A Letter from Stephen Garcia, President and Executive Director at TM Camping
Summer broke records for heat in almost every part of the country this summer. Records were broken at Thousand Pines too…though heat wasn’t one of them! This season we saw churches and youth return to camp and return to Christ like never before. Our pastors and leaders reported that nearly 46% of campers made a life-changing decision at Camp this summer. Half of those were 1st time decisions for Christ. And the other half of all campers were still ministered to and encouraged further in their faith and journeys with God. We worshiped together, presented the Gospel faithfully, and constantly pointed to Christ in all the fun activities and outdoor adventures we offer at camp.
Kids had a blast competing in recreation games, bouncing on the inflatable water park at Lake Gregory, and eating s’mores around the campfire. Friendships were made that will last a lifetime. Laughter and joy was observed every day of every week. And I can say with absolute confidence, that everyone came to See, Know, and Experience God…just a little more this year. It was a record-breaking summer camp season…and one that we know will have an eternal impact for thousands! Thank you for your constant support of prayers and resources for this incredible ministry known as Thousand Pines Christian Camp.
It’s an honor to serve alongside you.
Summer 2022 Program, Mike Encoe, Program Director
God put his grace on display during summer camp this year! Week by week, students filed into the chapels. Burdened by the world around them and anxious to have a week of reprieve, they watched the Gospel come to life. Our theme was Brightside, just another word that we use in our culture to tell people, "Chin up! Look at the good news." Our theme verse is found in Romans 1:16,17, which begins with, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel." Each night we dove deep into one aspect of the good news of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most rewarding part was watching students respond to each message through an activity. After the first message, they wrote a word on a mirror that sums up how they had been uniquely created in God's beautiful image. The next night, that word was marred as they anonymously covered it with painful sins they had experienced.
There were two opportunities to respond to the Gospel, one night specific for those returning to their faith and another for those wishing to choose Jesus for the first time. An average of nearly 30 students made these decisions each week! Our last chapel transitioned to outdoors, where every student circled a campfire and lifted God up in song. God was wonderfully praised for His incredible work of grace in our lives. Thank you to all who pray for and support this ministry!
Summer 2022 Staff, Tom Raisbeck, Associate Camp Director
By divine appointment God brought 53 staff members to Thousand Pines this summer. It’s still short of the 70+ we had before Covid hit, but so much better than the 32 last year. I am a firm believer that God brings each person here for a reason. Obviously to run the summer program, but also because He is going to be working in their lives as they minister to others.
This year was no exception, God worked in the hearts of our staff as they had the opportunity to minister to over 2000 kids who came to camp this year. For some it was simply learning to serve, for others it was a long term commitment to ministry, choosing to stay on serving in our Outdoor Education Program and other areas of camp. Still, others renewed their commitment to follow Christ and serve Him in whatever field they are going into. Through their ministry and service about 400 kids, junior high and high schoolers came to know the Lord, and another 600 or so rededicated their lives to Christ. That’s half of those who came, and that’s why we all do what we do.
Outdoor Science School Update, Greg Lewis, Outdoor Education Manager
Our Outdoor Education team has spent the summer both preparing for the fall season and supporting the summer programs. Those summertime duties included supervising the cabin counselors and leading counselor meetings, as well as providing staff events like a trip to a baseball game and creating our prize-winning float in the Crestline Fourth of July parade.
Preparations for Outdoor Education included revisions of our curriculum and procedures, hiring the staff, connecting with other departments as well as the schools, and planning out staff training and events. We are excited to have some great people on board - and we're still hiring for a few more positions this Fall and into the Winter season too.
Interested in applying? Check out the Thousand Pines Outdoor Science page to apply and learn more!
Thank you so much for an awesome summer! Follow us on social media @thousandpines to keep up with the fun this upcoming year!