Faith and JamesOn July 9th Faith and James Oates and their kids pulled into Warm Beach Camp. Faith is Warm Beach Camp’s new Volunteer Coordinator, and James is the new Assistant Plant Manager.

Faith grew up in Christian camping at Oak Glen Christian Conference Center in Southern California. The Oates family moved to Warm Beach Camp from Glorieta Camp 2.0 in New Mexico where Faith was the Front of the House Food Service Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, and James was the Facilities Director.

Faith and James have five children: Zach, Grace, Hope, Grady, and Wesley. The Oates family is fitting right in at Warm Beach and we are excited to have them as a part the Camp Family!

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Erica Graf 150pxErica Graf served on the staff at Warm Beach Camp in 1989-1991. She was an emerging leader at that time. Now she serves as Early Childhood and Events Coordinator at Cascade Community Church. Recently, she came to Warm Beach Camp for a weekend of R&R and shared this story of life change.

Often as we minister, we plant seeds of God's love and the Gospel. Rarely, do we get to see the result of a long germination period...

One week, during a summer I spent as a horsemanship camp counselor at Warm Beach Camp, I had a precocious camper arrive who promptly pulled me aside to share that, while she understood this was a "religious" camp and there would be "religious" teachings, she did not come from that kind of background. She was polite and respectful, but wanted me to know I should not expect her to be swayed by what was shared–she was just there for the horses. I thanked her for being so upfront and assured her no one would attempt to coerce her into any kind of belief system. During the week, while she did have many questions during our Bible study times and following chapel services, I genuinely believed that as an intelligent girl, she was merely curious and wanted to understand what was being spoken. She gave no indication of having been spiritually impacted in any way by what was taught. At the end of the week, we parted happily–and she was still very firmly "non-religious." As the summer wore on, I mostly forgot about the experience.

A few years after that summer, I received a letter from this camper via my parents. In the letter she relayed to me that, now in high school, she had accepted a friend's invitation to accompany her to youth group. She enjoyed herself and began attending regularly. As she began to listen to the messages of the Gospel being shared, she was flooded with memories of her experience at Warm Beach those few years ago, and all the things that had been shared about God, the Gospel, and having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It all began to make sense to her and to reach her heart. She eventually prayed to receive Jesus and was now in a growing relationship with Him. She was writing to thank me for being the first person in her life to share the Gospel with her and patiently (but not forcefully) answer her questions. She was so grateful for how we had begun, even then, to point her toward Jesus.

Besides being thrilled with the news that she is now a believer, I was humbly reminded that many times we aren't aware of the impact we are having as we minister to others. Even when it looks like we're not making any inroads, the Spirit is at work and the Word is not void. Seeds planted germinate at different times. God's timing is perfect.

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YouthCamp 2009 218 350pxA camp counselor took some time to pray before the Night of Reflection at Warm Beach Youth Overnight Camp. She asked God to open up the hearts of her campers, and to break down any walls they had up. As she was reading her devotion one night, she came across a sentence that read, “If you keep praying…God will knock down the walls you are facing.” As she was praying for her campers, God was speaking the same truth to her! When she took a walk that night, two girls approached her and wanted to talk about their struggle with God, and invited her to pray for them. Walls came down and prayer was answered. God always speaks to our own hearts as we are praying for the words to share with others, doesn’t He? Add a comment

specialFriends400The Easter egg hunt at Warm Beach Camp was a big hit at the Special Friends Play Day the Saturday before Easter. And yet, what if you are blind? How do you participate? One young “buddy” brilliantly led her blind camper to the tennis courts where Easter eggs were placed in the webbing of the tennis nets for this camper to discover. Oh, the joy! This precious blind camper was able to find Easter eggs by feeling her way along the tennis nets!

Special Friends Camps for adults with special needs, creatively accepts, loves, encourages, plays, and shares hope. We cannot cure anyone or rescue anyone from their circumstances. However, during the time our Special Friends campers are here, we can enter into the world of “Camp” and laugh, love, and learn together. Through this, the Spirit of Christ brings hope, touches hearts, and truly transforms the spirits of people. He cherishes as His very own.

