Family Vacation Adventures Renew Families
“I had so much fun! There were TONS of activities that I could do; one word I’d use to describe my experience is AWESOME!”
Those are the exuberant words of 9 year old Sarah Brown, a participant at Twin Rocks’ Family Vacation Adventures (FVA) last summer. Initially started in summer 2020 in response to camper limitations posed by COVID, FVA provided a welcome option for families looking for safe and healthy away-from-home respite and recreation. At FVA, held July 4th and Labor Day weekends in 2021, families were able to design their own camp experiences, letting the days flow in a way that worked best for them.
Long time Twin Rocks campers Brian and Jana Mullins came to the weeklong FVA option with their four boys, who had unanimously chosen FVA from several summer possibilities presented by mom and dad. At FVA Brian relates, “There were the usual highlights of hours spent challenging each other to games of air hockey, carpet ball, ping pong and foosball at the Shelter. And each afternoon you could find us at archery shooting countless arrows. We enjoyed boat rides on the lake and hikes on Charlotte’s Mountain. There were also a few surprises like a daily scavenger hunt with some neat prizes and an incredible bottle rocket craft kit we assembled as a family.” The zip line, lakefront, and mini golf course were busy, and shark dissection and sand dollar classes were offered for families interested in a closer look at the ocean.
Morning and evening gathered worship times anchored the unscheduled family fun, allowing multiple families to share their experiences and worship together. Sarah’s mom, Annie, says, “Our small community came together to share our hearts, encourage each other, and pray for each other. Each worship time had something for all ages.” Mom Amy Price, at FVA with her four boys, echoed that sentiment: “My biggest takeaway of the weekend was the Bible study. I love how the leaders gave us questions to talk about as a family. My biggest joys were listening to my three oldest boys participate and pray in public.” For the Ralph and Holly Miele family, FVA “gave us an excellent framework to have meaningful time as a family to grow spiritually and focus on what Christ is doing in our lives.”
Program Directors Micah and Angelyn Holmes were especially pleased with the success of the Family Vacation Adventures. Micah says, “Those evenings at the Victory Circle were really great. I was really proud of the way the families showed up for each other, sharing wisdom about how they were pursuing their faith as a family.” Angelyn expressed that many families told them the weekend was “a significant turning point for their family in being able to connect.”
Family Vacation Adventures will return again over July 4th weekend in 2022.
I never heard “I’m bored” from our kids!!! All three of our kids said that we HAD to come back every year!!!
(FVA) gave us the precious time and space we needed to hit the “reset” button and allowed us to enter the new school year fully recharged.
–Brian & Jana Mullins
Lots & Losses
In this unique season, Twin Rocks is seeking donations to cover two significant needs of immediate concern:
■ Oceanfront Lots. Three years ago, Twin Rocks acquired four oceanfront, vacant lots located directly across Highway 101 from the camp’s entrance. To date, generous donors have contributed $700,000 toward the property’s $880,000 total purchase price. The final $180,000 is due in December 2022. What a blessing it is for the camp to secure this beautiful 238’ linear feet of oceanfront, where someday Twin Rocks can construct a family-style retreat center that significantly expands the camp’s outreach to couples, adults, and families. Yet to Raise: $180,000
■ COVID-caused Losses. The pandemic has proven enormously costly to the camp, resulting in $520,000* in losses. Amazingly, despite COVID lingering longer than expected, the camp’s initial fears of a $1.3 million COVID loss proved unfounded, thanks to decreased spending and sizable grants from state, federal, and private foundation sources. Better still, $200,000 in generous gifts from 350 friends of Twin Rocks have reduced the $520,000 problem to a more manageable $320,000. Camp staff are enthusiastically thanking the Lord for His provisions-to-date, while hopeful for gifts that secure the final $320,000. Yet to Raise: ~$320,000*
(The Twin Rocks board of directors made the difficult decision to postpone the Dining Center’s planned expansion, and instead is asking donors to help defray COVID losses.)
TOTAL YET TO RAISE:
$500,000 (by December 2022)
Would you consider a one-year pledge to this important Lots & Losses campaign, helping Twin Rocks navigate its present difficulties and enhance its future ministry?
