We pick up on our series of director profiles with Troy Taylor of Camp Magruder.
Troy Taylor is regularly looking for meaning in the world. During many times when that meaning has been elusive, Troy has found it in camp work. The current director of Camp Magruder started out in Tennessee, spending summers at Lakeshore United Methodist Camp in West Tennesse, at the waters of Kentucky Lake. On a whim, he volunteered for his first counseling assignment at 16 and opened up a side of himself he hadn’t shared with many people before.
Troy went on to full-time camp work after college, continuing to love the hours spent playing, exploring nature, and building strong, loving communities during a week of camp. In the midst of that camp work, Troy met Allyson while she was doing meaningful camp work of her own, and they eventually married. From the time of their wedding in Muir Woods, California, the two kept in the back of their minds the dream of someday living on the West Coast.
The pair left Lakeshore at the end of 2012, so Allyson could deepen her work as a mental health counselor and Troy could rest and pursue an MFA. While Troy was working a morning shift at a local NPR station (#dreamjob), the listing for a full-time role as program director at Camp Magruder came across his email feed. It seemed like a long shot, but also like an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. Within two months, Troy and Allyson were preparing to move to the Oregon Coast. In 2016, Troy was asked to step into the interim director role, and a few months later he became Magruder’s director.
In his time at Camp Magruder, Troy has weathered several storms, both literal and metaphorical, but his love for this beautiful site remains strong. Troy believes deeply in culture building and strong, supportive staffs. When Troy was hired, he was asked to help bring more heart to Camp Magruder, and eight years into his time there, he still takes that mission seriously. Troy believes Christianity is in a moment of great change, and camp in the Pacific Northwest is one of the important test kitchens for the new ways we will connect with God in the 21st century.
Troy was an English major in college and still loves to read and write poetry. These days he stays healthy with a mix of running, yoga, hiking, and surfing, which helped him personally get through the pandemic. He loves music, movies, and podcasts, and seeks God out in the stuff often called secular mixed up with ancient faith practices. He still finds God, along with his own well-being, most effectively in nature, play, and abiding friendships.
Allyson and Troy welcomed Aura into the world in 2017. She is the latest camp kid to have the privilege of growing up at Camp Magruder. Troy looks for ways to invite her into the joy of camp life and the meaning that comes out of camp work, and so far she is well-suited for the lifestyle. Troy hopes for many more incredible experiences, growth, and relationships at Magruder and through Camp and Retreat Ministries in the years to come, but more than anything specific, it is that quest for meaning, belonging, and purpose Troy is still most hopeful about for himself and everyone connected with camp.
On the road to wonder, love, and justice,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTOS: Troy Taylor at the beach at Camp Magruder (Troy Taylor).
Camp is fun! But how do you define fun? And why is it important, not just at camp, but in the rest of our lives, as well? Is it possible to even have fun at church??!
In her recent book, The Power of Fun, Catherine Price writes that “True Fun” is the “...feeling of being fully present and engaged, free from self-criticism and judgment. It is the thrill of losing ourselves in what we’re doing and not caring about the outcome. It is laughter. It is playful rebellion. It is euphoric connection. It is the bliss that comes from letting go. When we are truly having fun, we are not lonely. We are not anxious or stressed. We are not consumed by self-doubt or existential malaise. There is a reason that our moments of True Fun stand out in our memories: True Fun makes us feel alive.”
Read more here about the definition of fun, and why it's important at camp and beyond.
*PHOTO: Does this summer's chocolate pudding-eating contest at Sawtooth fit YOUR definition of fun? (Todd Bartlett)
Just about anyone who is raising a child these days is aware of the importance of scholarships, whether it's financial help to go to college or to go to camp. As you read above, Troy Taylor isn't thinking about a camp scholarship for his daughter, since she gets to actually live at camp--and she thrives on it! But there are many other kids out there who would jump at the chance to spend even a week at camp if only their families could afford it. You can help them take the leap from dream to reality when you donate to the Joy Fund, which supports camp scholarships across the conference. When you click on the green button, just select "one-time online donation" and then scroll down to give to the Joy Fund for camp scholarships. You can even make your donation in honor of Magruder's Troy Taylor and his family.