In his article, “The New Discrimination (It’s Just the Old Discrimination),” John Hiski Ridge J.D., PhD concludes his own story as a parent of a special needs daughter, “There may be a happy ending to this story, but I don’t know what the future holds. The best we can do now is hope.”

The heart of the Special Friends program at Warm Beach Camp, is to offer hope with joy, acceptance, and love. Join us in this journey. https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/special-needs-programs  

Life changes here

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

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Lakeland2017 IMG 1141Since 2007, the Senior Class of Lakeland Florida Christian School comes to Warm Beach Camp every spring for a “serving Senior Class trip.” About 90 seniors bring their best to any kind of work we throw their way. This year it included putting together new playground equipment, landscaping upgrades, weeding, clearing existing trails, blazing new trails, deep cleaning, building new picnic tables, and getting the RV area ready.  

More importantly, the students, faculty, administration and board of Lakeland Christian School are demonstrating values by how they choose to live and make a difference in this world. They show up to serve and make a real difference for the glory of God. They are helping to keep the path clear to the cross of Jesus Christ at Warm Beach Camp.

It all began in 2007 with the need to change plans for their Senior Class trip. The school’s travel agent in Florida said, “Years ago I gave my life to Christ at Warm Beach Camp at a Men’s Conference. You ought to check them out.”  Here we are, this many years later, as real ministry partners.  

One of my favorite moments each year is when the Lakeland seniors and faculty gather in a tight cluster together with the Warm Beach Camp staff surrounding them. The Warm Beach staff speaks words of blessing and prayer over their lives, asking for God’s direction and guidance at this incredible time of graduation.  

Giving God thanks for the many ways He accomplishes His work through Warm Beach Camp.

With gratitude in Christ,

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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FCamp IMG 1653 400pxHave you ever sat down with an elderly person and listened to them reminisce? If so, you’ve probably heard a lament that goes something like, “Where did the time go?”

Your family legacy can be one of shared family and faith experiences. Oasis Family Camp offers just such a time to build memories and relationships. Camp offers a getaway adventure that immerses you in fun, faith, and family for the whole five days. This “larger than life” experience together is made for sharing, not just consuming. You worship and learn about the faith walk with Jesus Christ that is both age appropriate and something you can share together.

One of last year’s attendees shared, “God has truly blessed us with such special relationships we have made and continue to make each year at Family Camp. Our kids were called to the altar and God is clearly working in their lives. Our hearts were so full of JOY by the end of camp. It is truly our favorite week of the year!”

At Oasis Family Camp, not only are family relationships strengthened but new friendships emerge. Extended families can join together in something like a reunion without anyone having to plan it all. Over time, Oasis Family Camp becomes an anchor point, a family tradition that is much greater than you would imagine. Real transformation occurs. Many years down the road, gratitude can replace lament when you reminisce about the past. Gratitude for God’s faithfulness and the lifetime of memories and joy shared at Family Camp.

For more information about Oasis Family Camp, visit https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/family-camp

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

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“Spy Kids” was a series of family films that came out several years ago. The story is of a family of spies with cool gadgets and gizmos. After a “dangerous adventure” that ends with dramatic success and epic music, one of the spy kids says, “Family is the greatest adventure of all!”

Truly, family is one of life’s greatest adventures.

Jesus says the two greatest commandments are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the midst of raising kids, it is easy to minimize God in our lives. The pressures of making life work every day are unending. Yet, something incredible happens when we keep pursuing God in the midst of it all – we see just how much He loves and cares for us.

My wife, Bev, and I try to do two things every day in seeking God – we pray together and read from God’s Word. It doesn’t always happen, but we never give up. In the simple effort of praying and reading God’s Word, we connect with God and sense His love and care for us, even when the tough things come.

By loving God with everything we’ve got, we connect with the depth of His love for us. His love is so much better than our love. An amazing thing happens next… His love flows through us to our kids. In effect, Bev and I are loving our kids as we love ourselves.

In my journey of parenting, I have come up against myself in so many ways. I have experienced me being selfish, greedy, controlling, angry, passive… (you get the point). Yet, by leaning into Jesus’ two great responses, I experience how much I am loved, and that love is shared with my children. My kids actually experience Jesus’ love through me.

