A Family Heritage
For the Mel and Lila Kern famiy, the term “family reunion” has become synoymous with “Twin Rocks Family Camp.” Since 1985 the Kerns have been coming to Twin Rocks’ Family Camp with their extended family. A lot of extended family. Routinely, nearly 50 members of the Mel & Lila Kern clan gather at Twin Rocks over Labor Day weekend to celebrate and reconnect. Mel is the instigator of this family togetherness. As the family patriarch, just as one Family Camp is ending, Mel encourages everyone to come back the next year, and ensures that everyone is registered.
Mel and Lila can only praise the Lord for His faithfulness and direction. “It has been such a blessing witnessing the impact that this legacy has had on our family, especially knowing the individual journeys they each have been on.”
Mel has been doing this for so many years that the process is efficient and accurate. He never forgets to include everybody in his count, which has included 5 children, 19 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and other extended family and friends, all who have made Twin Rocks Family Camp an annual tradition.
With some family traveling from as far as Florida, there is no distance too far or obstacle too big to make Family Camp a priority. A few years ago, Mel & Lila received a surprise phone call from one of their grandsons, who eagerly told them he had been granted the leave he requested from the Air Force to come to Family Camp. Of course, they were delighted.
In 2018, Mel and Lila had the privilege of hearing another grandson, Josh Zarzana, serve as the Family Camp speaker. Seeing Josh grow into a Christian leader was one of the great highlights in decades of Family Camp memories. And in 2019, Mel added to his Twin Rocks legacy by becoming the oldest person — at age 89 — to ride the camp’s zip line!
One of the most treasured and memorable Twin Rock traditions for the Kern family started long ago at a Family Camp talent show where the family sang an entertaining rendition of “Skida-marink-a-dink-a-dink.” At the time, the kids were less than thrilled to participate. But, the Kavity Korner camp store served as a great incentive; Mel would treat each grandchild to a candy shopping spree as a thank you for their performance. The Kern family still sings this song each year for the whole camp.
Then there was the year they all got the flu at camp. Before Hadley Hall was renovated in 1991, the rooms were separated by oil cloths. That particular year the Kern family occupied the whole North end of Hadley Hall. The flu started with another family at the south end of the hall and travelled all the way to the North end affecting the Kern family along the way. Each family member took turns taking care of one another throughout the weekend and learned a good lesson in sacrificial love.
Besides Family Camp, Mel and Lila make it a priority to attend Men’s Retreat and Friends Women’s Retreat each September. This past October they attended Twin Rocks’ Couples Conference with their daughter, Sue Hall, and her husband Ted. In true Mel fashion, one year at Men’s Retreat he booked an entire cabin for himself and seven of his grandsons.
Reflecting on Family Camp, Mel continues, “Simply put, you can’t afford not to come to Family Camp. Not only do you get nine meals and three wonderful days of activities, you get to come together and build your connection as a family generation by generation.” Lila adds, “The Lord has truly blessed us.”
Twin Rocks Outdoor Education Going Strong
Twin Rocks Friends Camp’s well-established Outdoor Education program continues to serve elementary and middle schools by providing the tools needed for a successful outdoor school experience. With its spectacular environs–rainforest, lake, mountain stream, wetlands, and nearby tide pools—Twin Rocks provides an ideal setting for outdoor learning.
Twin Rocks hosted 23 outdoor schools in 2019, roughly half from public schools and half from homeschool groups or private Christian schools. Some of these brought with them their own outdoor school programming, while others partnered with Twin Rocks to develop and plan their curriculum, utilizing the expertise of Emily Sargent (Outdoor Education Director), and her assistant, Katey Astleford.
Here’s a sampling of 2019 outdoor school comments:
“I now plan to study marine biology and help people learn about the animals in the ocean.”
— Stella Mayfield Elementary School
“I was really impressed with Emily and Katey. The classes were great and everyone was so friendly.”
— Summit Learning Charter
“This place will be a legend. Very nice camp!”
— Alameda Elementary School
Spotlight on Volunteers: Richard and Kathy Nelson
Twin Rocks is wonderfully blessed by volunteers Richard and Kathy Nelson. The Nelsons have a long history of volunteering at Twin Rocks beginning in the 1970’s, and most recently as part of the Twin Rocks Volunteer CAMP Team. In September of 2018 they took things a big step further.
