Changes in the Annual Fund Gift Appeal for 2018

Happy New Year 2018! Many of you may have noticed you didn’t get a gift appeal/phonathon letter in Oct/Nov 2017. Instead, many of you may have received letters directly from our four camps. This is the result of some new thinking around our fundraising efforts.


There are two main ideas driving this change. First, we’ve known for a long time that many of our supporters love the idea of supporting the camp of their choice directly. A gift like this could be for things on a specific needs list such as a specific project or equipment, building materials, or program supplies. Donating to these items directly is not only good for the camps but also for our camp supporters who wish to give in a more targeted way to the camp(s) of their choice.


The second idea fostering this change is the shifting the timing of our traditional Annual Fund appeal to the late winter/spring. Since the Annual Fund supports Camperships collectively, we think this appeal will be better in the midst of the preparation and excitement of the upcoming summer season.


We realize that change is sometimes confusing. It is our hope that this allows for our supporters to give to more specific needs, and in a way that furthers your passion for our camps. Of course a gift of any amount, any time, online, or through our gift appeal letters, are always needed and appreciated! Thank you for your continued support of this vital ministry of the PNW Conference.


Alan Rogstad

Executive Director, Camping and Retreat Ministries

Twinlow: The Best Little Town in America

The Best Little Town in America: Twinlow Community Involement 

Written by The Twinlow Staff,


Rathdrum Idaho, a small town where we have the pleasure of living as staff at Twinlow Camp. I know most folks would see it as a “cute” little town they pass through on their way north to Sandpoint or Canada, but to us it is the best little town in America. Twinlow is blessed to be a part of this amazing community. Please take some time with us to learn how and why:


  1. Local Businesses here are wonderful places with the nicest people. A lot of the behind the scenes work at camp means getting to know those who work in our awesome little town. In some cases, they give us store credit which helps us be efficient with our time and money. In all cases, they serve us well and we are blessed to give them our business and many of our guests use them as well. Here are a few of our favorite local businesses:
    • – (Post Office) Weekly trips to the post office is part of our routine here at Twinlow. The ladies at the post office know who we are and are the biggest highlight to the weekly errand.
    • – (Paul Bunyan) This chain of legendary restaurants can be found only in North Idaho. The one located in Rathdrum is a summer staff favorite.
    • – (Steins) It is a local grocery store with a lot of charm and one of the best florist shops around! Twinlow has been using Stein’s Grocery for years and every year they show their support by promoting our camp to local kids.
    • – (Rathdrum Hardware) At camp things often wear out or break, then it’s time to head to our favorite hardware store. More than once the folks at Rathdrum Hardware have made sure Twinlow had what it needed instead of trying to make a buck by selling us something we didn’t. Also, they have free popcorn to snack on while you shop.
    • – (Westwood Gardens) Twinlow grows as much of our own produce as we can, many times this summer our gardens supplied the yummy selection in our salad bar. Our first stop every spring for our gardening needs is always Westwood Gardens
    • – (Dashco Gas Station) Mostly in the summer, but year round as well, Dashco keeps us fueled up for adventure. This local gas station is more than the place to grab gas for the boat it also has a delicious selection of ice cream as well!
  1. Twin Lakes Improvement Association is a local organization that was formed to keep our beautiful lakes clean and full. Did you know that there is a creek (Fish Creek) that feeds the lake we get to play in all summer? A few years ago that creek started to die and the future of our lakes was bleak. In came the Twin Lakes Improvement Association. Made up of community members who have taken a personal interest in saving the lake. Twinlow supports the goal of the association by every year helping with the Fish Creek Restoration project, we send hundreds of volunteers through Idaho Mission Project to help keep the Twin Lakes thriving. We also donate time and meeting space to meetings, hearings, and anything else the association would need.
  2. Our mission program, Idaho Mission Project, helps many local organizations every summer with hundreds of volunteers. This summer, IMP servants helped the Lions Club with their pumpkin patch, the proceeds from the pumpkin patch will go to help veterans in need of medical supplies. In addition, these young volunteers also cut, stack, haul, and deliver wood to locals with Elder Help, that wood will be used in our long winters to keep them warm.


