I Will Live and Grow in Jesus
Today was a beautiful fall day and Jesse and I had the opportunity to teach 8 little camp kiddos a lesson all about leaves. Since we have been homeschooling our kiddos it worked out perfectly to use a lesson from our curriculum. What better thing to study than leaves since they are falling all over the place right now.
We had a chance to talk with the kids about how when the leaves are attached to a plant or tree, they grow and look beautiful. However if they decide they want to “be their own boss” and remove themselves from the plant, they will eventually die. Our life is like the leaves and the plant is like Jesus. If we decide not to obey or follow Him we will die. So, to support or lesson we had the kids all say and memorize, “I will live and grow in Jesus”.
After our lesson we headed outside and hiked a bit to see how many different kinds of leaves we could find. They learned that each kind of tree has a different shaped leaf. They had fun filling their bags full of all sorts of leaves in different shapes and colors.
Jesse had a chance to show them a few types of needles and how you can tell what tree the needles come from based on how they feel.
It was a privilege to teach these little hearts and minds this morning. They sure are a blessing and we pray for them as they grow that they would “Live and Grow in Jesus”.
Leaves are Turning!
Although we had a few trees start changing color in late August, the a bunch of them have decided that it really is autumn now! Fall is by far my favorite season here at Camp! I love the crisp mornings, the mist on the lake, and the explosions of color in the forest!
We’ve had several events during September, such as Ladies’ Days, a Golden Ager’s Rally, and a Hunter’s Safety Weekend. From greeting guests to washing dishes, I’ve been involved in all of them!
Hunter’s Safety Weekend
One of the events that I get more heavily involved in is our Hunter’s Safety Weekend. A few years ago I was certified as a WI DNR Approved Safety Instructor, which means I’m able to teach portions of the classes required in order to purchase a hunting license here in Wisconsin. Many places offer these classes, but we do it in a way that few others do. Whereas most courses are given for two hours a week for a number of weeks, we pack it into one full weekend. Students are immersed into Camp and learn everything from safely handling a firearm, to survival skills and first aid. When appropriate we also add in life lessons that are Scripturally based. It’s really a fun weekend!
TRAILHEAD Voyageur Canoe
A new program that we are offering this year is called TRAILHEAD and is a 9 month experience designed to teach life skills, Biblical principles, and responsibility. My little brother David is in the inaugural class made up of 7 guys and 2 girls. When we were planning the program we tried to find a project that would interest as many of them as possible. It needed to be something that would take a good amount of time to complete, and it should be something that they could feel proud of when it was done.
So we decided to build a 30+ foot Voyageur Canoe!
In the future there will be a blog that documents the process that we will take to make it float, but for now here are a few photos!
Selecting the basswood boards at the hardwood distributor
Unloading 500 board feet of basswood
Cutting out the stations for the strongback
Beginning to cut the basswood into strips
Routing the profile on the strips
I’m thrilled to be a part of this project as it gives me the opportunity to connect with these students in a meaningful way as well as it allows me to do woodworking on Camp time
We still haven’t heard anything about adopting, but we are continuing to pray that the Lord would make us available and willing, should the opportunity become available.
Homeschooling is going very well for Lauren, who is in 1st grade, and Jackson, who is a kindergartner. We are using a curriculum that so clearly pulls out truth from the Bible and from creation. Watching the kids study, and seeing how carefully April is teaching them makes me very proud
Amazing Grace… For the Human Race
This summer has been yet another evidence of how in the midst of busyness and confusion, God’s plans still move forward. Life for us is wonderful, as long as we continue to look to Jesus Christ as our portion and provision. As soon as I take my eyes off Him I find myself beginning to sink, just like Peter did when he stepped out of the boat.
Like many of our blog posts, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I’d like to hit some of the high spots and update you on what we’ve been up to for the past two and a half months!
Summer Staff Training
The summer kicked off with an intense time of training more than 100 high school and college students. Evangelism, personal growth, servant leadership, and service area training were all significant portions of the training. My personal responsibilities included taking photos and video clips to prepare for our Summer Staff Tribute video, which would be shown later in the summer.
