We had a great time at the first week of Day Camps! Watch the video below to see a snapshot of the week including a slideshow of photos and a brief message from this week's speaker, Laura Smole.
Video by Camp Photographer Lilly Heilman.
Last week we shared about how God used WCRC in the lives of the Craighill Family. This week we heard from another family, Amos and Sandy Goldie, along with their dog Murrary and cat Charlie. They traded the busyness of Richmond for our peaceful grounds to wait out the quarantine. In November the pair bought a Travato camper van to get away on the weekends. Early on they booked a stay at WCRC and immediately felt at home. Sandy said “We just loved it! We were surrounded by the woods and it's so serene and there are birds everywhere. It's so peaceful but we still have wifi capability and showers and things like that so it's not total off-road. Every weekend [when] it was time to leave we were like: ‘Well let's just go back to Williamsburg!’”
Once their jobs were moved online, Amos and Sandy took the opportunity to spend extended time enjoying the peaceful outdoors. Sandy explained that she has low immunity and thought getting away would be best for their physical health. Now a month into their stay in the RV circle, they have a beautiful set up complete with hammocks, flowers, a fireplace, and an ramp for their older dog to easily move in and out of the camper. This time has been good for them in more ways than just physical health.
Sandy smiled and gestured towards the leafy forest as she said “When you’re out here you’re just surrounded by trees and nature, even though you still have to work, when you really slow down and unplug from all of your technology, it gives you increased clarity when you realize that there's other purpose in life. When you come to this place it gives you peace and it reminds you to savor the good things in life, to slow down and enjoy that crackling of the fire, and that purring kitty, or that snuggly dog, or the birds singing… to appreciate the people in your life. When everything else in life disappears and you're just down to the basics of what's important. God gave us pretty much all the things we need to survive and be happy and the rest is just dressing. Our hope is that we would come out of this pandemic somehow stronger or better people than when we went into it… find some kind of meaning in it.”
In the midst of this isolation and stillness, Amos and Sandy have still managed to thrive in their careers and have a positive impact on their community – all from the comfort of their RV site. Sandy works for Virginia Commonwealth University teaching music and Amos is the organist and choir director at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Richmond. Sandy practices her viola, conducts youth orchestra, grades final exams, and coaches students while Amos helps produce their church’s Sunday service. According to Sandy, “What’s been amazing to me is that physical distancing hasn't always meant social distancing” and she explained that the quarantine has given her time to connect with family from other states and grow closer with her fellow faculty members. Likewise, their church community has thrived with choir members sending voice recordings of their vocal parts and Scripture reading. After sound editing, Amos drives to their sanctuary to play the recordings in the space. Sandy remarked “I think the music is what really transports people, the sounds of that space and their own home choir, their home acoustics but all that can be done out here in a music studio that we can mix and edit digitally.”
God is clearly working during this time and we are grateful that He is using our peaceful grounds at WCRC to give guests the space to connect with one another and to hear His voice more clearly. Thank you to Amos and Sandy Goldie for sharing their story with us.
Here at WCRC, things have slowed down. Many employees are working remotely or with reduced hours and groups have been limited to under ten people. Since there is no food service and common areas have closed, most of our groups have had to cancel. Though numbers are reduced, WCRC is continuing to operate in its mission to provide a place for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of kids and adults. In the weeks since the Stay Home Order was announced, we have been encouraged by testimonies of God’s goodness to those in our community. Today we have a story from Lang Craighill.
The Craighills have attended Family Camp at WCRC for the past several years. Lang shared how WCRC has always been a significant place for his family as it was where both he and his son Shane first publicly declared their relationships with Christ.
Recently WCRC has been the host of another significant time of connection and growth for the Craighill Family. After deciding to go through Family Life’s Passport2Purity curriculum with his oldest son, Lang said, “It came up naturally to consider the WCRC facility and we were able to rent a cabin there… So Shane and I spent the weekend there and Shane still characterizes the weekend as the best weekend of his life.”
Since the experience was so positive with his oldest, Lang decided to have another retreat, this time with his younger son, Joshie. Lang remarked that “When both of them came back, [my wife] Wendy commented that Joshie had a different – she thought it was a look on his face – but it was a kind of behavior shift, he started to think of himself differently, I think, and Shane too…. Not that they weren't already brought up thinking of God’s word and His plan but it kind of personalized it for them and was significant I think coming from a parent and that close focused amount of time.”