Rathdrum is a city that looks out for each other. Twinlow staff help stuff backpacks so our local kids have food to eat during the summer. Community members come to Twinlow for their weddings, their retreats, their family reunions, and we are making progress on making sure we are the first thought for summer camp for our families.


So if you’re ever in the area stop on by, we would love to meet you for a milkshake at Paul Bunyan’s!

Conference: I don’t want to be your Camp Best Friend…

Written by Pam Murphy, Director of Visual Outreach: PNW UMC Camping Ministry,


Last Fall I created a little contest that showed the best bits of each of our camps (read here). It didn’t feel right to do that again…partly because so many people were upset that they didn’t win the taco bar category. My apologies…never again will I judge taco bar 😉 I do however feel morally obligated to say that three of the camps really stepped up their bacon game this year! I won’t say which camps but you know who you are!


One of the best things that came out of this summer was making a new friend. During FOB (Feet on Bunk) time he and I were sitting on the couch coloring (like adults do) and he says to me “you are my camp best friend”. I chuckled and probably blushed and then we went back to our colored pencil masterpieces.  


He didn’t mean it this way but Camp Best Friend seems to have the connotation of getting really close really fast at camp with no intention to continue the friendship outside of camp. That sort of connection breaks my heart a little bit. I crave more than that. I want real, genuine connection with people inside AND outside of camp.


I don’t want to be your camp best friend because I want to be your real friend whom you happened to meet at camp.


This summer our theme was The Way. The title passage being Ephesians 5:1-2, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” That’s The Message interpretation…thank you Eugene.


My takeaway from this summer was that it IS possible to take camp home with you.


To the individual:

A little bit goes a long way in making people feel loved and accepted. Small things like smiling at someone when you pass them on the street or picking something up that someone dropped are both meaningful acts. In an effort to go deeper with people though, invite a new friend over for dinner, or sit as a family around the table. Get out of your comfort zone and ask people questions that you have been timid to ask. Try to get to know people who are different from you; learn about them and what makes them think the way they do.


To the church:

Even though they may not show it, people really want to go deeper. Provide spaces for that. Camp is only one week out of the year for most people, they need your support the other 51 weeks. Check in with your members as much as possible. Continue to challenge your members in ways that spark growth.


A lot of people think of their camp life and their regular life as two separate things. Camp life is the idealistic version and regular life tends to be harder. Whether or not you went to camp this summer I’d urge you to try and apply some of these actions to your day to day. “Actions” is the key word there…go, and ACT in love towards others.


Tell us how you bring your camp life into your daily life?

Twinlow: Where I Grow (Hashtags and Emoji)

By Sam “Tink” Wallace, CIT

When I think of Twinlow there is so much that runs through my mind, the games, the people, swimming; however, an important thing that comes to mind is how much I’ve grown here. There is so much that grows and changes here from day 1 to now and it is truly amazing to see God at work here, because He is here and I feel His presence all the time.

On social media we use these things called hashtags (#) to describe or mark how much fun we’ve had somewhere. For me personally there are so many to choose from when describing camp.


One I think really gets the idea of camp is #BEBOLD. And the reason I chose this one is because every year at camp we sing the song Be Bold and everyone enjoys it so much. However, another reason I chose this one was because you have to be bold to try new things and keep going. I was always scared to try new things, but with a little help I grew past that and now I’m stronger.


Another hashtag I would choose is #somuchmore because you get so much out of camp than you would expect and that is so cool. There are relationships that get built between us all, campers and counselors. We have so much time together throughout our day and each person can bring in a new perspective and it helps a lot to hear that and see it. It’s really what makes the week so meaningful to me.


When you’re on your phone outside of camp of course we text with these things called emoji’s.

When asked to describe camp I immediately thought of the sleep emoji. The reason I thought of that is because everyday we are up and about playing hard all day long. With all the games and activities we have by the end of the day we are ready to rest and do it all again. But it’s not only the games but the walking as well, for example, when we go to Morning Watch the way up can make me tired sometimes but it fuels me with God’s love for the rest of the day. By bedtime however, I’m ready to rest up and be ready for the next day.