Retiring last year after 48 years with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Richard and his wife, Kathy, a 22 year veteran of volunteer service with a pregnancy resource center, decided to make a longer volunteer commitment to Twin Rocks. They moved from their Gresham home to one of the camp’s “park model” tiny homes to serve as long-term volunteers in maintenance and housekeeping. As a “retiree,” Richard often gives as many hours to maintenance troubleshooting as any of the paid staff. Says Twin Rocks Facilities Director, Jeff Sargent, “Richard is a fantastic help to the maintenance department. He is so faithful and reliable and careful in his work.”
Kathy has spent countless hours washing, folding, and repairing laundry as the camp cycles through its numerous weeks of campers. Kathy says she enjoys being able to partner with Twin Rocks staff for the purpose of serving both Christ and people. Housekeeping Coordinator, Mary Kyle, appreciates Kathy easing the burden of ongoing laundry: “It has been wonderful having Kathy’s help with the laundry. It’s such a joy to pop in the laundry room just to chat with her; she keeps me laughing!”
For Richard and Kathy, they love giving back to a place that has meant so much in their lives. Richard reflects, “I’m so thankful to God for the opportunity to be here, to contribute to the ministry, and to be part of a winning team. I’ve appreciated the openness and receptiveness of the staff and feel appreciated in return. It’s perfect for me.”
Volunteers are vitally important members of the Twin Rocks Friends Camp staff. Each year, over 35,000 hours of volunteer service is given in the areas of camp counseling and staffing, outdoor education, maintenance and construction, grounds keeping, food service, housekeeping, and the camp store. As such, more than one-fourth of all work hours performed at Twin Rocks are conducted by volunteers. If you would like to explore what volunteering might look like for you at Twin Rocks, contact Volunteer Coordinator LeAnn Beebe at [email protected]
Renewed, Improved — and Accessible!
The Million Dollar Makeover conducted by Twin Rocks over the past five years has proven wonderfully successful, delivering $1.3 million in upgrades, keeping the camp in top condition. Much of the Makeover has focused on accessibility, enhancing Twin Rocks’ ability to serve families affected by disability.
The newest and most photographed addition is a 700-foot dual zip line that traverses Cammack Field and terminates at a 32-foot tower with climbing wall. Since opening July 1, the zip line has already provided campers with more than 1,500 rides!
Thanks to the generosity of more than 400 families and grants from the Gray Family Foundation and the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the entire $1.3 million in improvements is fully funded. These Makeover improvements have proven immensely popular with campers, and compliments have abounded. Most every day, campers can be heard sharing how impressed they are by Twin Rocks’ attractiveness and excellence. Perhaps most notable is the feedback the camp has received from campers affected by disability, who now benefit from accessible restrooms, hardscaped walkways, wheelchair ramps, and a zip line available to everyone. (See comments at right from Joni & Friends International Disability Center’s family camps at Twin Rocks.)
MILLION DOLLAR MAKEOVER ACHIEVEMENTS, 2014-2019 (partial list):
■ New Central Restroom Facility
■ Dual Zip Lines and Climbing Wall
■ Macy Chapel — Accessible Restroom
■ Wheelchair Ramps
■ Flatbed Truck & Pickup
■ 185 Comfortable Mattresses
■ Re-Surfaced Gymnasium (Shelter) Floor
■ Deck Repairs
■ Cabin Remodels
■ New Dock at Spring Lake
■ Hadley Hall Roof
■ Lakeview Amphitheater
■ Park Model Volunteer Housing
■ Garage for Staff Homes
■ Industrial Laundry Facility
■ “Fort Rocks” Playground
■ Beach / Trail Wheelchairs
■ Central Courtyard — Sidewalks & Pavers
■ New Bonfire Pits
The following comments, written by Joni & Friends campers and staff, derive from a booklet created for the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust in thanks for their $243,000 accessibility-focused gift to Twin Rocks:
“The physical changes made at Twin Rocks are amazing! My son is a wheelchair user, and we so appreciate the paved walkways — he can push himself around camp by himself now! The restrooms are beautiful and the zipline is a blast! Everyone can come to camp and fully participate. Thank you!”
“There are no words sufficient to express my thanks for your generous donation to Twin Rocks. Seeing the joy of wheelchair users on the zip line — doing something that they never thought they could ever do — is indescribable. Our families were able to move easily thanks to the pavers. And one family was able to change their adult daughter in the central restroom. Thank you for making this possible.”
“This was our family’s first Joni & Friends Retreat at Twin Rocks. We’ve been blessed by how accessible the campus is for our wheelchair-using son! Thank you!”
— TheHill Family
“My daughter (age 39) was able to walk through the courtyard, unaided, without fear of stumbling on the gravel. She actually danced! She was so thrilled for the freedom to just walk by herself!”
