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Last Thursday evening was an event that will not soon be forgotten. Preparations were made, prayers were said, centerpieces were placed, and the smell of bacon wrapped cheesy jalapeno hors d'oeuvres filled the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center in downtown Stanwood. I don't think I'm alone when I say that the Ladies Night Out Auction benefiting Special Friends Camp at Warm Beach Camp was wildly successful.
As all eyes were fixed on the video of a day at Special Friends Camp, a camp for adults with special needs, I felt a shift take place. Smiles widened, eyes became teary, and cheers came freely as campers whizzed by on the zip-line or tackled the climbing wall and rang the victory bell! No wheelchairs, leg braces, withered legs, or lack of sight held those determined souls on the ground!
Following the video, the 180 women in attendance were asked to consider sponsoring a day of camp for one camper. After all expenses had been calculated, the final cost of a day at Special Friends Camp was determined to be $92. As the last words of the request for sponsors were spoken, the white bidder numbers flew off tables in an overwhelming sea of YES! Like a mighty wave cresting on the ocean, a powerful movement of compassion, generosity, and tangible joy moved through the crowd and flooded my heart with humbling gratitude.
I watched as women held their bidder number in one hand and displayed how many days of camp they would like to sponsor, if more than one day, on the other hand. Two days, three days, four days, 10 days... even 24 days were sponsored by individual women moved to change lives through Special Friends Camp!
Even as I type the words now, I am in awe of the movement of the Lord in those moments. The love and desire to make a way for those who cannot make a way on their own was overwhelming.
At the final count, 152 days of camp were sponsored with over $33,000 raised overall! This far exceeded any expectations and the whoops and hollers of victory were proof! Every minute of Special Friends Camp is an opportunity for a miracle, a life to change, hope to be restored, and worth to be realized. I am forever changed by the outpouring of kindness I witnessed in my own little town. What an amazing special night!
Margaret Elaine Spears
Special Friends Camp Chaplain/Lead Staff
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Here is what you helped accomplish at Warm Beach Camp
- The Program Center Auditorium has received acoustic treatment on the stage plus a complete interior painting.
- Cascadian Lodge Rooms 1-11 and the Lobby are being remodeled.
- The Mini Lodge lobbies are receiving new cabinets and sinks.
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By Laurie Fertello, Special Friends Camp Director
Have you ever had someone declare, “You’ll be my friend for life!”? When it happens, it’s a very special day indeed!! And it happens frequently at Special Friends Camps for adults with disabilities at Warm Beach Camp!
One such relationship was shared between Paris, a buddy (volunteer), and Vivian, a camper. They became dear friends at Special Friends Camp and shared precious moments together. They were the best of friends...the “friends for life” kind. When Vivian passed away, Paris was heartbroken, as were everyone who knew Vivian.
When I think about their special connection, their special friendship, I’m reminded that this is what Special Friends Camp is all about. Loving as Jesus would, spending time together, and enjoying all the fun and fellowship camping has to offer.
Vivian found a friend for life in Paris. And Paris will tell you her friendship with Vivian was a tremendous blessing!
Special Friends Camp is a time of true wonder and excitement. As I watch campers arrive and step off the Dart Bus and out of the cars they are greeted by cheering staff and volunteers. I think to myself, “let the friendships begin”!
Staff and volunteers have endless opportunities to share the love of Jesus and relationships develop quickly. Many friendships reach beyond the boundaries of camp to include attending special events together like ball games, parties, church services and weddings. And for some, funerals.
Over 200 volunteer buddies are needed for Special Friends Camp each summer. Would you, or someone you know, be interested in volunteering? If so, go online to www.warmbeach.org/sfvolunteer or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Faith Oates at 360-761-1267 or via e-mail.Add a comment
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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Hebrews 12:1-2
I am excited about so many things coming this summer at Warm Beach Youth Camp!
I am most excited about the Amazing Race event each week at camp! We will be working up to this event. On Fridays, teams of campers get to embark on the Amazing Race. This will mirror the TV show but will incorporate the week of camp into the game. The race will comprise of stops along significant places at Camp and the challenges will be specific to the location. The challenges will test the teams on their ability to work together and encourage one another. Teams will be competing for the “golden plunger” award, which they will sign after their victory.
