Thursday, August 20, 2009

from dirtboard Jeremy

My family and so many others came to family camp and it was a great way to end the summer. To see the love that others have for each other and for God lets me know that camp is here for a reason! God has shown me that my love for missions is getting stronger.

Praying about my future after camp and what God has planned for me gives me more and more confidence that a camp ministry is in my future.

The campers and staff have been great this summer and God has been loving with all of it.

Thank you God for this camp and for every other camp that you use!!!

Jeremy Costalez
Dirtboards/Program Staff * Summer 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Looking Ben Nelson * Counselor

As I look back on this summer of camp, I can honestly say that my predictions of what camp was going to be like were 100% wrong. One example that I have of this can be taken from the first day that the majority of people arrived for staff training. As everyone huddled around the apple trees trying to make a good impression by starting conversation and not saying anything too stupid- in comes Pastor Jim Mailloux. While everyone is deep in the awkward stage of introductions, he decides to make an appearance on Josh’s video camera to introduce everyone to Camp Gilead summer of ’09. He starts yelling into the camera like a mad man, and goes around interviewing new staffers (who, at the same time, are trying to avoid him so that they can keep their newly-developed image somewhat clean). To this day, I still believe that this is a very taboo subject in all things “camp”. It is very funny to look back afterwards and to see how everyone responded in this situation. If any staff member had been in this situation mid-way through the summer, there would have been no problem. In fact, it would have most likely evolved (with some help of course, because, we all know that…. ‘that didn’t happen by chance!!’- ‘no way!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :) into some huge ordeal.

Ohhhh, campers. Where to start? Of course!- my favorite camper quote. But, unfortunately, I can’t pick one- so I will have to pick two. My second favorite quote has to be when one of my campers spoke up in chapel to tell the pastor (with fill conviction) that he was incorrect in saying that “obey” was one word. Later, I briefly explained that he would have been correct if only he had said “syllables”. And here is my favorite camper quote of the whole summer: “Ben, are there really squid in the pond?” I will never be able to forget that even if I try to. Nor will I be able to stop searching for squid in the pond. ;) On a serious note: I cannot begin to explain how blessed I was by each and every camper that was in my cabin this summer. Though there were times of ups and downs, times of happiness and sadness, times of crying and laughing, times of exhaustion and coffee, times of dirtiness and (sometimes) cleanliness, times of gross-smelling clothes and fresh smelling clothes (on monday)- there is not a doubt in my mind that God had each and every camper in my cabin for a reason. I was able to get to know each camper that was in my cabin, and had an idea of what God was doing in each of their lives- whether or not they knew Jesus Christ as their personal savior. And for those that came into my cabin that do not know the Lord, I can only pray for them, that the Holy Spirit might work in their hearts. Glory to God for an awesome summer, and for all the work that has been done in these campers’ lives.

Ben Nelson
Counselor Cabin 11 * Summer 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 amy craig - counselor

Wow. That's all I can really say. Camp was AMAZING this summer! Coming from California, not knowing anyone or how to do anything, I was very nervous about working at camp. But God definitely knew what He was doing when He opened up the doors for me at Gilead. I learned so much, and was able to help my campers learn more about God and His creation.

It was incredible to see God working in their lives! Camp was definitely a growing experience for me. I'm not usually the one to get up in front of people or lead a devotion, but at camp those were some of the things I needed to do. With God's help, I was able to lead devotions every night, be silly in front of the kids, and even share my testimony in front of all the campers. I had to come way out of my comfort zone to do God's will, but you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Being part of all those kids' camp experience and just being able to work for God was truly amazing.

Amy Craig
Camp Counselor Summer 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What God Can Do When You Let Aimee Parkinson

Amazing and stretching! Those two words pretty much sum up the summer. Looking back I had always said that I would never work at camp as a counselor, but God had TOTALLY different plans in mind. He knew that I needed to work at camp and he made it work out so perfectly that I had to just trust him to know what he was doing.

Pretty much all summer God has been teaching me to trust him completely and rely on him for strength and guidance. Even the weeks when I had a tough cabin and was ready to quit God just kept reminding me that I needed to rely on him and his strength and not my own. This summer I was forced to be outgoing and get involved, instead of just being in the background. I normally am not outgoing and that was one of the biggest fears I had about working at camp, but God again knew that working at camp was just what I needed in stretching me in that area. I also learned a lot of patience; patience with my campers, patience on the direction of my life, and total surrendering to the fact that God’s in control and I’m not.

God worked in amazing ways this summer. I can tell you right now that it was not from me or anyone on staff working magic, but it was all God working through us to see his will and plan accomplished. God worked in the big things and even the little things this summer. Even the small things that we think don’t matter as much God takes those and uses them for his glory. When we allow God to use us he does so in extraordinary ways! He stretches you and molds you into the person he wants you to be.

A song that I’m always reminded of is the song “ Use me here, where I am I’m not going to pray anymore that u’ll change your plans despite my fears I place my life in your hands the future can wait tomorrow might be to late so use me here.” God wants to use us, but we got to be willing to not let obstacles stand in the way.

God is totally amazing and this summer will be a summer that I will never forget. Not just from the amazing friendships I’ve made, but from the things that the Lord taught me. God is definitely not done working in my life, but this summer was just a glimpse of how big my God is and how much he can do in and through me if I only let him.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Aimee Parkinson
Camp Gilead Counselor * Summer 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coming Full Circle Part 2 ... by Craig Haskins

The song God of Wonders has had a different meaning to me this summer. When I sing this song I think about how big God is. I think about the stars, the moon, and the sky. I am always in awe of how big the universe is compared too little ol’ me. I am in awe that God is so big that, He can even handle the small things. The small prayers that staff say every summer at camp like, “God give me energy” and “God give me encouragement” He hears them and whether or not He says yes, He is always intertwined in ever aspect of our lives. I am proud and honored that this is the God that I sing and give praises to; this is the God that I serve! This is the God that created the mighty star beetle juice and this is the same God that created me.

Lord of all creation
of water earth and sky
The heavens are Your Tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on high

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are Holy, Holy
The universe declares Your Majesty
And You are holy holy
Lord of Heaven and Earth
Lord of Heaven and Earth

Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
When I stumble in the darkness
I will call Your name by night

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
holy......holy....holy God.....

Precious Lord reveal Your love to me....Father holy.....Lord God Almighty...
The universe declares Your majesty
You are" holy,holy,holy,holy
Halleujah to the Lord of heaven and earth

Craig Haskins
High School Staff Leader
Camp Gilead Summer 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm glad I was a Adam Smith * Counselor 1998

For those don’t know me, I’m a former counselor from 1998 (Summer Safari!) and now teach music at Seattle Christian and privately. Being a counselor started off being tough for me but by the end I didn’t want to leave; God used the staff at Gilead to change my life. This year, I was privileged to help out during staff training week and sporadically dropped in to play guitar or whatever at chapels and for Sunday nights. I’m also a regular at TLC; you might know me from there as did many campers and counselors.

I got to know several members of the staff fairly well – as has been evidenced in the blogs and elsewhere, the 2009 staff is amazing! It’s an incredible collection of people God has gifted and assembled. I’ve known the Moyers and Mallorys for quite some time, and it was great to meet everyone else. Several I got to know fairly well, and also I was the prayer support person for Jason Quey. From a semi-outsider’s perspective, the energy, even when they were tired, was intense. And, from my nearly weekly trips to Gilead, I got to see in snapshots the synergy and growth of the team; allow me to share couple of the very special things done by God through these people that I felt extremely blessed to see.

Before I was a Counselor, I had witnessed to many people, shared my testimony, and seen results from these things. This being said, I never yet actually was present to see someone receive Christ, let alone lead them to the final step myself. I will never forget the moment, up by the rifle range, when one of my campers received the Lord as Savior – the first time I was there for the ‘great destination reversal’! It changed everything, and my life hasn’t been the same since. Later, during one of the Junior Camp weeks, I had Tyler Pagel and his brother in my cabin. Admittedly I had no idea what I was doing as a Counselor (yet… I got better, I hope) and was praying that God would somehow use me in some way. He did, and the blessings continue to this day. Jump to 2009 - if you haven’t read (now Counselor) Tyler’s blog, from July 23, please go read it now! I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to see how God allowed such a backwards idiot sinner as myself, with zero previous camp experience, to be used by Him in this way. You see, Tyler told me that 1998 was part of how he came to love Camp Gilead. If that weren’t enough, later during the summer Tyler and I talked and he told me about how he just had the same experience of leading his first person to the Lord, and how it changes everything. God is amazing!

