Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 50 List - D1

It's the last day of the 50th Anniversary of Shepherds Camp and our 50 days of celebration!  To sum it all up, here is a Top 50 List of new and exciting updates, additions, upgrades and enhancements from the past decade.

50. Shepherds Camp expanded from 4 weeks to 8 weeks
49. The beginning of our Day Camp program
48. Portable regulation size Gau-Gau court
47. Carpet ball
46. Renovated Craftroom
45. New hot water & heating system
44. The party grill - making picnics even better
43. An 1800 sq. ft. wheel chair accessible garden
42. Nine hole mini golf course
41. Two Shepherds Camp 1:1 sessions
40. New Radio Communications System
39. A camp mini van
38. The James Project
37. A brand new Steiner tractor
36. Jump Tower at the lake
35. Night watch gazebo - from the S.T. Homebuilders & Remodelers Assoc.
34. Interior Renovations to 8 staff cabins
33. New roof on the main building
32. New dock at the lake
31. Special Olympics Bocce Ball tournaments
30. A new maintenance golf cart
29. Carpeting in the bays
28. New paddle boats at the lake (soon to be replaced)
27. Resurfaced basketball court and cabin walkways
26. New Gazebo for small groups
25. Olympic size wheel chair accessible bocce ball courts
24. New roofs on 19 summer buildings
23. Two sets of brand new grand stands
22. New camp signs
21. The addition of a second full time staff member
20. A super-sized industrial laundry room - ready for anything
19. Upgraded pavilion seating and conversation spaces
18. Camper & staff bathhouse renovations
17. College courses offered here at Arrowhead
16. Professional broomball equipment for the winter ice rink
15. Renovated apartment and program offices
14. Renovated staff room
13. New coffee machine - everyone calls the "magic box"
12. Home Run Fence - arrayed with investor banners
11. Renovations to the mobile home trailer
10. New maintenance building roof and exterior paint
  9. Resurfaced hardwood floors in the main building
  8. Renovations to two private guest rooms
  7. Adirondack shelter at the lake
  6. New camp logo - unveiled at the beginning of 2012
  5. New plow truck - that still runs
  4. Creation of an accessible archery range
  3. Relocated, renovated and expanded nurse's station
  2. Brand new EZ-GO Shuttle
  1. Tomorrow Arrowhead Bible Camp turns 68 years old!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thank You! - D2

I can not begin to express how thankful we are for all of our investors and volunteers.  They have given generously of their money, time, energy and talents.  They continue to have an enormous impact on the lives of students, families, campers, staff, friends, neighbors, churches and the community.

Allow me to borrow a Thank You card that I received this summer from some of our seasonal staff...

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!   
Thank you infinity-mucho-merci-beaucoup-a-loop-a-nus!"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolving to be Resolute - D3

What's your New Year's resolution?  Do you want to be more crafty in 2013... maybe try out some of those Pinterest ideas or get yourself on Etsy?  How about training for a canoe race?  Of course, there is always the thought of eating healthier.  Perhaps it is time to start dressing more stylish... start with that hat you have always wanted.  Spending more time with family would be a great New Year's resolution.  How about being more adventurous?  You could try one of those guided tours.  I say, spend more time with your friends.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's here! - D4

Well... no more wishing, hoping, praying, calling the wbng hotline or writing letters to Santa.  Winter is now officially winter.  We've got a good 8" of snow on the ground here at camp!

Now, let's see if it sticks around.

Lows in the teens and even single digits is also a great way to stay on track for ice rink building at the beginning of next week!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home for the Holidays - D5

We have had a great time traveling for Christmas.  Today, we leave Hanover, PA (my hometown) for our home in Brackney - blessed by our time away and excited to get back to camp and ring in the new year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A White Christmas - D6

Celebrating our 50th with a white Christmas!  We trust you had a great day celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus.

Monday, December 24, 2012

They're Great! - D8

I got to hang out with a bunch of our campers at a recent Christmas Party for the Southern Tier Special Olympics.  Our conversations ranged from what they hope to get for Christmas, travel plans and how many weeks of camp they will be coming for this summer.  The best part of the evening though - sharing some holiday treats, listening to the band and watching a slide show of all the athletes who are participated in the Special Olympics this past year.  Great job this year, especially at the State Games!

Merry Christmas to all our campers and Special Olympics athletes!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tis the Season - D9

Our winter retreat season is just around the corner.  We are hoping lots of snow will accompany our roaring fireplace, delicious food, wild dodgeball games, worship bands and crazy camp activities.