— A Happy Camper
“This camp is now truly a disability-friendly place. More ramps, pavers in place of gravel. The new restrooms! Yay. Thank you so much.”
“Hearing parents exclaim over the new bathrooms and the pavers instead of gravel is such a blessing. It may seem small, or cosmetic, but you create accommodations that allow these campers to be safe and just have fun. So thank you for listening to God’s promptings and being a blessing to us all.”
“Your donation has made a world of difference for individuals who aren’t always able to access the world as typical people do. You have created a place like no other. Thank you!”
Oceanfront Property Secured
Twin Rocks successfully secured the purchase of oceanfront lots directly west of the camp’s entrance, providing the camp its only beachside property at its main conference grounds. This one-acre wooded parcel includes 238 lineal feet of ocean frontage and comes to the camp due to the generosity of its sellers, who offered it for $770,000 — less than half of its independently appraised value.
It is a beautiful acre. To the west of this forested site lies the majestic Pacific Ocean, with its wide, sandy beach and spectacular sunsets. The eastern part of the property contains impressive wetlands, offering natural seclusion from nearby Highway 101.
While there are no immediate plans to place structures on the property, the camp ultimately envisions an adult/family retreat center on the site. In the meantime, a sixstation Prayer Walk winds through its lush vegetation, enabling campers to enjoy quiet times of reflection with God while taking in ocean views and the pounding sounds of surf. Middle school campers attending Tween Camp this past summer had the opportunity to help construct the Prayer Walk, then experience it firsthand. It proved a highlight for many campers:
“I could feel the presence of God.”
“The Prayer Walk was awesome.”
“The Prayer Walk really opened my eyes to the Lord.”
While Twin Rocks currently owns and possesses the oceanfront property, its purchase remains less than fully funded. Over the next three years, the camp will need additional gifts of $485,000 to cover remaining contractual obligations due December 2022.
The oceanfront property is part of a larger, $1.6 million New Century fundraising campaign instituted during the camp’s 2018 Centennial Celebration. The New Century Campaign contains three major components: (1) The oceanfront property purchase; (2) 2018’s Centennial celebration and accompanying history book; and (3) a much-anticipated enlargement of Twin Rocks’ Dining Center, expanding seating capacity from 300 to 400.
Thus far, nearly 200 families have provided gifts and pledges totaling $475,000, about 30 percent of the campaign goal (see chart). First priority in fundraising will be to secure the $485,000 still owed on the oceanfront property
Roger Minthorne: A Lasting Twin Rocks Legacy
Roger Minthorne, long-time friend and supporter of Twin Rocks Friend Camp, passed away last March at age 92. Roger’s association with Twin Rocks began the summer of 1944 when he came as a counselor for Boys Camp. As a Pacific College (George Fox University) freshman that year, Roger had recently become a Christian and had the privilege at Boys Camp of praying with boys who wanted to accept Christ. In an interview for the Sandpiper two years ago Roger said, “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.”
Over the years, Roger’s commitment to Twin Rocks grew as he continued to appreciate the validity of the camp experience for young people’s spiritual lives. He directed Boys Camp for 25 years and served on the Twin Rocks Board of Directors for 65years, including 10 as its Chair.
Through Roger’s direct visionary efforts and savvy business acumen, the camp grew in size. Roger’s personable style and interest in people naturally helped him forge relationships with Twin Rocks neighbors; these relationships fostered the purchase of land that allowed the camp to grow from its initial 2.5 acres to its present 120 acres. Buildings like the Shelter Recreation Center and Friendship Center came into existence through his direct influence, and his family legacy continues through his grandson, Jeff Sargent, who has worked at the camp the past dozen years and serves as its Facilities Director.
“Among the thousands of Twin Rocks’ supporters over the past century, Roger Minthorne stands tall above the rest,” notes Ken Beebe. “Everywhere you look at Twin Rocks you see fingerprints of Roger and his wife, Mildred. Without them, Twin Rocks would be but a shadow of its present self.”
