This past weekend gave us the opportunity to reflect on the events of 9/11/2001. For most of us, the emotions of that day have been tempered by the passing of 20 years. Time can offer us a chance to see a different perspective than we get in the heat of the moment, time can provide distance for healing to occur, and time can help us form lasting bonds that we can rely upon when the next tragedy strikes.
Over the years I have appreciated the power of Camp and Retreat ministries to provide the kind of space that allows for a shift in perspective, space that promotes healing, and space that encourages the creation of lasting bonds. These are part of what makes Camp and Retreat Ministries effective in helping those who come to our sites deepen their faith and understand that they are beloved children of God.
The opportunity to step outside of time and to enter spaces with vistas of the ocean, big sky, tall trees, or refreshing water provides us with the capacity to relax, draw a deep breath, and decompress from the stresses of our everyday lives. These all help us understand that what we think of as the “real world” is something that we humans have created and can be changed if we but take the time to pause and reflect. What an incredible gift it was this summer for campers to step outside of their daily COVID routines at home and enter life at camp. The smiles said it all.
When we create sacred spaces of Christian hospitality, we understand that we are offering places where healing is possible for those who have experienced harm. And we all have experienced harm at one level or another. I heard this sense of healing from campers this summer as they shared their stories of life and loss.
Communal life looked a little different this year, with fewer people sharing a cabin, most meals eaten outdoors, cafeteria-style food service, campfires with a lot of space between campers--and yet community was still formed. Some reported that this was the best year of camp ever. I believe this is the case because they were able to form meaningful connections with this community that cared for who they are.
Thank you for supporting the work and the mission that makes this all possible.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Boaters at Suttle Lake, 2021 (Todd Bartlett)
One of the challenges of life at Sawtooth Camp is the effects of snowfall and ice forming on the lodge roof. Because of the roof "valley" and the pressures of the snow and ice coming together from opposite sides and flowing into the narrowness at the bottom of the valley, we have experienced damage to the roof over many years.
This year the roof was replaced on the Sawtooth Lodge (which houses the kitchen, dining hall, and indoor program space) with a style of metal roofing that we hope will not suffer the same fate as previous roofing materials. Thank you to donors who provided the resources to make this happen and to the members of the site team who helped navigate the process of lining up the materials and the company to do the work.
You can see for yourself that the roof looks beautiful and is ready to face this winter and next spring.
*PHOTO: New roof on Sawtooth Lodge, 2021 (Dave Hargreaves).
Have you ever looked out on a familiar neighborhood from on top of a roof? The view from up top is much different from down below, and it can be quite thrilling to see things in a new and exciting way from up on the roof--especially since "on the roof" is not normally where we get to hang out! As Todd points out in his article, our ministry provides an opportunity for that exciting new perspective, and your contributions help make it happen. Whether it's underwriting a literal new roof at Sawtooth, or putting smiles on faces at Suttle Lake (along with hundreds of other examples), your donation supports our ministry, and we are grateful. Keep it up!