I joined the Camp Board since 2014 but I have served at Middle School Camp since 2007. I am the Youth Pastor at West Hills Community Church in Salem, Oregon since 2007. Camp Tapawingo is a place where I can go to unplug from the busyness of life and surround myself with God’s Creation. The trees sway in the wind, the river bustles downstream, and sometimes you’ll even see a critter scurry across your path. Tapawingo truly desires to be a place of joy. In my early encounters at camp, this was just slogan or byline; but after 15 years of visiting this place, it truly has become a place of joy where things move a little bit slower and when I leave, I leave with a little more peace of mind.
I attended Camp Tapawingo as a camper from age 8 through High School and have been a Tapawingo Board member for 30 years. Like so many others, Tapawingo was for me a place where I could leave the city and experience God through His beautiful creation and learn more about Him through inspirational speakers and just have tons of fun with other campers! Through the decades Tapawingo has let its light shine for thousands and I’m eternally thankful for its witness.
Camp Tapawingo is a slice of creation that takes people from the rush of the temporary to a glimpse of the eternal. I didn’t experience Tapawingo until volunteering one week during my college years. God was always real to me and influenced the way I lived, but the speaker that week, Fred Jantz, had a message that changed how I viewed His purpose for me. The idea, “Life is a trust from God”, that I had been given a stewardship responsibility to use my life for Him, changed how I viewed my career and life decisions. Over the years, countless others, like me, have been inspired by messages and experiences that are anchored to their week at Camp Tapawingo. Being on the board since 2003 has allowed me play a part in assuring that Tapawingo continues to be a place where other generations of campers see Jesus in life- changing ways.
The Camp Tapawingo Board became a part of my life in 2003, and it seemed like a good fit for an elementary school teacher involved with Outdoor School and teaching Sunday School. Tapawingo is a place that is incredibly special, welcoming campers for so many different events. What is important to me is how lives of campers and staff are changed in the name of Jesus, experiencing a joy that is sometimes planted, waiting to grow and mature, or sometimes bursting forth in radical transformation. The stories are endless, and I love stories!
Serving on Camp Tapawingo’s Board for over 20 years and volunteering to work on many projects over these years has meant a great deal to me. It has been a way to do the Lord’s work while enjoying his beautiful outdoors and making the camp a special place for others to come to and enjoy God’s handiwork. It’s truly been “A Place of Joy” for me and for my family. One of my special memories is the time I helped the director to obtain a conditional use permit from Polk County that allowed us to expand camp’s usage and this is still enforced to this day. Another special memory was being able to work with the Stevens family and their attorney to help facilitate their donation of their land to camp, now known as Steven’s Glen. Seeing God’s hand at work as our multipurpose facility became a reality is another special memory I hold very close to my heart. All the relationships that I have built with leaders and directors are also special memories and lifetime friendships.
I have been serving on the Tapawingo Camp Board for over 30 years. I have been able to be involved in most of the facility improvement projects since 1987 by seeing, implementing and improving the camp facility to help make Tapawingo a wonderful place to be. Whatever project I am working on, from building the amphitheater, paint ball course, gathering places or installing pine walls and maple flooring, Tapawingo is a mission where I can take part in reaching others for Christ.
I started serving on the Camp Board in 2014. My formative teen years were infused with visits to Camp Tapawingo. Camp is where Jesus firmly got a hold of my heart. It is also where I brought my friends to meet Jesus. One of my friends became my husband! We sent our kids (now adults) to Tapawingo and they hope to send their kids. Each year when I counsel or speak I enjoy the close, sweet presence of the Savior. There’s something extraordinary about Camp Tapawingo. I love being part of caring for it and helping others experience it.
I joined the Tapawingo board in 2010 as a representative of Bethany Baptist Church. I have been able to bring my experience in audio/video technology to board presentations and to looking at some of the issues we deal with. I’ve enjoyed being a part of camp projects and work days. Growing up in Japan as a missionary pastor’s kid, I first went to Christian camps in the Midwest while my family visited relatives and supporting churches. My first experience with Camp Tapawingo came in the mid-1980s, when my parents served as the missionary family during middle school and high school camps. Those times, seeing God in nature, hearing the wind through the trees and the babbling creek, learning and growing in God’s Word, continue to be enjoyed by campers at Tapawingo. I know, because I hear it from my nieces and nephews. It’s important to me to continue to see their excitement when they return from a week at Tapawingo.
I joined the camp board in 2023, and I first came to Camp Tapawingo in 2002 as a counselor-in-training. Many summer weeks of counseling and leading worship followed. God has shaped my life through Tapawingo. I met my wife at camp during high school, where we both served as counselors and led music together. Shepherding campers over the years helped grow my calling into Christian education. Now I get to teach kids about Jesus and music every day! The beauty and serenity of Tapawingo has provided refuge, restoration, inspiration, and growth for me. It is an amazing place where God is at work each day. I am honored to be one of the many people who support this ministry. Please join us at Camp Tapawingo and be a part of our “place of joy!”