Board Weekend in Denver

Mountain Friends Camp thanks the Mountain View Friends Meeting for your warm hospitality during our annual board board meetingweekend March 20-22. Board members were joined by campers, young adult staff and a few interested local Friends for a fun weekend of worship, discernment and plork (play+work) for our Quaker summer camp. Nine of us traveled from four states plus DC, and nine came from around Colorado. Our focus for the weekend was visioning and planning the next 5 years. We spent time considering the locations we’ve held camp at so far and what we need and want in a permanent location (and how to discern the difference between needs and wants!). Our recent 501(c)3 status, camp policies, staff orientation, support for grieving campers, 2015 plans, finances and outreach kept us busy. We divided up board tasks into three main committees for the next year, and invited campers and others join and participate in committee work. Of course since this was about camp we also had great food, singing, games, worship, fellowship and outdoor time in the beautiful Colorado sunshine.
Big thanks to Paula and to Ruth for hosting so many out of towners, and to Penny and Judy for bringing us delicious that gado gado dinner Saturday! Most everyone stayed for Meeting for Worship on First Day, with a few of our camp staff taking the First Day group to the park for some camp games. Afterwards we enjoyed a bountiful potluck spread, and showed some pictures for a MFC Q&A. We left with warm hearts and renewed resolve from the many reminders of what we love about Mountain Friends Camp!board meeting
REMINDER: We still have plenty of room for campers age 10-15, family campers, and are looking for 1-2 medics and a few male counselors. Learn more, sign up, refer a friend, contact Ana, or donate to support our camp mountainfriendscamp.org

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How Time Flies, When You’re Growing Quaker Leaders!

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Mountain Friends Camp 2013 is quickly approaching. We’re putting together another amazing group of summer staff, including some of our favorites from 2012 and newcomers from outside the IMYM sphere. Camper registrations are coming in fast as well. There are only 5 more spots for week one, so if you’ve been meaning to register, send in your paperwork or contact me today!
An exciting milestone for me this spring is reading counselor in training (CIT) applications from several of our pilot program campers. These wonderful young people were 12 years-old in 2010, and made our first year so much fun. Now they’ve grown up into new positions of leadership and responsibility. One CIT application reads:

I’ve been coming to Mountain Friends Camp since the year it opened it’s doors, and I want to continue to enjoy a wonderful summer there again. I also want to get to be more of a role model for younger campers, and learn how to become a more responsible person. . . I enjoy painting and drawing, so I would be more than willing to help lead any art workshops or even do some face painting. I also love to hike and play sports, and could help supervise either activity. :)”

We had many goals in mind when Mountain Friends Camp was nothing more than a blip of a committee and big dreams-living Quaker testimonies, deepening our spiritual connections, playing cooperatively, working joyfully, increasing nature intelligence, changing the paradigm-and a central component was growing Quaker leaders. I know I have grown in my four years as a summer camp director, and I’m so proud to see the commitment, compassion and creativity our campers and CITs bring to the camp community. We are lucky to have them at Mountain Friends Camp, and I know they let their inner Light shine wherever they go.

Campers at Ariel at the Wolf Sanctuary

2010 campers with Ariel at the Wolf Sanctuary

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Epistle 2012

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To all Friends everywhere,

Thirty friends (week one) and twenty-eight friends (week two) gathered in the shadow of the Swatch Range in Tincup, Colorado from June 23 to July 7, 2012 for fun, community, and testimony of our Quaker values.Mountain Friends Camp week 1 group pic

As the sun rose each morning, friends were awakened by the joyous voices of singing counselors spreading inspiration. As everyone gathered in a quiet ring before each meal, lovingly made to suit every dietary need, the smells of the meal filled our hearts and prepared us for the coming activities.

The volleyball court was a place of gathering and free time activities every day. As sand flew up and screaming and shouting filled the air, the volleyball bounced back and forth and our ever-shifting “Quaker Rules,” made sure that everyone had a good time playing.

The collaboration of the group was truly remarkable. We worshipped every day, with each person’s silence illustrated by a doe walking in the woods during one memorable meeting. When we broke the silence with affirmations one could tell by the meeting of eyes across the circle that a powerful sense of unity existed among us.

Mother Nature challenged our spirits during both of our all-day outings. Pine trees blew in the wind and hail pelted the tarps that our groups huddled under. At times, it seemed as though the elements were relentless. But the rain was appreciated given the fires blazing in other parts of Colorado, and being cold was the least of our concerns because we had laughter and hugs to warm our hearts. The canoeing adventures were particularly memorable. When the sky cleared and boats were pushed into the water, everyone took a turn paddling around the placid lake. And at the end of the day we cuddled by a warm fire in the rustic lodge with hot cocoa and singing into the night.