Another part of summer camp I cannot wait for are the keynote speakers, our camp pastors. We will have someone different delivering the message to the campers each week. This provides variety and diversity. No week of camp will be the same! How cool is that? Our speakers are not only speaking at chapel but will participate in activities with the campers and will be available as spiritual mentors.
As the Youth Program team journey down this road of camp ministry we are striving to infuse intentionality into everything we do and provide. You can be assured if your camper is a part of youth camp here at Warm Beach Camp, they will leave having been loved and heard in the most intentional ways.
Registration is open, so head over to www.wbyouthcamps.com and sign your camper up today!
Youth Program Director
Warm Beach Camp
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Promises matter. Keeping promises builds trust and encourages transformation. There is a profound erosion of trust in U.S. culture today where words and commitments are dismissed under clever justification.
Warm Beach Camp is clear on the promises it makes and keeps. Warm Beach Camp:
- Provides Christ-centered hospitality and programming.
- Introduces campers to Christ, helping them grow in Christian living, and preparing them for worldwide Christian service.
- Reaches out to members of society who are often overlooked and marginalized by bringing them to a camp or retreat.
- Provides individuals and camper groups with opportunities for rest and renewal in a setting that reveals the grandeur of God.
- Encourages the Body of Christ.
- Produces positive societal change both locally and globally through programs, hospitality, and global initiatives.
Keeping these promises is why life changes here.
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By Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center
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9 full time light hangers began setting up The Lights of Christmas after Labor Day
73 seasonal paid jobs were provided to the local community
18 lead decorators directed a decorating crew to transform 75 sleeping rooms and over 20 event areas into a Christmas wonderland
700 people donated 16,000 volunteer hours to the event
75 volunteers came on December 20th to clean up the grounds after a strong wind storm
74 entertainment groups performed on five stages throughout the event
3 engagement proposals (that we know of) occurred at The Lights of Christmas this year
$3,600 was collected for Kids 2 Camp scholarships through donation cans and the wishing well at the Festival
68,862 guests enjoyed the event in 2018
1737 people attended Dinner Theater/Sunday Dessert Matinee, with 14 nights of performances
540 rooms were booked for overnight stays
2,535 guest enjoyed a delicious breakfast after their overnight stay at The Lights of Christmas
Countless lives were touched by the Christ-centered hospitality of The Light of ChristmasAdd a comment
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- New floor treatment in the kitchen was completed in January
- Cascadian remodel of the lobby and rooms 1-11 begins in February
- Program Center Auditorium stage walls will be painted and prepped for sound absorbing acoustic panels in February
- New set of ovens were ordered for the kitchen in January
- New cabinets were ordered for Glacier and Whistler Mini Lodge lobbies in January
- One Mt Baker deck was replaced in November
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"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." – Hebrews 13:8
I am so thankful Jesus is the same and will remain the same forever. He is unchanging and never failing.
One of the most fascinating things in youth ministry is the ever-changing culture of the students. Music, clothes, movies, humor, relationships, and expectations are moving and turning through a wheel that never stops spinning. Youth are viewing the world, and God, based on this cultural wheel which could present a problem for youth ministry organizations.
The best thing about Jesus is that He is consistent and always relevant no matter how the cultural spinning wheel is changing the perspective of the world.
Last year I decided to ask the youth attending Warm Beach Camp summer programs a question. I asked the campers to write down one question they had about God, the church, or their faith. The answers were heartbreaking, fascinating, extremely helpful, and gave me a glimpse into their world and knowledge of God based on their current environment.
I proceeded to sift through the answers and organized them by age. Out of these answers, the theme for summer of 2019 was born. After receiving very different questions from the Discover Campers (grades 4-6) and Adventure Campers (grades 7-9), I decided to make changes to the structure of the curriculum and themes.
The most commonly asked questions by Discover Campers were, “How was I created? Why was I created? Who created God?” I took this information and am intentionally crafting Discover Camp curriculum around the story of creation. We will be journeying through the book of Genesis for this age group.
The most commonly asked questions by Adventure Campers were, “How do you have faith? What is faith? If God is good, why does he let bad things happen?” As a result of these questions, the Adventure Camp theme will be “Champions of Faith.” We will learn about and meet some characters in Scripture who had big faith in the midst of crazy circumstances.
