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Moose River Outpost Announcement

Posted by on June 1, 2020

Dear Moose River Outpost Families,

Greetings from Jackman, Maine. 

As you know, the last few months have been different than anything we’ve experienced in our lifetime.

Since the middle of March, we’ve been carefully monitoring the Coronavirus situation. I’ve been meeting with Christian Camps and Conferences Inc.  leadership as well as our local Health Directors.  We’ve had many discussions with our local health department regarding the specific challenges of running a children’s camp in this environment. We’ve studied public health guidelines and consulted with industry experts, including the Maine Youth Camp Association.  We’ve prayed and sought the Lord, asking Him for an open door to move forward with MRO as we know it. I’m proud to work with such talented people who love the Lord.

But despite our best efforts, myself, Bob Strodel, and our wonderful Board of Directors, believe that we have exhausted every option that would allow us to run camp SAFELY. We have made the very difficult decision to suspend the opening of MRO for Summer 2020. We don’t believe that it is feasible to run Camp safely in such a remote location in this Coronavirus environment.

Ultimately, we believe this is in the best interest of our campers, staff and the long-term mission of MRO.

This decision was not easy to make and our hearts are hurting along with you because we know that MRO is a place where we all love to be seeking Christ, building community and embracing adventure.

So please pray…

  • Pray for our campers.
  • Pray for their parents to have wisdom in sharing this news.
  • And pray for our summer staff who are dealing with the loss of their expected summer ministry and income.

If you are registered for Camp this summer, here are some options for how we are handling the cancellation of your registration.

  • Option 1 – Camp in New Hampshire: Our camps in New Hampshire still have a few openings for 4-week campers only, and the MRO month tuition will be honored at Brookwoods or Deer Run.  This is on a space available basis. See below for on line form to notify us of your decision.
  • Option 2 – Roll Funds Forward to Next Summer: We would ask you to consider rolling forward any tuition paid to Summer 2021. If you choose this option, we would guarantee your child a place at MRO in the same session for 2021. For camp, choosing this option would help us manage cash flow and have funds on hand for current operations.  See below for on line form to notify us of your decision.
  • Option 3 – Donation:  If you are able, consider donating all or a portion of your paid deposit or tuition to MRO’s General Fund. A donation at this time would help us manage the lost revenue we will experience this summer and allow us to maintain the facility until 2021. A tax-deductible receipt will be issued to you. See below for on line form to notify us of your decision.
  • Option 4 – Full Refund: You may request a full refund by completing the on-line form below by June 30th. A full refund will be issued to you within 120 days of your request.

As best we can, we want to support you through this time. Campers look forward to camp all year long and so do we!   This is why we are still actively planning and preparing for how we can encourage your campers and keep moving this ministry forward. Please stay in touch with us. We can’t wait to see you face to face in Summer 2021!

Access this Online Form to choose which option is best for you.

Sincerely,

Seth Coates
Director
Moose River Outpost

An email has been sent to all MRO Camp families.

Summer Magic

Posted by on May 8, 2020

Summer Magic

by Bob Strodel, Executive Director I’ve heard it said that your most favorite music is probably the tunes you enjoyed in high school. That’s not surprising as the developmental years in life are so formative and make such long lasting impressions. One of the BEST parts of my job at camp is  visiting and catching up with alumni, and the FUN part of that is hearing “old camp stories.”    Last week I enjoyed a phone call with an alumnus, both a Brookwoods camper and staff member from the 1950’s. He is 83 years old and his memory of his camp days seemed as sharp as the day he served. His enthusiasm was contagious as he regaled me with camp stories, including the ability to recall the names of his fellow staff members and some of the challenges they faced “back in the day.” I was ready to hire him once again on our waterfront staff!    Occasionally, I post a “Throwback Thursday” picture on my personal Facebook page. I’m always fascinated to see the comments unfold from alumni that recognize themselves or their friends who were “tagged” in the photograph. The comments are never anything like, “that was the worst time of my life,” but rather tend toward wonderful, uplifting memories of people, places, and events they enjoyed at camp and look back on fondly. Last week, I posted a photo of the 1981 Deer Run CITs. It resulted in a long string of comments, including: “Such wonderful memories”…”Oh, to be a kid again”…” You look the same”…” That was a great summer.” There is something special about summer camp—I call it “Summer Magic.” The temporary community we call camp manages to form experiences, friendships, and memories that last a lifetime. At Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost, this is what we try to encourage through our programs: shared experiences, appropriate challenges, and conversations about life and our Lord. Parents who have made the camp investment for their kids, also see this growth and development. If I could summarize the most frequent feedback I’ve received from parents over the last 26 years, it could be categorized in these three areas: 
  1. What did you “do” to my kid at camp? They now clean their room and read their Bible.
  2. How do you get such a great set of people at camp? My kid(s)’ best friends are all from camp and they are such a positive influence.
  3. Where did you find such great staff?
Of course, not every child is a good match for camp experiences, but I’ve enjoyed seeing the high rate of “happy campers.” And when parents can help prepare their children for the camp experience, this can help even more campers be successful in our camp environment. Currently we are confident that on June 28th we will be able to welcome campers at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost. That date is two months away and while we don’t want to ignore what is happening around the world, we believe this period is a “blizzard” and not an “ice age.” I know that parents want to send their kids to camp this summer after the disruption to normal life, the extended distance education experience, and the need to get out of the house for recreation, fun, and interaction with friends. Our hope is that we will be able to provide a safe place for that to happen. We are continuing to accept applications for the summer and spaces continue to fill up.  Some of our sessions are 100% filled, but others still have a few spaces. Please tell your friends and family members about our wonderful camps. We are happy to send out New Information Packages to anyone who requests one.  Please feel free to reach out and contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Camp is a happy place, and we are excited to prepare for a fun summer.
bob strodel signature
Bob Strodel has been the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. since 1995, and this summer will be his 46th at Brookwoods! His favorite camp activity is model rockets.

