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On May 11th Warm Beach Camp hosted its annual Partners in Ministry Dinner. This was a time for Warm Beach Camp to thank its neighbors, financial donors, prayer partners, and volunteers for the significant role they play in the ministry.
This was also a time to thank God for continuing to do amazing things at Warm Beach Camp. He is preparing the Camp for the future and our highest goal is to stay in the center of His plans and we give Him thanks.
We would also like to thank the generous donors who sponsored the event.
Cascade Lumber, Inc., Stanwood, WA
Daryl and Elsie Miller, Lynnwood, WA
Gordon and Joyce Trepus, Arlington, WA
Gordon Trepus Painting, Inc., Arlington, WA
Menzies Financial, Stanwood, WA
Stanwood Self Storage, L.L.C., Stanwood, WA
Thomas & Associates Insurance, Stanwood, WA
Vince Thomas & Co., Mortgage Broker, Stanwood, WA
Wallace Properties, Inc., Bellevue, WA
Thank you all of you who help support the ministry of Warm Beach Camp.Add a comment
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Do scholarships make a difference? A loud, “Yes!” is the answer.
As the Program Manager for Everett Gospel Mission’s women and children’s shelter, here is how I have seen camp impact our children through the years with the help of Kids 2 Camp Scholarship fund at Warm Beach Camp.
The children and their mothers often are fearful to leave each other for the week. Due to their lives becoming chaotic and unsure, they have come to depend on each other. The children go to camp for the week and when they return they are exhausted, excited, and expressed their experience as, “the best time ever.” They talk about their chapel experience and show us in their Bibles the different conversations they have had with each other as well as what they learned. They tell us about their counselors and how fun they were, and their new cabin friends.
One camper said, “My mom said I would have fun but I did not believe her. I wanted to stay home, I am glad I didn’t. I loved the arts and crafts, the swimming, all of my new friends and learning about God. I have never gone anywhere like this before. I wanted to live there.”
In the 15 years, we have sent our children to Summer Youth Camp using the gifting of scholarships through the generosity of Warm Beach Camp. It has been our greatest gift to our children to send them to a safe, sound, fun, creative, and Bible-based camp. It is an experience that has impacted them for eternity.
Everett Gospel Mission is particularly grateful to Warm Beach Camp and its donors for allowing our children the privilege of attending camp.
Program Manager, Everett Gospel Mission
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Steve and Jacque Johnson began volunteering at Warm Beach Camp over four years ago. The couple dedicated their lives to service for the Lord and enjoyed working with youth and overseas missions. Steve spent 41 years working with the youth group at Wenatchee Free Methodist/Sage Hills Church. In 2005, Steve and one of his best friends, Ron Bundy, bought a shop where they repaired cars for single mothers and widows, and spent years ministering to hundreds.
Steve’s life was cut short at the age of 73 by cancer. Those who knew him would say he did more for others in those 73 years than most do in two lifetimes. Steve gave every ounce of himself away to others. He was kind, generous, and very hard working.
Warm Beach Camp was blessed by Steve’s service. The work of his hands is evident here. He helped build the new Chinook Cabins, a new storage building at the stables, and helped to remodel 19 rooms of Cascadian Lodge. Steve also helped upgrade the lighting in Cedar Lodge, fixed countless Camp vehicles, and volunteered at The Light of Christmas!
We praise the Lord for the life of Steve Johnson!Add a comment
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Ladies Night Out 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 at $92 a day. 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 and 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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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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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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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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I love coming to The Lights of Christmas! True, it’s often a bit warm for me - but the things I see – those things make it worth all the sweat and the few pounds of snow I shed!
I see so much each evening. Folks of all ages in and out of Joyland Courtyard - eating cotton candy and snacks from the Cafe, visiting the Ornament Shop, listening to the choirs and other groups in the Concert Hall, shopping at The Emporium. There is much hustle and bustle and eager anticipation as they come and go.
I watch the Dinner Theater guests come in, often rushed and hassled from a day of Holiday busyness, but then laughing and content as they wander back to their cars at the end of the evening. I see the school band and vocal performers on their break bursting out of the auditorium after a performance, ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas.
Oh! And I see the children! Have you ever seen Christmas through the eyes of a child? The wonder and amazement that fills them as they take it all in refreshes my heart. And not just mine! I watch the parents and the grandparents gratefully smile as they watch the little ones and regain a bit of their own wonder as they do.
I love coming to The Lights of Christmas Festival, because I see God at work in people’s hearts and lives through the beauty and wonder that is all around them. I see the Holy Spirit quietly speaking the truth of God’s miraculous gift to a broken world.Add a comment
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Kristine Campbell, a Warm Beach Camp resident and volunteer, has been participating in the Therapeutic Horsemanship Program, at Warm Beach Camp for several months. Kristine has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system. MS can cause fatigue, eye problems, cognitive problems, heat sensitivity, and balance issues, just to name a few. For Kristine, having MS means that she has to be vigilant whenever she is walking so that she doesn’t lose her balance.
About a year ago, Ginger Reitz, Therapeutic Riding Coordinator, encouraged Kristine to come to the barn and give riding a try. Horseback riding can improve balance and core strength and can also help with anxiety, cognitive and social conditions.
Kristine said, “When I am on my horse I feel free. I don’t have to worry about my balance and I feel like I am doing something I like that will help my health.”
The Therapeutic Horsemanship Program at Warm Beach Camp uses horses to encourage and strengthen individuals in a safe and supportive Christ centered environment.
More information about Theraputic Horsemanship can be found here.Add a comment
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In December 2017, Tracy Graves and her three kids decided to make their Christmas all about giving and dedicated the entire month to volunteering at The Lights of Christmas festival. Tracy, Jessica (14), David (13), and Isabell (11) joined their grandparents, Bob and Evie Graves, and the whole family teamed up to help make The Lights of Christmas a success. David worked with his grandpa at the Polar Express train. Jessica joined her grandma helping in the Ornament Shop and bussing tables in Tinhorn Town. And Isabelle worked with her mom, Tracey, at the petting farm and pony rides.
“The kids loved it.” Tracy said. “We want to do it again and again.”
Every year, volunteers come from far and wide to help make The Lights of Christmas happen. It takes over 125 volunteers each night and last year volunteers donated over 15,000 hours of service. Volunteering focuses on others, and is fun. There is something for the whole family.
“As a parent, it’s nice having the kids understand that they can give back at Christmas time.” Tracy said.
We all know that Christmas isn’t just about the giving and receiving of gifts. It’s about celebrating Christ’s birth. Christ, who loved others, valued community and a spirit of giving. Thank you to the Graves family for embodying the spirit of Christ through their volunteer service.
If you would like to volunteer for The Lights of Christmas 2018 sign up today!Add a comment