My hope and prayer for this summer is that the Lord will use these two themes to meet campers where they are in the middle of the questions they are asking. I am so excited to see how the Lord is going to move this summer through Warm Beach Summer Youth Camps.
Youth Program Manager
Warm Beach Camp
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"So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ." - Romans 10:17 NLT
Every one of us has a desire to be saved or rescued from the things we know are not right in our lives. We try to address our known need by common efforts familiar to all of us:
- Self-help programs
- Religious activity
- Physical discipline
- Personal resolutions
While each of these has the potential to contribute positively to our lives, these efforts alone will not rescue us and set us free from what is wrong in our lives.
The Apostle Paul writes a simple truth: Faith is received through listening and responding to the incredible news of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has intercepted judgement for sin in our lives. Not only has He intercepted it, He took this judgement onto Himself. Judgement that led Him to the cross. His death was the absorption of all brokenness and sin in everyone’s life for all time.
Jesus’ resurrection is the definitive victory over every type of corruption, deception, hurtfulness, and violation of what God intended for people and creation.
Faith comes from listening and responding to this truth.
Faith is not produced by keeping laws and rules, or achieved through religious activity, or increased personal discipline.
Faith in Jesus Christ is listening to the incredible news of who He is and what He has done. It is responding to this truth with belief and acknowledging our need to be rescued by the only one who really can rescue us.
Thank you, Jesus, for your incredible news. Thank you for rescuing me. Thank you for taking the judgement due me, and taking It on yourself. Thank you for giving definitive victory over all that is broken in my life. I love you. In your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center focuses on giving people opportunities to connect with the incredible news of Jesus Christ by creating a place to listen and respond to God. We hope you’ll join us this year in discovering more of who Jesus is and the impact He has on our lives.
By Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center
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This past week I visited with two volunteers, both have driven courtesy carts for The Lights of Christmas Festival for many years.
The first volunteer told me of a grandmother arriving on the public bus with her two grandchildren on the last night of the event, just before 5:00pm. “I only have an hour!” she told the cart driver. “I promised them they could ride the train! Can you take us there?” The train wasn’t running yet, but the suggestion of pony rides brought delight, followed by Bruce the Spruce the talking Christmas tree, donuts and more. Each stop the driver would leave them, serve someone else and come back to take them to the next stop, culminating with the hoped for train ride on the Warm Beach Express before meeting the bus just in time. The grandmother was beyond grateful for this gift to her grandchildren.
The second volunteer cart driver told of a man escorting his elderly mother. “Could you drive her around to see the lights?” the man asked. “She can’t walk very well.” The elderly woman was filled with joy as they drove, admiring the lights and displays. When they were ready to leave, the son turned to the driver, “Thank you. My mom has been given three months to live and you just gave her the best Christmas gift of her life.” We both had tears in our eyes by the time he was done telling me the story, praising the Lord together for the opportunity to be His hands and feet to the thousands who come to The Lights of Christmas each year.
Volunteers - You make a difference in people’s lives! Whether it is driving a courtesy cart, parking cars, or cleaning the bathroom - what you do matters. Thank you for serving Jesus with us.
Charitable Gift Planner
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center
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As I sat around the crackling campfire with my campers this summer, I was filled with amazement as they began to share their stories. One particular girl stood out to me. I knew some of her background as she’d been to Horse Camp for a number of years, but this year was different. She had a sparkle in her eye as she told of the way God had helped her through her struggles and she boldly encouraged the other kids to trust and seek Him. Her passion and heartfelt care for the others who she knew were struggling, brought them hope. Her story pointed to God, our amazing Father who used her passion for horses to draw her close to Him.
We often use the illustration of a horse and rider as a picture of the relationship God longs to have with us. Just like we as riders long for our horses to trust and obey us so that we can have harmony together, so God longs for us to trust and obey Him so that we can reach the full potential He has for us. When the horse trusts us and takes that step of faith, we are filled with pride and joy over the bond we have established with them. Sometimes hard and challenging circumstances come across our paths in life and God longs for us to trust Him and follow Him through those trials.
I am thankful that God uses Warm Beach Camp and our horses to show campers they can have hope and love in God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
For a list of the year-round lessons and camps for 2019, see www.WBHorsemanship.com
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center