To contribute, please fill out and return the attached envelope or follow the giving instructions detailed on Twin Rocks’ website at twinrocks.org. THANKS!
Summertime Reflections — Micah & Angelyn Holmes
Summer was almost upon us, and it was time for a deep breath and a slow exhale.
Since taking up the post of Program Directors in April of 2021, our minds had been bent on a singular goal: to effectively facilitate a summer of ministry after the extended shut-down. Our Day, Kids, Tween, and Surfside camp committees were meeting, planning, and praying, and our hopes were many: May it be a summer that glorifies God and relies on Him in our weakness. May it be a summer that encourages and reminds campers of God’s deep love. May it be a summer that is safe and healthy, and May it be a summer that feels just a little bit normal.
And then our first camp of the season was happening. Our staff was small, the unknowns were daunting, and it was all in God’s hands. Day campers leapt out of cars with backpacks strapped to their shoulders and masks clutched in their hands. Our campers were excited and ready. Every day during that first week, the loud refrains of the hippopotamus song and the dramatic retelling of a Bible story would drift through camp. We could feel the summer ministry finding its rhythm.
The following weeks had their challenges, but were defined by hope, connection, and joy. When campers and staff were sick at Tween and Surfside, each COVID test came back negative and capable leaders stepped in to fill the vacant roles. When inclement weather threatened to cancel beach day at Kids Camp, the sun burst through the clouds and scattered the rain. God was at work, and it was evident.
As quickly as it began, the summer was over.
Upon reflection, God’s presence was palpable this summer. Campers were drawn into the heart of Christ. We will remember the 100+ Surfside campers and leaders who were anointed in acknowledgement of Christ’s love for them and their commitment to Him in their daily lives. We will remember children and parents sharing at Family Vacation Adventures that their time together at Twin Rocks knit their family together in ways they didn’t think possible. God’s people were united in His profound love through Boy’s and Girl’s campers exploring Kids Camp for the first time together, Tween campers sharing their lives and stories with each other during nightly fireside gatherings, and Day campers seeking evidence of God’s voice in creation. We thank God for weaving His good and beautiful will into the fabric of our summer.
Twin Rocks Welcomes New Staff
Micah and Angelyn Holmes, former Twin Rocks interns, joined the Twin Rocks staff last spring as the new Program Directors. The Holmeses most recently ministered at Countryside Community Church in Sherwood where Micah was Middle School Director and for a time also coordinated the high school ministry. Angelyn also served in leadership at Countryside as a youth leader and intern. During this time Micah brought middle schoolers to volunteer at Twin Rocks over spring break.
Micah recalls always being impressed with the way Twin Rocks developed its counseling and service volunteers. “That investment really spoke to me. There was always a place for people (at camp) that was really valued.” Micah appreciates the unique opportunity camp ministry has to present the gospel and make space for people to meet and commune with God. “(At Twin Rocks) these things were done so well in a parachurch context, which was such an asset to the local church. That was a big draw for me.”
Angelyn says that while ministering at Countryside, she and Micah learned they worked well as a team and had a desire to continue that ministry teamwork in the future. Reflecting on their first summer, she remembers thinking, “I’m so glad we are here; I can see the Holy Spirit moving. I felt really at peace and affirmed that this is the place God wants us.”
Timber Mabes joined the Twin Rocks team as Guest Services Director last May. Timber grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and met the Lord at Falls Creek Camp after being invited there by her best friend. During her college years, Timber served at Glorietta Adventure Camp in New Mexico. There she felt God nudging her towards camping ministry.
After being displaced due to COVID, Timber left Glorietta to work in residential care with youth in Illinois. She says of that time, “I loved working with youth, but I knew my calling was in camp ministry. Camp matters so much to me because I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in unless someone had invited me to camp. My best friend brought me back every single year. People don’t realize the impact they have.”
Timber admits her first summer was exhausting, especially since she was also finishing a Master’s Degree through Campbellsville University in Kentucky. But, she’s says, “I love being able to hear singing coming through the windows in my office, and conversing with guest groups at mealtimes. It’s been really fun to hear different groups worship and receive feedback from them that the little things like tech help and meals make all the difference.” Timber and her dog, “Pig,” live on camp.
