10Day High School Camp : July Session

high school 10daySo glad to have HighSchool 10Day here! A great group of kids, returning campers and new campers as well. 10Day camps are becoming our favorite, as we have more time for some new activities, and we can shake up the schedule a bit. Heidi TeBrink is the speaker this week, as ever, one of our very popular speakers. She is working through the book of John, and her wisdom for the day: You don’t have to fit into the mold the world puts out there. The world doesn’t tell you the truth, and you won’t fit where the world tries to put you- God has plans for us so much bigger.

Adventure Camp: July Session

Cassie and Kyle  Cassie and KyleThanks Cassie and Kyle! Our speakers for Adventure Camp (July) were amazing. They are gifted communicators, with a heart for sharing the love of God with kids.

All around great week, and though it is in the history books, it won’t be forgotten. Highlights of the week: a rainy hike : camp packed to overflowing : Cassie and Kyle : Medieval Times : great skits (thank Bryce and Doug) : GaGa : Digglers : messy games in the rain and counselors who we love. Want more Cassie and Kyle? Follow Cassie on Twitter: or follow her Blog.

GetToKnow The 2014 Staff

staff142014 Summer Staff- what a crew!

Erin Burr: Returning for her second summer on counseling staff, Erin has a long Sonlight history as a camper. Hometown Los Alamos. Student at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. Best part of camp: “Watching Winston cut watermelon, then eating watermelon.”

Douglas Reed: His second summer at Sonlight, he returns as worship leader and counselor. Home state Florida. Recent graduate of an Internship in worship leading at The Dwelling Place in Virginia. Best part about camp: “small groups.”

Bryce Baca: A long time camper, this is Bryce’s first year as  counseling staff. Hometown Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Student at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas. Favorite part of the week: Messy games. Favorite lunch: Gyros.

Johnathon Cannon: First year on staff as a counselor. A long time camper, and 2013 Service Crew member. Hometown, Mancos, Colorado. Student at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado. Johnathon finds his inner peace at the top of the meat grinder.

Lydia Linton: New to Sonlight in 2014, joining Sonlight staff as a counselor. Hometown Oxford, Ohio. Student at Miami University in Ohio. Best part of each week: Messy games and raft day.

Sarah Osborn: Long time Sonlight kid, her 3rd year on staff as a counselor.  Hometown: El Paso, Texas. Student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Favorite part of camp: “getting caught in the rain.”

Haley White: Haley’s second summer as a staff member, counseling this summer.  Hometown: Los Alamos. Student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff Arizona. “I live for snow cone syrup.”

Lauren Hutchings: Her first summer at Sonlight, Lauren is on counseling staff. Lauren recently did an extended 6 month stay in Thailand in the mission field. Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan. Student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Favorite thing about camp: “One on one conversations with kids.”

Amanda Klish: Joining us from far away Australia as a counselor. Hometown: Sydney. A graduate of the University of Western Sydney, will return to her teaching position in Australia in the fall.  Amanda says: “I came to be a blessing, but have been abundantly blessed.”

Kelly Collins: We’re so glad to have Kelly join us on staff for her 2nd summer as a counselor. Hometown Janesville, Wisconsin. A student at UW-LaCrosse. Best part about camp: Unlimited green apples.

Henry Stam: Long time camper, Henry is counseling for his second summer at Sonlight. Hometown Los Alamos, NM. A spring 2014 graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Henry says: “My hopes and dreams are all fulfilled in a blueberry scone with lemon glaze.”

Tyler Vance:  New to Sonlight this summer, we are grateful he is on counseling staff! Hometown: Tucson, Arizona. Student at the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Tyler’s comment: “I like to diggle.”

Heather McKessen: First year on Sonlight staff, she brings many gifts to her split position of office assistant and health care assistant. Hometown: Silverdale, Washington. A graduate of the Masters Program in Adventure Leadership, Wheaton College. What she says about camp: “Messy games are the best.”

Drew Bremer: Summer 2014 videographer, his first summer at Sonlight. Hometown: Howell, Michigan. Studies film at Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Favorite napping spot: the purple hammock that is partially hidden.

Joslyn Ross: Returning for her second summer as a cook, Joslyn is a second generation Sonlight staff member. Her mom Vicki Ross was on Sonlight staff in 1983 and 1984. Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Student at Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri.  And what she says about camp: “TACO NIGHT.”

Molly Black: Her first year as a Sonlight cook, Molly is a long time camper, and did her senior year high school internship at Sonlight in 2013. Hometown: Durango, Colorado. Student at Colorado Christian University, Denver, Colorado. Highlight of the summer “Roaming around in the meadow watching the stars.”

Sophia Montiel: A camper since 3rd grade, Sophia is a graduate of Arizona State University in Tucson. Hometown: Tucson. Sophia returns to Sonlight this summer as lead cook. Best part of camp: “clean air.”