If I were to choose one more emoji it would be the sunglasses emoji because personally I wear sunglasses a lot when outside in the sun. I almost always leave with a very impressive sunglasses tan around my eyes and it’s always so funny. But I also label that emoji as cool which incidentally enough tis how I describe the whole camp. Out of the 7 years I’ve been here it’s (mostly) been sunny and beautiful weather to swim, wear sunglasses, and hang out. Honestly I can’t see it any other way.


Obviously I have a lot to say and I could say so much more because I’ve grown a lot these past seven years and I’m super excited to become a counselor. One week is never enough honestly because I love everyone here so much, but I’m excited to see where this will take me next. So I just want to thank all the Twinlow staff for their unending love and support to all of us as we come and go. That has really helped me grow into the person I want to be here.

Conference: Camp is my Passion

Alan Rogstad, Executive Director: PNW Camping and Retreat Ministries


I have been blessed to work in full-time Camp Ministry for 27 years now. I’ve been asked many times how did I get into Camping as a career? It’s true that camp directing has never made the Forbes list of fastest growing career opportunities! I often step back and ponder this question myself. But it really isn’t such a strange thing when you think about it. As a mentor of mine said in his book A Common Book of Camping,


“Camping is uniquely American. Developed within the past century, it is the Unites States’ major contribution to the the field of education. The models of experiential learning, participatory democracy, and small group work, hot topics in public schools these days, are things we’ve been doing at camps for years.”


Indeed, these things we do at camp are my passion. I could have worked in recreation, business, or some other type of church work, but camp is all of these things and more wrapped into one amazing and unique experience. Further, Christian Camping adds a whole new dimension. It is like camp in color vs. black & white. Camp that focuses on Christian community and discipleship makes the experience come alive in a special and profound way. This is the power of faith-based camps. Once I realized camps had directors, administrators, and full-time year-round staff working behind the scenes, I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life.  I was hooked!


So how did I stumble on a camp career? First, I knew I loved it from my early experiences attending Boy Scout camp. Second, I stuck with it and worked in as many camp jobs as I could (it is amazing what can happen when you stick with something long enough!). Finally, the most important advice given to me was to learn all I could about camps of all kinds, not just the church camps I worked at early on or went to growing up. To make a career of camping, you have to discern whether you are truly in love with camping, not just the camp of your experience (Of course it is great to love even just one camp!).


Without camps we would lose one of the most important but also underappreciated parts of our American experience and culture. Not everyone loves camp, but lots of people have a camp story to share. It is a common experience that binds many of us together.


Christmas Blessings, and prayers for a wonderful New Year from our PNW Camps.

We hope to see you at Indianola, Ocean Park, Lazy F, and Twinlow Camps in 2017!



Conference: Discovering Our Cultures

by Pam Murphy, Director of Visual Outreach: PNW Camping

Six years ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and applied for a job as a camp counselor at Lazy F Camp. Since then I have worked my way up to a conference job and am now the Director of Visual Outreach for our camping conference.

Some of you may be thinking, “Director of Visual Outreach? That sounds fancy!” To which I’d say “As much as I would like to say I’m a big deal, I wear jeans and a t-shirt most days and basically just do marketing and graphic design for our four camps. Not to mention that I worked out of my parents’ basement for the first six months before graciously being given a work space at Covenant UMC in Spokane.”

Even though it may not be as big as it sounds, this job has been a blast so far, and well worth those long days in my basement office. This summer I had the opportunity to travel to each of our camps a few times to document our ministry through photos and video.

Having my roots as a staff member at Lazy F meant that I already knew their culture on a pretty intimate level. So, heading into this summer I pulled your typical millennial move and thought I had a good feel for the other three camps just because, ya know, I had talked to them on the phone a few times.

