JosephblogWhen I was asked to talk about my experience at Warm Beach Summer Youth Camp, I struggled at first because there is truly no accurate way to describe an experience so life-changing. Eventually, I pinned down the three best parts of my camp experience. The environment created by the staff, the time away from normal habits, and unique and amazing opportunities for personal growth. These three things made my summer incredibly fulfilling.

During my time at camp, staff came together and created a special culture of acceptance and growth. I was surrounded by amazing people. I couldn’t escape feeling welcomed and encouraged to grow in my relationship with Christ. The bonds I formed at camp were not just surface level, but deep, spiritually rooted friendships. My coworkers became friends I could count on and trust to challenge me to become better.

Camp life is different from what most people are used to. I have been involved with camp for several years but last summer, as a cabin guide, was a new experience. Being an example of Christ for the campers pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to be a better person. Through that process I created habits that were healthy and didn’t revolve around comfort. I realized God had so much more planned for me than the routine I had fallen into. Putting my wants, and cell phone, away for even 12 hours a day yielded rich rewards. These rewards weren’t simply momentary. I took those habits home with me and saw an improvement in self-worth, work ethic, and overall joy

The last, and greatest, part of camp for me was the opportunity to be a role model for the next generation of kids. To teach them the things I wish someone had taught me. Camp was my chance to become something more, something greater, and be part of a life-changing culture.

josephheadshotJoseph Lauder
2018 Summer Camp Counselor (Cabin Guide)
and Current Program Intern
Warm Beach Camp

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"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." - James 1:19 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jas.1.19.NLT

Every person I know, or have met throughout my life, hopes to have healthy and meaningful relationships. Around the many campfires of Warm Beach Camp I have had the privilege of listening to people experiencing the joy that comes with healthy relationships and the pain of broken families, marriages, and friendships. There is a common thread in all of it: People long for good relationships in their lives.

Good relationships have some things in common. Here are three points of wisdom from the Bible for anyone interested in cultivating healthy, Christ-centered relationships in every sector of life:

Be quick to listen: Listening is the core activity in understanding someone else’s perspective. We live in a culture where “quick to speak” is the norm. Talking all the time gives no room for understanding someone else. Constant talking turns the focus on oneself. Listening is the foundation for knowing other people.

Be slow to speak: It has been said that true listening is not thinking about the next thing to be said as soon as there is a break in the conversation. Listening consists of receiving what the other person has to say, and actually reflecting on it before responding. Ask clarifying questions about the content of the conversation to encourage further understanding. Resist quickly trying to get the next word in.

Be slow to get angry: Anger in relationships does not produce healthy results. Hot-tempered and quick flashing anger creates incredible instability within other people. Trust and safety become eroded. There are appropriate uses for anger, but it is far less often than we might think. Don’t turn to anger over the insignificant. Don’t come to anger quickly. Reserve anger as a response to significant issues in a relationship that are not right and need to be addressed in an urgent manner. Even then, be slow and careful in showing anger in a way that communicates true concern because the relationship is what really matters.

Consider increasing your ability to listen to others. Focus less on what you are going to say. Only use anger in thoughtful and measured ways that communicate true concern for the relationship regarding essential issues.

God’s Word comes through again, giving us wisdom for all of our relationships.

EdMcDowell Nov2018 80px webEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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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

sara march2019 camphighlightsI 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!

SaraRodriguezSara Rodriguez
Youth Program Director
Warm Beach Camp

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directorsletterPromises 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.


Ed 80pxBy Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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sarasblogfeb"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.

SaraRodriguezSara Rodriguez
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
https://bible.com/bible/116/rom.10.17.NLT

Jan26Every 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.

Ed 80pxBy Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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nativity

Quiet and focused, he stood with his family at the Nativity scene. His family was enjoying the beauty of The Lights of Christmas festival and soon drifted off towards Joyland, leaving Dad alone. His eyes were glued to the passage of scripture sitting right next to the baby Jesus. Line by line he read it silently and reflectively. God was speaking to him.

Life changes here.

During summer camp this year, the theme for Friday was “Truth” with the subtitle, “What lies about yourself have you believed as if they were true?” The camp pastor would speak the truth of scripture that describes how God sees us. We are His creation. We are loved. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more than he already does. He knows our name. He will never leave or forsake us. We are wonderfully made and have incredible value.

Each camper had the opportunity to write down a lie they had believed to be true and nail it to a wooden cross. Literally, campers were exchanging lies for the truth. The cross was full of deceptions young people believed. They were set free to the truth of who they are in Christ.

Life Changes here.

Over 300 groups come to Warm Beach Camp for specific purposes. Many want to grow in God. Others want to learn about better relationships. Some come for outdoor education, and others come for sport camps.

What everyone finds is a place and a people where God is present and at work. The Holy Spirit connects with people. Our hospitality is often the conduit for transferring God’s grace.

“We appreciate the attention and care we always receive from everyone at Warm Beach, and are blessed to be able to hold our events with you!” – Guest Group leader

“I had a good time connecting with my son.” – Dads and Sons Weekend attendee

“My son looks forward to camp. He loves it! His counselor was patient and kind and the atmosphere made him feel a sense of belonging.” – Summer Youth Camp parent

These are only a few of the encouraging words we have received throughout the year. God changes lives at Warm Beach Camp and we are blessed to be part of that journey.

We wish you a happy New Year and many blessing to you and your family.