Karl & Liz Seume moved this summer from Anacortes, Washington where they managed Quaker Cove Retreat. Karl has become Twin Rocks’ new Assistant Food Service Director working alongside Director Mike Purcell. Karl and Liz met at a Quaker conference in Moscow, Russia, married, and lived in Karl’s home country of Germany before moving to Quaker Cove to serve as its directors. Karl gained his culinary training while in Germany, and is enjoying being able to focus on just one department after having had all the responsibility that comes with managing an entire camp.
The Seumes live in nearby Bay City with their five children, Amelie (9), James (8), Ben (6), Gabriel (5), Matthew (4), and new kittens Dandelion and Ivy.
Twin Rocks Bids Farewell to Bruce Becker
Twin Rocks bid farewell in September to long-time Assistant Food Service Director, Bruce Becker. Over the 12 years Bruce served in that role, he endeared himself to both guests and staff with his dedication, heart for the Lord, and fun-loving ways.
Bruce managed the kitchen diligently while also maintaining an atmosphere of camaraderie and fun. Two months into Bruce’s work at Twin Rocks, Food Service Director Mike Purcell remembers pranking Bruce by telling the rest of the kitchen staff not to talk to him for an hour when he came in that day. “It only lasted 20 minutes because the staff couldn’t take it anymore—we all busted up laughing,” says Mike.
Over the years, Bruce was an informal mentor to many youth and young adults, modeling the servant leadership of Christ. “I had a special place in my heart for the high school and college-aged summer staff and interns. It was fun getting to train them and watch them grow.”
Bruce reflects, “Above all, I was grateful to be a small part of a ministry sharing Jesus with others.” A lasting legacy of Bruce’s is a Prayer Requests board he placed in the kitchen where staff can share burdens and joys. Mike speaks for all the staff when he says, “We loved working with Bruce, and we love him. We are sad to see him go.”
Bruce and his wife Christina (Twin Rocks Guest Services Director, 2011-18) now live in Newberg, Oregon.
You Should Know…
■ Retiring from the Twin Rocks Friends Camp Board of Directors after many years of faithful service are: Rob King (15 years), Brian Morse (23 years), David Schlarbaum (32 years), and Russ Pickett (37 years). New to the board in 2020 and 2021 are: Matt Lacy, Jessica Ragsdale, Joseph Thouvenel, and Keith Reeser.
■ Staff Transitions: Mark and Lauralea Franklin (Program Directors 2019-2020) are now living in Battle Ground, Washington where Mark is Associate Pastor at Cherry Grove Friends Church. Lauralea is an Administrative Assistant to the director of Western Seminary’s A New Day Counseling Center. Tiffany Van Dame (Guest Services Director 2018-2020) is now the Director of Campus Life at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Central Ohio.
■ Liana Peters began as Executive Assistant to Director Ken Beebe in January, 2020. Liana grew up at camp when her father, Terry Baron, was Facilities Director.
■ Assistant Facilities Director, Chris Reid, married Ashley Weinacht on September 4th in Greenleaf, Idaho. Chris and Ashley live in Bay City, a 9 mile commute to camp for Chris and close to Ashley’s job at Five Rivers Coffee Roasters in Tillamook.
■ 2020/2021 Staff Milestones: Celebrating 5 years of Twin Rocks’ employment are: Christie Hill (Food Services), Nate Casteel (Maintenance), Cameron Frisby (Recreation) and Kendy Frisby (Housekeeping/Undertow), TJ Stevens (Food Services), and Sean Geurin (Housekeeping). Completing 15 years of service are Richard Chesebro (Grounds) and Catherine Chesebro (Dishroom/Undertow). Suze Donaldson (Housekeeping) reaches 20 years and Housekeeping Coordinator, Mary Kyle, has ministered at the camp for 25 years.
■ Family Holiday Weekend returns this December 10-12, 2021, an opportunity for families to come celebrate Christ’s birth through worship, carol singing, and Christmas fun like creating gingerbread houses and making ornaments.