The other one is the “happy Counselor look.” It’s something that every Counselor and regular visitor or participant in camp ministry has seen and experienced, and I love it every time I see it. At Camp, for some reason it seems more special. I was hoping I would get to see it at some point during the summer, and God put me in just the right place for it to happen. I met Counselor Teanna Alsum during staff week, and she, like me in 1998, was wondering in what way God would choose to use her and was, again like me, a little concerned and apprehensive about her first campers coming in. Fast-forward to about a month later - after a chapel the Pastor asked any campers who wished to stay behind and talk to their Counselors. I was outside on the bench with my friend Will, who hadn’t been out to Camp Gilead before, and I told him quietly – “Look, Will, this is one of my favorite parts: the kids staying behind and talking with their Counselors and getting things right with God.” While I was having major flashbacks from 11 years ago, the three girls with Teanna got up, with her following behind them, and there it was. The “happy Counselor look” – a certain glow in the eyes and a calm smile that says, “Wow, God just did something amazing.”

“I’m glad I was a Counselor… sing along now…”

Adam Smith
Camp Counselor * Summer 1998

Thursday, August 13, 2009

For His Name Megan Franklin Girls HS Staff Leader

I remember when I was a camper I always wanted to sit in the front row of the victory circle steps. It was the warmest, naturally closest to the fire, closest to Jack and Kimberly with their guitars, least distracting, and really just the best spot as a whole with all the other voices singing around you.

Being the center of attention has always been like this for me. It’s warm place. A good place. There is a sense of safety…security maybe? Yet, God has been teaching that often times the center of His will is on the sidelines, behind the scenes, in the crowd, and doing the dirty work. What a challenge this is.

Being the girls’ high school staff leader to ten young ladies has taught me that hard work and genuine hearts are what He uses. Each one of those sweet girls—some quiet, some out-going, perceptive, good-humored, charming, detailed, expressive, thoughtful, competitive, determined, loyal, and true—has brought a piece of God’s goodness to our group through their labor, their prayers, and their growth. Cleaning bathrooms, serving food, doing dishes, and taking a cabin to archery has never seemed so glamorous or appealing.

Also, I have had the chance to live and work with the cooks and the lifeguard. These ladies we call “Support staff.” And that they are. From just being available for setting up a game, cleaning, or taking a cabin, to being a listening ear, a source of encouragement, and an example to my high school girls—these women are a picture of godly service behind the scenes.

As I look at the end of this summer, much like one might look at the end of a week of camp, I am challenged to not forget the lessons I have learned. It is not about me. It is not even about what I do. It is about being obedient and available for Him and what He wants to do with this life.

In my quiet time yesterday, I was reading Psalm 23. This picture of being a part of a flock of a sheep is much like being a part of summer camp staff or sitting on the victory circle steps. He is my Shepherd, and I am small. “He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul, and He guides me in paths of righteousness for—not mine but—His name sake.” (Ps. 23:1-3)

Megan Franklin
Girls High School Staff Leader
Camp Gilead Summer 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I like knowing God the Jared Hageman

Touchdown Beavers! Hawks win! Goodbye baseball! These phrases make me think of my favorite sports teams and some of the great moments I’ve had following them. These teams might provide entertainment sometimes, but I like knowing God the best! This summer, I have had a front row seat to what God is doing in so many lives.

I have seen God work in an impressive amount of campers’ lives this summer. Some of them trusted in Him for salvation for the first time! What value does a college football upset have compared to a person being saved from the penalty and power of their sin?

Many campers came to camp already believing in Christ and it was awesome to see them learn more about Him and have a better relationship with Him. Many were challenged to put Him first in their lives, to spend time in His Word, and to share His love with others.

Even as a staff member, I learned a ton and was encouraged in my walk with God. One of the greatest lessons I learned this summer was about how awesome God is. I used to sing the line “Forever, author of salvation” (in Mighty to Save) as a general statement. I always thought about how God sent His Son to die for our sin. Now, I sing that line thinking about the fact that God authors salvation in every life. God didn’t just write part of the salvation story, He wrote every individual chapter!

I have struggled in writing this, simply because it isn’t possible to put into words just how awesome God is and how much work He did at camp this summer. All I can say is that every other aspect of my life looks quite trivial after this summer. Sure, I’m still looking forward to all the fun events on my calendar, but I like knowing God the best because only His work has eternal value!

Jared Hageman
Camp Counselor
Cabin 14 * Summer 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

do work! - Jason Quey

As the summer comes to a close, I’m amazed at the work God has done through the staff at Gilead. One thing that I knew coming into this summer that would be different than the previous summers I’ve worked at Camp Gilead was that I’d be working a lot less directly with the campers. What I began to realize, was that my role in leading campers to Christ or other spiritual decisions this summer would be totally different – my role was to help the counselors to effectively reach out to their campers. With 94 kids receiving Christ as their personal Savior and 87 dedications, I feel honored to be a part of this life-altering summer.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

Jason Quey
Program Staff

Monday, August 10, 2009

megan's girls...

This has been a summer of friendships, leadership, laughter, trials, tears, hugs, challenges, sleep deprivation…

The list could go on but I will spare you all! I was placed as girl’s head counselor this summer and couldn’t have asked for a more stretching position. I was taught how to love and encourage others through the rough times, while at the same time I worked with God on some of my own personal challenges…talk about multitasking! My girls are beautiful woman of God and it was a privilege to see their growth.

Elizabeth – has a very independent and stubborn heart. She gave 110% to her campers and did not let others sway her ministry.
Laurren – was able to pull through some hard weeks of junior campers only to discover she has a knack for children and service.
Emily – stepped in as a counselor during the last week of campers and blew us all out of the waters. Thank you for all of your hard work, even if you didn’t know what you were doing at times!
Ali – has a tender and quiet heart, which is such a blessing to this team. She is a very dedicated individual with a strong passion to serve others.
Aimee P – grew a lot as a leader! I watched her crawl to the finish line with a smile on her face. Her love is infectious!
Amy C - She took the time to get to know her campers and built a lot of strong friendships. She has a very genuine and caring heart…and I am blessed to have been her leader!
Melissa – has a vivacious and loud drive for ministry! She connected with her campers on such a unique level and it was fun to see her outgoing personality used as a ministry tool.
Lindley – came the farthest and grew the most. Her passion for Camp Gilead began in Georgia and I am excited she was a part of our team. She not only brought the south to Washington but she brought a breath of fresh air to the staff.
Elisabeth – is not only an amazing counselor but an incredible friend. She loves to be around others and has a special way with the campers. Each week you could see the adoration in her camper’s eyes!
Teanna – is another tender-hearted counselor who really sought after God’s own heart this summer. It was encouraging to see her strive for growth.
Ashley – is always full of fun and laughter; willing to jump in wherever needed! I watched her persevere through tough stuff this summer and it was a blessing to see!

I saw growth in myself as a leader and as a loyal friend. Christ squeezed my heart so tight that I had to lose it, in order to gain it. Matthew 16:25 now makes sense: "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

Megan Stephens
Camp Gilead Program Staff

Saturday, August 8, 2009

around the campfire

Last night as we sat around the Victory Circle one last time we were totally blessed by the campers sharing their decisions to walk closer with Jesus, to read their Bible more, to listen and obey their parents, to stop saying foolish things ... and on they went.

There were so many campers standing waiting to share a spiritual decision that we eventually had to cut them off and encourage them to share their decision with their counselor.

And now they go home...

For a camp counselor this can be a bittersweet time. The time that has been invested is great and many times the rewards of that work come surprisingly quick while at camp. But as the lives of the young campers are opened up, many times it is realized that the support at home for their newly found faith in Jesus is not exactly at the greatest of levels.

For others - they will be returning to homes of great encouragement and spiritual wisdom.

I remember those Saturdays as a young camper...going "down from the mountain" feeling like there was ... no place like place like camp... And truly there is no place like camp. But - camp is not the real world and all of us at some point have to leave this place of spiritual security and walk back down the mountain to what we call the real world.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Friday, August 7, 2009

numb thumbs...from Day Camp Director Erika Heins

I’ve found that, as program staff, my job involves more behind-the-scenes work than actual one-on-one interaction with campers. I’ll admit that sometimes I’m glad to be sorting T-shirts and putting together power points while the counselors run all over camp with a flock of kindergarteners behind them. Sometimes it’s not so much fun, like when I cut out almost a hundred little paper birds and fish for crafts.

