Project-Serve_250pxIt’s a cold Saturday in February and the rain is bone chilling. Yet, there is a group of high school age young people wearing yellow rain coats working on one of the Camp’s roads. They are busy shoveling dirt off a truck and into the pot holes that riddle the dirt roads on the grounds. Most high school kids would probably choose a different way to spend a cold, wet Saturday, but these high schoolers are not just any young people. They are here as a group through the Stanwood-based organization, Serve it Up.

Serve it Up is an organization that connects Stanwood High School students who need to complete their community service requirements for graduation with over 40 local organizations that need volunteer help. Serve it Up is part of the non-profit organization, Stanwood Community Ministries, that operates "The Station," a non-profit coffee shop/game room in downtown Stanwood. Since June of 2010, 120 Serve it Up students have contributed 993 hours of volunteer service through 35 projects. Four of those projects have been on the grounds of Warm Beach Camp.

Serve it Up provided two volunteer groups during The Lights of Christmas in December 2010, and two more groups were here to help improve WBC’s grounds last month.

Brian Hoyer, the leader of Serve it Up, says, “The kids always have a good time at Warm Beach,” even after filling pot holes on a rainy day. Brian said, “The staff at the Camp understand youth culture and they communicate with the kids really well. And, it’s great to get everyone outside.”

Are you looking for a way to fulfill your community service requirements? Warm Beach Camp can provide a way for you to meet your requirements that is satisfying and rewarding. We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with everything from painting projects to saddle cleaning. We can customize your volunteer experience to fit your time frame and range of skills, and offer projects that can accommodate groups or individuals from near or far.

If you need more information or would like a complete list of opportunities available, contact Jessica Beach at 360-652-7575 x2276 or jbeach@warmbeach.com. Or, check out our volunteer page.

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George-Colby_250px“It’s difficult to say how long I’ve been volunteering at The Lights of Christmas. It’s been so long I don’t remember,” said volunteer George Colby. After giving it some thought, George figures he has been bringing groups to volunteer at The Lights for more than ten years. This year, he came with three different groups, the Boy Scouts, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and the Camano Chapel youth group.

Volunteer groups make up about a third of the total number of volunteers who help at The Lights. This year, 15 volunteer groups came to serve. When I asked George why he comes year after year, he said, “I think it’s a practical way to be involved in a community service that has a significant purpose. The kids have a great time and it gives me an opportunity to hang out with them in an environment I wouldn’t normally be able to.”

“Volunteering during The Lights of Christmas is not your ordinary volunteer experience,” George said. “It gives kids a chance to do things they wouldn’t normally do, like sell tickets, be a costume character, help in parking, or work in the toy shop. That’s what’s cool about The Lights.”

Not only are the jobs fun but volunteers are served dinner the night they volunteer, receive a ticket to come back to The Lights on another night, and if the group has come from outside the area, provided with overnight accommodations.

“I like volunteering at The Lights because it’s a community service that doesn’t involve trauma, sadness, or brokenness. The whole volunteer experience is based on such a joyful occasion,” said George.

Some of the people who attend The Lights of Christmas come into the event with heavy hearts but, time after time, we are told that the spirit of the event, much contributed to by its volunteers, lifts that sadness and sends guests on their way with a much diminished burden.

Thank you to all of the volunteers of The Lights of Christmas for helping to deliver the hope of the Christmas season to thousands of people.

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250_LOC_volunteersWhen the Stanwood/Camano Rotary Club members first heard about The Lights of Christmas in 1997, little did they know that they would become so involved. Warm Beach’s Development Director, Nancy Nelson, soon recruited her fellow Rotarians to join her in serving as volunteers at The Lights of Christmas.

All the years since, up to 20 members and their spouses have assembled to help the first Friday of December. And there is a job for everyone, whether they want to work inside or out, be up front or in the background, handle money, dress up like “Frosty the Snowman” or help park cars.

Some, like Jim Jonson and Scott Thomas from Thomas and Associates, have been volunteering for many years. Jim recalls, “I was amazed that first year. What a surprise to connect with friends and past business acquaintances.” His business associate, Scott, chimed in, “Volunteering at The Lights has become an annual tradition for us!”