What’s Happening at Camp?

Posted by on May 4, 2020

What’s Happening at Camp? – May 4th Update

By Bob Strodel, Executive Director

We know the last seven weeks have turned many lives upside down and presented many challenges for those in our camp family. Life is anything but normal right now! Our hearts are with you and our hope is that you feel God’s presence, provision, and love during these difficult times.  I know of several members of our camp family who are personally dealing with the COVID-19 virus, and we pray the Lord will heal their bodies and those of the people they love.

At Christian Camps and Conferences, we understand that a lot is up in the air right now. Even so, our current plan is to open the camp gates on June 28th to welcome our first session of campers to Camp Brookwoods, Camp Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost. This date is still about two months away. While we know things are tenuous right now, we are very hopeful that camp will go forward as planned. We are praying that this will be so. Our ministry at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost is life-changing and we want to see kids head up to camp for adventure, fun, and meaningful connection with other campers and staff. Our unique camping environment—founded on the Christian faith and centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ—changes kids’ lives.

 Our lives have always been in God’s hands.  Nothing has changed!  

I want to encourage members of the camp family to remain positive.  Don’t be an Eeyore!   The  Governors  of New Hampshire  and  Maine  are  gradually  “opening  back  up”  the  States,  which  is  encouraging  to  all.  While we  don’t  have  a  final  timeframe,  progress  is  happening  in  the  right  direction!  

If however, we are forced to alter or cancel a session this summer due to COVID-19 CDC recommendations, we will let you know immediately. Also, you can be assured that camp is committed to eliminating any financial risks of signing up your kids for the summer. If any of our sessions are cancelled you will have four options:
1) Receive a full refund
2) Transfer to a session later in the summer (if space is available)
3) Use your deposit for a future summer experience, or

4) Designate your money as a donation to help the camp ministry. (As you can imagine, COVID-19 has negatively impacted our ministry due to loss of spring conference group income. Now, more than ever, we are relying on, and are grateful for, the financial support of our camp family and friends.)

We also understand some of you might not feel comfortable sending your kids to a camp this summer. We hear you. Let us know, and we will honor our assurance that camp is committed to eliminating any financial risk for you; you will have these same four options. Be assured, though, that health and safety are at the top of our priority list. As each camper arrives on Incoming Day we will check him or her for temperature, outward signs of illness, and medical history. We always have campers use hand sanitation stations when entering the Dining Hall at mealtimes and encourage that throughout the day. We also have experienced medical staff on-site to care for campers and staff, with the latest up-to-date information.                      

We are continuing to accept applications for the summer, and spaces are filling up.  Some of our sessions are 100% filled, but other still have a few spaces. So please tell your friends and family members about our wonderful camps. We are happy to send out information packages to anyone that requests one.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting some fun videos about some new stuff at camp, some old stuff, and some informative stuff. Here is a video we did several weeks ago week discussing some of the new programs at camp this summer. (Make sure to watch it to the end!)

Please feel free to reach out and contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Camp is a happy place, and we are excited to prepare for a fun summer!  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

bob strodel signature

Bob Strodel, Executive Director

Bob Strodel has been the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. since 1995, and this summer will be his 46th at Brookwoods! His favorite camp activity is
model rockets.