Twin Rocks Welcomes Franklins
Last summer Twin Rocks welcomed Program Directors Mark and Lauralea Franklin. Mark and Lauralea know that God’s providence led them to Twin Rocks. Lauralea had a long history with the camp, growing up attending Surfside and Family Camp, serving on Summer Staff as a young adult, and co-leading the Student Leadership Program in 2004. She always hoped to one day be a part of the full-time Twin Rocks staff. Through a series of timely encounters, the Franklins knew God was drawing them to the position and once they applied, things moved quickly. For the camp, it was obvious that God had been preparing just the right people for this important position. Executive Director Ken Beebe commented, “What a blessing it is to have Mark and Lauralea serving as Twin Rocks’ Program Directors. They combine creativity, hospitality, and care for others with a wonderful heart for serving Jesus. In the 15 years since we instituted the official role of Program Director at Twin Rocks, God has been so gracious to us, bringing us the Thouvenels, Daytons, and now the Franklins. Truly wonderful.”
Mark comes to camp from a management background with Target department stores. Lauralea worked most recently in marketing and sales at Biotronik, a cardiac device company. Newly married in October of 2018, the Franklins attended City’s Edge Church where they both ministered to youth and young adults. Mark was also on the church’s preaching team and currently is studying at Western Seminary towards a degree in Biblical and Theological studies.
The Franklins look forward to becoming part of the Twin Rocks staff and embracing the important work of teaching and mentoring the youth and young adults who pass through camp. Remembering her days as a camper and staff member, Lauralea also looks forward to giving back to a staff family that poured so much into her life.
Coming from a secular work environment, Mark is enjoying the freedom to use his management gifts where he can bring faith into the workplace and says, “Camp provides a space to discern…and learn how to think about what’s true and not true. Camp lets campers hear God’s story about who they are.”
TRACKS: Sharing God’s Love Locally
Every Wednesday afternoon, about 20 kids jump out of a school bus at the Twin Rocks entrance ready to experience camp. For the next two hours, local grade school children unwind from their school day by learning and playing together in the supportive and caring environment of Twin Rocks.
For 16 years, TRACKS (Twin Rocks Afterschool Camp for Kids) has ministered to Tillamook County kids grades K-5. Each week at TRACKS friendships are built, Christ-centered learning transpires, and opportunities to grow in faith are possible.
From October to March, students who come to TRACKS:
■ Explore the outdoors
■ Engage in special events with community speakers
■ Compete in the “Memory Verse Slime Challenge”
■ Perform silly songs
■ Collaborate in science experiments
■ Create crafts such as leaf print painting, button art, and pine cone trees
■ Enjoy recreation games
■ Learn Bible stories
■ Receive homework help
■ Enjoy an end of year carnival with their families
For many of these local children, TRACKS is the highlight of their week. One TRACKS kid exclaimed, “Wednesdays are the best day of the week because I get to come to Twin Rocks and play with my friends and learn about Jesus!” Another says, “My favorite part about TRACKS is watching my friends grow in their confidence.”
One person who played an important role in coordinating and facilitating TRACKS this past academic year was Twin Rocks intern Paige Patterson. “Every week my heart overflowed with delight, knowing that each of these kids got to see, hear, and feel Jesus’ love. Seeing the kids interact together, build relationships, and learn about Jesus was the most rewarding part of directing TRACKS.”
Sabbath by the Sea: Space for Renewal
Another day, another to-do list. For Jane Schmidt and her husband Brad, managing Camp Tapawingo near Falls City, Oregon has been a labor of love, but also a lot of work. For 22 years Jane has managed food services, camp programming, and the camp office. Last fall, feeling burdened by daily demands, Jane realized she had created a routine that didn’t leave time for soul renewal and quiet reflection. She knew she needed to create space for serenity through extended time alone with God, so she decided to attend Twin Rocks’ Sabbath by the Sea.
When Jane arrived at Harbor Villa Retreat Center for a quiet few days at Sabbath by the Sea, her warm welcome included her own private room with a beautiful quilt on the bed and a delicious candlelit meal where she met other Sabbath participants. After dinner, together they gathered for evening prayers and singing. Away from the responsibilities of her life, Jane’s Sabbath began.
With time to connect with God and speak with mentors that supported and encouraged her, Jane’s Sabbath time unfolded with a gentle grace she had not expected. This led to a deep spiritual understanding and healing from past brokenness. Jane reflects, “Sabbath by the Sea is designed to lead you to a place where you are able to hear God speak in a way that is unique to you. It is a safe, gentle, and quiet awakening for your heart, soul and mind.”
During quiet reflection, Jane wrote in her journal encouraging words that the Lord gave her:
I will create in you a clean heart. I will put in you a right Spirit. I will renew your mind. I will not cast you away from my presence. Like a gust of wind that pushes against your back, I will lift you up and breathe joy into the space that sorrow once dwelled. This is the pleasure I freely offer you.