Lang was glad that COVID-19 did not prevent him from having this life-changing experience with his sons and even explained that the isolation made the time more special. He believed that “it added to the overall experience in a weird sort of way. We had the place to ourselves. It was very much so a solitary time alone, talking about important things and God's word and being able to focus on that and each other. [We were] outdoors most of the time and felt like it was isolated in a way and it was just a perfect environment for it and helped the overall specialness and uniqueness of the process.”
We are so glad that WCRC continues to be a special place for the Craighill Family. We are still open for retreats of under 10. If you or your family need some time away, consider staying in our campground or the newly renovated Oakwood.
There are lots of difficult and terrible things going on in our world right now. It can be difficult to know what to do and how to help. Whether you are young or old, you may be struggling with your purpose or how you can help. In the Scriptures, God shows us how we should walk in all circumstances.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, those close to Jesus were tasked with building the church up in a time of great persecution and hardship. In 1 Corinthians, Paul explains that he did not want any of the believers to be led astray by false teaching or to have disunity amongst themselves (12:2). Instead, he clarifies about the spiritual gifts, explaining that “there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” God gives each person gifts that they can use to bless those around them. Paul goes on to articulate these gifts and to emphasize that they all come from God and are to be used to help the whole body of Christ. As the members of the physical body are not greater or lesser than each other, so the members of the body of Christ (believers and their unique gifts) are equal to one another in value.
Then Paul takes this further and says, “And I will show you a still more excellent way.” (12:31)
This is the introduction to what is known as ‘The Love Chapter,’ 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter builds on the previous chapter by saying that not only are all the gifts equal, but they are all worthless if they are used without love. This of course does not mean that gifts, like teaching, serving, and healing, do not have worth, but that their purpose is to bring God’s love into peoples’ lives.
As humans, we are powerless against the evil and hardship of the world. Thankfully, we serve a God who is all-powerful and by bringing His love into seemingly hopeless situations, we bring hope and life-changing grace.
Below is 1 Corinthians 13. Read through it and consider the different aspects of love. Maybe some of these come easier to you and some of them are more challenging. Underline or write in a notebook one of these areas of love that you would like to demonstrate better in your own life. Thank God that all gifts and love come from Him and ask Him to empower you to show love to others in this way.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as rI have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13 ESV
You may know Andrew Harcum from the summers he spent working at Kaleidoscope Camp, but now he works full-time at WCRC as the new Maintenance Director. After nearly 23 years of faithful service to WCRC, Larry McLaughlin has retired and passed the reins on to Andrew.
Andrew remarked, “They’re big shoes to fill because he started in August of 1997 and I was born in September of 1997. He has been here longer than I have been alive, so it's kind of scary. But so far I feel like the transition has gone well, [it’s been] pretty natural.”
Larry is not the only one who has been around WCRC for a while. Andrew began volunteering in maintenance at 14 then began working in the kitchen. At 16 he was a lifeguard at the pool and became Head Lifeguard the following summer. Andrew said that while it seems strange to be taking over for Larry, he feels confident knowing that he has seen Larry excel at the job for so many years.
Andrew said some of his favorite memories at WCRC were as a counselor, especially the rewarding feeling he got when he finished a week of camp. After being a Senior Counselor, he worked for another summer as the Support Staff Coordinator.
Volunteering in maintenance gave him an early appreciation for the grounds and how he got to be a part of their development. “At the end of the road there’s the main street light on the right. I put that in as a 14 year-old. And the speed limit sign that says ‘20 miles per hour,’’ I put that in. It’s always cool to drive around and be like, “Oh I did that,” and “I helped with that,” and “I fixed this.” It’s a very rewarding thing.”
Now as the Maintenance Director, he gets to have an even bigger impact on the grounds. He described his role as, “Maintaining the grounds and buildings, making sure nothing is breaking, and fixing things that people break.” With a summer camp and year-round retreats, there is always work to be done.
Since starting in January, Andrew has had more than the usual fixing and maintaining to do, as the Oakwood Renovation took place this winter. He said that it’s actually been one of his favorite things he’s worked on so far. He explained, “So, we just finished up this Oakwood Renovation and part of the renovation is we built forty bed frames. It was cool to bring in the volunteers for that and watch it all come together, to see how people can get together and work.”
Andrew is grateful for the work environment and the way he gets to contribute to WCRC’s mission and vision. “It’s a change of pace, working here. It's not a go-go-go, rush-rush-rush, make as much money as you can. It's just about providing a place for Christ to work in people’s lives. It’s nice to have a bigger goal than just making money and making money for someone else.” He added that he likes how WCRC “provides a place for the community of Williamsburg to get together in the way of camp and retreats. [It is] a place that is removed from standard busyness and society.”
