Drew Tucker, Executive Director –
One lasting memory from Summer 2023 is the enthusiasm with which I was greeted by campers. From Camp Luther at HopeWood Shores to LMC at HopeWood Pines to HopeWood Connect sites throughout the state, people shared palpable energy for this new era of camp and retreat ministry. And we can see that in our camper numbers, since this year’s summer camps had more than 100 additional campers than last year! That desire to form faith with Christ and community in creation gives me so much confidence that we’re building toward something significant. Thank you for making this a great first few months!
Sara Cogsil, Associate Director
For me, this summer has been wildly wonderful! Psalm 104:24 has been a Scripture verse that captured my heart again and again, week after week. In The Message this verse reads, “What a wildly wonderful world, God!” and it indeed is! The highlights of my first summer are numerous, but here are a few. Without a pool, I still loved being silly in the pool field. It was an honor to sit with Brayden and listen to him share about the world from his robust imagination. It was a joy to witness Cuinn commit to staying and participating despite injury and still having an amazing week. I was in awe watching campers code with robots at HopeWood Connect. I enjoyed welcoming families into our Friday celebration to share some of what had been the highs of the week. I valued time with adult leaders, church coordinators, volunteers, and campers at all three of our ministry sites as we shared faith, laughter, stories, and the love of God and of HopeWood Outdoors. It is a true personal and professional highlight to be called to this ministry at such a time as this!
Morgan Lee-Barton, Guest Relations Manager
This summer I had the chance to assist with the climbing wall and high ropes course at HopeWood Pines. I spent one afternoon at the top of the wall encouraging 3rd-5th graders to make it to the top and another belaying high schoolers to the top. I particularly enjoyed watching campers surprise themselves by making it further up the wall than they expected! The determination, playfulness, and camaraderie expressed by each group at the wall will stay with me throughout the rest of the year.
Hannah Verone Clay, Program Director
This summer has been a truly amazing summer full of so many blessings! I loved getting to see families return that had not been to camp for years that made camp feel like home again. I found so much joy in getting to reminisce with the friends I worked with on staff, and the counselors that I had growing up who are now bringing their families back to camp. It makes me smile to be able to share my passion of teaching, helping, and making keychains with campers of all ages. I was honored to be able to work with such an amazing team who worked so hard and brought so much energy, love, and laughter into everything they do. I truly enjoyed getting to be behind the camera lens and to capture so many special moments. I will forever love getting to sing, play guitar, and harmonize with so many talented people. And of course, how could you not see the majesty of God’s handiwork in the beautiful sunsets! A huge thank you to everyone who made this summer wholly filled with love!
Tim Danforth, Shores Property & Facility Manager
One of my highlights from the summer was the far-reaching talent of Camp Luther at HopeWood Shores’ volunteers and their willingness to give.
Jeff Rocks, Pines Property & Facility Manager
I am aware and believe that God gives us all gifts and uses us in so many different ways. With that being said, this summer has helped me to know how blessed I am to serve God in a way that I can. Knowing some of our campers don’t always get to have the opportunities we can help provide is often mixed with different emotions. I am so fortunate to be able to help by keeping things working, and camp looking nice.
Dave Backus, Pines Property & Facility Manager
What impressed me this summer was the enjoyment the kids got from fishing in the lake, especially the ones who had never caught a fish before. I was pleased when one group specifically thanked me for the condition of the lake.