My experience this summer was incredible. By nature, my job is visual story telling. I learned a ridiculous amount about Ocean Park, Indianola, Lazy F, and Twinlow by just working along-side staff members and hanging out with campers. They told me their stories and I’m excited to share them with you in this coming year.

OK, enough serious stuff…lets have some fun. I have come up with four silly awards (although some of you may take them very seriously) to which the prize is the pride and joy of winning 😉

Now, when I started brainstorming for categories, the things that came to mind were coffee, taco bar, bacon, s’more’s…do you see a theme emerging here? I love food 😉 But I dialed back the food and added in a couple categories that are also very important. Here we go…


Best camp coffee: INDIANOLA!

Indianola, you are on the heart of the Puget Sound with Seattle in your view and it shows. You satisfied my coffee addiction and for that I am forever grateful.

Messiest camp experience: LAZY F!

Lazy F, your Messy Olympics ending in a mud pit finale is hard to compete with. Youth will remember that experience for as long as they have their mud-stained t-shirt and for many years after.

Funniest camp song: TWINLOW!

Twinlow, you excel in every musical genre, but a song called “A Very Special Animal” taught and sung by a counselor named Gladiator takes the cake.  

Best taco bar: OCEAN PARK!

Ocean Park, ALL of your food was great! Congratulations! You guys have won the most competitive category as Taco Bar is VERY coveted at all of our camps. Yours was on point!


Thank you to all of our camps for welcoming me into your communities.

For those of you that have only been to one of our camps, I encourage you to visit the others as well. Step out of your comfort zone and learn the stories behind all four of our camping ministry sites.


Two High School Campers jousting at the Indianola Water Olympics 

Campers hug after the Messy Olympics at Senior High Camp at Lazy F

Staff members lead the Fish N Sale campers in “A Very Special Animal” at Twinlow

Ocean Park staff going the extra mile to help a young Sandcastle Camper at archery 

Conference: 10 Questions To Ask Your Camper On The Way Home

Written by Alan Rogstad (Camping ministries Executive Director) and Pam Murphy (Camping Ministries Director of Visual Outreach),

For some kids the ride home is an explosion of laugher and constant chatter of memories from the week. For those who are less naturally boisterous here are 10 questions you can ask them to get the conversation going.


1. Tell me about something that you did for the first time this week.

-Camp offers a safe place to do things for the first time so we hope your camper was able to experience something new and exciting.


2.What was the biggest challenge for you this week?

-One of our goals at our camps is to get kids out of their comfort zones just enough that it sparks growth. We love to see how kids grow in unexpected ways at camp.


3.Who was your favorite staff member? Why?

-For many campers, a staff member or counselor makes an impact that campers remember the rest of their lives. Our staff constantly strives to provide the ultimate experience for campers through a good balance of fun/crazy and caring/kind.


4.What was your favorite song? Will you sing it for me?

-We totally recognize that your teens are probably not going to want to sing for you…if you have a younger camper your chances are better 😉


5.What was the craziest or grossest thing someone did this week?

-The camp experience isn’t complete without getting a little dirty and a few wholesome shenanigans.


6.What was your favorite meal?

-We bet your camper will say…Taco Bar! Or….Pancakes! Or…well…ok…all the meals are good so they could tell you anything 😉 On second thought, let’s not bet on it.


7.Tell me about 3 new friends you made?

-Some of our favorite stories to hear are when life-long friendships are made at camp. We hope your camper was able to connect with some new people this summer.


8.What did you learn about God/Jesus that you could share with others?

-This year’s curriculum theme is “The Way” based off Ephesians 5: 1-2 “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children, and living in love, as Christ loved us.” In addition our daily themes are: Feeding, Forgiving, Loving the Neighbor, Serving Humbly, and Prayer. Maybe ask your camper more specific questions based off those themes?


 9.What was your favorite part of the week?

-No explanation needed…”nuf said” 😉


10.What camp session do you want to go to next summer and who do you want to invite?

-Our camps offer a variety of camp sessions for every interest and age. We’d love to see your camper return plus their friends to share the experience with next year. Here is a sneak peek on our discounts and deals for next year:

-Early Bird Registration Discount: If you register by April 1st 2018 you get $20 off registration instantly!

