By Mark Cutshall

Challenge-Course-imageIt’s called the Warm Beach Camp Challenge Course, and for 15 single adults from First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, it proved to be one the most useful tools to prepare them for their upcoming short-term mission to Guatemala.

“The series of interactive trust-based challenges allowed us to think, work, play and celebrate together. We got to know each other and really learn that, on a mission trip, everyone’s voice and everyone’s gifts are important and needed. It is an invaluable experience,” says Rosalind Renshaw, Associate Pastor, who leads an annual mission trip to Central America.

“Because of the Challenge Course experience, we learned that we were only going to accomplish what we could do together; those who were typically out in front slowed down to be with the entire group,” says participant Craig Schoning.

“At Warm Beach, our facilitators were skilled. There was lots of humor. The exercises were fun and physically not difficult. Because of the Challenge Course, everyone felt valued and involved; no one felt left out.”

Mission accomplished.

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By Mark Cutshall

He was one frustrated, angry fifth-grade boy. Frustrated by looking up at the top of a climbing tower he knew he could never reach. And angry with his teacher, Marcie Trudeau, who wanted the best for him and was willing to say, “You know our class motto, Jeremy. You can at least give it a try. You never know what you can accomplish.”

And so grudgingly, Jeremy strapped in to the harness, swallowed hard, and with 27 curious classmates from Issaquah’s Cascade Ridge Elementary School looking on, he planted his boot on the wall and held on.

Marcie stood by – and watched. This was the school’s eighth annual Outdoor Education camp at Warm Beach and, by all accounts, it had become an unqualified success. “This three-day environmental education camp is part of our science curriculum and gives our students an appreciation and a link to nature and what their role can and should be in becoming future stewards of the earth. It’s a marvelous opportunity for social growth, and, of course, the kids come away with incredible memories of great times together.”

Cascade Ridge is one of 30 public and private schools and organizations that will partner with Warm Beach Camp this year and take advantage of the Camp’s geography as a natural, outdoor classroom. Camp experiences can range from daylong opportunities to overnight camps tailored to each school’s needs and goals.

“If you’re looking for a facility for students to experience and learn about their natural environment, you just can’t find a better place than Warm Beach,” said Marcie.

Last year at camp, Marcie looked up and saw blue skies, tall trees and, yes, that 40-foot climbing tower where Jeremy stood secure. He had taken but three steps, but by now, all of his classmates were fully engulfed with cheers and shouts.

And so he kept climbing. With each new step, the words “Yes! . . . Go! . . . You’re doing it!” followed him up the wall. Another reach up, another foot closer. Breathing. Stopping. Until, finally, incredibly, he could go no farther. Because he was at the top.

“I have never seen a kid so moved to achieve something he never thought he could do. I could not have been more proud of my students that day, especially this boy,” says Marcie, who watched his descent with tears in her eyes.

Amazed, excited and crying themselves, each of Jeremy’s classmates converged to hug and congratulate him.

A Kodak moment of affirmation, a picture of shared fulfillment and a class act of cooperation played out in a natural learning environment.

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By Mark Cutshall

Special Friends Camp

Crystal is almost deaf. Yet, she changed volunteer Kiya Tafoya forever at Special Friends Camp, a day camp uniquely designed for adults, age 15 and up, with developmental, emotional and physical needs.

“One day during worship, we were dancing in the back of the room. She couldn’t hear the music, but it didn’t matter. We were so in the moment where God was present,” says Kiya.

Campers attend a daily chapel in the morning, followed by generous free time in which they choose from a list of safe, fun, supervised activities. The “challenge by choice,” approach gives each person endless opportunities to choose their own level of activity without any undue expectation, pressure and stress.

One-on-one assistants (Camp Counselors) are provided for each camper.This “Buddy” assists the camper as needed and helps them enjoy all that camp has to offer.

“These men and women campers I came to love confront limits every day. When they come to Warm Beach Camp, those limits are laid aside. At Special Friends Camp, there is no limit to what they can do, and there’s no limit for them to experience love, affi rmation and acceptance,” says Kiya.

Three not-so-little things, that Kiya herself discovered—and no doubt will realize again this summer—at Special Friends Camp.

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SummerCampKids2010_280pxLift up your shield as we welcome you to Tales of the Kingdom, the 2010 theme at Warm Beach Summer Camps.  Tales of the Kingdom combines story and history, drawing campers into a thrilling Medieval journey full of fun summer camp activities.  

Campers and counselors begin their week getting to know one another on a deeper level, growing together through a process of team building. Just as the medieval knights enjoyed the camaraderie of friends at the roundtable, campers will also form friendships with their cabin groups as we explore how our King continues to work in our lives. In the midst of understanding and getting to know God, there will be lots of fun adventures and many tournaments with an end-of-camp outdoor medieval meal. Campers will leave Warm Beach Camp knowing that they are the champions, and that their quest is to share the love of our King to the world. To the King!

