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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SpecialFriends4Stanwood, WA - Everywhere you look kids are enjoying summer camp. A young man is scaling a rock wall. A group of girls are giggling in the pool. Others are enjoying a ride down a leaf-covered trail. Just what you would expect? Not really. If you look closer you’ll see that the young man on the rock wall has cerebral palsy. The girls? Down syndrome. And the trail riders? Pervasive developmental delays.

“The community of people with special needs has the same desire as everyone else to get out and experience the unique environment camping has to offer,” says Laurie Fertello, Youth Ministries Director at Warm Beach Camp. Located one hour north of Seattle, the Christian camp and conference center is hosting a Special Friends Overnight Camp July 5-8. “The reason we’re doing this is really quite simple. There are over 100,000 people with special needs in the North Puget Sound area and very few programs, and even fewer camping programs, available to accommodate the interests and needs of the special needs community.”

People with developmental disabilities age 15 through 50 will be given the chance to be participants, not observers, in activities such as swimming, mini golf, trail rides, challenge course, crafts, skits and more.

BuildingFencesWe have several projects currently underway at the Camp:

  • We are working on a fencing set-back project at the stables to keep our herd away from the streams and help protect the environment. This work is partially funded by the Snohomish Conservation District.
  • Now that the Wastewater Treatment Plant is processing the effluent to a reuse standard, we will be able to use the water for irrigation in the pastures during the warmer months of the year. Irrigation equipment has been ordered and we should be able to irrigate this summer and not discharge anything into the Port Susan Bay.

Upcoming projects in the next few months include:

  • Because of a chronic problem in one of the Camp’s waterlines, we will be working on a waterline repair project this summer to improve the problem. More work will be required in the future, but funds are not available to replace the section of line at this time.
  • There will be several painting, roofing, and construction projects underway this summer on Camp buildings. If you would like to volunteer to help with any of these, please contact Jessica in our volunteer office.

With the support of the surrounding community, the Camp is now ready to make the final push to get our Conditional Use Permit application approved by the County. This permit is needed before we can begin the Cedar Lodge renovation projects, and will affect all future development of the Camp for the next 30 years. Please pray that the Lord will go before us in getting this permit approved.

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LakelandEvery year since 2007, the senior class from Lakeland Christian School in Lakeland, Florida, has migrated to Warm Beach Camp for their Senior Mission Trip. This year’s group, made up of 11 chaperones and 73 students, spent a major portion of their time doing volunteer work projects for the Camp.

Dean, one of chaperones, says he sees the students tackle jobs here at the Camp with an enthusiasm he has never observed when they are at home. And, their enthusiasm is contagious. Year after year, Lakeland encourages the Warm Beach Camp staff with all their hard work.

Over the years, most of the new picnic tables on the grounds have been assembled by the Lakeland group, and every year they come back to wipe all of them down before summer begins. This year they also:

  • Put up all the tents we will need for summer
  • Chopped, stacked, and replenished firewood supplies
  • Built trails and moved fences for conservation purposes
  • Cleaned up the Chinook and the RV areas
  • Deep Cleaned W-Bar-B
  • Set up summer staff housing
  • Deep cleaned the restrooms at the RV area, Program Center, W-Bar-B, and Mountain Cabins
  • Pressure washed and painted stalls at the barns
  • Deep cleaned the dining room

Our hats are off to the Lakeland Christian Schools Senior class for spanning the continent to come help at Warm Beach Camp! Each one of them left the Camp a better place. Thank you.

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Extravaganza-2The August Extravaganza - Saturday, August 28, 2010

It is fast-paced, exciting, and fun for the entire family. It is Warm Beach Camp’s August Extravaganza.

The eleventh annual August Extravaganza is a fundraising event for the Camp’s Kids 2 Camp Scholarship fund. 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.

The auction preview opens at 9 a.m. and the auctions run until approximately 3:30 p.m. The two live auctions and silent auction will feature more than 350 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 includes activities for the kids, and food concessions on site including Ivar’s clam chowder and the Camp’s famous cinnamon rolls.

There’s something for you at the August Extravaganza!

It is a fun event for everyone, but the best part is, we are raising funds for the Camp’s Kids 2 Camp Scholarship Fund, helping kids go to camp. Last year, the Extravaganza raised more than $66,000 for the Kids 2 Camp fund.

“We want to invite you to the August Extravaganza,” says Gary Kocher, the Camp’s Annual Fund Director and event coordinator. “We’ve combined lots of fun activities into an extravaganza! And, it all helps send kids to camp. I know you will enjoy it!”

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

Here are some things you can do to help make the August Extravaganza a success this year:

  • Donate one or more items for the auction — new or near-new household or gift items or an experience or service you can offer to others.
  • Promote your business and help support the Camp at the same time by donating a product or service to the auction. We will make sure your business gets some great publicity through the Extravaganza.
  • Plan to attend the Extravaganza, and bring your family and friends with you.

Call Gary Kocher at 360-652-7575 for more information.


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CelebrateA few weeks ago, more than 200 people gathered together at Warm Beach Camp to share a meal and receive a report on the ministry of the Camp. The purpose of the evening was to thank the people who have volunteered their time and talents to the Camp, and the donors who have invested their financial resources in this ministry.