He said that as a kid he originally wanted to be a chef, hence working in the WCRC kitchen, but as he grew up, he wanted to be a youth pastor then to work as a director at a summer camp. “That’s kinda been the dream job since I was a kid.” he stated. He said he has been to a couple camps growing up and that camp has always been a part of his life.
“The first year, I think I was like 6, I went to my first week of summer camp. So every summer I’ve been to at least one week of camp. Camp for me has been a big focal point of something to look forward to, but also a spiritual focal point.” He reflected. The reason why camp was so impactful to him as a kid is “It was a completely different environment, it's much more raw. It’s okay for emotion to come out and spiritual walls to come down. It’s just a different place than what normal life is like, in a good way.”
Andrew believes that working at WCRC has impacted him both spiritually and professionally. He said, “I have learned a lot especially having been around for so many summers.I feel like I’ve learned a lot about communication with others, [at] summer camp with peers, campers, and leadership. Then vice versa being in leadership, communicating with the people you’re supervising. I feel like I’ve learned a new side of my spiritual walk, you know, not just going through the motions… One of the first times I was here, I was in worship and it was contemporary Christian music, which was foriegn to me. I had never experienced it and it was just completely different and worship felt whole- I guess I don’t know the right word- it was just more true and pure and less of a show than what I was used to.”
Thank you for reading Andrew’s WCRC story this week! We are sad to see Larry transition out, but are grateful for his many years of hard work. We are excited to have Andrew taking on this important role in making WCRC a peaceful place for God to work in our community.
In this time of isolation, it may be easy to feel like you’re in a “wilderness” season. This time might bring feelings of loneliness or even spiritual dryness and you may feel tempted to give into frustration, laziness, or a myriad of other things. If you are feeling any of this, then now is a good time to look to Jesus and see how he responded when he was in a time of wilderness – literally, in his case.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
This verse shows clearly the humanity of Jesus. Like us, he experienced hunger and temptation. Jesus responds to the temptation of the devil by telling him Scripture, which both refutes the demands of the devil and shows how Jesus had internalized Scripture. Though human, Jesus was still fully the Word of God and had God the Father with him.
If you look back to chapter three, you see the baptism of Jesus. This moment launched Jesus into his ministry. Here, all three members of the Trinity are present.
The text says: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (v. 16-17)
Jesus had not begun his ministry and already he was declared loved by and pleasing to the Lord. He could go into the temptation in the wilderness and into his ministry calling from a place of confidence, because he was fully loved by the Father. He had the word of God and the power of his love within him.
If this is how Jesus started out, how much more should we find our security in God’s love and word?
If you are struggling to feel secure in God’s love, respond with Scripture, like Jesus did in the wilderness. Below are some verses about God’s love. Memorize them and repeat them to yourself throughout the day to reflect on God’s great love for you!
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 John 4:16 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
Ephesians 3:17-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
1 John 4:8 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”
Psalm 63: 3 “Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!”
Kai Schwegal is the Foodservice Manager here at WCRC. She has been in this role for over a month now. She oversees all ordering, scheduling, and meal planning for the kitchen and its staff. Though Kai has only been in this position for a little while, she has been a part of WCRC staff for two and a half years.
“[On my] first day working in the kitchen I started [with] 90 people, we were serving, so that was insane, but I have previous culinary knowledge so it was okay. I started off working as an assistant cook for WCRC then moved up to a MOD, manager on duty. That was like a month time span that I went from assistant cook to [head] cook. This past summer I was camp photographer, that was a fun time! It was nice to take a step from the kitchen… but end of camp I was like okay, I’m ready to get back into the kitchen and I was a MOD again. And then I got offered this position,” Kai said.
Kai did not always want to go into culinary work and considered a couple different careers in high school. Being a veterinarian was one of her primary plans and she even toured Virginia Tech’s veterinary school, but realized it wasn’t for her.
“My entire like my family was like, “You need to go into culinary!” And I was like, “No, no, no, this is not what I want. I love cooking at home, but I don’t want to have that as my job.” She laughed at the memory. Now she loves working in the kitchen and recognizes her family was right.
When asked what her favorite things about WCRC are, Kai said she had many but noted two in particular. “I like how peaceful the grounds are even when there’s summer camp going on. There’s like the crazy summer camp section, but it still feels pretty peaceful. And I love the staff! We’re a fun group of people sometimes,” she said with a smile.