But although the different work can be both a relief and a burden, it can also be a distraction. It’s easy to begin thinking that getting all the coloring pages copied and the puppet stage set up are matters of life and death. But they really aren’t. The true matter of life and death is whether or not these little children have a chance to choose Jesus as their Savior.

I got a fresh reminder of this just after chapel today. In previous days, we had talked about sin and how Adam and Eve had been punished for it, and about how God promised to send a Savior. Today the entire chapel lesson was about how God had kept His promise by Jesus’ death and resurrection. After singing a couple of slower songs about Jesus, I told the campers to stay behind with their counselors if they had any questions. I led the campers who didn’t need to stay over to crafts at the pavilion.

As I helped the campers glue birds and fish onto their creation posters, one by one six girl counselors came up to me with smiles all over their faces. “Lily just got saved!” “I just saved Ainsley!” Several of them had never led anyone to Christ before—but if their glowing faces told me anything, they’ll be wanting to do it again.

As campers finished their crafts and ran out into the field to play Red Rover (never mind how many bumps and bruises it delivers! They always want to play it), I stayed behind to pick up the leftover birds and fish and scoop the crayons back into the box. Those campers had taken the first step in a breathtaking journey. And those counselors had discovered the wonder of sharing their faith. I couldn’t stop smiling.

So that’s why I cut out birds and fish until my thumb went numb.

Erika Heins
Day Camp Director

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

from aimee parkinson - counselor

This week has been so much COOLER so far, compared to last week! It's the last week of resident campers for the summer. God has been working in amazing ways all summer.

Last night Pastor Troy Harvey gave the message of salvation in chapel. Many campers made decisions for Christ. For example, I had a camper come out after chapel. She grew up going to AWANA but had never made the deicison to follow Christ for herself. Last night she chose to have a relationship with God for the first time. She was so excited that she had a hard time getting ready for bed, because she was so excited to have God living in her heart. During devos, she shared the decision she had made after chapel and it was amazing to see the other campers hug her and be excited for her. As we closed our devos in prayer, one of the girls asked if she could pray. It was so cool to listen as she prayed for Kayla - the girl who got saved - and her decision to ask Christ in her heart.

God is working and each day I am reminded that I could not have done it on my own. Only through God can we do amazing things. God gets all the praise and glory for what He has done this summer!

Aimee Parkinson
Counselor Cabin 3

Monday, August 3, 2009

can it be???

How does this happen?

We just began our last week of youth camp!

Our staff welcomed 180+ resident campers and 40+ day campers this morning!

They came in this morning...excited and ready for a week of memory making and fun!

Pastor Troy Harvey from Olympia WA is our speaker this week and we are looking forward to some exciting chapels and singing some brand new songs centered around Creation and our Creator!

More to come...

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Friday, July 31, 2009

...from Ali Williams, Counselor Cabin #2

This week has been a scorcher, but we've found creative ways to keep cool. My favorite way was having a firetruck come and spray from its hose so that the water rained down on the campers! And I've really seen God move in amazing, unexpected ways these past few days!

For example, this week I have a camper named Kayla who is really sweet. She told me that she had been saved when she was younger, but she didn't remember when and she didn't seem to really grasp what being saved meant.

Last night at dinner with the cabin, Kayla asked me, totally out of the blue, about heaven and whether animals go there or not. That started a very long, winding discussion about heaven, God, Jesus and salvation. A lot of the girls jumped in with more questions and a lot of good answers, and I was so amazed at how much they knew and believed about God. As dinner ended, Kayla and I kept talking...then we went to chapel.

Pastor Doug, the speaker this week, closed chapel with a call for anyone who wanted to talk to their counselor about salvation or living for God. Kayla looked up at me and very cutely said, "Do I have to do it at chapel?" I told her that we could talk afterwards if she wanted, so while the other girls got ready for bed, Kayla and I talked about how she wanted to make her salvation real; she wanted to make sure that it "meant something." She prayed to God, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen or heard.

Praise the Lord for what He has done in the hearts of campers this week and this summer!

Ali Williams
Counselor - Cabin #2

Thursday, July 30, 2009

what makes a camp counselor smile?

Welcome back!

It was another HOT day today...not quite like yesterday, but we still kept the kids drinking from the water fountain, filling their water bottles and lathering up with sunscreen!

Today was the Camper Carnival - so we attempted to have as many "water events" as we possibly could! The campers all got tickets that enabled them to visit each booth at least one time. From my vantage point - it appeared that all were having a great time.

We ate lunch outside and then headed back to the cabins for an extra long R&R ... much to the counselor's excitement! Our counselors are working the hot sun...trying to keep campers spirits high and energy levels up. They all spend 23 hours a day with 9 - 12 campers...sometimes even through the night they are working tirelessly for the goal of glorifying the Lord Jesus through their actions and attitude. If you are a parent of a camper here this week and would like to thank your child's camp counselor in a tangible up on Saturday with a note of thanks, words of encouragement or maybe even a Starbucks! I'm sure that the pleasure of seeing their face would be impressed on your heart for many days to come!

Campers enjoyed yet another "pool mail call" and many had to walk the plank! We even had a "pirate counselor" that encouraged the campers to ... walk the plank! I am impressed at the amount of packages that come through Camp Gilead. We even had a huge "Camp Cookie" delivered yesterday from Mrs. Field's Cookies! It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen! There is just nothing like it. These hot summer days were MADE for camp. And these campers are living it up here. Thank you for the privilege of serving your kids. We look forward to another day with them tomorrow!

See you tomorrow around the campfire, here at Victory Circle.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the pool is cool...

Wow! What a day it has been today!

I think I personally put my swimsuit on at least 5 times today! :)

Here's a little peek into how we managed to stay cool throughout the day here at Gilead while the thermometer hit record breaking temperatures!

We started off the morning after chapel with mail call at the pool. Campers and counselors sat around the edge of the pool with their feet dangling in the water while names were read and mail was passed out. When all the mail was distributed, we had just enough time to have campers jump into the pool just before it was lunch time! The campers cooled their bodies just enough to be refreshed.

If you've ever been to Gilead on hot summer days you know that one of the worst places when it's hot is the dining hall. So - campers and counselors ate their meal outside in the shade. It was hot outside ... but much cooler than the sweatbox ... also known as the dining hall.

After lunch, and R&R, campers went to their afternoon activities - which included at least one hour of swimming. Then came the Eastside Fire Department with their ladder truck and water truck. Campers were blasted (some literally!) with a steady stream of water for about 15 minutes! Campers LOVED IT! They screamed and hollered as the water flowed...creating a rainbow as the sun hit the stream. See pictures at

Following afternoon activities and dinner (again...outside!) we took the campers back down to the pool for the Wheel of Misfortune where they could spin "Walk the Plank (diving board)" or "Staff in Pool." After all the campers had spun that received packages, we again had the campers cool their bodies before chapel by jumping in the pool. No one seemed to mind getting into the pool...again.

All afternoon the announcements on the PA system could be heard..."Remember to drink lots of water!" Counselors took their campers past the water fountain to fill up their Camp Gilead water bottles...keeping them hydrated and happy...and going to the restroom!

It's been a GOOD day...we are so thankful for the sun! We are blessed to live in such a beautiful area. We are learning a ton about God's creation - and his most unique creation...US!

Thanks for stopping in again today at the victory circle! Until next time...

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

fire...and water!

Welcome back to the campfire...although sitting around a fire in this heat is not a place I'd like to be for very long...!

But it is good to hang out with you this morning!

So - we said good bye to our "older campers" that we've had for the last few weeks - junior high and high school...and welcomed our youngest campers of the summer.

Yesterday morning 165 little 3rd - 5th graders as well as 40 day campers descended on Camp Gilead and so did the HEAT!

The theme of the day was "hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!" Every chance we could take them past the water fountain ... we did ... and as a result...visited the bathroom many times as well! :)

In chapel this week we welcome Pastor Doug Johnston from Redmond WA. He always comes to Gilead with a variety of tricks up his sleeve...and last nights chapel involved FIRE! Yes - he "blew something up!" Jack and the Gilead Fire Dept were on hand for any potential roaming sparks - but in the end - everything was left intact and campers were still awake at the end of chapel! That's always a plus!

More heat to come today we've heard...pray for our campers as they endure God's blessing of the sun! We will be doing our best to keep them cool, hydrated and well as keep their hearts tender towards the Lord and protected from the world's impact.