As you continue on the great adventure of family, thank Jesus for pointing out the two greatest commandments. Pursue them, and it will change your family life.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Photo 21 400pxA boy arrived at camp carrying his bags as well as a heavy heart. He shared repeatedly about the lack of a father in his life… but almost with a proud tone to his grief. Those words came to a crossroads on Thursday night when he asked his counselor during reflection time, “What does it mean to be a part of God’s family?” The counselor explained the truth the boy was longing to hear — the reality that God was the perfect Father and created him to be in relationship. The boy continued to ask questions about the Bible and wanted a list of all the worship songs from the week. His heart was opening to the idea of a perfect Father. What a beautiful start to lasting love!

Camp is a place where a kid can leave behind the cares, distractions, and problems of everyday life and embrace a new beginning. The love of God becomes more real at camp, lived out through the lives of caring staff. Would you like to join us to make sure no one is left out of a chance to attend camp? Donations to the Kids 2 Camp Scholarship Fund make it possible. Learn More Add a comment

450 Dad and Son Weekend ArcheryWhile parenting has no more guarantees than financial investment, when we make regular investments of time, attention, love, and joy, our relationship with our children has much greater capacity for enduring health.

One such investment which became a ten year tradition for my son and I, was attending Dad & Me Weekends at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. These weekends gave us plenty of ways to build memories and have fun together. Even though I work at Camp and could take my son out to shoot BB guns or do archery anytime, there was something special about packing up and moving into a cabin with other guys and spending time hanging out, and doing cool stuff together.

Whether it was mountain boards down the hill or foursquare in the barn, we kept busy morning to night. It sounds exhausting and frankly it was. But it was always a good tired feeling at the end of a weekend knowing that positive investment was made in our relationship. There was something special about me taking time away from the rest of the family to do something with just my son.

Dad & Me Weekends are deceptively simple. Two nights, six meals, and tons of fun things to do together. Memorable chapel times bring focus on meaningful aspects of faith and family. And, there is lots of time together. It is one of those rare times when dad is just playing with his child and doesn’t have to stop and do chores or go to a sporting event or help someone else with a project.

Dad & Me Weekends can be a tradition that builds positively upon the daily/weekly investments we make in our kid’s lives. It is the perfect getaway for investing in our kids, while they’re still kids. As my son approaches high school graduation and will soon be off to college, those routine investments have built a life of shared memories and mutual commitment that is so very, very rich in our family. 

More information about Dad & Me Weekends for sons and daughters can be found at http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/dad-and-me-weekends

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

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The big idea in marriage is that “the two become one.” It is one of the strongest expressions of unity that is demonstrated in this world.  It is obvious the world struggles with marriage as evidenced by all the counseling, laws, and interventions often needed when things are not working out.  

At the heart of the struggle in a marriage is selfishness. Bluntly put, I still want my own way. In Jesus’ two great responses, He challenges us to a selfless focus. Invest all of who we are in God and in the people we love.

Early in our marriage, my wife, Bev, let me know I was constantly late to commitments with her and our family. My immediate response was, “No I’m not.” with my second level response being, “What I was doing was important and couldn’t be put off.” My responses revealed everything…

My agendas were more important than my commitments to Bev and our family. Yes, I loved Bev. Yes, I loved the kids. Yes, I would presume upon them all the time to adjust to what I perceived to be the most important to me at that moment. I was selfish.

To get my attention, Bev came up with a plan: “For 30 days, every time you are late to a family commitment, you pay me $5. Every time you are on time, I pay you $5.” I took the challenge, believing I would prove her wrong.  

Thirty days later... Ed paid Bev $340. Bev paid Ed $10. You do the math! Boy, did I show her... NOT!!!

Bev’s simple act of creativity was one of the many acts of love that have helped me lean away from my selfishness and lean into a selfless love where “the two become one.”  

Sometimes, it is easy to take important words and apply them to everyone else. The real opportunity in my marriage is when Bev and I love God with all we’ve got, and love each other as ourselves. 

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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