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The Good of it All...

My wife Bev and I were walking down one of the beautiful trails at Warm Beach Camp praying our way through the people and ministry we love so much. Something became clear in our time of prayer: No matter what occurs in our life, the response of God is to bring good to all of it.

It’s easy to say, but think of all the pieces of hurt and misunderstanding we can hold on to. Think of all the injustice that can be experienced in any one day. If we are not careful, we find ourselves holding on to the experience of all that is wrong and not fair in this world. In fact, our own view of life can become one of discouragement and cynicism if we don’t see God in the middle of it.

When we bring all that is wrong to God, His response is: Look at the good I am going to bring out of this situation. God isn’t excusing or justifying any of the wrong. God is overwriting and overcoming the wrong in this world with good.

I invite you to make a list of all that you are experiencing and holding in your thoughts and feelings as being unjust, unfair, and hurtful. Next, simply ask God, “What is the good of it all that you intend?” His nature is good. All of Him is PURE GOOD.

Anyone following God will be able to say something like, “I never want to go through what I just went through again; however, the good God is bringing out of this is beyond anything I have ever known or experienced.”

Hard things do happen in life. God shows us through who He is “the good of it all.”

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Work begins on Cedar Lodge Chapel

ChapelProjectThe refurbishment of Cedar Lodge Chapel has finally begun. New larger windows have been installed in the CL Chapel wall that faces the Program Center, and new siding is going on the exterior. Work will continue around the exterior walls until all three sides have been completed.

Inside, the interior walls will be refinished and a new snack bar area and audio/visual systems are being installed. A movable platform will replace the fixed one, providing more flexibility in the configuration of the room.

The last two family restrooms outside the Chapel near the lobby are also being finished.

This Cedar Lodge Chapel project is the third phase of improvements funded by the Embracing the Vision Campaign. The first two phases, moving the restrooms to the main floor of Cedar Lodge and upgrading the kitchen and the north wing of CL basement, have already been completed. Now the third phase project is underway.

Work should be completed by this fall. We are grateful for the many people who gave to the Embracing the Vision Campaign and made these three phases of upgrades possible.

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Camp - a place of safety and love

About a week ago while walking to work, I saw a young lady who was obviously lost. She was standing at one of the Camp crossroads frantically looking at the signs and was obviously debating where in the world she was supposed to go. I approached her and asked if I could help her with anything. She turned around and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Arrow?!?” I suddenly became a bit panicked as I couldn’t place who she was. My mind started clipping through campers from years past and I was drawing a blank. She must’ve seen the look of shock and shame on my face and she saved me without a beat.

“It’s Debrah! I was in your cabin back in 2009. You were my first counselor.”

Debrah! Of course! She’d grown up quite a bit since the 12-year-old I knew back in 2009. We started talking and I asked what had brought her back to Camp. It had been years since she was a camper here. She shared with me the story of the current stage of life, how she was in college and felt like she couldn’t handle it anymore. She talked about the struggles she was facing with her family, her friends, school work, her two jobs, etc. She felt like she was at the end of her rope and wasn’t sure where to go or what to do and “Camp” was the only thing that came to mind. She “Googled” her favorite camp, got in the car, and through the night Siri guided her safely back to Warm Beach Camp, the place she knew so well all those years ago.

Debrah came to a place of solace, to a place of refuge. She came back to Camp because she remembered how much she was loved while she was here. She came back to Camp because of how she connected with God. She came back because after seven years, Warm Beach Camp was the first safe place that came to mind.

Life changes here.

Information about Warm Beach Camp summer camps: Youth Overnight Camps | Horsemanship Camps | Vaulting Camp | Day Camp

CarolineDonohoCaroline Donoho (aka “Arrow”) is the Director of Youth and Outdoor Ministries at Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center. Caroline has a heart for teaching children and believes learning can happen anywhere. Her desire is for youth to know the love of God and their identity in Jesus Christ.