“The work environment is really nice too, we’re all pretty much like minded people working under one roof, so what more could you ask for.” Kai added. She shared one of her favorite memories from last summer. “Support staff and leadership team and every[one] sits at the staff table and my favorite thing is eating all together and just watching everybody and talking. And Josh [Brown] is just, you know, being Josh on the other side of the table.” She described how the camp staff is like a family and sharing these times around the table were some of the happiest moments of the summer.
Another one of her favorite memories at WCRC is getting rebaptized- in the pool! She explained how through working at camp and through her friendship with staff members like Ginger South (Support Staff Coordinator) and Josh (Program Director), she grew a lot in her faith and wanted to demonstrate that to others. She remarked on the event, “I had a lot of friends and family there. The really cool part about it was there were other people swimming, just other families. During the break time, they called break and Josh was like, “Okay, let’s get in.” The kids were sitting on the side of the pool - kids that I had no idea who they were - and they had their feet in and everybody was just watching. It was probably the coolest thing that I have done to plant the seed in people spiritually.”
She said how when she came to WCRC, she was at a place of doubt in her faith, but that seeing the faith of others and being in the Christian environment, encouraged her to pursue her faith again. In her words, “just working in the kitchen it really started a fire in me again and it was kind of building and building. Then I started working for camp and seeing God working in the lives of the kids that we were teaching and [were] with every day and just seeing the joy on the kid’s faces as they are here…. It was like an overwhelming you need to seek this out again and you need to come back to me. I’ve never had that experience in my life before. It really felt like the Holy Spirit was moving through me. I know growing up people say that all the time, but when you’re a kid you’re like, “What does that mean?” It was insane.”
She ended with, “Camp does a lot for the kids, but it also does a lot for the people that work in it, which I did not know. I was also one of those people growing up that felt like I didn’t read my Bible and I didn’t do devotions and I didn’t pray that much. I felt like I wasn’t a good Christian because I didn’t do any of that and I didn’t go to church that often. Josh [told me,] “Well that doesn’t really make you a Christian.” And that was the first time someone said that to me and it just changed my whole perspective.”
Thank you for reading Kai’s story. We are always encouraged that WCRC is a place that provides an opportunity for God to not only work in the lives of our guests, but our staff as well.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.”
John 10: 1-6
(Read the full chapter here)
It goes without saying that we are living in unprecedented times. In the news and on social media, there are many voices competing for our attention. There are experts in all different fields giving us their interpretation of COVID-19 and its affects. Celebrities are helping us pass the time by providing entertainment and relatability. While these voices can be helpful and we should be grateful for those who are working hard to protect us, we cannot listen to these voices more than we listen to God’s voice. When God called his disciples, he said a simple phrase, “Follow me.” He did not ask them for their ministry strategy or qualifications, He asked for them to follow after Him and emulate Him.
In John 10, Jesus uses one of the common metaphors for people in Scripture, sheep. There are many reasons for this comparison, but one of the primary attributes of sheep that Jesus brings attention to is that they are followers and they move in a flock. It is because they are accustomed to their shepherd’s voice that they follow him and not the voices of other shepherds or worse, the thieves and robbers. These strangers, it says, the sheep flee from because their voices are unfamiliar.
In this time of much confusion, it would be easy to take stock in the many voices we hear in the world. However, if we think back to the Tower of Babel, these people were confident in themselves and wanted to make their own name great and the Lord confused their languages to show their lack of power (Genesis 11:4-5). There is no worldly power we can place our full confidence in. This virus shows this fact. What we can be confident in, is the goodness of the Lord, our Shepherd.
Since sheep travel in a flock, they can also be influenced by the flock. As believers, we need to follow the voice of the Shepherd, even when those around us go astray. It is encouraging to see many churches go online and seek to reach people even in a time of isolation. Though God is the only “great Shepherd” (Hebrews 13:20), God also appoints human leaders to guide His flock. In Numbers 27, God appointed Joshua to lead the people of Israel in response to Moses saying, “Let the Lord, the God of all the spirits and of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation… that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” (Numbers 27:16-17) In an age where the voice of the Lord is seldom listened to, it is important for believers to hear the voice of the Lord and rise up as shepherds to lead others into an acknowledgement of the Great Shepherd’s voice.
