Tom Raisbeck, Thousand Pines Camp Director:
If I had to choose a couple of words to describe this year at Thousand Pines, I think the words I’d choose would be different and challenging. The year started off normal enough, and then Snowmageddon hit in March, dropping 8+ ft of snow in a couple of days. This storm stranded a school of Outdoor Education kids, and effectively closed the camp for the month of March.
As a result of the storm, we lost
the use of 6 of our cabins. One collapsed completely, and 5 others were deemed unsafe to put campers in. We also lost one staff house, and several other structures because of the weight of the snow.
As summer rolled around, we found ourselves short of cabin space and had to get creative to house the number of Campers that God brought. With God’s help and guidance, we had a successful summer season with over 2,000 campers attending our Program Camps. Many first-time decisions to follow Christ were made and others rededicated their lives.
If that wasn’t different and challenging enough, in November we began the process of moving our parent company TM Camping from Thousand Pines, where they had been located for years, into their own building and transitioning Thousand Pines into a standalone camp. With God’s guidance and blessings, He has led us through this step by step.
As a result of the challenges of this year there are several needs that we find here at Thousand Pines as we enter the new year.
The rebuilding of cabins damaged in the storm (some covered by insurance)
Remodeling shower houses
Repair roads and paths damaged in the storms
The creation of a new Welcome Center closer to our parking area
The creation of some new leadership housing for guests
All of these will enhance our ability to minister to the many campers that come through Thousand Pines each year, and enable us to help people SEE, KNOW and EXPERIENCE GOD.
-Tom Raisbeck, Camp Director
A Message From TM Camping
Steve Garcia, Executive Director of TM Camping:
Nehemiah 2:11-18 tells of the pivotal moment where God’s servant garnered critical support from the Israelites for the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.
17-18 Then I gave them my report: “Face it: we’re in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer.” I told them how God was supporting me and how the king was backing me up. They said, “We’re with you. Let’s get started.” They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.
(Taken from The Message translation)
In some ways, 2023 has been a year of doing something very similar here at TM Camping. It started in the fall of 2022 with heavy rains and unprecedented downpours that caused significant chaos with our recreational operations at Lake Gregory. At one point, there was over 6 feet of mud that had flooded the tennis courts, playground, adjacent parking lot. Later, near the end of the year, our Camp Director at Tonto Rim put in notice that he was heading for retirement. We then spent several months establishing a new leadership team there and welcoming our new Director, Jason Doll, in the spring. Spring 2023 was one that broke records in terms of precipitation. We had more storms that brought such a deluge in February, we lost a complete cabin at San Marcos and other water damage caused tens of thousands of dollars of destruction all over the camp. We were closed for over a month while cleaning up and resetting. Then, in March, the blizzard hit our properties in Crestline. We lost over 100 beds, 6 cabin buildings, several storage and shade structures, and one of our onsite staff homes. The damage was assessed to be nearly a million dollar’s worth.
TM Camping has persevered. We have become, unfortunately, rather adept at rolling with the punches in the last few years. Although each of our outdoor camping and adventure recreation ministries were hit with significant challenges to overcome this year, we were able to reopen, reestablish, and rebuild enough to functionally operate in time for the busy summer “harvest” season. This past summer we saw fuller camps, fuller staff levels, and greater resources pouring into the ministries than ever. As a result, we were able to serve over 40,000 campers this year at TM Camping. Additionally, we are on our way to rebuilding all that was lost, in addition to starting some new and exciting projects at each camp. God has been graciously protecting and providing for our every need, each step of the way, as we steadfastly pursue the completion of the mission He has called us to.
This year, as you read about each ministry, take into consideration a couple of really important things. 1) This year, we have experienced some of the greatest challenges our ministries have ever faced. 2) Even through the difficulties, God has continued to reveal himself as ever faithful with all our needs and even some of our wants. 3) Because of His goodness and the perseverance He has allowed us, these great challenges have produced some of the greatest fruit we have ever seen in this ministry. We saw thousands of people come to Christ this year, many, hearing the Gospel for the very first time. God is good! And His plan, though not always one we would choose for ourselves, is constantly producing good fruit. He is continuing to make TM Camping a ministry where we are helping people See, Know, and Experience God more and more.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -- Ephesians 3:20-21.
From all of us at Thousand Pines, Tonto Rim, San Marcos, Rock-n-Water, American Outdoor Schools, Genesis Account, and Lake Gregory, THANK YOU! Thank you for your ongoing support and persevering partnership. Thank you for all your volunteer service and helping hands. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. And thank you for being a part of the ministries of TM Camping.