■ Aiden Boehm, Jacob Cook, Katelyn Smith, Sam Smith, Ariel Coleman, and Angela Donathan served on this year’s Summer Staff.
■ High School Student Leadership Program participants for 2021 were: Novalee Myers, Gracie Zondervan, Susy Anderson, Bergen Milliren, and Nate Nauman.
■ Twin Rocks Interns serving for the 2021-2022 year are Josiah Muhr, Sam Smith, Cedric Hays, and Will Brumbelow.
■ Prayer partners: A few faithful friends of Twin Rocks came to Twin Rocks this summer for the express purpose of praying for the kids and youth in camp. They observed camp in action from a distance, and covered campers, counselors, and the property in their prayers. If you are interested in serving as one of next summer’s prayer partners, please email Liana Peters – [email protected]
Reflections from the Director
God is good. Despite 21 months of worldwide pandemic, the ministry of Twin Rocks Friends Camp has survived – and thrived.
At times, it has been rough. Twin Rocks closed entirely for ten of the first 13 months of COVID-19, and saw less than 30% of its typical revenue when open during summer 2020. While 2021 has fared far better than 2020, ongoing COVID-related restrictions continue to impact attendance.
Thankfully, in the midst of this we find ourselves in a season of great joy:
■ Youth delighted in the 2021 return of overnight camps (not allowed in 2020), enabling summer sessions like Tween Camp, Kids Camp, and Surfside Camp to feel remarkably normal. Campers remained predominantly mask-free, thanks to great weather and a large circus-style worship tent that kept camp outdoors. Parents shared much praise, including these three sentiments that especially touched my heart:
• She came from camp with more confidence as a daughter of God in what had been such a challenging year for tweens. It was a struggle to get her to leave her room in the spring, but having camp to look forward to, and then attend, propelled her socially again. Bless you!
• Surfside Camp’s impact on our son was overwhelmingly positive. He was literally glowing when we picked him up from camp, bursting with stories and [he] clearly bonded with several new friends who all had experienced God in a unique way together.
• With all of the craziness of the world, our faith conversations sometimes do not get the attention they deserve. The camp was a good (and welcome) prompt for our family.
■ Family Vacation Adventures, a program invented by necessity in 2020 amidst tight COVID restrictions, returned in summer 2021 and again blessed families with unique opportunities to create family memories.
■ To our knowledge, Twin Rocks has not contributed to COVID19’s spread. We feel most fortunate, knowing that each COVID-free day is a gift from the Lord.
■ A year ago, we predicted that Twin Rocks would likely lose $1.3 million due to COVID19 during the combined 2020 and 2021 years. Despite the fact that COVID has lingered far beyond expectations, we now believe our COVID losses will total about 500,000. Such a deficit is far from good news, but the camp is weathering this crisis thanks to generous donors, several state and federal grants, and better-than-anticipated summertime attendance (nearly 80 percent of normal in 2021).
■ Nearly all Twin Rocks’ staff members forced into layoff a year ago graciously returned to work in the spring, and the camp currently has 18 staff who have been at the camp for five years or more. Similarly, dozens of volunteers returned to provide guidance to 2021’s summer camps, anchoring our programs in excellence.
■ In a year where COVID-related issues have tested interpersonal relationships, the camp’s staff has remained remarkably free from conflict. Disagreements at times exist, but kindness and civility have triumphed. What a blessing.
■ A generous planning grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust is enabling Twin Rocks to look optimistically toward the future with hope and anticipation. Several intriguing elements are emerging from this unique opportunity to pause, reflect, pray, and consider how the Lord might lead our camp into a post-COVID future.
As we inch ever so slowly toward an end to COVID’s dominance, I find myself reflecting back to COVID’s stark beginnings, and the incredible uncertainties that surrounded us in early 2020. We frequently found the words of Joshua 1:9 on our lips: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Twenty-one months later, evidence of God’s miraculous presence is readily apparent. He has most certainly been with us, guiding, protecting, and blessing us each step along the way.
Thank you, thank you, Lord.
—Ken Beebe, Executive Director