Every year you probably hear about our need for students to fill our summer staff positions. When all is
said and done we will need over 140 young leaders between Firwood and Fircreek. Finding, recruiting
and training the right people to be part of our ministries is a very important effort at this time of year.
While we have a number of different positions available and all of them essential to the operation of our
camps, I want to focus in particular on our need for counselors. Both men and women counselors are
crucial because, in many ways, they are “front-liners” in the carrying out of our mission at camp. They
are hands on when it comes to loving kids and communicating to them who Jesus is.
So please pray that we not only get the number of counselors that we need at Firwood and Fircreek but
that we get quality, committed young leaders who love kids, love Jesus and want to serve Him.
Dear Firs Family and Friends,
Oswald Chambers, in one of his many inspiring devotionals, spoke about us “making room for God” in our lives. He notes that we, as believers, plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come and do as He chooses. There is where this landed home for me – “as He chooses.” I realized that including God in my life (more often than not) was more like calling Him into my office in order to have Him do something that I had in mind. I meant well with that presumptuous act, as I felt that what I was asking was in line with my understanding of Him and of His Word. Certainly, He would want to give direction and heal and provide – it’s who He is! Of course, my problem is that I wanted Him to guide and heal and provide in a manner that I had in mind and with a timeline that fit my schedule. I wasn’t really giving Him room; I was inviting Him to carry out what I thought should be done.
At The Firs, that meant I wanted God to transform the lives of campers and bring them to Himself – now. I wanted God to provide all of the resources needed so that we could do all sorts of great things for His Kingdom. I wanted God to use His creation for His purposes at camp and to keep all who enjoyed it safe from harm. Each of those things made total sense to me, but in asking them of God, I wasn’t giving Him any room to do as He chose.
Stuart Briscoe once said something that boggled my mind, yet gave the perspective that I was so often missing. He said, “It isn’t that God is too big to be contained in one man’s intellect, even though He is. But the way God does things is so different from the way we think He should do things, that when we begin to grasp the fringes of His workings, we ought not think that we understand the wonder of it all.”
You may need to chew on that one for a while. But, for me, it means that I shouldn’t be calling God into my office with my well thought out strategy for how He should work. Instead, I should be inviting Him into my living room, sliding over on the couch, so He can join in on the conversation of what is next. I need Him present, with His eternal perspective and His perfect love, providing the proper context for all that is out there. That makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?
May we all become well practiced at giving Him room.
Serving Him together,
Dear Firs Family and Friends,
As you probably know, The Firs is part of the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) and has been for many decades. In fact, Grant Whipple was the first president of the association (1962-65) and later became the chairman of its board of trustees. My membership with CCCA dates back to the mid-seventies and it has been my privilege to serve a couple of stints on the board of trustees where I am currently the vice-chair.
One of the great values of our connection with CCCA is the networking that takes place with other camping leaders around our region and even across the country. We learn from each other, encourage each other, and, in many ways, motivate each other to greater heights. Currently, there are 870 camps in the association. An in-depth survey takes place among member camps, every few years, and I thought you might be interested in how The Firs fits into the size, shape and emphasis of other members. Here are a few recent facts:
- We are in the top 8% in the country, in terms of size, with a budget of over $3 million. Over 50% of camps have a budget of less than $500,000.
- The Firs sits on a combined 145 acres including the 4+ leased acres at the Chalet. The national average is 112 acres.
- Our camp is not affiliated with a denomination (54%) and operates as an independently-owned nonprofit (42%).
- We (Firwood, Retreat Center, and Chalet) have the capacity to sleep, each night of the summer approximately 600. The industry average is 367.
- Our facilities are used for outside group rentals (like 88% of camps) and we have programs that are run entirely by our staff (around 79%).
- And last, but not least, The Firs serves over 95,000 meals in a year (excluding our staff) and the national average is 48,073.
As we look at the other camps in our association, we note both similarities and differences. Yet we each contribute to the whole effort that seeks to use unique outdoor settings, committed staff, and creative programs, to reach out to hundreds of thousands of children, youth and adults with the life-changing message of the gospel. Now that is a great thing to be a part of – don’t you think?
The Firs Extravaganza is scheduled for October 27th, 2018. Join us for a fine dinner and bid on auction items to raise money for Firs programs. Check back here for details!