Greg Gilday, the 2009-2010 President of the Stanwood/Camano Rotary Club, joined the volunteer effort in 2006. “What a fun job!” said Greg, a local attorney in Stanwood. “I love working with my fellow Rotarians at The Lights.”

If you are part of a club, Sunday School class, or other group, volunteering at The Lights is a rewarding service project everyone can be involved in. If you would like more information about volunteering as a group for The Lights, contact Jessica Beach at the Camp at 360-652-7575 or 800-228-6724.

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250_LOCTake-DownHave you ever been the “last man standing” after your holiday celebration — the one standing at the sink washing a stack of dishes and filling garbage bags with wrapping paper and bows? That’s what it can feel like around the Camp during the Take-Down Event on December 30th and 31st when it is time to begin putting away the decorations from The Lights of Christmas.

Just like at your home in January, taking down the Christmas decorations can seem like the hardest part of the Holidays. Yet, for The Lights, it is an important part of the event each year. Lots of help getting the work done makes a big difference. We are looking for folks willing to stick around and help after the party’s over.

It usually takes our staff almost the entire month of January to get everything taken down and put away. How much gets done at the Take-Down Event on December 30th and 31st will determine how far into January it will take us to get everything cleaned up and nicely put away.

The Take-Down Event volunteers are some of the unseen heroes of The Lights of Christmas! Would you like to join us? While it may not sound like a glamorous job, we do have a lot of fun, and lunch is provided both days. You can sign up at our website by clicking on Volunteer on The Lights of Christmas menu. Or, you can call the Registration Dept. at (360) 652-7575.

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LOC VolunteersHow many volunteers does it take to make The Lights of Christmas happen? There are a little over 2,600 volunteer work slots to be filled by more than 800 individuals! These include parking attendants, costumed characters, greeters, ticket sellers, Toy Shop “elves”, security help, and more. The volunteers provide the smiles and warm hospitality that the event is best known for. Plus, the volunteers get to be a part of an amazing event. What better way to experience the Holiday season!

Not only does it take a colossal volunteer effort each night the event is open, but in the month prior to the event and the week after it closes, hundreds of unseen volunteers help to set up and take down this festive spectacle.

Between November 22 and 24, we need 15 volunteers to help. We need about 150 volunteers to come to Thanksgiving Working Weekend, November 26 to 28. Then, from November 29 to December 1 we need another 15 volunteers. From December 2 to December 29 we need up to 120 volunteers each night the event is open. And then for take-down on December 30 and 31, we will need about 150 people.

Whew! Are you out of breath yet? As a volunteer, you can share the hope and joy of the Christmas season this year with the thousands of people attending The Lights. We have a volunteer task that will work for you!

If you are interested in helping before, during, or after the event, you can get more information or sign-up at our website: volunteer.warmbeachlights.com. Or, give Jessica Beach, Volunteer Coordinator, a call at the Camp at 360-652-7575 or 800-228-6724. She can answer your questions, and send you an application.

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ExtravaganzaOn Saturday, August 28, a lot of long-time friends of the Camp, along with a few new ones, showed up to bid against one another as item after item went on the auction block. Clowns, face painting, rides and activities for the kids, and delicious food prepared by the Camp’s Food Service staff, all combined to make for a wonderful, festive atmosphere.

By the end of the day, more than $54,000 had been raised for the Camp’s Kids 2 Camp Scholarship fund!

By the end of this year, over $142,000 will have been given out in scholarships, helping bring nearly 1500 campers to WBC. We are committed to not turning any child away from camp, especially if the reason they can’t attend is financial. But, it requires funds for scholarships to make this possible. Each year, many people help provide the financial resources so this can happen.

We are extremely grateful to each of our auction donors who gave items to be placed in the auctions. Click here for a list of individuals and business that donated items for the August Extravaganza 2010.

We also want to thank all of the very generous bidders who came to the event. Special thanks go to the people who gave the $11,000 matching funds for the Kids 2 Camp program that doubled the dollars given for scholarships at the auction: Vital-Soft of Stanwood and owner John Overton, Nick and Liesl Gelotte, and two anonymous donors.

