Back to Basics

Timber-lee has also expanded staff training, going from 10 days to 14, for more intensive sessions on the basics, like first-aid, and the camp’s philosophy and how it should integrate into daily dealings with campers.

Ogne says that there are many staffers with anywhere from five to 30 years of service, and there are also a number of staff who have met at camp and later married.

“We average about five marriages a summer out of our summer program. The students meet here and a year or two later we hear they’re engaged, then a year or two after that they’re married,” says Ogne. “Couples are finding their life’s mate in a Christian camp setting; and that’s another value of camp.”

Stay the Course

With more than 400 campers running around on any given summer day at Timber-lee, it’s no wonder attention to detail on the staff side is so important, but so is simply keeping it all straight. It’s really a matter of staggering schedules and facilities to accommodate everyone.

For its eight weeks of summer residence camp, Timber-lee is changing its sessions a bit, doing four junior age sessions, two junior high sessions, then a high school session. It’s scheduled in such a way that the high-school week falls before school athletics start and allows high-school kids to take on a summer job, then come to camp.

Given the volume, programming additions are a must, but must not be delved into lightly. Timber-lee is insistent that a perceived need fulfill the mission requirements, be financially viable, and as Johnson says, “that it has an actual ministry function; not just activities for the sake of activities.”

In recent years the camp has added high and low ropes courses and a 40 foot climbing wall, more waterfront activities and whole slew of other programs. A portable skate park is one recent addition that met the requirements. It fills the need that many of the junior high and high school kids had expressed and, given the right counselors, offers an opportunity to communicate camp values.

“We’ll have someone who’s skilled at skateboarding, but his appeal to the kids is not just that he knows how to skateboard, but it’s someone who can teach spiritual values,” says Johnson.

The new addition Timber-lee is most excited about is its science center — which features a hands-on animal room with snakes, turtles, fish, rabbits and other animals — a human skeleton room, a room with 24 different science experiment stations, lecture rooms and a seven-room Creation Walk.

Ogne likes to use a breakfast cereal analogy to describe the thinking behind Timber-lee’s programming decisions, and its decisions in general, “When you come to camp, you don’t want Kix, you want Total.”

“The basics from the early days are still in place;

learning to work together, play together, enjoy each other’s company, and be in the outdoors and away from everyday distractions.” Ogne continues. “Parents are looking for results.

They want to know that their children are making friends, having positive experience, learning good values and morals, and learning more about creation.

“The parents want safety, the kids want fun, and we as a ministry want spiritual learning. At Timber-lee, we combine those three together to make a meaningful experience. Our goal is to send the kids home prepared to face life, make decisions, defend their faith and learn how to prepare for new experiences – and camp can do that.”

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  4. Access to Adventure
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