Alongside some new guest groups we have the privilege of serving a handful of student ministries that have been coming to Arrowhead upwards of 20 years or more.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Interview - D10

"Hi, I'm an old camp brat.  My parents used to work at Arrowhead..." was the opening line of an email I received a few years ago.

Since 1945 there have been a lot of kids who have "grown up" at camp.  I am not one of them, so I often wonder how my daughter Natalie views camp.  What does she think about spending her formative years living where we work, play, hangout, serve, etc.  Over breakfast, I conducted the following interview.

Q: What is your favorite part of camp?
A: Campers (she said definitively... and then added "and staff and swimming in the lake").

Q: What is your favorite camp meal?
A: Chicken Fingers!  (she said with a smile.  That's no surprise, everyone loves our chicken tenders).

Q: What is your favorite camp activity?
A: Jumping off the tower at the lake... in the summer time.

Q: What is camp's mission?
A: To tell people about God.

Q: What would you add to camp?
A: A playground slide.  That would be fun.  And a bigger nurse's station.  And a bunk bed for my room.

Q: If you could work on staff, what would be your dream camp job?
A: I would work in the dishroom!  Or I would help you with whatever you are doing (yeah, her second answer was definitely trying to score extra Christmas bonus points).

Q: What do you think about growing up at camp?
A: Like, Wow!  Why do I live here and not somewhere else in the country, just in a house.  We have all this equipment and stuff here.

Growing up at camp certainly is a unique experience.  I love the blurring of the lines between family, work, home, play and ministry.  I think Natalie does too.  I hope that as an adult, Natalie will look back on her time growing up here at Arrowhead and say with a smile, "I was an old camp brat."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Join Me - D11

Here is a note I received from one of our investors.  It would be our privilege to have you join him by investing in our Pontoon Paddle Boat Project.

"I was glad to receive your letter inviting me to invest in the new Pontoon Paddle Boat Project!  It is such a worthwhile endeavor!  I cannot think of a better way to help your campers experience the water!  The new pontoon boats will prove to be accessible, safe and enjoyable.  They will provide an opportunity for every camper to “go boating” regardless of age or mobility! Unless I miss my guess, the waterfront at Arrowhead will be a busy place this summer!  Thanks for putting the campers first.  I’m secretly hoping that the project will be fully funded by early spring! Keep up the good work!"
                                                                                                                                 - Arrowhead Investor

2012 and our celebration of Shepherds Camp's 50th anniversary are coming to a close.  As we are look forward to 2013 we are also looking for 50 new investors to make an impact by investing in our new pontoon paddle boat project. 

You can send your investment by mail or invest online at

Find out more about our Pontoon Paddle Boat Project

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You're Worth it - D12

Just five days left until Christmas.  If you are not busy yet... your to do list is probably about to explode or you have gotten everything done early and it is going to take the next five days to recover in time for Christmas morning.  This time of year certainly does ramp things up, from parties and decorations to Christmas movie marathons and wrapping presents.  There are also Christmas plays, church cantatas, your family newsletter and Christmas caroling (if people still do that).  And of course, there is the heart of Christmas... the birth of Jesus.  In the midst of all our festivities is the Christmas Story of Emmanuel, God with us.

In our unwavering busyness we can lose sight of the story that stretches from Christmas Day all the way to Easter.  It is a story about value and worth.  It is a story engulfed by love.

Each year hundreds of people come to Arrowhead.  Guest groups, churches, families, staff members, volunteers, James Projects groups, neighbors and friends call Arrowhead "their camp" for a time.  They differ in age, education, mobility, ability, gender, marital status and a host of other visible and invisible ways.  But, no matter what the difference, the message of the Christmas Story remains the same.

The message is this: You are valuable to God.  Why?  Because He loves you.  For that reason, He sent Jesus, His only Son.  Of course, the story does not end with Christmas.  It ends with Easter.  Because God loves you, you are worth dying for.  Now matter how obvious or subtle the differences God determines value and worth... and He says that everyone is worth dying for.  And that, is cause for celebrating!

Merry Christmas and Happy Easter!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Creating Space - D13

What's your favorite space?  Maybe it is a rocking chair by the back window or a breakfast nook where you enjoy a cup of coffee.  Maybe it is a spare room in your house that is an "electronic device free" zone.  It could be a garden bench in your back yard or at a nearby park.  It could also be a hiking trail or a spot alongside a local pond or lake.