Camp Lessons for Quarantine

Posted by on April 24, 2020

Camp Lessons for Quarantine

by Ellen Goodling, Deer Run Staff

Honestly, I am getting tired of reading about, “these unprecedented times,” mostly because the phrase is accurate. Our world has been turned upside-down as we globally take on the practice of dying to ourselves in order to save the lives of others. It is scary, it is difficult, and we don’t know when it will end. 

However, I have been reminiscing about the pre-corona days at camp to get me through. In fact, during quarantine, I have come to the conclusion that Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost people are more prepared for these unprecedented times than most, and here are just a few reasons why: 

We Can Do Hard Things

Wapitis having fun! Ellen second from right.

I tend to sum up my first summer at camp with the phrase: “It was the hardest summer of my life…and it was awesome.” We do difficult things at camp, like hiking, putting up the H-pier, and going on 12 day fishing trips in the middle of nowhere Canada—and most of time we do them in the rain after four hours of sleep. But, every time we are faced with a challenge, we have previous camp stories of perseverance and hilarity to get us through. Like camp, quarantine is hard, but remember that you have likely seen darker (and rainier) times than these, and you have previous stories of God’s faithfulness to give you hope! I know that He will see us through to the other side. Even though it is hard, it will be redeemed. 

We Value Stillness

Because camp is exhausting, we learn to make room for rest. In between banquets and Krazy Karnivals, we go the mountains, we schedule quiet times, we take rest hour (BEST hour!) seriously, and we walk silently together to Sunday chapel. Camp is chaos, but it is also a precious place to be still and hear God speak in a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NIV). So, though this quarantine may feel like a little too much stillness, remember now, how you learned to value it, and open your heart to accept it again.

We Have FUN!

Remember all those rainy days? I bet you do very fondly! That’s because at camp we know how to make the best out of any situation. We sing, we smile, we laugh at the absurdity of our endeavors, we lean on each other, and we choose joy always. Time at camp is precious to us, and we never let it go to waste. Quarantine can be precious too. Remember how you used to smile through the rain, lean on the love of those around you, and sing your favorite camp song to get you through! 

At camp, we can do the hard things, find the still moments, and have some fun because we rely on God fully to make it through each day. We can do the same in these “unprecedented times.” So, remember the summer and let the lessons you learned get you through to the next one! 

Pictured far right, Ellen Goodling is a Theatre Education Major at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She arrived at Camp Deer Run as a brand-new staff member last summer (2019), where she worked as a Wapiti counselor and taught waterskiing, yoga, and, of course, Random Explosions. She has been counting down the days to summer 2020 ever since! You can get in touch via email egoodling@windstream.net

Baked Oatmeal

Posted by on April 3, 2020

Hot from the Kitchen: Baked Oatmeal

For many years now at Brookwoods and Deer Run, campers and staff have enjoyed our Baked Oatmeal on Lazy Days. It can be enjoyed hot out of the oven, or it can be enjoyed in a bowl with some milk, like cereal.  

We are sharing the recipe so you can make it at home. In fact, here is a video our Food Service Director, Jon Cooper, making Baked Oatmeal.    

Go grab some ingredients and make yourself a bowl of camp happiness!

 

Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
16 oz. container of plain yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 cups oats
½ cup golden raisins (optional)
1 cup nuts (optional)

Directions:

Beat eggs until light and airy. Then mix in the white sugar until fluffy. Then add in the brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in the oil, yogurt, maple syrup, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Once combined, mix in the oatmeal, raisins, and nuts, until fluffy. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 (or similar sized) pan.
Cook for 45 minutes at 325* F.  Rotate pan after 20 minutes. 

 

Enjoy!

Jon and April met at Cairn University (then Philadelphia Bible College) as undergraduates and they married in 2006. Since then, they’ve always been cooking up something! They joined our staff in time last year to celebrate the Brookwoods 75th Anniversary.   

This past summer, Chicken Pot Pie with biscuits was on the menu and it was a huge hit with campers and staff. He doesn’t shy away from the “WOW” factor. Last summer he debuted a 100 foot sub. Another night, we had a gutter sundae just as long. It took everyone on kitchen staff and all the LDPs to bring the sundae into the Dining Hall! As you can imagine, the whole Dining Hall went up in a roar! 

April is a talented baker and helps out in the kitchen when she can. Jon’s favorite thing that she makes is her grandmother’s plum pudding with hard sauce, a New England favorite. April’s favorite thing that Jon makes is fish and chips. Clara, their 5 year-old, likes everything that her dad makes, and so does her younger brother Sammy. Let Jon know how your baked oatmeal turns out by emailing him.