Most of you, our guests (though you’re more like family), come to the Woods once or twice a year. You are a summer camper, church leader, challenge course participant, etc. but are wishing you could come more often. Well, you can!! Here are some of the reasons why you should come to Westminster Woods during the next few months.
- Youth Weekends – Offered for campers in 3rd-12th grades. Great for our camp kids that need their camp fix. It’s also a great opportunity to bring youth that haven’t yet had a camp experience. 3 packed days of fun!!
- Women’s Weekends- Pick from one of two weekends, Sheila Denton, Executive Director will be speaking during both sessions.
- in*spire- Taize inspired worship services the third Sunday of the month at 4pm, open to all.
Or plan a retreat here with a group you belong to, we can accommodate up to 300 people. The website has all the information you need about each of these events and of course, you can always call us. The redwood forest is beautiful in the Winter, come find out!
PS. You can stay on top of all of our events by following us on Facebook or Twitter!
It’s that time again. It’s the time when here at camp, we acknowledge the seasons. And no, I don’t mean the next season of your favorite fall television show, although you may be looking forward to the return of “Once Upon a Time,” as much as I am. Right now it means switching from Summer Camp programming to Environmental Education programming. The change is inevitable and we get pretty good about acknowledging it and diving right on in at camp. It’s the time we welcome new and returning guests to take in what Westminster Woods can offer. But what does that mean for our personal lives? There are often seasons there too. I can often look back and think of a time in my life, a “season” if you will, and wish I could return. Recently while making phone calls, one of our camp kids, turned summer staffer, aka; camp kid for life, shared a powerful story with one of our board members. She spoke of a difficult time she faced, and in the midst she was able to return to the Woods and found the strength and peace she was looking for. She ended by saying, “Westminster Woods runs through my blood.” While her season of coming to camp as a camper or staffer has ended, the feeling lives on. I think that’s what makes Westminster Woods so special. For some, it represents a season. But for others, they see it as simply as a home, or something that runs through there blood. We hope to offer people a place that is here in all seasons, but also a place to return to when the seasons if your life are great or not so good.
When you think of your season at The Woods, what comes to mind?
Outside my window I often see a deer darting to the hillside. Other days it might be a squirrel. Regardless, daily life at Westminster Woods includes a much needed break from city lights, freeways and crowded shopping malls.
There has been an increasing amount of research regarding children and nature. Below is a list of just some of the articles that explains why connecting your child to an exprience in nature is so important. Each time I read one, I think, “yes yes yes!” We often have children and youth who have never put there hands in a creek or picked up a worm. Our youth are yearning for a place to explore nature. Westminster Woods offers an experience for all ages that offers outdoor exploration and learning. Here, playing in the dirt is a must! And of course, we want kids to run on the big green field and scream at the top of their lungs. Because at Westminster Woods, you can! And every child should have the opportunity to be a kid.
The New Nature Movement
Children and Nature (two published studies)
Unplug at Camp
We look forward to hosting the Summer Staff Alumni this weekend. While purposes of this weekend include re-connecting with old friends, singing camp songs and introducing loved ones to a place loved by many – there is another reason they will come. Westminster Woods is a place where faith grows. Sacred or Holy Ground as many call it. Crossing the bridge will bring many emotions and memories as well as the presence of God, re-committing of faith and sharing Christ’s love with one another. Some spent many summers with us, while others just one or two. Welcome back Summer Staff Alumni, we’ve been waiting….
Even though summer is over, camps are still happening. We offer at least one youth weekend during the year for each age group to attend. We hear from the attendees that coming to camp during the busy school year helps to rejuvenate them, it’s good for the soul. I think it helps our youth stay grounded. They get a chance to connect with other Christian youth and be reminded of of the magic of camp. I know some of you are thinking the weather is less than favorable, but it’s actually perfect. The natural surroundings and changing of the seasons are prominent and breathtaking at the Woods. It’s also a reminder to our youth that camp is here for them year-round, not just in the summer. We welcome you to check out our next weekend or summer opportunity on our website, westminsterwoods.org. We promise your next trip out here will be good for the soul….
During High School Camp Week 5 this summer, campers were invited to write burdens and nail them to the cross. The wooden cross was covered with these prayer concerns that weighed heavily on campers’ hearts.
Last week Aimee and Karen removed the prayers from the cross. Together with other staff, we gathered to pray for these concerns and the campers who wrote them. After we prayed, we burned the written burdens.
The cross on which these prayers were nailed will serve as a focal point of the new in•spire service. For details on this new Taizé inspired worship, visit the Worship page on our website under Christian Ministries.
Just a few weeks ago as a first grade student took his first few steps on grounds here at Westminster Woods, he looked around wide eyed, then exclaimed, “we’re going to see the biggest trees in the world.” He did. Last week we began what will be a busy, fun, and rewarding season of Environmental Education with schools from all over Northern California. Our teacher naturalists will guide students through the redwoods where hands on learning is encouraged. For many students, this will be one of the few times they are able to play with worms, get dirty and stand in wonder under some of the tallest trees in the world.
As technology advances and we become more dependent upon it, most are spending less time outdoors. Adults and youth alike benefit from spending time in nature, away from their cell phones and where life slows down, just a bit.
Whether you make it out to the Woods this season or not, hopefully you get a chance to step away from your computer, your cell phone, and your TV and get a chance to marvel at natures beauty. Of course you’re always invited to the Woods….
Picture Vernon Hall, jammed packed full of High School and Buccaneer campers. Tables set up with food, measuring and packaging materials and everyone busy putting together meals that will be sent around the world to those in need. When the organization we partnered with, Stop Hunger Now, arrived last week and began talking about the purpose of the day, our campers quickly responded. As everyone at camp gathered to be a part of the project, the energy was overwhelming. After each batch of a thousand meals were put in the truck, one of the counselors rang the gong, it was rung 36 times. Over 36,000 meals were packed in just a few hours.
At one point one of the tables started to collapse under the weight of the food and supplies, everyone scrambled. After the incident one of the High School campers excitedly stated, “Half a table collapsed and nothing spilled. Jesus is in the house!!” We all agreed.
At the end of the day, everyone surrounded the truck, now filled with 36,997 meals and blessed the food that would be sent to those in need. It was a moment that won’t be forgotten.
Watch a video taken from the day:
Stop Hunger Now at Westminster Woods
I had the joy of having Knights in Shining Armor (a delicious “camp” meal you make over hot coals) with some of the Summer Staff this weekend. We were going around the circle, saying what we were thankful for as our way of saying grace. This was Darrin’s answer, “Laura and I were talking earlier about this, about how special this place is. No matter how long you’re gone, when you come back to Westminster Woods, it’s like you never left, you always fit in and always have fun. I’m thankful for that.”
Darrin is right, that’s part of what makes Westminster Woods special. We all meet here from near and far, form friendships, and have a blast. It’s a place where everyone is accepted and loved. When you leave, you know you’ll be back, and though each experience is different, lasting memories are created that carry you until the next time.
If you haven’t been here in a while, we invite you drop by for a visit and share your memories with us.