See you next at the Victory Circle!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Friday, July 24, 2009

sights & sounds from the Friday night fire...

Heard at tonight's campfire...

"Wednesday night I rededicated my life to Jesus"

"I want to go back to school and tell my friends about my faith"

"I don't want to be ashamed of my Christianity"

"I got saved on Wednesday night"

"I met a friend here at camp that is going to help keep me accountable"

"I want to tell my family about Jesus"

The flickering fire, the camper's testimonies, the glow of lightsticks, the sounds of voices and guitars ... it is a truly awesome experience. This experience we at Gilead call the Victory Circle.

All glory goes to our Heavenly Father for all of His mighty works.


Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Thursday, July 23, 2009

from tyler pagel...counselor cabin 15

Our God is so awesome! I am reminded of that on a daily basis and yesterday God really continued to show how powerful and mighty He is.

I was able to do several 1 on 1's yesterday and connected with two of my campers. I learned more about their home life and more importantly that they were not born again believers, and those campers weren't ready to make a decision to give their life for Christ.

Shortly after that, I was able to pray with Craig Haskins about those campers and just give the situation to God and ask him to have His will be done. I was in prayer the rest of the day.

Later that night (last night), in chapel, I could feel the Lord working as soon as we started singing. My kids seemed very attentive and open to the message that Pastor Dennis Smith was sharing. At the end of the message Pastor Dennis shut off the lights and demonstrated God's awesome power when He spoke and light was created. He then challenged the campers to realize and accept Christ as their personal Savior. I knew God was about to do His work!

After the challenge from Pastor Dennis, I had FOUR guys come out!!! But I knew it wasn't over yet. I prayed and asked God to give me the words to say and that I could lead my campers to Him. I took three aside and sent another camper with another staff member, Craig.

I led them through the Romans Road of Salvation and told them if they believed in their hearts that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, that they will be saved and can be 100% confident that they will be in heaven for eternity. All three boys were very excited to start living the way God's Word tells us to.

I give all the praise and glory to God for what He did in those boy's lives last night and for reminding me once again, how awesome He truly is!

Tyler Pagel
Counselor - Cabin 15

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

...the call...

It happens almost weekly here at Gilead. Sometimes it almost becomes routine. But it is ANYTHING BUT routine.

It is the call of God in someone's life.

And we witnessed it tonight in chapel.

Our speaker - Dennis Smith - brought us through Creation and through history and the relevance of Jesus coming in the flesh. He then shared with campers that this Jesus wants to have a relationship with us so that we can glorify Him and live eternally in us a hope and a future.

As I speak, campers and counselors are huddled together...speaking quietly. Some are crying, some are not speaking. Some are talking a mile a minute. All have experienced a call of some sort ... a tugging on their heart. A tug so strong that they were able to stand up, walk through their row of their friends and cabin mates, down the aisle of the chapel and to the back of our chapel where they waited as their counselor followed them.

It is a humbling thing to witness God moving and directing in hearts and lives - changing them forever.

Tonight, Counselor Melissa Edwards shared how she rededicated her life to Jesus while at Camp Gilead as a young girl.

Tonight - the stories of many young girls and boys lives are being written and changed forever.

To God be the glory! Great things HE has done!

Kimberly Mallory
Program Director

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

from Josh Mallory ... Full Time Staff...Maintenance

Camp Gilead is an amazing place. I have been serving here at Gilead for 10 years, working as maintenance, and still am amazed by what God does here in the campers lives, the staffs lives, and my life. I would think by now I would kinda know it all and know what to expect. But the Lord still is teaching me more about Him. I could have never had dreamt to be doing such a great work for the Kingdom of God.

I didn’t grow up going to church camp or even Church. A staffer asked me if I had an idea if this is what I wanted to do for a career. I told him that I didn’t have a plan for “any” career or college.
I came to the Lord at 22. It truly is amazing to see how God brought me to Camp Gilead. I think almost daily and wonder why God has allowed me to be here. I do not deserve such a great job and life. I was so young in the faith to be jumping into full time ministry. But God really made Proverbs 3:5, 6 come alive to me and still does. To trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding, and to acknowledge Him in all my ways and He will direct my paths. God has allowed me to serve here today and who knows what could happen tomorrow.
There is a plaque inside the chapel with a picture of the founder of Camp Gilead. His name is Forest Johnson, and on this plaque is a verse that is from 1 Corinthians 15:31, and it says, Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain in Christ Jesus. Wow, what an encouraging verse for anyone who serves Jesus. I saw that verse on the plaque about 5 years ago and it has been such a great reminder for what I do here. Some work that I do may never be seen, and I don’t think a nicely mown lawn or a toilet that doesn’t leak will bring anyone to Christ. But the work that is done for Christ will not be in vain.
Any job that we are doing, whether it is tedious, repetitive, or just the same old thing, if we can just remember who we are doing it for, that work will glorify Christ.

Whatever you eat, drink or “whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
Josh Mallory

Sunday, July 19, 2009

high school camp high...or is it lack of sleep?

You know that feeling you get when you are running on empty...with only a few hours of sleep in your "energy bank?" Sometimes you feel euphorically excited...full of energy and enthusiasm. But sit down for a few minutes (like Sunday at church!) and suddenly your eyelids come crashing down as you fight to listen and/or pay attention to whatever it is you are doing.

Sometimes you feel totally depleted ... unable to even talk. That is what is like after a week of high school camp - for camper and staff.

It might have something to do with...

A late night testimony time around the victory circle - hearing about campers sharing what God has done in their life during a week of camp

An even later night (try 2:30 AM!) of staff skits and game shows - called Friday Night Live

The intensity and emotion of watching a DVD called "How Great Is Our God by Louie Giglio" then going to Solo Time - to process the magnitude and glory of the vastness of our Creator.

Sitting with a camper on the hillside by the chapel as he pours out his heart to you about being a Christian during the week and not just on Sundays.

Walking down the river late at night, looking at the stars and being part of Creation and experiencing the majesty of our Creator.

The intensity of playing games at night...late.

A week of emotions, excitement, entertainment, encouragement, eating, and enjoying fellowship with other Christians.

Each camper went home hearing the gospel - though some chose not to accept Christ as their Savior, the seed was planted. Each camper was challenged to walk closely with the One who "breathed stars!"

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Thursday, July 16, 2009

hot summer days...

oh the days of summer camp...

Today was an amazing Washington Summer Day at Camp Gilead!

Early this morning I woke up to a clear blue sky - looking out at the pond as an Osprey sat perched in a high branch waiting for it's morning meal.

Not too long after I woke up ... the fog arrived ... the promise of hotter weather later.

By morning chapel time it was warm and during camper was just plain hot!

The afternoons activities brought even hotter weather ... tubing and swimming were a popular event as well as the Slip N Slide later in the afternoon.

Campers, counselors sitting in the shade - talking, laughing ... building relationships.

Tonight we'll be taking an all camp the pool...and a night swim will follow.

All of these things contribute to high energy and excitement as we enter chapel where God's Word is spoken and taught. This is why we do camp.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

an experience with our Matt Larrabee, Program Staff

The crackle and pop of the camp fire fades away to the snap of twigs underfoot as we hike down a forest trail. Flashlight beams illuminate the path, while campers and counselors hold quiet conversations as they walk. But as we reach our destination, a small clearing in the middle of the woods, the voices fade, the lights are extinguished, and we sit in silence.

We look up to the stars, the huge, flaming spheres mere specks in the heavens above. The Big Dipper is visible through the treetops, and a satellite drifts across the sky. I think about the fact that the God who made the stars and the Earth is here with us now.

After a few minutes, a guitar breaks the stillness, and the night fills with the singing of high school students glorifying the God of the universe. And then it falls quiet. It is time for prayer, to speak with God, to praise Him for who He is. But no one seems to be willing to be the first one to speak up. We sit for a moment, then someone thanks God for His mercy. Another for His love, then another for His grace and power. It's everywhere now, campers and counselors, a word, a sentence, thanking Him, worshiping Him for who He is and what He has done. He is majestic, He is holy, He is creative, He is overwhelming. The passion for God fills the empty in the middle of the woods. God is here and He is moving.

Matt Larrabee
Camp Gilead Program Staff & Counselor

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

that monday feeling...

Well - High School camp is upon us.

Campers arrived pretty early yesterday and as they got out of their cars, there was a reserved excitement and anticipation as they began to check out the situation.