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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“Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”
- 2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT

Plant a few seeds, get a small return. Plant many seeds, get a large return. This is one of God’s great gifts to us: Generosity.

Paul encourages followers of Jesus to trust living generously. Chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians talks about the gift of generosity. Paul explains God’s gift is “too wonderful for words.”

Be generous in every phase of life. Put much into life. Invest in people. Spend time in relationships. Share your time. Give of your money. Meet needs and solve problems. Be generous about all things. Don’t do life “on the cheap.” Be a good steward.

God is generous in every way. Trust in His generosity and you will experience the joy of seeing “the harvest” of life.

So, what holds us back from being generous? Here are a few thoughts for consideration:
  • Selfishness: We simply choose not to share. We choose to sow a few seeds in the ground, and there’s not much return.
  • Scarcity: We are concerned that we will not have enough. Creating the illusion that generosity is not a wise option. God asks us to trust Him. He is the source of all generosity. He says that He will take care of us.
  • Spending vs. Investing: The current culture is focused on spending. We are a consumer society. There is not an appropriate focus on saving and investing. It is very difficult to embrace generosity when we are consumed with spending.
  • No Margin: For most people there is no margin in their life. Time, relationships and finances are tapped out. Most USA families do not even have $500- $1,000 in the bank to handle basic small emergencies. Any small disruption in life becomes a major issue when there is no margin. Generosity is lost.
  • Immediacy: Fast results and 24/7 access have taken our eyes off of the time required for good relational, physical, and financial investments in our lives. Generosity thrives off of good “investments” or “seed planting” when it is given time to grow and produce good returns or a “rich harvest.”

Consider a life of generosity. Look for ways to be generous through networks and resources. “Plant more seeds” in this world. Tend to them and give them time to grow, giving you much to share with others.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for God’s generosity in our lives. Help us embrace a life of generosity to others through our relationships, our time, and our resources. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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stikeleatherfamily2

As I walked down the gravel road I could feel the cold sneaking into my coat. Winter’s approach grew stronger each day. I’ve lived in cold climates before. I grew up in Indiana and braved the Michigan winters through college. However, this winter felt different. It wasn’t because of the cold or the frost covered grass. It felt different because I was different.

Last winter I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. As a new mom, I was also helping my mom overcome cancer treatment. The winter before, I was newly married and adjusting to life as a wife. I look back at the last two years and I remember how much God can change a person in so little time. In two years I got married, became a mom, and helped my mom through a life-changing illness. It was hard but it was beautiful. God showed me what it means to be compassionate and patient. He also showed me how valuable the gift of life is and how fleeting it can become.

As my family and I settle into our new life at Warm Beach Camp, we are surrounded by an unusually warm and generous community, who every day, reminds us of God’s provision and grace.

1 Corinthians 1:4-10 reads, “I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge. God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I appeal to you, brothers and sisters... be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Can you believe it? As we gather with family and friends let’s remember how God has worked, and is working in us still. Let’s show kindness to others and remember that God is working in each one of them too. Let’s remember how fortunate we are to experience the freedom of relationship with Christ and how blessed we are with the right to exercise that freedom.

We are so blessed to be fervently loved by the Creator. So let’s give thanks to the One who is in everything that is good, and who loves us more than we could ever imagine.

KaylaStikeleather2018 100px webKayla Stikeleather
Marketing Assistant

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TWW Decorators 450pxAs I looked around the room I saw unfamiliar faces, a rarity in my small town. Over 200 people had gathered at my church in Northern Indiana. As a pastor’s kid, I often got roped into every church event and activity. Soup for the Soul, our church’s meal program to the homeless, was no exception. For me, Soup for the Soul was different. As a flawed human being, I overlooked many of the people in my local community who would come to this bi-monthly event.

There were a diverse age group present, most of which I didn’t know. I learned new stories from elder shut-ins I would deliver meals to. They loved the sense of community and warm food. I got to play tag with the young kids two Tuesdays a month. These kids were guaranteed a warm meal and a place to feel welcomed without judgement or hesitation of acceptance.

As I look back at those days I realize that my passion for ministry was birthed from those moments and that I received far more than I gave. I was taught humility, the importance of community, and an understanding of the challenges this world is often filled with. Most importantly, I learned that God meets us where we’re at and He chooses to bless every child. Not just the children with clean clothes and brushed teeth, and not just the children who know Him.

Matthew 25:35-36 reads, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

After this experience, volunteering became so much more to me than a “duty.” I learned that the calling to serve others is mentioned so much in the Bible because it truly reveals the nature of our God and expands our understanding of who He is. What started as a begrudging way to fulfill God’s commandment was a catalyst of change in my own heart. He is a God who cares. A God who loves, and a God who does not forget His children.

Thanksgiving Working Weekend is just around the corner. This weekend is a time when people come and help Warm Beach Camp prepare for The Lights of Christmas festival. It is a huge blessing for the staff to have volunteers work alongside to create an event that brings the hope and joy of Christmas to others.

Would you please join us? Along with the blessing of serving others, it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and be part of the community of Christ at Warm Beach Camp. We would love to have you!

Thanksgiving Working Weekend is November 22-25, 2018. Come for a day or for the entire weekend. For more information and to register visit https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/thanksgiving-working-weekend

Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

KaylaStikeleather2018 100px webKayla Stikeleather
Marketing Assistant
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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