Shelter recreation facility (gymnasium) and include ten private, single-stall restrooms. Designed with the assistance of families affected by disability, the building includes six ADA-compliant restrooms, two with adult-style changing tables and roll-in showers.

With the restroom’s concrete footings recently poured, construction is fully underway. Jeph Troyer of His Construction oversees this project, and Bob Hampton (Hampton Plumbing) is generously providing plumbing services. The new Central Restroom sets in motion two additional projects — a relocation of the Kiddie Korral play structure (which previously sat in the new restroom’s location), and a new laundry/storage room (transferred from the old restroom building to a site outside the camp’s core).

The new Central Restroom should come on line in the spring, with Zip Lines (hopefully) operational by July. The pedestrian-friendly, gravel-less Central Courtyard will be last on this list, likely slated for fall 2018.

Twin Rocks Thanks Christina Becker

Guest Services Director, Christina Becker, leaves her role at the beginning of the year to pursue nursing studies. She has served as Guest Services Director since the summer of 2011, during which time she forged invaluable relationships between Twin Rocks and numerous guest groups. Christina’s personable style, dedication, and confident troubleshooting allowed her to excel in relating to guest group leaders, campers, and her fellow camp staff.

Brent Olstad, Director of Joni & Friends Southern Oregon, which sponsors a Twin Rocks camp for families affected by disabilities, speaks for many campers when he says of Christina: “…we are so thankful for the years of service Christina provided us for our Family Retreats. Her cheerful smile, engaging conversations, enthusiastic support of our program, patient engagement of all our special requests, and Godly attitude made it possible for our retreats to be meaningful, fun, and accessible to all. We will certainly miss Christina but are excited for her as she pursues her nursing degree. God’s richest blessings to her.”

Her fellow workers could always count on Christina to help unravel problems and brainstorm solutions, and do so with enthusiasm. She exemplified what it means to lead by example, while at the same time fostering friendship.

Twin Rocks Executive Director Ken Beebe says, “It is hard to overstate my gratitude for Christina’s work at Twin Rocks these past 6+ years. We rely so heavily on our Guest Services Director, asking them to serve as the ‘face of Twin Rocks’ for each of our 280 annual rental groups. Christina has performed this role with such thoughtfulness, care, humility, and self-sacrifice, consistently modeling what we believe it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus.”

Christina will be greatly missed by both staff and guests. She reflects upon leaving, “Serving at Twin Rocks has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I have so enjoyed serving our guests and getting to see many of them year after year. It feels like returning family every week! I will deeply miss those relationships. Yet, I am very excited about my next steps. I have decided to go back to school to pursue a nursing degree! Crazy? Yes! But I am ready for this new challenge and to see all that this next season holds.

I am beyond grateful for the amazing staff that I was blessed to serve alongside here at Twin Rocks!” Although she will be leaving her post, Christina will continue to live on the grounds at Twin Rocks with her husband, Bruce (Assistant Food Service Director), and daughter, Aspen. Son Wade attends Point Loma University in California.

You Should Know…

■ Office transitions: Ceress Sanders moved to Newberg in September after 3 years serving as Executive Assistant and Bookkeeper. Guest Services Assistant and Camp Registrar, Joyce Valdez, left her office position this past September to help her husband, Jim, in their butchering and meat packing business.

■ Want to spend part of your summer at Twin Rocks? College-aged young adults and high schoolers are encouraged to apply for the 2018 Summer Staff and Servant Leadership Program (SLP). Information and applications for both are available under the “Serving” tab at twinrocks.org. The deadline for Summer Staff applications is February 28, 2018, and the deadline for SLP applications is April 2, 2018.

■ Twin Rocks is blessed with four outstanding interns for 2017-18. Interns help behind the scenes in camp operations, provide leadership for Summer Staff and SLP, help with the programming of Junior High Jamboree, the Twin Rocks TRACKS afterschool program, and summer Day Camp.

Summer Camp dates for 2018:
• Boys Camp, July 1-5, 2018
• Girls Camp, July 5-9, 2018
• Tween Camp, July 15-20, 2018
• Surfside, August 5-11, 2018

Wish List

■ A fuel-efficient car or SUV for staff travel to meetings, etc.
■ For Harbor Villa Retreat Center:
• 2 portable CD players (11” x 17”)
• 2ft x 3ft white board
• 3 strings of C9 LED white lights for outside buildings
■ Mazzer Mini or other burr coffee grinder for the Undertow Espresso & Camp Store
■ Funds for camper Bibles ($100 for 10 Bibles)

Corporate Resolution Approved

On November 19, the governing body of Twin Rocks Friends Camp (known as the Twin Rocks Friends Conference Association) met and approved a Corporate Resolution outlining the camp’s response to a restructure currently underway within the Friends Church. This 2018 restructure will result in a number of current members of the Association ceasing to be Association members, as their churches step away from their formal connection with Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church. In acknowledgement of this group’s previously shared ownership, continued access to Twin Rocks will be provided to the departing group through two consecutive weeks of summertime rental at discounted rates (for the programming of their own set of summer camps), and year-round discounted-rate rental for the programming of family camps, church retreats, etc. For more specifics, a copy of the Corporate Resolution is available by emailing the camp ([email protected]).

From the Director’s Desk

I am excited about the future of Twin Rocks Friends Camp. As we embark upon our Centennial year, Twin Rocks has so much to celebrate. But I am also grieving. The Friends denomination — the parent to Twin Rocks, the “Friends” in Twin Rocks Friends Camp — is in the midst of a restructure, one that splits the church along doctrinal lines. For reasons of clarity of belief and consistency in teaching, I support this restructure, both personally and for Twin Rocks. In the end, I believe very good things will emerge from it.

Yet this split among Friends comes at a very heavy price. Recent years, and especially 2017, have left Friends of all perspectives reeling — like Paul and Timothy in their second letter to the Corinthians, feeling afflicted, in despair, and “utterly burdened beyond our strength.”

Friends in the Northwest are a small group. We know each other well. Our lives are interconnected. Not only are we denominationally “Friends,” but we are truly friends of one another. Yet in the split we find ourselves on opposite sides of the doctrinal fence from family members and from some of our dearest friends. In our efforts to convince one another of the correctness of our beliefs, we have too often embraced bitterness and mean-spiritedness. Yet thankfully, we have also hugged one another, cried together, prayed lovingly for one another, and shown a tenderness and compassion that I am confident gives God great joy.

People who have given their lives to Twin Rocks, who met their spouses here, whose great-grandparents built buildings here — find that they are no longer part of the camp’s ownership group. And while they can continue as campers and will have ongoing access to the camp’s use, many feel betrayed and discarded for simply embracing their beliefs. To them, the Centennial isn’t celebration, it’s sorrow.

I am grateful that the structure of Twin Rocks is not changing, that it will maintain its ties to the same set of beliefs it has held for 100 years. For me, this is an answer to prayer. But my joy comes at the expense of so many good and faithful friends. In this Centennial season of celebration, we also mourn.

— Ken Beebe, Executive Director