-Bring A Friend Deal: When you recommend a new friend to camp we will give you and your friend a sweet exclusive t-shirt and $25 to the camp store! Make sure to register by June 1st for this one!

Twinlow: The Growth I See

Written by Jill Sparkes: Camper Mom and member at Covenant UMC,

These are my two boys Camden (6) and Braiden (8) on their first day of their first experience at Twinlow camp……… that was eight years ago.  They have attended Twinlow Camp every year since.  As I look back on these pictures, which seem like yesterday, I am amazed at the changes and growth that has occurred over the years.


As I dropped my boys off that first year, I only hoped they would have a wonderful experience and want to go back the next year.  I hoped Twinlow would earn a special place in their hearts as it had mine when I attended many years ago as a camper and change them as it had me. Over the years, each one has grown in their own ways, initially they attended the same session of camp together. They didn’t know anyone else and they hadn’t been to overnight camp before.


As the years passed it became important to each of them that they attend their own week of camp.  As I think the younger sibling usually is, Camden was the shadow of his brother with the great competition always on.  On his own, Camden could develop his own identity and use his own goofy, carefree personality to entertain, laugh and form relationships with others.


Braiden has learned many leadership skills. He learned new skills in watersports and developed a desire to want to help others to learn those same new skills too. Braiden always wants to have fun in what he is doing and wants to make sure those around him are having the same fun.  I see this from him away from camp as well….. at school, sports teams, and at home.  I can always count on him to lighten up a situation.


Those first years, the important memories for both were the fun camp games and songs. As the years have passed I hear more about their friends they see every year, the counselors they hope are returning, and the cool new counselors they met.  Rather than going in with no expectations like those first few year they look forward to seeing people and activities they remember from the years before.  Those same people and memories have been the ones who have provided my boys with strong examples of people living Christian lives and loving Jesus.


My kids have become more confident. They are always willing to ask questions and seek answers.  I know Twinlow has influenced my sons growth in their own beliefs and faith.   Twinlow has been a large part of them knowing Gods love and having a Christian foundation as they move forward in their life and continue to grow.


How have you seen growth in your campers?

Twinlow: Never Dull, Always Fulfilling…

Compiled by Kristen "Moonie" Moon: Assistant Director of Twinlow Camp,

Best Summer Job? Here from those who have spent a summer as staff at a camp.  

“I chose camp ministry for 3 reasons, 1) the "unquantifiables": the life lessons you learn and relationships you build while doing camp ministry are one of a kind. Thanks to this, I have friends with which I can just "pick up where I left off" even if we haven't seen or spoken to each other in a long time. 2) the role you get to play in a youth's life: in most jobs, meaningful contacts are few and sporadic, there's something special about having to hang around a group of people 24/7 for a week, you get to see a whole different world! and 3) The challenge: where else are you called to make a life-changing experience for a group of kids you just met in the space of less than a week? not to mention all the other stuff that's gotta get done!”

-Jacob “JOAT” Pederson


“It challenges you in a good way. In a self-improving way”

-Josh “Ice Man” Zanoni


“I got to share my faith with the campers and staff, got to be in Gods creation every day, made some life long friends, and the fun of it all wrapped together. Oh and got to work with my future husband!”

-Carrie Bland


“It allowed me to be fully myself, while giving me the opportunity to support campers in learning who they were as an individual! Plus, camp people are the best to be around.”

-Erin “Nimbus” Seibert


“It helped me to be my best self, to make a real impact, to grow as a leader and person of faith, and it's a ton of fun… Also, taco bar.”

-Nico “Hobbes” Romeijn-Stout


“Definitely the chance to be fully (weird) me, along with tons of fun, incredible friends, watching youth become themselves, and one of the safest places in the world to be. And, as Nico said, taco bar.”

-Ted “Sproket” Brosius


“Camp was always where I felt closest to God and going back as an adult helped me to get back in touch with my faith through the connections I made with campers who loved God.”

