Memories Of Summer 2014


Not to be forgotten, Summer 2014 had some highlights we’ll never forget:

  • Hipster house party
  • HighSchool10day in June
  • Jack’s Shack – donated in memory of Jack Hudson, our new rec shed for ‘all things program’
  • “BTS” – the new slang for ‘behind the scenes” crew
  • Free play areas: mancala, a fort, a gold mining trough, hammock village and tennis ball swing
  • Asphalt walkway from the parking lot to EDub in memory of Donna Strong
  • Medieval times: the counselor capture, jousting and grog
  • Henry camp
  • Gaga (or octaball)
  • The Llama song
  • Messy games
  • The space CD played for banquet night



Speakin’ Into Kids Lives


Giving up a week or 10 days of their time, our speakers generously give, to speak in to kids lives. Thanks to them all:

Douglas Reed: On Sonlight staff summers 2013 and 2014, Doug spoke for Adventure June session. Doug recently finished an internship in worship, and highlights of the week were worship time with middle school kids, and a heart felt message.

Kelsey McLean and Leah Wesselman spoke for Discovery camp in June. Both former staff, Kelsey and Leah brought creativity, joy and fun to their program. Kelsey is  a recent graduate from Gonzaga University, and taking some time for travel before the next chapter of her adventure. Leah is working on a Masters in math at Trinity University.

Todd Shulda: A pastor for youth and families at CenterPoint church in Pagosa Springs, Todd is a long time Sonlight favorite. He is direct and compassionate, willing to face the hard issues that kids are facing at home. Todd spends time regularly with the Sonlight staff, and was speaker for the High School 10Day June session.

Tim Gjefle hails from Washington State, a recent graduate of Whitworth College in Spokane. Tim was on Sonlight staff in 2012, and now teaches in Washington State. Little known fact: he is relentless on a tractor.

Cassie and Kyle Littel, speakers for Adventure Camp in July. Cassie was on staff in 2010. She and Kyle are youth pastors in Wisconsin, and bring fresh perspective and wisdom to working with youth. The kids loved them.

Heidi TeBrink: An athletic trainer at Colorado Christian University, Heidi has long history with Sonlight. On staff for 7 years, she was summer staff and then program director for 2 years. Heidi spoke to High School 10Day in July, and our 10days together was so great as she walked thru the whole book of John. The lives she has impacted at Sonlight are many.

Erin Burr: Sonlight staff member 2013 and 2014, Erin was loved by the little guys at Junior Camp. Wise, funny and compassionate we are grateful for her! Erin is a student at Colorado State University studying Psychology.

Andrew Loyd headed up Service Crew, leading their behind the scenes work, leadership activities as well as the study part of their program. Andrew is in a small group of  long term staff members, logging summer #6 in 2014. In the school year Andrew works with Albuquerque Public Schools with students with disabilities, as they transition out of the APS system.

Joel Bjerkestrand: Joel begin his Sonlight time back in 1987, the first of a 25+ year run bringing youth groups to Sonlight for ski trips. Returning for his 2nd year as speaker for GrandCamp we appreciate his gentle spirit and wisdom. A pastor from the Phoenix area, Joel has a wealth of experience and life stories to share.

Mark Osborn (better known as Sarah’s Dad) is an attorney from El Paso, but has a long run as Sunday school teacher, and is a favorite of all the kids. Returning for his second year speaking to the Discovery kids, we love his wisdom, and skill at communicating his message to this age group.


Backpacking: 2014

south san juans Todd, Mary, Mary, Winston Tope and Benji

The backpack season was limited for Sonlight this summer, as we consider how to reorganize the backpack program. The dayhikes were grand, and the backpack trips we did run were great. A small but hardy group hiked the final backpack trip of the season. The South San Juans were spectacular, recent rains made the trails muddy and the wildflowers an amazing show.

The Impact Of Camp On Staff

rainbowFreeplay : the night sky : campfires : new friends

We talk much about the impact of camp on kids, but what about the impact of camp on the staff?