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Refresh A Women's Event - time away to rest and reconnect

“God, where are you?” This was the question I cried out several years ago. It seemed like God’s voice had been squelched amidst the many demands of pastoring, parenting, and myriad of other responsibilities in my life. In that moment, I realized there was too much noise and far too many distractions. God’s voice was hard to distinguish from everything else…even the good things. Not only as a pastor, but as a Christ-follower, this was concerning me.

Without question, there were some necessary changes that needed to be made. For me, this meant prioritizing a few days each year to retreat from the rhythms and routines of my normal, everyday life and go to a place of safety, quiet, and seclusion.

When we go on retreat, we physically remove ourselves from life’s distractions, the responsibilities of work and home and the demands of people, in order to creatively and purposefully make space for God. In my life, retreats have helped me to slow down the pace of life, take stock of what matters most, and contemplate the important, instead of focusing on the urgent. Over the last decade, these times away have helped me to appreciate simplicity, silence, solitude and community, as well as develop the practice of listening and the art of waiting.

Are you longing for a place where you can just go and be? A place where there’s time devoted to personal reflection and rest, and the opportunity to connect with others in meaningful discussion and to deepen relationships? If so, I invite you to attend Refresh A Women’s Event April 29-May 1, 2016 at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. During the weekend you will enjoy group sessions that include inspirational teaching and vibrant worship, an ample amount of free time to get away on your own or spend with friends, as well as a variety of breakout sessions offered on Saturday.

Speaking of breakout sessions – during the Refresh weekend, I will be facilitating a two-part experiential session, “Creating Space for God.” Attendees are invited to join me as we enter a time of quiet and solace before God. We will learn and apply Christian practices for silence and solitude that allow us to listen to God and oneself, to enliven and enrich one's conversation with God.

Something special happens when we physically get away and create room for our soul. I hope you are able to take this time away to invest in yourself and your relationship with God.

To register and for more information: Refresh A Women’s Event

Jada Swanson 150Jada Swanson is a communicator at heart whose passion is to clearly and creatively teach God’s Word. She is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church, and serves as an Associate Pastor at CrossView Church in Snohomish, WA. In addition to pastoring, Jada is a worship leader, conference speaker, spiritual director, and retreat facilitator. She desires to help others create space to connect faith and the sacred ordinary of everyday life in order to deepen their relationship with God and to share His love with others.

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Gratitude - It's in our DNA

Warm Beach Camp is overflowing with gratitude for the initiatives and transforming work of our Lord Jesus, and gratitude for our donors and volunteers.

One of the privileges of the board is to hear stories about the work of the Kingdom in people’s lives and to see new initiatives like Special Friends Camps, camps for adults with special needs.  When we watched the video of the first Special Friends Camp, tears of gratitude were flowing.  Like the Psalmist, we gave thanks to the Lord for He is good, and His steadfast love for Special Friends endures forever.

During a recent board meeting, we visited Chinook Village while work was under way. Most of the work was done by volunteers. The generosity and commitment of the volunteers is truly amazing. This December we will celebrate 20 years of The Lights of Christmas. Many volunteers have hung lights, worked on displays, and greeted guests at the front gate by the fire. It’s humbling to think about the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been touched by The Lights

Gratitude to the Lord and each other has been in our DNA beginning from the Camp’s founding many decades ago and continuing to today. Thank you to all who support and partner with us! Thank you for making Warm Beach Camp a place of profound life change for thousands of people. As Paul said, we do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in our prayers. With gratitude!

David R. Goodnight
Chairman of the Board, Warm Beach Camp
Partner, Stoel Rives

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Pray Now

Some people close to me, but separated by many miles, were really hurting and upset.  I wanted to be with them, but that was not possible. I did the one thing I could do, I found another person of faith, and we prayed. We prayed specifically for the details of the crisis. We prayed for God’s peace to sweep in and help settle things. We prayed for perspective. We prayed for His intervention to overtake the pitfalls of human intervention. We prayed in faith, trusting in God and our relationship with Him. We believed and acted with the knowledge that He would hear and interact our prayers.  