The weather was a little bit sketchy, but the only thing that it really hindered was swimming - and it didn't seem like anyone was too bummed about that anyway.

Then ... at chapel...we were blown away by the intensity and energy at which the campers jumped into our time of worship. Usually Monday's can be a bit more mellow as people are still "figuring" things out - but it was so awesome to listen to the campers sing and to watch them as they engaged with motions and worshiping the Lord.

Since our theme is "In the Beginning..." based on Genesis 1:1 - this is the week where we anticipate the greatest opposition to Creation and the Bible's claims about the origins of the earth. At the end of the week, it is our prayer that campers will be challenged to consider the Bible's claims about Creation and who God is - and what that means to them personally.

It was a great start to a promising week. Hearts are being stirred and some tough issues have already begun to be dealt with. We are very excited about what God is going to do in OUR hearts and lives this week as well as the campers.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Sunday, July 12, 2009

high school camp is on the horizon...

How does it happen...EVERY SUMMER?

Time just seems to move slowly as we approach summer and then BAM... it's High School Camp!

I KNOW that as soon as High School Camp is over ... the summer is going to race at full speed until the end of summer.'s good though.

This weekend our staff spent our precious few hours of rest and relaxation at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle as well as at the Mariner's game on Saturday night. It's sort of a camp tradition that's been going on for quite a few years. We even got up on the big screen!

As we look ahead towards the week to come - there are many staffers a bit nervous about what will take place in the upcoming several days of high school camp. Since many staffers are just freshly out of high school themselves, it is a chance for them to really show how they've grown in their time here at Gilead. For others, it's an opportunity to share life experiences with campers that can have an in depth and meaningful conversation.

High school camp is unique. The days are long...the nights are short ( really short!!! ) but the energy and excitement is high. These campers bring many years of their own life experiences and come with the knowledge that these counselors and staff are here to invest in their lives.

As we prayed as a staff tonight, we prayed that God would give wisdom and discernment, clarity of mind and sound doctrine.

I'm sure there are a few antsy campers out there who can't wait for Monday morning to come. I know that there are quite a few camp counselors that are "antsy" to meet their campers!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Saturday, July 11, 2009

my first three Counselor Andrew Anderson

My first three weeks of Camp Gilead have gone extremely well. All of the guy counselors have been having great discussions with our campers on how godly men should act. As a group, the guy counselors have found a few ways to get the male campers involved with us in respecting the ladies. So far, every week starts out with a lot of complaints by the kids but by Wednesday it becomes second nature. One of the ways we show respect is by standing in chapel until all of the ladies are seated. On Monday and Tuesday we have to remind our campers to remain standing until all of the ladies are seated. By the end of the week all of the guy campers are standing without having to be reminded, and sometimes they even need to remind me. It is amazing to see all of the boys standing for the ladies because you rarely see that today. Over all I feel that the campers are going to go home and thinking twice about their behavior around girls.

When I was younger I always knew that I wanted to live my life the way God had intended it. During staff training week we discussed why we needed to live our lives the way God intended. Today more and more families are pushing God out of the picture and it is causing huge problems. I never really thought about the repercussions of a divorce until God put some campers under my authority whose families had just divorced. One of my campers was so upset, hurt, and confused at what happened, it made my heart hurt when we talked. Later that week he had prayed and asked Jesus into his life. I pray that his family will turn things around and get him into a church. The next week God put more kids in my group who came from difficult family situations. A couple kids just had their father walk out on the family a week earlier. I know God is showing me that families need parents who are strong in their faith. Obviously it doesn’t work to try and leave God out.

I pray that this year at camp, all of the male staff can be an example for the kids to live a godly life and hopefully help save some marriages from ending in disaster.

-Andrew Anderson Cabin #17

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

inside the chapel walls...

Over the last century - God has used the concept of camp to draw thousands of young boys and girls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over Camp Gilead's 61 year history, since 1948, countless numbers of boys and girls, children and adults have heard the gospel message inside the walls of our chapel. This chapel has heard the sounds of campers voices singing at the top of their lungs. It has seen that hand rise up as a camper's heart is stirred to accept Jesus as their Savior.

And tonight...was no different.

Pastor Kevin Hearne shared with campers that as they have come away and "unplugged" from their electronics and equipment, God is calling them to connect with Him! He challenged those that have never had a connection with God to begin that relationship tonight. He encouraged those that have connected with God at some point in their life previously to renew their faith and walk closer with himself.

As the final song played, campers stood to sing and some found their way down their row and to the back of the chapel where they met their counselor. Counselors took campers outside the chapel to talk with them as they did "business with God."

What a joy it is to be part of eternity in the making!

Thank you God for using such a cracked vessel.

To God be the glory...GREAT things HE has done!!!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

what makes a camp counselor happy?

from a conversation I heard this morning between a few staffers...

You know what makes me happy at camp?

Starbucks gift cards
Camp Gilead Breakfast Bars
Early bedtimes
Sunny days
Donuts at staff meeting
Happy campers

Just thought you'd enjoy knowing...

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

from ashley cowan - counselor

Wow! This week has already been amazing! God has blessed me with a great cabin full of girls that are full of life and spunk and are constantly keeping me on my toes. While having multiple one on one's I was so encouraged by their love for our Savior Jesus Christ and their desire to fully serve and follow Him.I'm excited to see what God has in store for the last few days of camp and the things that He will impress upon my camper's hearts as well as my own!

Ashley Cowan
Counselor - Cabin 10

Highlights of Monday and Tuesday at Camp Gilead
Tug of War!
Games with Straws!
Dirtboarding, Skateboarding...
The Wheel of Misfortune!
The team that wins is the team that says the most verses!
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches & Tomato Soup!
...junior high camp is amazing...

Monday, July 6, 2009

memories of last week's family camp...from Tom Ruhlman

Another great Family Camp for the Ruhlman family! It was small, but that just made for shorter lines, more personal service, and quieter nights! It was fun having two of our children with us and interacting with them in the small confines of a dorm room. I am always amazed how my wife and children make it through the week with all of my snoring! The fan helps...

Mike Roberts did a wonderful job in his study of Genesis, John, and Acts. The style was different, but we all learned from his presentation. He had done his homework, for sure! Kimberly and her worship team led us in warm-hearted worship. I learned a few great songs. The "Behemoth Song," and the "Woodpecker" song really got our juices flowing regarding creation. The whole staff was special this year. Cordial, happy, sincere, helpful, and kind. From Tab we had 12 campers, 6 staff members, and 15 that stopped by for a day. This was our 35th year at Family Camp! Becky and I came when we had no children, brought all of our 8 children over the years, and now enjoy coming with just a few! It has given us a week to enjoy together, to meet thousands over the years from other churches, and to be enriched from the Word from some powerful preachers, teachers, and pastors.

If you are reading this, and have never been to camp, or went once a while ago, why not consider making Family Camp at Gilead a yearly fixture in your summer schedule? Our children will concur of its value in their lives."

Tom Ruhlman
Pastor - Tabernacle Baptist Church, Shoreline WA

the morning of junior high camp...

I don't know about you - but I can remember the morning of camp.

It was almost enough to make you sick.

I have experienced and witnessed many Camp Monday Mornings.

First ... you wake up and are instantly excited. Never mind that you woke up several times earlier because you were SO excited and wondered if your alarm really was going to go off.

Then you can hardly eat breakfast because there are so many butterflies in your stomach and the thought of eating ... well it's almost too much.

For those that live close to camp ... the time can't go by quick enough. Is it time to pack the car? Is it time to get in the car? Is it time??? For those that live farther away - once you are in the car you wonder if you are EVER going to get there!

Then...your heart stops beating.

You are in Carnation. You pass the familiar landmarks. Then you are less than 1 mile away. It's almost more than your mind and body can handle and you just about feel like you are going to lose any breakfast you had in you. The excitement, anticipation, nervousness and expectation levels are at an all time high as you come within a mile of Camp Gilead.

Why are all the cars in front of you going SO SLOW???

You round the bend in the road...can you see the sign yet? Where is it...almost...THERE IS THE SIGN!!!!

You begin to see the staff outside the camp welcoming campers...They are cheering, excited that you have arrived. Oh - to be on STAFF. That must be the ultimate camp experience.

And as you drive into the familiar hill up into Camp Gilead...the excitement builds ...
Do you know anyone? Will your friends be there? Who will be your counselor? Will you have fun? Will you like it? What if you are in a cabin with people you don't know?

