Camp for a Week, Friends for Life!

Seasons of Change

The wind chimes around my house and camp office continue to ring with the gentle autumn winds.  The cooler temperature and relatively recent rains have encouraged the fall growing season including fall flowering.  Temperature changes, aging nectar, and the earth’s tilting axis all play a role in migration patterns within wildlife.  This year, the butterfly migration through Slumber Falls Camp has been spectacular. 

Butterfly migration has fascinated me for years.  Most insects have relatively short life spans.  If your entomology class ever requires you to keep a pet insect for a month, I would recommend a roach for longevity and survivability.  My classmates in college who tried to keep a butterfly as a pet soon discovered that most only survive a couple of weeks.  Most monarchs in the wild survive only 2-6 weeks unless they are born after August and become part of the migratory generation. The migratory generation survive for eight or nine months, migrate over 3,000 miles to the lands of their forbearer (which was about five butterfly generations ago), and then back north in the spring to lay eggs on specific plants for their offspring to thrive.  Butterfly migration is a marvelous aspect of creation that raises so many questions.  How do they pass down migratory information through the generations?  Is something encoded in their DNA or do they have a strong interconnectedness to migration paths that lead them to their final destination? The sun’s position, temperature, uv light and earth’s magnetic system, food sources, and possible geography all play roles in how a butterfly migrates.  Researchers are continually conducting studies to discover more about these incredible creatures.

Slumber Falls Camp is blessed to be in the migration paths of many migratory species, and over the years, we have encouraged and protected native species to grow with provide food/nectar for them.  At the end of September, the American Snout butterflies filled the camp ground like gray wisps of clouds.  I did not like picking up my son from school because it meant I had to drive through swarms of these insects.  The monarch migration has begun, and the flowers around the campground already have monarchs stopping by Slumber Falls Camp for rest and rejuvenation before continuing their journey.

We have also found ourselves in a season of change at the camp.  The fall is packed with preparation for the next year retreats, trainings, and summer camps, yet this year is different because of the events of the pandemic.  The effects of people socially isolating and not meeting in large groups has left most of our weekends empty, with small groups or families.  We have been exploring creative options for moving forward, and the board has permitted me to reduce my hours to quarter time though December to allow me to finish my dissertation and alleviate some of the financial stress. Our volunteers continue to share their time and talents with tasks around the property or tasks which can be done remotely and sent back to the camp.  Technology has been an effective tool for the camp.  But our greatest endeavor that we will be running is the COVID Campaign to raise funds to help offset revenue losses.

This campaign is more than raising monies to sustain Slumber Falls Camp. This campaign represents a commitment to the ministries of the camp, the environments that we create for God to speak and touch the lives of our campers, and how we function as one body of Christ living alongside and caring for all of creation.  Our goal is $150,000 that will help offset lost revenue through March 2021.  We are also exploring options for creating endowments and other financial resources for the future to mitigate future risks.  Slumber Falls Camp is truly a remarkable place and an important ministry tool for our churches.  The potential of how Slumber Falls Camp can enhance our ministries is constantly being explored and included in future plans of the conference, associations, and churches.  We must prioritize our resources so that we have them in the future to aid in our efforts to spread the gospel and care for our neighbors, even our tiny winged ones. 

I hope our paths cross sooner rather than later.  I have missed seeing so many people in our church and camp family during this pandemic.  The lack of physical contact and seeing people in person seems to create rifts or distance and a sense of not being a part of something.  Please know that you are part of the Slumber Falls Camp family, and we will rejoice when we are back together again, worshiping at Vesper Point, sharing memories, or dreaming up new ways to be God’s people.  May the seasons of change this fall be full of many blessing, new wonderful memories, and God’s love and peace.