More than the money raised, the success of this event is measured in the lives of the kids who will get to go to camp because people came, participated, and gave. Mark your calendar now for the twelfth annual August Extravaganza on Saturday, August 27, 2011!

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SOWERsThere is a group of volunteers who have left their indelible mark on the grounds of Warm Beach Camp. This group is the SOWERs.

The SOWERs (Servants On Wheels Ever Ready) organization started in 1983 and is a group of retired couples who dedicate their retirement years to traveling the U.S. in their RV’s doing volunteer work for 180 different Christian organizations, one of which is Warm Beach Camp. Since their inception they have had over 3,100 members, with 850 now active.

Ray Arthur, Office Manager for the SOWERs, explains that the heart of the ministry is “to serve and encourage Christian Ministries to fulfill the commands of Jesus Christ.”

The first SOWER group set foot on WBC in May of 1997. Since that time, 182 volunteer couples have come to serve. This totals 19,656 hours of volunteer labor!

Clearly, this amazing ministry has had a huge impact on WBC. They provided nearly all the labor for the construction of the Maple Center and the two new Mt. Baker cabins, and for the renovations of the five original Mt. Baker cabins. They not only provided the labor, but gave most of the funding for converting a former camp cottage into the Volunteer Center. They have worked on countless staff houses. In the dead of winter, they built a temporary dishwashing room behind Cedar Lodge while they renovated the pot washing area in the kitchen.

The men typically help with construction projects and are often skilled laborers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and carpenters. The ladies help with anything from office work to sewing to cleaning. Mind you, all this help comes to the Camp free of charge.

Thank you to all the SOWERs who have poured their time and abilities into WBC. Your hands have truly left your mark on this ministry.

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We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each of the following individuals and businesses that helped make the Kids 2 Camp Benefit Auction, held on August 25, 2012, a big success! At the end of the day, $63,000 had been raised for the Kids 2 Camp Scholarship fund. Please help us express our appreciation by thanking these individuals and patronizing these wonderful businesses for helping make this event such a success.

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Benefit Event Raising Funds for Kids 2 Camp
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Extravaganza-2The eleventh annual August Extravaganza is just days away! It is a fun event that raises funds for the Camp’s Kids 2 Camp Scholarship Fund, helping kids go to camp. Last year, the Extravaganza raised more than $66,000!

You will find some incredible bargains, lots of great gift ideas, and even once-in-a-lifetime experiences … each item going to the highest bidder. There’s something for you at the August Extravaganza!

The auction preview opens at 9 a.m., and the first auction begins at 10 a.m. The auctions run until approximately 3:00 p.m. The two live auctions and a silent auction will feature hundreds of items including things for the yard and garden, sports memorabilia, dining opportunities, gift certificates, craft items, tools, golf packages, sporting event tickets, vacation packages, home furnishings, and one-of-a-kind experiences. The event also has activities for the kids and food concessions on site, including Ivar’s clam chowder and the Camp’s famous cinnamon rolls.

Make your plans to be a part of this exciting event this year — the August Extravaganza, Saturday, August 28.

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Mailing-Volunteers“I started out working in the mailroom” typifies a common perception of the mailroom clerk being an entry-level job. At Warm Beach Camp, the mailroom is a nerve-center for the organization, handling all the daily incoming and outgoing mail. That can be a couple hundred of pieces in each direction!

In the summer, the volume explodes with mail coming in for the 45 or so summer staffers and even more mail for the kids attending camp. It all has to be sorted and delivered to the right location.

And, it is almost all done by two volunteers! George Leasor and Dawn Morton are two mailroom heroes who have taken on this task. Sorting and processing the mail isn’t a very glamorous job. It is done behind the scenes — some of our own staff are not even aware of who sorts their daily mail — and provides the Camp with a huge savings in labor costs!

Besides these two, there is also a small army of other volunteers who help the Camp process outgoing bulk mailings. A few phone calls bring in a group of people who stuff envelopes, attach mailing labels, and get the letters or brochures into mailing trays. Thousands of pieces of mail are handled each year by these volunteers!

If you are interested in volunteering at Warm Beach Camp, there are all kinds of opportunities for you here. Let us know what you are interested in, and we will find the perfect job you!

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