And your Camp Gilead week begins.

Can anyone relate? :)

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Friday, July 3, 2009

from family camper - nicole muegge

Here it is - our second time to family camp. The Lord has blessed us with beautiful weather this week. Our family really was looking forward to this week and just like last time, we were not disappointed. The week of family camp gives us an opportunity to focus on the REAL important stuff.

The staff are amazing with their true servant's hearts. The grounds allow us to enjoy God's beautiful creation, and the speaker allows God to speak through him encouraging us through God's Word. This week we have studied "stories" in the Bible in a way I have never studied them before. It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful things God's Word has to offer. We have studied everything from God's Creation, our need for a Savior, Authority & positions of, and God's power.

When I ask my kids what has been their favorite part about Camp Gilead this week - between miniature golf, the train, gutterball, swimming, gaga ball, the playground, basketball and more, it really is hard for them to pick one thing.

We have enjoyed laughs and tears, meeting new people and we love chapel time.

As we conclude this week I pray that as we leave that we would not leave these things that God has spoken to us.

Thank you Camp Gilead for your ministry and may God continue to bless you.

Nicole Muegge
Family Camper

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

family camp fun...

There is something truly unique about Family Camp.

It's not just that your meals are cooked for you, or that you don't have to go to work, or that you don't have to clean up after yourself after a meal. It's not even that you can take a nap every day - or two if you'd like. And it's not that you can sit in the shade on the porch of the cabins and read a book for as long as you'd like...

But WHAT is it?

It's the fellowship.

Being in community with other people, with your family without the distractions of everyday life. We can get so bogged down with schedules, appointments, playdates, events, games, etc that we forget to just BE together - to fellowship in community.

At Family Camp - you sit down with your family around a meal table shared with other families and you begin to realize that there are people in the same boat as you. Some that have gone through great trials, some that have walked the road ahead of you and can offer wisdom or advice.

It has been so awesome to watch families connect this week and come alongside each other for support and encouragement. To see mothers and daughters, fathers and sons spend time together in simple play.

That's what is unique about Family Camp!

See you at the one in August?

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i love camp food ... at family camp! - Pastor Mike Roberts

This week I don't have to plan, prepare or clean up after a meal - what a blessing! But the blessing of eating is greater than that, and at camp I've had opportunity to think on this as well.

The Apostle Paul said, "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." Every meal is a demonstration of the glory of God and his grace. We come hungry (a real need) and our need is graciously met. Three times a day I am reminded that God lovingly supplies all that I need, and I get to share this with my immediate family and the family of God - what a blessing!

Thank you God for camp food, for your grace, for your glory on display in all things!

Pastor Mike Roberts
Temple Baptist Church - Fircrest WA
Camp Gilead Family Camp Pastor

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finish line...or starting line? from Megan Franklin

When I think about victory, I often think about ending, accomplishing or being done with something. We here at Camp Gilead though, have just begun.

I would not call myself a good writer, but taking our theme... In the Beginning ... and playing on words, I wanted to share how exciting it has been to watch the start of the summer ministry. This last week we had about 140 4th - 6th graders step onto the camp. As a staff, we were so eager to begin building relationships through community and creation by slip n sliding, singing, swimming, hiking, learning, sharing, eating, playing, sleeping and simply enjoying the atmosphere of summer camp.

By the end of the week were were sitting around the campfire hearing the reflections of campers.

Some campers were so excited about all they had learned about Creation in the Jonathan Park skit, others were excited about decisions they had made for the Lord, and others were just so glad there was a Camp Gilead.

It was a time of sharing New Beginnings. Whether it was a new relationship, a new favorite activity, or a new bit of truth about God, His Word, and His Work. I am excited to already see His goodness and grace in the lives of the staff and campers, and I pray that God will continue to bless and use us for this purpose from beginning to end.

Megan Franklin
Camp Gilead High School Staff Leader

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ashes and embers - from Jim Saunders, Jr Camp Pastor

Camp ministry is alive and effective! Not much, but faint embers visibly remain from tonight’s camp fire. Victory Circle outside our cabin is once again quiet with the campers now back in their cabins. Suddenly the quiet is interrupted by the croaking choir down by the pond and just as suddenly, they break for intermission. I reach for a Pepsi to wash down what remains from a Starbucks run earlier. Not wise for a man my age at this time of night; until I remember Cabin 17 thinks I am 32 years old. Their reward in heaven will be great, but still behind Cabin 3 who guessed my wife Kim to be age 20 something.

I feel drained of energy but my mind still continues to race and reflect. I could have included a visual illustration of the point I was trying to make, or maybe I should have been clearer or more detailed in the various applications, or….but it is what it is. As I listened to the testimonies, God has spoken and moved in campers’ lives in spite of me, and yet has wonderfully included me in the process. I feel happy but even more humbled. Several camp fire comments centered on unplanned illustrations that came back to me in the moment of speaking. I know what God did! I am so grateful that God showed up and am reminded that He alone deserves the glory.

It is what it is, but what will it be? Where does God want to take each of these campers, staff or me in the days ahead…and will we obediently follow Jesus? The embers may be nearly just ashes, but may the fire of God continue to burn hot and bright in each of us.

Pastor Jim Saunders
First Baptist Church - Connell WA
Junior Camp #1 Pastor

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday night sights and sounds

the crackling fire
flying sparks
Milt Herd adding wood
the sounds of several guitars tuning
campers laughing
campers talking
campers reflecting
a cool breeze through the trees
the flash of a camera
campers singing
the lights of glowstick necklaces and bracelets around campers necks and bodies
the innocent sweetness of a camper sharing that he or she accepted Jesus as their Savior
campers thanking counselors
"I learned that ... "
Lives changed...forever.

These are the sights and sounds of the Victory Circle.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the view from the keyboard...'s cold out tonight! Welcome back to the fire here at the Victory Circle!

Camp life the last few days has been exciting and filled with activities, energy and memories!

We went on a huge slip n slide yesterday, hiked up river a bit to a clearing and had a picnic lunch under the trees, learned about dinosaurs and Creation, sang lots of new songs and hunted for hidden counselors.

One of the coolest parts of camp is definitely chapel time. The view from the keyboard is always interesting. From there I see campers singing, yawning, laughing, talking, NOT singing, sitting, falling asleep etc. Tonight was no different. Although - tonight, Pastor Jim went through the story of the Bible beginning at Adam and Eve and ending at the New Heaven & New Earth. Pastor Jim challenged the campers to make sure that they knew about their spiritual situation. Did they really know Jesus as the Savior of their life? Had they ever made that decision?

As I began playing "You Are My King" I looked out over the campers. Their voices rang clear and strong as the song began. I couldn't help but smile as I saw little boys closing their eyes and singing with all of their might. The sweet faces of little girls as they "prayed" as they sang. The intensity of a counselor worshipping before the Lord. The amazement of being part of something taking place before me that had eternal significance. Campers were walking towards the back ... getting ready to meet their counselor and do business with God.

The view from the keyboard is amazing and I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve in this way.

Tomorrow...the last day of camp. Obstacle course, the last chapel, and then...the Victory Circle.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director (view daily pictures!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the jump

3rd Grade – The first time I saw the camp fire on Friday night I could only think about ONE thing. Could I jump over the Fire?... Its every boy's dream and yet still every man's dream to wonder if they could or not… it's not that we're too scared to jump it, but that we could get into HUGE trouble if we did… I am 21 now and as I stare right into the flames that once captured my attention at such a young age I still think about how I could pull this off… So many memories hide beneath the ashes of the tarded fire. Commitments and tears, but the ONE that comes to my mind… “THE JUMP”

Jeremy Costalez
Dirtboards/Program Staff

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

from melissa...counselor of cabin 5

Hi! My name is Melissa and I am the counselor of Cabin 5. This is my first year on staff at Camp Gilead and I have been having a blast so far this first week at camp!

Monday was the first day that many of these girls had ever met. But after only a few awkward conversations and silences, I was totally surprised by how friendly and outgoing each one of them are! It's only been 24 hours since I met them and I already feel like we know each other so well and I can talk to all of them without hesitation.

On our first day we did crafts and I had already noticed the girls' enthusiasm for art after they plastered our cabin door and walls with posters and pictures! The girls made little boxes at craft time that I told them to put their name on somewhere. When the boxes were dry, we put them in our cabin and I told them that they were for notes back and forth to each other (kind words only!)