The event was the first annual Partners in Ministry Appreciation Event held on Sunday evening, May 16. Following a delicious soup supper and dessert, Executive Director, Ed McDowell, took everyone on a virtual tour, through words and visual presentations, of the ministries of the Camp. The Kids 2 Camp story, the story of raising up leaders through our Internship program, the impact of our volunteer program on the lives of the volunteers themselves, how the Special Friends camps touch the lives of those with special needs, and a look at the worldwide impact of the Camp through our partnerships with other ministries, all featured on the tour. Ed also reported on the outcomes of the Embracing the Vision Campaign.

We were so happy to have the opportunity to let our Partners in Ministry know how thankful we are for their investments in Warm Beach Camp. If you were not able to attend the event, we want to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to you for your contributions to the ministry of the Camp. Your partnership is vital to keeping the Camp strong and growing in the years ahead. Thank you!

Check out the video that was shown at the Partner in Ministry Appreciation Event:

Warm Beach Camp video

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Kids 2 Camp scholarship fund at Warm Beach CampWith summer right around the corner, registrations are now coming in for the summer youth camps. It also means that we are receiving requests for help through the Kids 2 Camp program. Without financial assistance, some of the children and youth who will be coming this summer would be unable to experience their week at camp.

A number of these kids come from churches and social service agencies who are working with at-risk youth. For many of these kids, a week at summer camp at Warm Beach can be a life-changing experience. In a caring and compassionate environment, each child is presented with the love and gospel of Jesus Christ.

Last year, more than $155,000 was given out in Kids 2 Camp scholarships, helping more than 1,100 children, youth, and adults attend events at Warm Beach Camp. With the tight economy, we know that the need for help will be as much or more this year.

This scholarship program is only possible because of the generous contributions from many, many people. If you would like to help, you may give a gift through our website, or mark your gift for the Kids 2 Camp program and mail it to the Camp.

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Curtis and Ed McDowell - Warm Beach Camp's youngest donorRecently, a letter went out from the Camp sharing the need for some new refrigerators to meet new health regulations the County is instituting. A number of people have responded to this appeal, but one donation was hand-delivered by the donor to Ed McDowell, our executive director.

Curtis Willson, the seven-year-old son of Free Methodist missionaries, Ryan and Jen Willson, brought his gift to help with the project — his entire savings — and gave it for new refrigerators. In an envelope was his gift and a letter:

Dear Mr. McDowell, I gave every single dollar I had. I also gave a nickel and a dime and put it in a envelope. The money was mine. I gave the money to help the camp to buy 16 refrigerators. Even though it wasn’t enough to buy 16 refrigerators I just gave that much and then the other people that come to Warm Beach can give some of their money. Then you will have 16 refrigerators. From Curtis Willson.

Many times, the response we receive from our supporters when we share a need is truly humbling. We are so grateful for the way people come alongside the Camp and partner with us in ministry. And while we have certainly received larger donations than the $4.15 Curtis carried into Ed’s office, we have never been given a bigger gift!

Thank you, Curtis, for your gift. And thank you to each person who has given for the refrigerator project. So far, $16,000 has come in towards the $27,400 project goal. Each one of you is a blessing to us and a huge part of what makes the ministry of the Camp work so well.

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We have several projects currently underway at the Camp:

  • Construction continues on the parking pad and sidewalks for the ADA restroom being put in at The Pines. This is the final part of the ADA project we started last spring for the Special Friends Camps that included the purchase of a special trailer-mounted ADA mobile restroom.

Projects recently completed include:

  • Thanks to the volunteer support of Ray Samuelson, Rob Down, and the vaulting club, the workout building at the Stables is complete. The old draft horse barn was converted to a secondary work-out room for the Warm Beach Vaulters.

The Conditional Use Permit application is still awaiting approval from the county. This permit is needed before we can begin on the Cedar Lodge renovation projects. Please pray that the Lord will go before us in getting this permit approved.

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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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by Laurie Fertello

Special Friends Day Camp - volunteer opportunitiesI wish you could have been there when I had the opportunity recently, to tell two Mothers that their adult sons could come to Special Friends Day Camp!  You would have seen the longing on their faces turn to joy and the tears in their eyes when they finally realized a dream come true for their adult children!

Saying “YES” to people who are so often told “NO”, is a great privilege of mine and I do wish you could be there when these moments of joy and hope rush in!

Would you and your friends, family or youth group join Warm Beach Camp this summer in the ministry to adults with special needs?  For every camper registered, we need one volunteer counselor who becomes a “Buddy” for the week of camp.  You’ll never know such joy in service!

I’m inviting you to consider making Special Friends Day Camp your short–term missions experience this summer.  The cost is minimal, just $30.00 per week and the opportunity “to experience their world” is right here at home!

The need for volunteers will be great this summer as campers are already registering!  Please consider helping Warm Beach Camp by volunteering at one (or all) of our three Special Friends Day Camps: June 29 – July 2, 2010, July 5-8, 2010, and August 23-26, 2010.  After you do, you’ll be the ones telling the ministry stories and saying I WISH YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THERE!

For more information on how to register yourself or your group, please email Laurie Fertello at or phone 425-239-9841.

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