Within the hour, God’s peace began to completely transform the crisis, and His intervention was overcoming the pitfalls of human intervention. It was beautiful to hear about. I wept tears of gratitude and my sense of awe in God increased.

There are two things I am learning: 

  1. There is no power in the intent to pray
  2. The power released through prayer with God is only released when we pray

A few years ago I took up a challenge to, whenever appropriate, pray for people when they ask for prayer. I also made a decision to try to avoid the phrase “I will pray for you” when the power of prayer and God’s interaction with our prayers could happen in that moment. I choose to PRAY NOW. There’s a reason why Paul encourages us to pray constantly. The transforming power of God works through prayer. Our awareness of God at work in things that matter to us becomes more obvious. The results and outcomes of any situation are improved through prayer. God’s will, and being aligned with His will, increases through prayer.

The next time you get caught grinding away on something in your own strength, stop the moment when you become aware of your own grind, and pray now. Bring God into the center of the situation as soon as possible.

At first, it might feel awkward, but stay with it, and you will see God’s transforming work become more evident to you simply by taking time to Pray Now!

In Christ,
Ed McDowell
Warm Beach Camp Executive Director

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Encounter your marriage in fresh, new ways

Freedom, encouragement, hope – these are the blessings couples experience at Marriage Encounter retreats at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. Marriage Encounter is designed to provide a balance of structured teaching, personal sharing by leadership couples, and practical application during the weekend. Most marriage retreats focus on providing informative content, few engage participants in practicing the tools for a healthy marriage during the weekend.

Marriage Encounter brings a small group of couples together in a relaxed teaching format with leadership couples who share openly from their own stories. By hearing how other couples have wrestled through the challenges of communication, trust, forgiveness, etc, participants can strengthen their relationship and gain hope for their own situation.

As one participant exclaimed, “I was particularly moved by the intimate details shared by the leaders. It was helpful to know that others have struggled through equally challenging times and come out stronger.” Another shared, “I loved hearing personal stories from the team couples. Many of the examples helped us to relate and learn from them.”

Ample time is given for participants to reflect upon the content and to engage themselves through listening, writing, and sharing with their partner. Insights into God’s plan for marriage, trust-building, listening and communicating, forgiveness and honor find practical expression through activity during the weekend.

Couples are able to pace themselves and work through the weekend at the level appropriate to them. While such an actively engaging weekend may sound intimidating to some, these times are always surprisingly healing and healthy for participants. Freedom, encouragement, and enrichment make Marriage Encounter weekends an excellent way to breathe life into struggling relationships and also to make good marriages that much better.

“You all have provided hope for us!” one participant shared. And that sums up what Marriage Encounter is all about – equipping couples with the practical insights and tools that give hope for a sustained flourishing marriage.

In 2016, Marriage Encounter is held April 1-3 and October 28-30. Register online at http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/adult-programs/marriage-envounter. For engaged couples contemplating marriage, the sister program, Engaged Encounter, offers couples a chance to invest in the foundation of their marriage. Retreat dates and details are on the website at http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/adult-programs/engaged-encouner .

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New Summer Camp Tier Pricing to meet everyone’s needs

A week of summer camp can be a life-changing experience. Young people experience God in whole new ways, make new friends, develop life-skills, and build positive character. And yet, the cost of providing such experiences continues to climb at a faster rate than the ability of many people to afford. For many years, Warm Beach Camp has offered Kids 2 Camp Scholarships as a way to help ensure that no child gets left out of a summer camp experience. We now offer an easier way for people to obtain the support needed to make Camp affordable – Tier Pricing.

Realizing families have different abilities to pay, Warm Beach Camp now has a three-tier fee structure for each summer camp program.