In the “Letter from our Executive Director” last week, Bob Briscoe shared how the slower pace in this season is allowing him to hear from the Lord better. As many of the things that fill our busy schedules and distract our minds are being removed, let’s fill that space with the reading of God’s Word. This is how we hear His voice more clearly and how we can be filled with His Truth to encourage others.
Find a quiet place, maybe a removed room of the house or somewhere outside, and bring only your Bible. Leave your phone, computer, and other distractions elsewhere. Ask the Lord to guide your reading of the Scriptures and to help you understand (1 Corinthians 2:10). Try reading an entire book from start to finish, maybe one of Paul’s letters (such as Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians) or one of the historical books (Esther, Ruth, or Jonah for example). Read at a leisurely pace, thanking God for extended time in His Word.
Dear Kaleidoscope Campers and Families,
In a time of uncertainty and change, it’s nice to be reminded of certainties every now and then. For me, Kaleidoscope Camp has always been certain. Every summer I work at camp with a staff that loves Jesus. Every summer, kids come to camp to grow closer to the Lord or to give their lives to Him for the first time. Unfortunately, even things with Kaleidoscope Camp have become uncertain in the past few weeks. Maybe you have something in your life that has been a certainty in the past but has recently become uncertain.
Though we cannot be certain about camp for this summer, we are optimistic that it will happen! We want to give you more certainty in your finances as you plan for the summer. Here is our promise to you:
We are still preparing for Kaleidoscope Camp! As of right now, our camp schedule has not changed. We are hiring staff, preparing our camp theme, and aiming to make this summer a blast for our campers! We realize that through these difficult times, most people are not able to fellowship or get outdoors as much as usual. Camp can be a great solution to this problem once social distancing requirements are behind us. Please consider registering for Kaleidoscope Camp today!
Registering for camp is now 100% risk-free! When you register for Kaleidoscope Camp 2020, you are asked for a $50 deposit to confirm your registration. We have decided to make these deposits 100% refundable upon request. This allows you to register for Kaleidoscope Camp with no worry of losing your $50.
And lastly... God is in control. Our Lord is the certainty that will never change or falter. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. During this time of uncertainty, Kaleidoscope Camp rests in the fact that God’s got this. He knew that Coronavirus was coming and how it would impact all of us. He knows what the future holds for Kaleidoscope Camp this summer. My prayer is that you will join me and the rest of Kaleidoscope Camp and WCRC Staff as we strive to rest in God’s sovereignty. He holds our future and we are totally ok with that!
I hope these certainties encourage you.
Dear Friends of WCRC,
It’s really great to be able to reach out to you all during this time of quarantine. I hope you are safe and healthy and I hope you are learning some new things as you navigate these very unique times we are living in. Personally, I feel like God is helping me to slow down and listen to Him better.
If you’ve been wondering how we are doing here at WCRC, we are still here and we are still doing what we do best – providing a place for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of kids and adults through camping and retreats – just on a much smaller scale. The campground is open for RV Guests, our lodging is available to groups of 10 or less, and Day Guests are welcome to come out and enjoy the grounds. Click here to see all the details about our current policies.
Some of our staff members are working from home and some are on reduced hours. Those here are doing their best to stay busy. June in Guest Services, and Sheri and Lisa in Reservations have lots of groups calling in to find out what to do about their retreats. Travis and I are developing contingency budgets and keeping an eye on the financial picture. Renee continues to post inspirational items on Facebook. Andrew and Larry are getting the pool ready for summer and using this time to clean up the maintenance area. Lori and Kai are updating recipes and creating new menus. Patricia and our housekeepers are doing some seasonal cleaning. And Josh is interviewing summer camp staff and getting ready for Kaleidoscope Camp. If you haven’t already, click here to go to our Facebook page so you can stay current on what’s going on.
One thing to note: We are experiencing a major decrease in income. Our normal Guest Group income for March, April and May is over $150,000. Many of our groups are re-booking for later this year or in 2021, but the loss is still substantial. In addition, we have had to cancel our banquets, which typically generate nearly $20,000 in donations. Please consider a special gift to WCRC today to help us continue to provide a place for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of kids and adults through camping and retreats. Click here to learn more and to find out how to give to WCRC during this lean time.
Also, as you find yourself with more down-time, I hope you’ll add us to your prayer list. You can sign up for our weekly prayer emails here. Pray that God will sustain us through this time and that as we navigate the quarantine God will give us wisdom and creativity and the resources we need to continue providing a place for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of kids and adults through camping and retreats. We would also love the opportunity to pray for you. To submit a prayer request, click here.