“Small groups have become a part of the programming most churches offer their people. For the most part, they are disappointing and short-lived – by the very admission of those who try them. There are two reasons. One, you can’t just throw a random group of people together for a twelve week study of some kind, and expect them to become intimate allies. The sort of devotion we want and need takes place within a shared life.”

John and Stasi Eldredge: Ransomed Heart

That’s it – as staff we live together, play together and do the really hard work to create camp for the kids. In the space of 12 weeks we share life together, and the friendships created can last a lifetime. Camp is a unique place in our world, impacting each one of us.

Closing Week of Summer 2014

Discovery Camp: Final week of summer. What a week! We’re full with 4th-5th and 6th graders, a wonderful group of kids. Our speaker is Mark Osborn, Sarah’s Dad, and how glad we are that he is here again this week. Thanks to Hannah R, Megan K, and Ian J, for  volunteering behind the scenes. We appreciate you guys! We said goodbye to Andrew and Joslyn this weekend, how we will miss you. Always hard at the end of summer to say goodbye to staff.

It’s Rainin’ At Camp

hail on the deck  mist in the meadow  Heather sweepin' hail  Rain and hail! We’re getting good moisture, some real down pours. So good for the meadow, the spring water and our soul. It occasionally means a change of schedule, but Heather, Chelsea and program staff have a pocket full of ideas for rainy days. So glad for GrandCampers this week, we have made some new friends, and enjoy our time with returning friends. We close out Grandcamp Saturday afternoon, and Sunday is opening day for our last week of camp for summer 2014. We have an almost-full Discovery camp, which is a great way to finish up the season.

Memories In Your Pocket

Memories in your pocket → Fund the scholarship fund → Kids get to camp → Everybody wins

memoriesinyourpocketSo great! Put the memories from camp on your mobile device, and keep them with you.

When you purchase the photo or video download, 100% of the proceeds go to the Sonlight scholarship fund. In 2014 Sonlight will distribute almost $40,000 from the scholarship fund to help kids attend Sonlight.

$10 for the Photo Download

$10 for the Video Download

Visit the Sonlight website to purchase the Photo and/or Video Download.



GrandCamp : Our New Tradition

grandcamp messy gamesNew in 2013, GrandCamp is now a favorite camp at Sonlight. A variety of grandparents and grandkids of all ages come together, and we are intentional in creating space for strengthening inter-generational relationships. Returning for the second time, our speaker is Joel Bjerkestrand, we’re grateful he is bringing his wife and 2 of his grandkids this year.  Our week is short, but the time is rich with opportunity for new ways to connect grandparents with their grandchildren. A Sonlight Core Value is inter-generational relationships, and it’s all about the connectedness as we link the generations thru camp.

The Quandry of Camp

2Tim314A week, or 10 days – to be unplugged, to be surrounded by folks who care about you. Friends who know who you are, and like the real you. The safe space of camp, where it’s fun to be you, and  be in community. A place to meet Jesus, and find quiet to let God speak to your heart.

So how do we come down off the mountaintop and go back home? How to follow Timothy’s direction “… continue in what you have learned….” (2 Tim 3:14.) I’m not sure there are easy answers. But I know that we each have our own journey.  To know that we’ve been on the mountain top of camp, and know that it is God who has made the difference. We can continue in what we have learned, and in doing so, we will make an impact in our world back home.

- Mary

10Day Wrap Up

campfireToday is our “Friday” of the July 10Day high school camp, and what a time we have had. The 10Day high school camps are a special space of time where we have the opportunity to slow down, and roll thru each day without having to run full speed to get everything packed in. Camp traditions continue, but we get to do them in a mixed-up way, with surprises thrown in for fun. Talent Show last night was great, with true talent in voice, piano and dance. Other ‘talent’ made us laugh. Today is Heidi will wrap up her message from the book of John, then it’s messy games, pizza for lunch, banquet night, awards show and closing campfire. It’s been a special week, with great kids and staff. We will miss these kids when they go tomorrow, it’s been a priviledge to spend 10 days with each of them.