After Summer Staff Training and Counselor Training Institute were done, we excitedly welcomed our very first campers for the summer! Kid’s Quest is our half-week program, designed for the youngest campers, starting at age 8. It is always a delight to watch those little kids start so timid, but by the end of the week are laughing, cheering, and playing hard!
For the remaining four weeks of Youth Camps, the ages of the kids would go up, until we got to SuperHIGH, which is our Senior High camp. The tone of SuperHIGH is both laid back as well as intense. We offer many opportunities for kids that enjoy sports, and being active, as well as options for those that would rather share a coffee in Main Street Cafe. The speaker challenged kids to live their lives in abandon to Jesus Christ. We know that many lives were reached for the Kingdom!
A side note: Lauren was able to come to her very first kid’s camp! She was a participant in one week of First Adventure, which is a day camp designed to bring in kids from our local community. It was so popular last year that we ended up adding another full week for it this year. Hopefully we will continue to see those kids come back year after year, for different programs.
Between our programs here on the camp grounds, and the campers on our Wilderness Trips, we served 1215 kids this summer! Praise the Lord!
As you may know, I’m the Media Director here at Camp Forest Springs, so I’m responsible for all the photography, video, and online ministry of camp. This past fall we were thrilled to add Jake and Leah Andersen to staff, in the position of Visual Media Specialist. Jake and I, along with a summer intern, worked diligently to capture video and photos of the kids so we could make a highlight video to be played at the end of camp. We also put together a dvd for each camper that included photos, video, as well as the recordings of the Bible teacher. I’ve heard from parents year after year how their kids love to watch the videos and listen to the sessions both after they leave camp, but especially as they share with their friends about how much fun camp is!
Here are a few of the videos from this summer: (You may see more if you go to Camp’s YouTube channel)
First Adventure Slideshow - Lauren is in this one!
The Counselor Tribute
Into Family Camps
Now that Youth Camps are done, we’ve made the transition into Family Camps. CFS takes on a different feel as we program activities and events designed for all the members of the family. We have a Staff vs. Campers softball game (the staff are 5-0 at the time of this writing!), Bubble-Mania for the kids, Sunset Run, a Triathlon, and of course the camp standards such as archery, air rifles, and the waterfront. Perhaps my favorite event to be a part of is Voyageur’s Breakfast. We get up super early and prepare a breakfast over the camp fire for a few families. They will paddle canoes across James Lake, often in the early morning mist, smell the smoke of the campfire, and enjoy Swedish Coffee, scrambled eggs, toast, and Pineapple Delight - a CFS special. A large part of why I like leading these breakfasts is that Jack or Lauren typically join me, in the same way that I joined my dad as he led Lumberjack Breakfasts years ago at Fort Wilderness!
When the summer hits here at Camp, our own family life changes significantly. The majority of my time is spent here at camp, with April and the kids joining me for some meals in the dining hall. We did manage to get a garden in this year as well as keep the lawn mowed. The family often spends afternoons at camp either at the Mini-Farm or at the Waterfront. We try to have the kids here at camp, involved in the ministry that is taking place, as often as possible. It’s good for them to be a part of this place.
In terms of our adoption plans, we are still a waiting family. The Lord has not brought any contacts to us yet, but our profile is open and available to be shown. We’ll keep you updated if anything happens on that front.
The Homegoing of Jose
Perhaps you have seen some of the blog entries on Camp’s site, but if not, let me update you on the passing of one of our Summer Staff. Jose Forbes has served here at camp for a number of summers in a variety of roles. He recently became ill and suddenly passed away. Without going into a lot of details (you can read camp’s blog entries) it has been amazing to see the impact Jose had on both the staff as well as the campers he ministered to. His legacy of faith and service has been an inspiration to me.
We have two more full weeks of Family Camp ahead of us and following Labor Day we will begin some rapid deconstruction/reconstruction of our main Neale Lodge. The addition has been moving forward and it’s time to join the old building with the new. What that means for the Media Department is a relocation of our office! I’ve enjoyed our current office for 9 summers and will be sad to see it turned into a bathroom, however we will now have two rooms in the main office building.
So not only will our Fall be full of construction, but we will also have a number of retreats for Couples, Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Pastors, and families!
Please be praying for us as we serve here! It’s a joy to serve Jesus in this capacity. Thank you for your support and prayers.