W-Bar-B youth camps and Day camps begin the week of July 11, 2010. Horsemanship Camps and Special Friends Camps are also available. For more information call the Registration Department at 360-652-7575, in-state toll free 800-228-6724.

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by Camilla Blue

SwimLessonLydia I grew up at Warm Beach Camp and my first pool experience was there. When Warm Beach Camp announced that they were offering swimming lessons, it seemed appropriate to sign up my son and daughter, Daniel and Mercy, for the pre-beginner class.

My kids had opposite reactions to the entry level swimming class. Daniel hates the water, especially when water gets in his eyes. He dreaded the very idea of taking lessons. He was nervous and apprehensive, and I was worried that he would refuse to participate. On the other hand, Mercy couldn't have been more excited. She had such a fearless confidence that even before her first lesson began, she believed that she knew how to swim.

When arrived Monday night for the first class, our swim instructor, Lydia, did an amazing job of putting the kids at ease. Lydia was just wonderful! She was a natural with all the kids in the class. She first talked about getting one ear wet. Then the other. What about a nose? Then she had the kids splash her.

With each activity, my kid's confidence grew. All the way home they talked about how much fun they had and how excited they were for their next lesson. I love Warm Beach Camp!

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help-wantedEach summer, Warm Beach Camp seeks to fill between 40 and 50 summer job positions with people who have a desire to serve God, minister to people, and be part of a ministry that touches the lives of thousands of campers during this two-and-a-half-month period. In most cases, no experience is necessary.

There are currently summer employment openings for male camp counselors, and positions in Food Services and Accommodations.

Do you know someone looking for something new and exciting to do this summer? They could experience the life-changing work of summer staff employment at Warm Beach Camp. We are looking for those with a passion for ministry, enough energy to last a summer, are at least 18 years old by June, and graduated from High School. Warm Beach Camp may be the perfect opportunity for summer employment! Click here for an updated list of current summer employment openings.

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Camp Pastor BoBo Robinson can still see the tears running down the face of Kevin, a 15-year-old camper.

“The night before, he had given his life to the Lord,” says Bo, a Warm Beach Camp pastor and supervisor. “Even though his counselor had told him to behave, Kevin had violated camp rules.”

Bo could identify. As a youth, he had come to Warm Beach Camp and broken a few rules. As a 13-year-old at W-BAR-B, he had actually punched a fellow camper in the face. Though they provided for the family, Bo’s parents partied heavily on the weekends. “One night when I was a child, my dad told my mom and me that he would kill her if she ever left him. She actually believed him, so she took me and my sister and left him.”

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“I don’t want to be the statistic. I want to be the inspiration.”

After six months of chemotherapy for breast cancer, Cheryl Boatman was too weak to wash dishes, let alone drive a car.

“I didn’t know if I had enough strength to go up to Warm Beach Camp for last spring’s women’s retreat. When I drove up, I was so dizzy I couldn’t sit up straight.

A man from her church unloaded the wheelchair from the back of her car and pushed Cheryl to the main meeting area. At Warm Beach, she rode in style over smooth, level paths.
At the retreat, Cheryl met Warm Beach staffer Laurie Fertello, a survivor of ovarian cancer.

“Laurie was the first to greet me and pray with me, and other people followed. Some women who saw my bald head looked scared, and that’s when I would reach out and hug them,” says Cheryl. “That weekend, I felt renewed; I felt God’s Spirit.”

Today, she looks forward to every day of life.

“I don’t want to be the statistic. I want to be the inspiration. I would rather be the person who survives.”

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by Ed McDowell, Executive Director

Adoption Advocates International at Warm Beach Camp

Adoption Advocates International (AAI) and Warm Beach Camp—imagine the international flare of Ethiopian dance, the drums of Ghana, an international talent show, and soccer, soccer, soccer. AAI’s family camp was a special weekend filled with energy, international culture and a reunion of family and friends. Children who knew each other from orphanages were reunited in friendship. Adoptive parents had opportunity to share their stories, successes and challenges in a supportive environment. When families willingly join together in adoption to intercept brokenness and replace it with hope, unconditional love, and a future of opportunity, there is a special bond, a connection, that runs deep and true. Bev and I were thrilled to see WBC be a place for these families to gather. What a blessing… children from all around the world at WBC.

 

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By Ryan Willson, Missionary and Former Staffer

"Who put a nickel in you?" his parents would ask while driving his sister and him home from a week-long Family Camp at Warm Beach.

The week was so great he could not stop talking about the camp pastor who spoke of a Jesus that he longed to know, the counselor who had shown him the love of Christ and the sunset in which he saw God's creativity. Seeing old friends, making new ones, and developing a deeper love for his family were all a part of his experience as a child attending Family Camp each summer.

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