It has been so much fun to write a little encouraging word here and there and also to receive them as well. This was a great activity that really helped to connect the girls and I'm positive that some of the relationships built here will continue on for years to come.

As the week continues I am excited to see what God has in store for all of us. He is working in each one of their hearts - even as you read this! Each day I pray that their relationship with God, as well as my own, will grow stronger and stronger.

Melissa Edwards
Counselor Cabin #5

Monday, June 22, 2009

...first day of summer camp... of the best things about coming to the victory circle is the chance to SIT!

Our day started out a bit cold and wet...and early! Day campers arrived at Gilead around 7:30 AM and were welcomed by a very energized staff. Each car that drove onto the camp was greeted with cheers and a "tunnel" of staffers! The little day campers (Kindergarteners - 3rd graders) were probably a little bit nervous as to what this experience would entail. But it didn't take long before they were busy playing and doing activities!

Resident campers began to arrive around 10:30 and camp had officially BEGUN! The energy was high and the excitement was very contagious. Campers spent the day working hard at play...swimming, playing, doing crafts, slingshots, dirtboards and enjoying the life of being children. The classic camp game Tug of War tonight ignited team spirit and the cheering erupted!

Quite possibly the "heart" of Camp Gilead is our chapels. It is there where we sing, laugh, talk and learn. There's just something amazing about singing at camp! Our speaker this week is Jim Saunders from Connell WA. He challenged the campers tonight to think about who they were and what they were! From Genesis 1 we learn that God made us - and that he said that His creation was VERY GOOD.

TAPS just sounded - campers are sleeping (maybe?) we look forward to another good day tomorrow!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Sunday, June 21, 2009

twas the night before campers...

Twas the night before campers, and all through the camp
Many staffers were stirring, even though it was damp.

The name tags were hung by each bed with care
Knowing that campers soon would be there.

Tomorrows campers were nestled, all snug in their beds
While visions of Gilead, danced in their heads.

And Jack with his golf cart, and Josh with his too
Had just settled down for a cup of coffee or two.

The air was exciting, the energy high
Knowing what tomorrow would bring, practically lit up the sky.

When staff meeting was over, the counselors all fled
Off to their cabins, but not quite to bed.

In the Beginning, the theme is this year.
Dinos and Creation is what we shall hear.

God's Word is our Guide, His Spirit will lead.
For His voice we will listen, as the campers we will lead.

Please pray for us often, lift us up before Him.
We will work best in his power, even if things look dim.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Saturday, June 20, 2009

songs in the shower...


Let me first introduce myself. My name is Jared Hageman and I am a Senior at Oregon State University. This will be my first year as a counselor at camp. After a week of staff training, I am very excited to spend my summer here at camp. Where else can you wake up and sing “Every Move I Make” in the shower with your fellow counselors?

Our week so far has been extremely valuable. We have spent a lot of time in the Word, worshipping God, coming together as a team, and even learning about creation. I know many of us have been challenged in numerous ways through this intensive training and we are looking forward to our first group of campers on Monday.

Perhaps one of the most exciting things to see God doing so far is bringing us together as a team. Many of us did not know each other when this week started; all we had was a common goal to serve God at camp this summer. It is amazing how quickly God can bring people together when their desire is to bring glory to Him.

Last night, all of us male staff members made a commitment to raise the standard for male conduct here at camp. I personally have never been in an environment where guys my age talk about how to be men of God. Most of the time, we sink to the level of the least mature person in the group. This is just more evidence that God is working in us and preparing us for an amazing summer ahead!

Jared Hageman
Counselor - Cabin 14

Friday, June 19, 2009

donuts and some friendly competition...
's not just all Creation Science, study and intense training here at Camp Gilead's Staff Training Week!

Yesterday the girls and the guys battled it out in some friendly competition for "bragging rights" in the Camp Gilead Staff Photo Scavenger Hunt.

The instructions were to capture photos of specific events and objectives as places like "the scrapbooking aisle at Michaels" for the boys and the "power tool section of Home Depot" for the girls. They also had to capture on film a transaction at some local grocery stores, and sing songs at a restaraunt or two.

They were to end at Krispy Kreme in Issaquah. First team to arrive would be the winner! The boys arrived first and were thrilled to know that they had beaten the girls. When the girls didn't arrive for a few minutes, the guys decided to take their cars across the street so that when the girls arrived, they would THINK they had won - while the guys would proudly "saunter" in. The plan worked. The girls were THRILLED that they had bested the boys ... and were dumbfounded when they watched them walk into the donut shop with cups and donuts already in hand.

It was all in good fun and everyone was able to console themselves with some fresh Krispy Kreme.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

dinosaur name tags - from erika heins

For the last three years, Camp Gilead has been my place to serve, my place to come away from the routines of my home and place myself where my life—and, more importantly, Christ’s in me—can touch the lives of others.

Although one of our mottos is “camp is for the campers,” I have to say that camp has blessed not only campers but me. It’s given me the chance to see God work when I had no energy left. It’s given me glimpses of His power. And it’s burdened my heart for the spiritual needs of kids and their families—junior campers from broken and breaking homes, high schoolers struggling with the meaning and purpose of life, and junior highers wanting guidance but not wanting to ask for it.

This summer, I’m looking forward to working with a whole new group of kids—Camp Gilead’s youngest and newest additions to the camp family, the day campers. I just hope that every child comes away remembering that the God who spoke the world into existence loves them and wants a relationship with them. That’s the reason for every Excel schedule and laminated dinosaur name tag I’ll make this summer.

Erika Heins
Day Camp Director

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lions and Beavers and Bears...oh my!

“Hi, my name is Pastor Jim and I’m a Bear/Labrador”. (No, this is not the blog for your recovery group.) This week at staff training we have taken a form of the DiSC personality test. The test uses animal names to describe the four different personality types.
When I say that I’m a Bear/Labrador that means is that I’m a “people person”. I tend to focus on relationships, rather than tasks. The other two personality types, Lion and Beaver, tend to focus on tasks rather than relationships.

The one thing that is amazing is how God brings people together from all over the country, each with their own personality types, to work at Camp Gilead for the summer. This year, the majority of the staff is brand new, but after only 4 days they are creating bonds and understanding their roles on the team. Lots of tasks are getting done and lots of relationships are being formed.

God gives each of us a certain personality, with inherent strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to shine in our strengths and learn how to grow by seeing the example of others. Our personality types are just another way for the Holy Spirit to show His power by giving us the ability to serve in unity.

Romans 15:5-7
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Please continue to pray for us as we finish out the week of staff training and look forward to our first week of Junior Camp.

Pastor Jim Mailloux is the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Richland, WA. He has been the camp pastor for staff training for the last 5 years.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i love camp food...

Welcome back to the Victory Circle. The fire is bright...the air is muggy...and there's a bit of a mist in the air. But what a week it has been so far!

True to form - it seems like we've been together for weeks already and really...we've only all been together since Sunday! We have been doing so much each day - work projects, sessions with Jim Mailloux studying our personality types and differences as well as a "lively" discussion regarding Absolutes, Convictions and Preferences. Tonight we had the privilege to hear from Randy Pollard regarding What's Really Behind Evolution. All of these sessions will only help us as we stock our toolboxes full of tools from God's Word that He will bring out at just the right time as we speak to a camper.

The friendships are already forming and we are becoming a TEAM!

We are super excited for Monday when campers arrive - but still have a lot to accomplish.

The mosquitoes are really bad though. We are all getting eaten alive.

Isn't it funny when you sit by a campfire how random your thoughts are sometimes? Your mind bounces from one thing to the next and when you stop to consider how you got from that first thought to the one you are thinking now...there were about 10 other things in between.

I wonder what is for breakfast tomorrow? This morning's breakfast was a sack breakfast after our 7:10 AM staff meeting - out around camp talking about God's Creation and recognizing his character in it. We learned/talked about water, ants, trees, using our 5 senses and how God uses all of those things to point to Himself.

Dinner tonight was incredible. Manicotti, Caesar salad, corn, garlic toast and banana chocolate chip cake. Yay for camp food!

See you next time around the Victory Circle! Come back soon!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Monday, June 15, 2009

coming full circle - by Craig Haskins

It was the summer of 2001 when I first set eyes on the summer program at Camp Gilead. I remember coming out with my two best friends Michael and Brandon. I remember being very nervous because I didn’t know any one beside my two friends and the worst part about it was that I wasn’t in their cabin!!! Even though I was separated from my buds I had a blast! God put me in the right place that summer and also for many summers to come.