These days, when life is closing in, expectations are not met, and she just needs to reset, Jane will go for a drive and listen to a CD of worship songs she took with her from Sabbath by the Sea. It becomes a time to remind her of the joy that comes from resting in the arms of Jesus. Jane reminisced, “The staff at Twin Rocks serve with humility, gentleness, and excellence. I am so thankful for my time at Sabbath by the Sea and hope to enjoy it for years to come. I felt loved and safe and able to be vulnerable to God’s direction.”
You Should Know…
■ Matt and Megan Dayton moved to Boise, Idaho last summer. Since 2014, the Daytons served exceptionally as Program Directors at Twin Rocks. Megan shared, “We are so thankful for the five years we spent at Twin Rocks. The leadership development programs (Summer Staff and the Student Leadership Program) will always be close to our hearts; we loved working alongside young adults who chose to serve at camp. Twin Rocks will always be a place we consider home and we are grateful for all the ways it has shaped us.”
■ Housekeeping Coordinator, Mary Kyle, recently underwent knee replacement surgery. She is recuperating well at home and plans to return to work in February. This full knee replacement complements a successful partial replacement she experienced two years ago on her other knee.
■ Six Twin Rocks staff members reached milestone work anniversaries this year: Harbor Villa Coordinators, Ron & Deb Mulkey (5 yrs); Assistant Food Service Director, Bruce Becker (10yrs); Food Service Director, Mike Purcell (15 yrs); and Executive Director and Guest Services Coordinator, Ken & LeAnn Beebe (25 yrs).
■ Gary Farmer stepped down after serving faithfully since 1995 on the Twin Rocks Board of Directors. Former Twin Rocks Finance Director (2013-18), Kevin Frazier, joined the board this year.
■ This year Twin Rocks received generous gifts from the estates of Gordon St. George and Paul and Bonnie Astleford. Among other notable camp connections, Paul Astleford was Ken Beebe’s first-ever Twin Rocks cabin counselor (Boys Camp 1970), and someone Ken touts as instrumental in his early love of Twin Rocks and its ministry. Gordon St. George is former Board Chair (1962-1964) and brainchild of Tween Camp (instituted in 1961).
■ In September Twin Rocks welcomed three new interns to the staff: Ben Meade (summer staff 2016), Brad Metcalfe (summer staff 2017), and Hannah Rosenbohm (Surfside counselor, 2017-19). Paige Patterson (intern 2018-19) has returned for fall 2019 after a summer on staff with Ghormley Meadow Christian Camp. Chris West joined the intern staff last January and continues through this fall.
2020 Camp dates:
• Boys Camp – June 28-July 3
• Girls Camp – July 6-11
• Tween Camp – July 13-18
• Day Camp – July 27-31
• Surfside – August 2-8
• Family Camp – September 4-7
• Men’s Retreat – September 18-20
• Women’s Retreat – October 2-4
• Couples Conference – October 16-18
• Family Holiday Weekend – Dec. 11-13
Would you like to be on the Twin Rocks staff this summer?
College-aged young adults and high schoolers (age 16-18) are encouraged to apply for the 2020 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, 2020 and the deadline for SLP applications is April 3, 2020.
From the Director’s Desk
“All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” I heard this familiar refrain emanating from Friendship Center on a Sunday morning as I sanitized dining room tables after breakfast. As I listened to the Peters family worshipping in the adjacent room during their family reunion, I reflected on God’s faithfulness in my life, and at Twin Rocks.
For me personally, the song Great is Thy Faithfulness holds special meaning. At our wedding ceremony more than 30 years ago, LeAnn and I entered into marriage listening to this old hymn. Throughout my life’s various trials, I have repeatedly returned to its lyrics — pleading to the Lord for “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” Through it all, God has consistently and faithfully shown up.
The same has been true at Twin Rocks. Like all organizations, this camp has endured its share of difficult days, where we could not foresee answers to budgetary concerns, staffing shortfalls, strong differences of opinion, and a host of other difficulties. In the midst of it all, it has been easy to focus solely on the problems of the day, and to forget to thank the Lord for His longstanding and consistent faithfulness over the camp’s 101 years.
Thomas Chisolm wrote the lyrics to Great is Thy Faithfulness in 1925, near the time of Twin Rocks’ 1918 founding. It is old, and hymns are not as popular these days. Nonetheless, I cannot help but wonder how many thousands of times its words have resounded from the walls of this camp’s meeting spaces, how many times campers have admired God’s beautiful creation and declared:
“Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”
Thank you, Lord, for being so incredibly faithful.
— Ken Beebe, Executive Director