Another particularly memorable activity was playing “predator and prey” in the woods behind camp. Carnivores stalked omnivores and herbivores who hid breathlessly behind young aspen trees and who cooperatively protected one another by darting out and distracting the outnumbered predators. Food and sustenance wandered the woods while human impact and natural disaster played their part too.

Hiking, plork (play+work) and arts and crafts were daily events, as was having a “secret friend” where we exchanged notes and trinkets. Of course plork, which followed morning meeting, never seemed like work as we cleaned, shoveled, hammered and chopped together, and hiking opportunities allowed us all to be carried away by the majestic beauty of the high Rocky Mountains.

In Tincup, Colorado, nestled at 10,186 feet warm hearts huddled around a fire that will blaze for many years to come.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mountain Friends Camp 2012 Epistle Committee
Maygen, Henry, Jonas, Ceryn, Tynan, Will and Julia

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Quaker Road: Homeward Bound

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Our next stop after Flagstaff was the Durango area. On Wednesday afternoon we met up with Cortez Friend Linda R. for a tasty lunch, during which she shared some of the insights she has gained from several years of running a day camp in the area. Linda is hoping to free up her schedule to join us for a session this summer! We could tell what an asset she’ll be to Mountain Friends Camp from our long conversation about how to integrate more nature and ecology into our programming. Although plans for a potluck and MFC presentation at the Durango meetinghouse that night fell through, the Telep family welcomed us into their home outside of Durango for the night. We cooked a meal and enjoyed good conversation and great music (of course!) before heading to bed. Many thanks for a restful stop! We left some brochures with them to share with the Durango Friends that we missed. The next morning we got back on the road, as we were trying to get to Salt Lake City by that evening. We stopped at Moab Friend Cynthia S.’ house to scarf down the lunch we’d packed and to chat about camp. Though the visit was short, it was a very pleasant one. Cynthia updated us on Moab Meetings discussions about MFC and potential campers and staff from the community. Castle Valley, where Mountain Friends Camp was last year, is just outside of Moab– so of course we had to stop! The sight of the rusty canyon walls and the winding Colorado River brought back many happy memories as we made our way to the site of MFC ’11; so did the towering rock formations looming above the valley.

Spring 2012, Fruit Trees!

The first thing we saw upon arriving at the house was the sign that Ariel and a camper painted last year; the next things we noticed were the rows of baby fruit trees swaying happily in the wind. The trees were planted in holes that the staff and campers of MFC labored over last summer–cracking that hard, red dirt was no easy task! But we managed to, and can see the results of all that sweat and love just a short time later. We snapped a few pictures to share, picked up some camp supplies that were left over from last year, and continued on our way to Salt Lake City, where we were hosted by the Box-Viavant family.

Ana arose early Friday morning to attend a conference to which she won a full scholarship, the Utah Society of Fund Raisers “Fund Raising Day”. It was eyeopening and encouraging to interact with over a hundred professional fund raisers–and we’ve already started using some new outreach techniques for camp! The workshops and seminars lasted all day, and that evening we had dinner with our hosts and shared pictures of camp and ideas for the future of MFC. The next morning we had breakfast with Salt Lake Friend Charlene W., and then headed back home to Logan. The whirlwind three-week trip was over, with a grand total of 15 meetings visited, 8 potlucks held, 11 presentations given, over $3000 in pledged donations from four individuals and three Meetings, and many, many Friends reached. Thank you everyone for your hospitality and support of Mountain Friends Camp–we couldn’t have done it without you!

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Colorado Springs, Santa Fe and Albuquerque

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Mar 27-April 1
Even though it was technically a day off, with no formal camp events
scheduled, we still had a Quaker-iffic Tuesday! We headed to Boulder to return the projection equipment that we’d used the night before, and the Chataqua wilderness beckoned so we decided to go on a hike as well. Tromping down the trail, we exchanged “hellos” with a few passersby, only to realize that we’d run into IMYM YAF Patricia M! We stopped to chat and catch up, then hurried on our way as we had a few stops to make. We swung by Julia H.’s house in Boulder to talk MFC for a while, then hurried back to the Ireland’s abode where IMYM SYF Damon M-S was meeting us for dinner. We quickly readied a great meal, ate, and talked long into the night.