  • Tier 1 – covers approximately 75% of the actual cost of camp
  • Tier 2 – covers approximately 90% of the actual cost of camp
  • Tier 3 – reflects the actual cost of operating and maintaining camp

When you register, you will be asked to select a price tier. This choice is completely up to you and will depend upon which tier you believe will work best for your family’s priorities. We do not ask for documentation of any kind and your choice will not affect your camper’s camp experience. If Tier 1 still presents a barrier, financial assistance through the Kids 2 Camp Scholarship Fund is available through an application process.

We are grateful for the generous donors who make the Kids 2 Camp Scholarships and price subsidies possible. Now, we hope a more automated process of selecting a level of pricing will help more families say “Yes, you can” when their child asks to attend summer camp at Warm Beach Camp.

Check out our Summer Camp options and details:
Youth Overnight Camps
Horsemanship Camps
Equestrian Vaulting Camp
Day Camp
Special Needs Day & Overnight Camps

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Clean, Renewable Energy at Warm Beach Camp

11986970 10153544225733119 5969414245536615790 nWarm Beach Camp and Conference Center welcomes the New Year with a brand new solar power system on the flagship building, Cedar Lodge. This solar system quietly generates clean electricity through a 9.6 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system mounted on the southwest-facing Cedar Lodge roof. This system connects to the Snohomish County PUD power grid. Electricity generation from the system reduces the energy Warm Beach Camp purchases from PUD. This connection also allows the Camp to feed power back into the grid if the solar panels were to produce more than Warm Beach Camp demands.

“We are thrilled with the community partnership between the Camp, PUD, and Arlington Electric. This solar project will be a showcase of clean energy stewardship for the thousands of guests who attend events at Warm Beach Camp. A TV monitor inside Cedar Lodge displays a graph of energy production in real time. This allows guests to see the difference this project is making and we hope it stimulates a vision for what we all can do to live more sustainably,”says Patrick Patterson, Warm Beach Camp General Manager.

The solar power system was provided through a grant from Snohomish County PUD’s Planet Power program. Installation was completed by Arlington Electric & Solar Company. Visitors are welcome to see the project first hand. For more information on Planet Power, visit www.snopud.com.

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Love is stronger than…

When we think of strength and power, images and ideas of being a super power or a super hero often come to mind. Our conversation trends towards great acts of might. We also use strength to describe the child who is “strong willed” or the outstanding athlete. And, we talk about the person with a strong mind as one who is smart and/or overly opinionated.

The Bible talks about a strength that is stronger and more effective than any other form of strength and power we think about. In a word… LOVE.

One of the Bible writers, Paul, says that even if he knew all of God’s plans, even if he could literally move mountains through the power of his faith, even if he had all knowledge, it would all come up empty and weak compared to love. (Read 1 Corinthians 13)

As a person, this means that I need to learn to lead my life from a position of love. Any physical, intellectual or emotional strength applied in this world will only have lasting effectiveness for good if coming from a place of love.

As a husband, my wife must know and sense that all of my care and concern for her flows from strong love. As a father, all the rules, structure, correction, discipline will come up empty if they are not rooted and expressed in love.

As a leader, any difference Warm Beach Camp hopes to contribute to this world will only work from a place of love. At Camp, all kinds of fun and cool things are possible. Sometimes these even take the forefront of our communication and celebration. However, it is the love of God flowing through the staff and volunteers of Warm Beach Camp that provides the eternal good in others.

There is nothing stronger in conflict than love. Love can overcome rage. Love can rise above betrayal. Love can open up a hardened and hurt spirit. I see it happen all the time at Warm Beach Camp.

I have come to know two things about this incredible love: Love doesn’t naturally happen in ourselves and the source of this love comes from God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s Holy Spirit comes alongside of us to help us live our lives from a place of love.

If you want to live a strong and effective life, live a life filled with love. There is nothing stronger than God’s love in this world.

Ed McDowell, Warm Beach Camp Executive Director

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