-Allyson Hoffman


“It allowed me to show kids what being a kid truly is! I loved giving kids an outlet where they could scream just because it's fun, or get super dirty because we had a beautiful lake to jump in. It also took away distractions of technology and life to help immerse each other in Gods love!”

-Lacy “Texas” Rae


“You get to play outside and talk about Jesus!”

-Tyler Wagner


“It gave me the confidence to be whoever I want to be!”

-Eleanor Gibson


It is for these reason and at least 1,000 others that YOU should consider a summer working, volunteering, or sending your child to camp.

Apply Today for Summer Staff

WE are still in need of male summer to learn more


Conference: Raising Leaders

Co-written by Pam Murphy (Director of Visual Outreach) and Alan Rogstad (Executive Director of PNW Camping),

A lot of people think that religious camps are either just fun and don’t provide much “benefit” or that they’re a super serious experience filled with altar calls and hours upon hours of prayer at a time. We like to think our UM camps hit a healthy balance of the two.

For all you good people

who like The Office…

we know yours out there 😉

Our purpose is essentially to be an extension of the church. We share the mission to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” That being said we definitely go about it in a different way 😉

Pam reflects: I don’t think kids come home from church camp and proclaim, “You’ll never believe it, I had an existential moment and found God in the Mud Pit!” However, that would be cool. #MudPitJesus #ThatShouldBeAThing

What does happen through all that mud throwing, water skiing, and zip line fun is that kids are watching their young adult counselors be silly and genuine with them, take care of them, and model the gospel for them. Because of all that, THE KIDS WANT TO BECOME LIKE THEIR COUNSELORS! That’s pretty cool too!

I was 11 years old when I went to camp for the first time. My counselor that year (who’s real name I never knew but we called Ladybug) made a HUGE impact on me and most definitely set me on the path to where I am now. I was a shy kid who felt invisible to the world. On the last day, Ladybug gave me an award, “Woman of Many Hidden Talents”. For the first time, I felt like someone saw me, and in that moment I knew that I wanted to be like her. Ladybug, if you’re out there…thank you 🙂

I went on to be a camp counselor for a few years and now I’m using some of those “hidden talents” to work for our camping conference and have also found myself providing leadership in my church. Shout out to Covenant UMC in Spokane, WA!

Many of my camp friends have also become leaders in their churches and communities. A few of them were recently ordained into the UM Church. Some now lead children’s, youth, or music ministries while others have chosen a variety of helping vocations.

My point is…camp raises leaders, and those leaders turn around and pour those talents back into the church. #ThisSoundsSoEvangelical #IWasRaisedPresbyterian #WhatAmIDoing #OkNoMoreHashtagsIPromise

Alan resonates with what Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of the American Camp Association wrote in the April issue of “Camping” magazine;

“What are your earliest transcendent memories as a child? For me, they were in the woods or on the trail at camp with my counselors and cabin group. Sitting around the campfire feeling the warmth of friendships and listening to the rhythm of crickets and bull frogs. Gazing in awe on wondrous wilderness from a lofty mountain peak. These were deeply inspiring and spiritual moments for me as a child, and I have always believed that my leaders and role models at camp were instrumental in helping me discover and understand my own spirituality”.

Alan continues: I would go on to say we are living in perhaps the most challenging time ever spiritually, environmentally and socially. We need all the tools at our disposal to intervene and reach a world desperate for meaning and spiritual connection. We need to develop leaders with moral character equipped to work on the most profound problems we’ve ever faced. Camps fill an increasingly valuable role in this.

Camp intentionally provides kids their first serious exposure to gifted young leaders, as well as leadership opportunities in their teens and young adult years. Camp also specializes in providing places set apart from the trappings & pressures of current culture. This is a powerful combination for young people exploring and testing what they will soon become.

The case for camping is that the world, our country, and OUR CHURCH need what we do at camp. We can be thankful that in the PNW Conference, we have four amazing camps.

Send your kids to camp this summer and watch them grow. And hey, if your church is lacking in the tiny human department, send your big kids (adults) to camp…we have programs for all ages. For more information about our camping ministry check out our website