Tending the Fire is a monthly series sharing a deeper look at the people who make up Camp and Retreat Ministries. Each month we will share a story from our campers, donors, staff and volunteers and what impact Camp and Retreat Ministries has had on them, and them on us. We hope these stories will educate you, uplift you and inspire you to get involved in whatever ways you can.
From the time he was young, life-long Presbyterian Rev. Dr. Scott T. Crane has always loved the outdoors: camping, backpacking, hiking, all experiences that provide the opportunity to connect with God in the outdoors. So, after many years of camping with Boy Scouts, when he was old enough, applying for a job at a summer camp seemed like a great choice, and it was: he was offered jobs with both the Boy Scouts and the YMCA. What he didn’t know was that his choice would help him on his path to solidifying his response to God.
During chapel time, Scott discovered the camp’s version of chapel was more about friendship and values, and he realized he wanted one that was more about connecting with (or experiencing the presence of) God. He would find that at another camp. When he said yes to Nancy Orem-Pettersen about volunteering as a counselor for the Presbytery’s week at Suttle Lake Camp, he experienced the excitement that chapel was about God.
In 1999, Lisa Jean Hoefner, who was then director of Suttle Lake Camp, asked Scott to be part of the summer staff. Scott spent the next few years getting his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education (and later Doctor of Ministry), working and volunteering during the summer at United Methodist and Presbyterian camps. It was then he realized that a career in camping was an option. “A path of vocation I hadn’t known was available to me.”
In 2006, Scott returned to Oregon, as the Program Director at Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon. For ten years, he created programs so that others could experience God. In a desire to spend more time as a stay-at-home dad, he reduced his hours, eventually hearing a call to pastoral work, providing pulpit supply and later as an interim pastor at several churches.
Today, Scott still goes to camp excited to encounter God; he serves as a chaplain and dean for sessions at Suttle Lake Camp and Camp Magruder, and he brings his three kids for their own camp experience. When asked what is so special about camp, Scott said, “Summer camp and adult retreats can be moments of experiential faith that are irreplaceable, deeply forming, and have long-lasting effects on our journeys of faith. I do it because I know how impactful it is, the experience of intentional community, the natural community, God’s fullest understanding of creation. We’re able to see it better at camp.”