This will be my fifth year being on staff here at Camp Gilead. Three years on the glorious high school staff and one year as a counselor. This year I will be on Program Staff as high school staff counselor. Through the years at camp I have gained friendships, made a million memories, cried many tears, washed a lot of dishes, and have had the opportunity to lead campers to Christ. I have experienced so many things here. One of my favorite memories around this victory circle was hearing a camper stand up and publicly thank Jack for starting the camp in 1948 even though he was born in the 50’s! Many funny and memorable stories have been created here and Gilead has been my summer home since I was a wee 16 years old.

Through my ministry at camp God has put on my heart to go into full time ministry with a focus on youth. Over the past three years I have had the opportunity working with youth in Renton. This summer God has brought me to the right place again. From an LIT in 2002 to high school staff counselor in 2009 God has truly brought me full circle.

Craig Haskins
High School Staff Counselor

hotdogs, smores and friends...

Summer Staff have officially arrived!

Yesterday at 4:00 pm - the counselors and support staff arrived at Camp Gilead! There's always such an energy on the first day of camp. A little bit of awkwardness and uncomfortability mixed with excitement and anticipation!

We started our week of staff training ... around the victory circle. We roasted hot dogs, made smores and the conversation flowed. When we initially got the group together, I challenged them to look around the group. These people would become their closest friends, one might become their spouse, others would be in their weddings - the relationships that were about to develop would be deep. (then I asked them if they wanted to take another look around the circle!) :)

It was a good first day. Pictures will be coming...

Do you remember your first day of summer staff training? I can remember thinking after the first night when I was a camp counselor..."these people are nice, but I already have my really close friends". Even after my first summer as a counselor, I thought that I had my "camp friends" and probably wouldn't become as close to these "new camp people" as last year's folks. I'm so glad that I was wrong! Each summer I developed unique and special friendships with those that I worked with. Ahh...the memories! :)

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Saturday, June 13, 2009

from megan stephens - girls head counselor


Program Staff training is now over - am I sad? No! I am very excited to meet the new faces coming tomorrow. Today I drove to the airport to pick up Lindley who flew in from Georgia. She is going to be a counselor and I am super excited to be part of her "Northwest Experience" and memories.

As a program staff we have planned and prepared with little exercise. I think our next two hour meeting needs to happen at the beach. :)

But nonetheless, I am so blessed to have been given this position and know that everyone showing up tomorrow is brought here by God. I am excited to be part of the summer staff 2009.

Megan Stephens
Girls Head Counselor

Thursday, June 11, 2009

from jason quey - guys head counselor

As I sit and look around the victory circle, I am flooded by the memories of years gone by: late night snacks, cleaning out the muck in the mini-golf pond, the sting of the gaga ball as it hits your face, the vibration of the BB gun as you fire off a round, the joyful glee of swimmers in the pool, and the deep bellow of the chapel bell as it echoes throughout the camp. These and many more memories will once again come alive to me as my fifth summer on staff approaches.

Having gone to Camp Gilead for all of my life as a camper, High School Staff and College staff, I am excited to now be on Program Staff. I remember looking up to past head counselors and wondering if I would ever get to do that; legends like Jonathan and Tim Counts, Noah Bannister, Jason Taylor, Jon Cramer, Simon Sandusky, and Jeremy Ashbee. Now here I am in that same position. In no way do I wish to replace these men of God, but instead I hope to become another great role model to all campers and staff.

Looking back I can barely remember the names of the people who spoke during a week of chapel, let alone what they preached on. I can’t honestly say what great spiritual lesson I learned every year of camp either. What I really can remember is every counselor that I had since my first junior camp in 1998 and what impact they had on my life. Sure, in many ways these guys were not perfect, however God chose to use all of them in many different ways to shape me to be who I am today.

To each person reading this, campers both young and old, staff members of past and the present, and to anyone else, I wish for you to reflect on the purpose statement that we have chosen for this coming summer – Experiencing Creation and Community to Evangelize and Disciple.

Many of you have been saved at Camp Gilead and still more have grown to become more Christ-like after a week of camp. No matter where you are in life there are people who look up to you and will be forever changed by the things that you do – for better or for worse. Don’t let this paralyze you into inaction for fear that you will mess up. Instead, focus on ways to be a great godly example to those around you as they follow in your footsteps. Evangelism and discipleship isn’t just a “camp thing” but something that we all must daily live. Who knows? Perhaps that annoying little kid that follows you will become the next head counselor.

2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Jason Quey
2009 Guys Head Counselor

casting a vision

"Where there is no vision, the people perish..." Proverbs 29:18

Knowing the what and the why is SO important! * WHAT am I doing and WHY AM I doing it?

Yesterday we had the privilege of having Paul Hill, Executive Pastor at Silverdale Baptist Church come and share to our Program Staff. Paul spend many years as the Program Director at Island Lake Camp in Poulsbo WA. He drew from his experiences working with people at camp as well as in church ministry to challenge us as a team to work together and with others in a godly and productive way.

He challenged us to all buy into the vision of Camp Gilead this summer. So - I took a few words and concepts that I wanted to communicate in every aspect of our summer. We took those words and put them into a sentence that will dictate everything we do this summer. It's awesome to have a starting point - and know that if the activity, event or plan doesn't align with our vision - then maybe it needs to go. Sometimes knowing your vision is more about knowing what to say NO to than what to say YES to!

Camp Gilead 2009
"Experiencing Creation and Community to Evangelize and Disciple."

Kimberly Mallory - Program Director

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

it's just camp...

Camp People, Camp Songs, Camp Jokes, Camp Culture...

Today we had our first day of training of our Program Staff for the summer. This is an amazing group - together they have 26 summers of experience under their belt!

Camp really is amazing. It brings people together like no other place can. These seven individuals probably wouldn't hang out on a daily basis in the "outside" world ... but we have had such a great time together today, planning, preparing, brainstorming, laughing, eating and talking camp! So much to plan and prepare for...the rest of the staff arrives on Sunday.

We sat tonight and sang together - as the frogs croaked and the crickets chirped - we lifted OUR voices to the LORD! What is it about singing songs at camp? There is just something special that brings you to the feet of Jesus. Maybe it is the simplicity of it all. No powerpoint. No microphones...just voices and the strumming guitar.

There is a Christian School group here having an all school retreat. So - even amidst the quiet of the fire - there are voices to be heard...laughing and playing...enjoying the outdoors. Experiencing camp. Experiencing play. Experiencing the joys of this life. Experiencing GOD!

Kimberly Mallory - Program Director

Monday, June 8, 2009

Welcome to our Blog!

Can you smell it? Can you hear it? It's the crackling fire - the smoke is rising up to the trees, the sky is clear, the stars are bright! A guitar or two is strumming and the air is filled with the sounds of laughing children. I love sitting here in the Victory Circle. If only these trees could talk - the stories they would tell!

They might tell of 61 years of children and adults sitting under their branches, roasting marshmallows with sticky fingers. Or maybe they would speak of the tears that were shed as a young boy shared of a rough home life he would be returning to...but with a newfound faith in Jesus Christ. If only trees could speak...

Oh but they DO!

They speak of the glory of God! Their trunks point to their Creator and their branches reach out and give HIM the glory!

Here at the Victory Circle - we want to share with you what God is doing here at Camp Gilead. The Victory Circle has always been a place of reflection. Reflections inward as well as outward.

We will post as much as we can, with a few pictures here and there. More pictures can always be found on our website:

Staff begin to arrive tomorrow! Hard to believe that it's here already! We will have a few program staff members that will begin to arrive for training and preparation. These training times are so valuable and important to the cohesiveness of our staff. We don't just learn about "boating and bb guns" but instead we learn about leadership, and serving, photography and personalities. Guest speakers these next few weeks of training include: Paul Hill, Molly Nickles, Randal Pollard, Jim Mailloux and Tom Ruhlman.

Program Staff 2009 Members:
Erika Heins - Day Camp Director
Megan Stephens - Program Staff
Jason Quey - Program Staff
Jeremy Costalez - Progam Staff
Craig Haskins - Guys High School Staff Leader
Megan Franklin - Girls High School Staff Leader

The Victory Circle is always open. It's never locked up and we'll keep the logs on the fire as long as you'd like to sit. Meet us here again and we'll share with you some of the victories, memories and daily happenings that take place on these blessed 27 acres in Carnation WA.

Kimberly Mallory, Program Director