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This feels like coming home...

A young couple got out of their car, just arriving for camp, and walked up the sidewalk to Cedar Lodge. He turned to her and said, “I feel like I am coming home.”

There is a desire in all of us to feel like we are coming home. The descriptions of “home” may vary from person to person. Unconditional love, acceptance, certain types of food, relationships, traditions, a place and space that feeds the soul, are all parts that make up this ideal of “home.”

Bev, my wife, often asks me this question: “Does it feed your soul?” What a great question when we think about home and all that it means. My favorite place at home is the fire circle. Recently, I went to the fire circle by myself and built a fire, and people started to gather. We laughed, talked, prayed, and even spent time just staring into the beauty and warmth of the fire. I was home. My soul was being fed.

The truth is, this desire to come home is from God. He is with us on a journey that brings us home to be with Him forever. Being with Him is the ultimate place of unconditional love, acceptance, feasts, relationships, and traditions that will last forever. With Him, we know that our soul is fed.

At camp, coming home might be connection with friends, cinnamon rolls, riding a horse, or paddling a canoe. It might be a favorite space or the sunsets. Whatever it means to you to come home to camp, please know that it is evidence of a deeper reality: God, through His Son Jesus Christ, invites us to live with Him forever. 

Coming Home…

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Sign of an open heart…

Sometimes people get hit so hard in life that their heart and emotions simply close up and become hard, defensive and protective of self at almost any cost. If you are in this situation, or helping someone in this situation, there are two things to know:

  1. Just one meaningful connection: It only takes one meaningful connection between a person with a closed heart and someone or something else to begin to open up the heart again. ONLY ONE. The connection can be with a horse, a dog, or a coach, friend or relative.  
    I have watched God increasingly use horses at Warm Beach Camp to provide the one meaningful connection needed to open up a hard, scared and broken heart.
  2. Gratitude is the evidence of a closed heart opening up: When you start to hear someone express gratitude for one meaningful connection, be encouraged, because the heart and emotions are risking opening up to the possibilities of giving and receiving love again.

Caution for parents: Parents want to be the meaningful connection with a child who is hurt. However, the meaningful connection may need to be a horse instead. Don’t assume that you are the answer. Be open to who or what God would bring into your child’s life to open up their heart and spirit. Supportively be faithful to the part God has given you as the parent.

Opportunity for all: Shared experiences encourage connection. Consider Warm Beach Camp as a great place to connect and encourage people whose hearts are closed and hard. Pray they will find one connection, open up and receive love, and begin to express gratitude.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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From Florida with Love

Much of the work of ministry at Warm Beach Camp Lakeland 2016consists of preparing the way for others to experience rest, renewal, and re-connection. With good preparation, guests are able to fully enter into the purposes for which they come. Scripture exhorts us to bear one another’s burdens and thus live out the love taught by Jesus. We do this for each group that comes on the grounds as we prepare clean facilities, good food, and fun activities.

Recently, the Lakeland Christian School senior class came all the way from Lakeland, Florida, to bear our burdens for two days. They helped us accomplish so much more than we could have done otherwise.

The enthusiasm and work ethic of the Lakeland students and staff was a true blessing. This year, the biggest project area was a heroic effort to remove ivy from the entrance berm. They removed 3,000 lbs. of ivy! This work makes possible the eventual replanting with native understory which will provide better habitat and visual screening thus enhancing first impressions as guests come on to the property.

In addition to massive ivy removal, the Lakeland group constructed ten new picnic tables, organized and cleaned the RV campgrounds, built a new fence in front of a staff house, deep cleaned an amazing amount of facilities, prepared Chinook Village for a summer of Special Friends ministry, painted facilities at the Horse Stables, erected tents for summer programs, and restored much needed landscaping areas to spaces of beauty and refreshment.

On top of this, they left a financial gift, which is going toward the eventual interior refurbishment of Cascadian Lodge sleeping rooms. Their sacrificial giving and servant’s hearts are a testimony of the effective discipleship that students receive at Lakeland Christian School. God is bringing his Kingdom to life through this school.

Warm Beach Camp’s ministry will be a blessing to the people of the Pacific Northwest in part because a group of students came all the way from Florida to be a blessing to Warm Beach Camp. And we pray the blessing of love and service extended to us will return to them many times over.

Patrick Patterson, General Manager/C.O.O.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Come together...

As a parent, we never know when the meaningful moment is going to come with our kids. These moments we treasure, where all of the sudden we are in the middle of something special, memorable, humorous or tender. The beautiful part is that we are in it together, with our kids.

We can’t plan them, or create them on demand. What we can do is spend time together. One thing is true, these moments are only experienced when we are hanging out with our kids.

One great way to share those moments is a family experience at Warm Beach Camp. When is the last time you and your kids met the challenge together of the human whirlpool at the swimming pool?  Have you celebrated someone getting to the top of a 40-foot climbing wall or marveled at the natural beauty of Port Susan Bay as your canoe slides through the water with each stroke of the oar?  

Don’t you long to share some stories around the camp fire or ride bikes on the miles of trails?  

It is in the middle of this kind of time spent together that the meaningful moments happen. It might be a conversation about faith, or something very funny that will be a source of laughter and joy for years to come.

Come together, come to Warm Beach Camp, life changes here.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Dads, create a "win" with your kids

Dad and Me Weekend IMG_3608_web300.jpgOne of the great wins Warm Beach Camp has given to me as a Dad are the Dad & Me Weekends. These weekends are all about a great time with my sons and daughters with all of the fun and ease of great camp experiences...

On Friday after a good dinner, enjoy a night swim. Meet the challenge of the human whirlpool. If you have some energy left, take each other on in mini golf under the stars. Or, enjoy an exciting game of laser tag.

Saturday begins with homemade cinnamon rolls. Can you smell them? They taste awesome. Combine them with a cup of hot chocolate or fresh coffee in front of the roaring fire by the big stone fire place. Wow!  

Enjoy morning devotions as a group, and then it is off to many adventures that may include canoes, mountain boards, climbing walls, biking, hiking, zip lines, high ropes, archery, bb guns, disc golf, more swimming, and rocket building. Maybe even a chance to catch a nap laying out on a sun soaked grassy hillside overlooking horses in the pastures below.

Saturday evening is a traditional camp fire, complete with s’mores and camp fire stories of the day’s adventures.   

Sunday morning is a pancake breakfast hot off the grill. This transitions into group devotions where dads and kids are given practical tips on how to follow God in their relationships with each other. The weekend culminates with the Dad & Me rocket launch combined with burgers on the grill. 

My kids are all getting older, ranging from 17-31 years old. When stories are told at our house, the Dad & Me Weekends are something that stand out in their lives as one of the traditions they value.  

Dads, do you need a “win” with your kids? Come to a Dad & Me Weekend this year.  

2016 dates are:  
Dad and Sons:  June 3-5 and September 9-11
Dad and Daughters:  June 10-12 and September 16-18

More information and to register: http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/dad-and-me-weekends

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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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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