Kids-in-PoolAs part of The Lights of Christmas, there is a wishing well set up near Cedar Lodge, and a reflecting pond on the lawn in front of the Lodge. Each year, people at The Lights throw coins into these ponds, and we collect the money for the Kids 2 Camp fund.

At the end of The Lights this year, we collected the coins, dried them off and counted them. The total came to $560!

Thousands of dollars are raised every year for Kids 2 Camp scholarships to send kids to camp, and much of it comes in the form of small gifts from individuals. But it all adds up! And every penny counts. This includes the ones thrown into the ponds at The Lights! Next summer, several children will be able to attend summer camp because of the spare change people throw into the wishing well at The Lights of Christmas.

To all of you who gave to the Kids 2 Camp fund this past year, thank you for making this program possible. Thanks for helping to send children to camp where they can have a fun experience in a loving and caring environment, and have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ. It does make a difference!

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Here is the latest news on the Camp projects currently underway:

  • Please continue to pray for the Camp’s Conditional Use Permit. We have a submittal meeting scheduled with the County Planning Department on November 17. Then, the plans go through a 120 day evaluation and hearing process during which time there will be opportunity for community comment on the plans, and the County can require revisions. Please pray that the plans will be approved with support from the community and few revisions by the County. This permit must be approved before we can begin the Cedar Lodge renovation project, and will affect all future development of the Camp for the next 30 years.
  • We continue to work on the final plans for the Cedar Lodge renovation project. Currently, we are finalizing the electrical engineering details and calibrating fire flow and fire suppression in accordance with fire marshal specifications. Our hope is that the final building plans will go to the County in January or February. Lord willing, the actual work on the first phase — moving the restrooms to the main floor — will begin in 2011.
  • Even though funds were raised earlier this year at Men’s Advance and Women’s Retreats to go towards replacing the railings around the Program Center Courtyard and repainting the exterior walls of the Program Center, we have not been able to arrange for the volunteer labor needed to complete the work. We have put this project on hold until next spring.
  • 240_warner_ext03Emergency renovation work has been completed on the Warner House, one of the Camp’s retreat homes. This included re-roofing the house, removing an old fireplace and chimney, and rebuilding a carport. This house is also used during The Lights of Christmas as the Nutcracker Suite, so the work needed to be completed quickly.
  • Projects being prepared for next spring include repainting the interiors and putting down new flooring in the W-Bar-B Bunkhouse cabins, and installing new windows, and siding, and painting the exterior of one of the Camp’s dorm houses. If you would be interested in volunteering to help with either of these projects, 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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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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Pines LandscapingHere is the latest news on the Camp projects currently underway:

  • The project at the Stables — running a waterline out for a winterized watering trough, and installing a system to collect and pipe away the runoff water from the roofs of all the buildings in the Stables area — has been completed thanks to LZ Construction and the Snohomish Conservation District. This work will help protect the environment in the area around the Stables.
  • We continue to work with building engineers and the architects on the final plans for the Cedar Lodge renovation project. We hope to begin the actual work on the first phase — moving the restrooms to the main floor — in 2011. Actual construction is dependent on getting approval from the State and County agencies involved in the process.
  • Funds were raised at Men’s Advance and Women’s Retreats to replace the railings around the Program Center Courtyard and repaint the exterior walls of the Program Center. We need several volunteers to step forward to help with this work. If we had six or eight men for a day in October, we would be able to complete this project. Otherwise, we will need to hold the work until next spring.
  • Please continue to pray for the Camp’s Conditional Use Permit. We are planning to submit the final application to the County this month. This permit must be approved before we can begin the Cedar Lodge renovation project, and will affect all future development of the Camp for the next 30 years.
  • This is the time of year that we wrap up as many existing projects as possible for the season. We are completing some landscaping around the sidewalks that were put in  last spring near the Pines, and finishing up some maintenance work on a couple of retreat houses.
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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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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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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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Dad & Me Weekends offer an oasis of quality time loaded with memory making experiences. Every year over 100 dads invest in relationship with their kids through Dads & Sons and Dads & Daughters weekends. Here’s what one Dad said about the weekend he spent with his son:

Dad and SonThe staff was wonderful and we really appreciated all the activities laid out before us, without the pressure of timelines. It was so nice to have a few things structured for us that helped us to have form to our day, yet without pressure. This was a big weekend of firsts for my son, BB guns, archery, canoes, rockets, mountain boards, and his first time on a horse as well. My son really enjoyed the mountain boards most of all! I really appreciated the time we spent bonding, the way the camp leaders helped the boys relate to us as fathers and associated it with the love and guidance of our Father was wonderful. I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience and I don’t think either of us will ever forget.

I appreciated the way that Christ was approached gently as well. I have committed my whole heart to Christ, but my son is still in transit. I hope and pray for him to come to that point some day himself and I hope not by the painful path it took me. But the gentle and more relational approach, while still unabashed honesty of the leader’s profession of faith, was at a level where he didn’t tune it out and I think it made an impact. It certainly has laid open the door for further discussion and opportunities. Thank you so much!

Over and over again, Dad & Me Weekends offer testimony of how life changes here. Our 2011 schedule is:

Dads & Sons: June 3-6, September 9-11

Dads & Daughters: June 10-12, September 16-18

We hope to see you there!

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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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special_friends_2010_280pxThis year, Warm Beach Camp kicked off the summer with Special Friends Camp which is specifically designed for adults with developmental disabilities. Campers enjoyed WBC’s fun activities which include: singing songs, swimming, train rides, horseback riding, the ropes course, and the climbing tower. Activtities are designed to accommodate every individual, regardless of their physical limitations. A recreational staff member, David Lawless said, "One camper didn’t have the mobility or the strength that it takes to climb the ropes course. So the staff just pulled him up with a rope while he made climbing motions with his hands; I have never seen a smile so big."

Although Special Friends Camp is in its fifth year, this will be the first year that WBC has partnered with Camp Barnabas of Missouri in order to host an overnight camp. WBC Youth Program Director Laurie Fertello expects this to be the first of many years in which an overnight camp will be offered to those with disabilities.

Amid the joys and fun memories that typically come with camp, there was also something else which seemed to permeate the loving atmosphere at WBC. Special Friends Camp was conducted with a sense of purpose which could be noted by both counselor and camper alike. In the closing week of the overnight camp, both camper and counselor gathered around a handmade 5 by 3 foot wooden cross. Those who surrounded the cross had a brief ceremony in remembrance of Christ who died for them.

WBC’s Special Friends Camp seeks to bring dignity and hope to the lives of those who are often overlooked. An unexplainable kind of joy is present in this camp and it deepens each year as new people discover Special Friends Camp.

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