Andrew Loyd: Long time staff member, we’re so glad to have Andrew at Sonlight for his 7th summer as staff. In a role as Assistant Camp Director, Andrew supports Winston in ‘all things behind the scenes’, as well as leading the two week Service Crew program. Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico. His “other” job is with Albuquerque Public Schools. Favorite part of camp: star gazing.

Chelsea Poest: Her 4th summer on Sonlight Staff, Chelsea is Program Assistant. A May graduate of Hope College, Holland, Michigan. Hometown: Holland, Michigan. Favorite snack: cheese cubes.

Heather Quandt: New to Sonlight as a counselor in 2007, Heather is setting records for longevity as Sonlight staff. Heather is Program Leader, employed year round to do all the work of summer program, as well as coordinating communication and details of Sonlight fundraising. Hometown: Walled Lake, Michigan. Graduate of Grand Valley State University. Heather says: “The crafty bus is my happy place.”

Sara Tyler: The Sonlight Registrar. Sara works remotely from her home in New York, managing all the Sonlight registrations and parent communications. She also contributes to the work of the Sonlight website, and handles some of the payroll and book keeping.

Winston Marugg: His 35th year at Sonlight, he solves a bewildering array of problems every day. Home is Sonlight Camp. There is nothing he can’t fix and he loves to hear the laughter of kids in the meadow. His comment: “Ice cream sundaes.”

Mary Marugg: Home is Sonlight Camp. Summer # 35 at Sonlight, she finds herself in a double role this summer as part time lead cook, and filling in as RN when needed. Other things that fill each day are keeping up the website, book keeping and related business administrative tasks. Favorite part of camp: Friday night campfires and rainy afternoons.


Hike Day : Alberta Peak

Alberta Peak

July Fun At Sonlight

High school week

Hard to believe it’s mid-summer and we’re past the 4th of July. So glad to have the 7-day High School camp here this week,  friends new and old. Thanks to all our volunteers this week – Mike Coltrin, Matt and Sarah Charles, Carol Pierce and our speaker Tim Gjefle.  Andrew has started with Service Crew this week, Cameron, Mikayla and Grace. Great BTS (behind the scenes) support! We’ve started getting some afternoon rains, much needed as June was quite dry.

Teams Course today- a good day to get to know new folks, practice communication skills and build some resilience. Hike day on Tuesday: here we come Treasure and Alberta peaks!

Junior Camp and A Backpack Trip

Junior Camp

We loved having 30 new kids at Junior camp last week, lots of boys and a few girls! A great introduction to camp. Lots of new friends made, and lots of joy in the little ones.




Pagosa Peak : 12,640'



Some of the gals on the Womens Backpack trip clmbed Pagosa Peak (12,640) after hiking in to Upper Four Mile Lake. A beautiful day to be on a peak.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

 - John Muir

The Impact of Camp

IMG_0126From Peg Smith – Executive Director of the American Camp Association:

So, how does the camp experience play a role in one’s success? In the book True North, Bill George and Peter Simms write that EQ starts with self-awareness of your life story and the crucibles you have experienced.

At camp, one has the opportunity to participate in three requirements for self-awareness.

  1. One has the opportunity to experience real life/world experiences, including leadership. You are unplugged.
  2. One has the opportunity to reflect about those experiences and consider ways to improve. You are present.
  3. One has the opportunity for group interactions that enhances your chances to share and receive feedback. You are a part of a team.

And how true it is! We intentionally live out these principals at Sonlight every day.

The Terrific Ten Day!

“Studies over the past decade have shown that participants in [camp] programs made gains in self-esteem, leadership, academics, personality, and interpersonal relations.” — Richard Louv, from Last Child in the Woods. We’re launching into our first ten-day High School camp and this is when we see a lot of development in each person who walks onto our property. From trust falls to peak hikes the next ten days are going to be packed with God moments and growth.

– Heather M.

IMG_0720 _MG_0018

2014 Program Leadership

Chelsea and Heather

Introducing the 2014 Program Leadership team – Healther Quandt and Chelsea Poest. With over 11 years of Sonlight staff experience between them, Heather and Chelsea have deep knowledge of the Sonlight campers and program. Their passion for kids, youth ministry, character development and making free play available to kids is evident every day. Plan to spend some time getting to know them when you’re at camp- you’ll be a better person for your time spent with them!

The Magic of Summer Camp

joy in the simple“Camp ushers your children into a thrilling environment—an electronics-free zone, a multigenerational community, meaningful daily rituals like group meals and cabin clean-up, and a place where time simply slows down. In the buggy woods, campfire sing-alongs, and daring adventures, children have emotionally significant and character-building experiences. They often grow in ways that surprise even themselves.”


- Michael Thompson, PhD Homesick and Happy