Wednesday morning we headed into Denver to visit with YAF Sarah T. before continuing on our way to Colorado Springs. A local camper and his family had arranged for a dinner and MFC presentation that evening to be hosted by a potential new camper and her family! The cozy event was fun and informative for all; after a tasty dinner, we showed the slideshow and answered questions about camp. Many thanks to Quetzal and John G. for putting the event together, and for hosting us in Pueblo!

Thursday was a slow day, which Ana used to catch up on a plethora of camp emails, but on Friday we started back out on the road with engines roaring. Our first stop was the Pueblo Nature and Raptor Center, where all three of our hosts were spending the day. We caught most of an up-close and personal presentation featuring several of the birds, and then received a behind the scenes tour of the grounds and facilities led by Quetzal himself. Brimming with new found ornithological knowledge, we said goodbye to the birds and Pueblo and started off for Santa Fe. We arrived later than we meant to, due to a “shortcut” that ended up adding hours to the drive, but were nonetheless right on time for supper with Beverly and Heather, two potential staffers for MFC ’12. We had a great conversation about camp, and hope that they choose to share their talents and skills with us this summer! It was dark when we finally found our home in Santa Fe, Anna and MFC camper Ceryn’s house, but even so they welcomed us with bright smiles. Anna and Ceryn showed us around the next day, and we spent some time preparing for our next visits.

On Sunday Ana headed to Albuquerque while Ariel returned to Santa Fe Meeting for worship, followed by a potluck and MFC presentation. After chowing down on a variety of dishes, Ariel and Ceryn set up the slideshow and made the presentation to a group of about a dozen people. Santa Fe Friends were curious about camp and very supportive. It was nice for Ariel to catch up with the meeting after a year, too, and to report good things about camp last summer and the progress we’re making towards this summer. Although no other younger friends were in attendance at the presentation, it was received very well and we hope to see more Santa Fe Friends at camp this summer!

Mountain Friends Camp presentation in Albuquerque

Albuquerque Mountain Friends Camp Potluck Presentation

Meanwhile, Ana enjoyed worship and fellowship with a large gathering of Friends, including many who were visiting Albuquerque for the White Privilege Conference. The number and spirit of young children in the Albuquerque First Day program was wonderful to see, and Ana was happy to hear from several parents that they hope Mountain Friends Camp is available for their children 5-10 years from now! Kara R, the clerk and our gracious host in Albuquerque, invited Ana to give a brief report during Meeting for Worship for Business, and encouraged Friends to join our MFC potluck Monday evening and the Albuquerque discussion of MFC queries on April 27th. After business meeting, and more fellowship, Ana and Karen hiked at a lovely nature park. That evening Ana joined a dinner party and concert at the home of another new Albuquerque Friend and MFC liaison, Hamish T, joined the April MFC committee conference call and met Ariel at the Rail Runner Station.

Although we received notice from several Friends who were regretfully unable to attend, the Monday evening potluck brought together six adults and two potential campers for a great meal, conversation, slideshow and a few games. Questions ranged from what “plork” projects we’d do this summer, to our Quaker identity as we welcome non-Quakers to participate, to our budget and plans for future IMYM support and fund raising.

Thank you Colorado Springs, Santa Fe and Albuquerque for your friendship and support! Next up on the Quaker Road: Las Cruces, Gila and Pima Meetings . . .

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On the (Quaker) road again . . .

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You might have heard that Ana and Ariel are reprising the epic “Quaker Road” trip that they took last spring to visit Meetings, fund raise and encourage youth and adults to come to Mountain Friends Camp. Well it’s true! We won’t be traveling for quite as long this year, but will make stops at even more Meetings in the IMYM region. So when will they be visiting a Meeting near you?

3/25-Mt View Meeting and potluck (Ariel) and Boulder Meeting (Ana)
3/26-Boulder Meeting House 7pm
3/28-Colorado Springs potluck 6:30 pm
4/1-Santa Fe after meeting potluck (Ariel) and Albuquerque Meeting (Ana)
4/2-Albuquerque 5:30pm potluck at the Meeting House
4/3-Las Cruces 6pm potluck at the Meeting House
4/4-Gila Meeting lunch in Silver City
4/6-Tucson Meeting House 7pm
4/7-Tempe
4/8-Phoenix (Ana) and Flagstaff (Ariel) Meeting and fellowship
4/10-Durango (tbd)
4/11-Moab (tbd)
4/12-Salt Lake (tbd)

Hope to see many of you in the next few weeks, and more of you at IMYM and Mountain Friends Camp! We’ll be updating this website and our Facebook page with news from our trip, “like” us and check often for updates.

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