Creating space is a great part of our daily or weekly routine.  Having a place to go that invites us to rest and relax is a healthy rhythm in the midst of the busyness of family, work, hobbies, commitments, etc.  However, creating space is not just about finding a place to go, but creating a space where you can be present in God's presence.  More precisely, it is an opportunity for us become intentionally aware of God's presence because we are not occupied or preoccupied with anything but Him.

Around camp we have many of these intentional spaces that invite our campers, staff, volunteers and guests to rest, relax and worship God.  From lean-tos and gazebos to giant logs and garden benches, we love serving others by providing these spaces.

We also have a more intense intentional space we like to call The Cabin.  Some have called it the Hermitage or the Fortress of Solitude because of its size and location.  It is a great space that we enjoy extending to friends, pastors and staff who like the outdoors and need a little help creating some healthy space as part of their rhythm of worshiping God.

What's your favorite space?  Where do you go?  Is it part of a routine or rhythm to intentionally be with God?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let's Celebrate - D14

We are so thankful for all of our 2012 investors who have supported Arrowhead and the Shepherds Camp program.  They have been a tremendous part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations.  This note came from the parents of one of our Shepherds campers.

"We want to celebrate the 50 years of ministry for Shepherds Camp.  We have been so thankful for the influence and care that our son has received these last 5 years.  We especially appreciate the biblical/spiritual emphasis."
With grateful hearts,
                                                                                                                                         - Mr. and Mrs. S

Monday, December 17, 2012

Project Update - D15

Things are moving right along.  Drywall, mud and tape will lead to painting, new fixtures and a whole lot more.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Now & Then - D16

Or then and now depending on how you look at it... and depending on which decade you came to Arrowhead as a camper or staff member.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Icicles - D17

Some of you just took a deep breath and let out a sorrowful sigh... wanting nothing more than to return to the hot summer days in mid-July; perfect weather for an evening cookout.

If you are like me though... all you need is for someone to say "Hamburger" and you are ready to go.  I love grilling year round.  Who cares about the cold and the snow.  Having to shovel a path to the grill on the deck is just a little pre-dinner workout to justify that second cheeseburger I was already planning to devour.

Cookouts are a big deal at Shepherds Camp.  There is just something about it, as I am sure you agree.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Living & Leaving - D18

Today is my anniversary!  My camp anniversary to be more specific.  It has been my privilege to serve full-time at Arrowhead for the past 11 years.  To some of you that may sound like an eternity, while compared to others I am just a youngster.  But hey, this is the oldest I have ever been and it is also the first full time job I have ever had.

Our camp staff and Alumni take pride (in a good way) in the number of summers or years they have served here at camp.  They become formative, life-changing notches in their belts; notches that take serious time, effort, sacrifice and dedication to accumulate.  But it is not just about notches in one's belt.  It is about legacy.  Camp is bigger than just those of us who are presently serving full time or part time.  Camp is farther reaching then any of our lifetimes.  Camp is also NOT about us and what we can accomplish while we are here.  That is why our mission is kingdom focused not camp focused.  I often remind our staff that Scripture says, "Behold, the kingdom of God is at hand", not "Behold, the camp of God is at hand".  Of course, that is also true of our workplaces, our churches, our families and our ministries.  Whether we purpose to or not, you and I will live & leave a legacy.

I am thrilled to be a part of a legacy that is kingdom focused.  Since 1945 when Arrowhead was founded we have had 3 key executive leaders.  The first was the founder, Dr. Paul Griffis who served for 34 years.  The second was Dave Martin, who served as Executive Director for 32 years.  Richie Robb has been serving with Arrowhead for 10 years; the last 2 years as our current Executive Director.

Photo: Dr. Paul Griffis and his family

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ABCollege - D19

We may have to coin the phrase, "Arrowhead Bible College".  This spring and summer we are offering accredited college courses here at camp.  I have been given the privilege of teaching Lancaster Bible College's camping ministry courses with Arrowhead as the classroom.
I am excited for this non-traditional setting that will combine experience and education on site and during our Shepherds Camp programming.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bowing Down - D20

This photo is from back in the day... when men were men and snow fall was measured in feet.  Back when you had to walk uphill both ways to get to the bathhouse and they did not even have tubes for snow tubing... and you had to go anyway.  It was a time when mother nature would chew you up and spit you out just because you forgot your gloves.

Our poor little Christmas Tree outside the main building was hanging on for dear life after that winter.  This photo was taken 10 years ago.  It took about 5 years for the arch to go away.  But, now that same tree has been moved out by the ball field and is up to about 25 feet.

Here's to wishing you lots of snow and a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3 Keys to a Great Camp Staff - D21

1.  Find them (the smell of pizza is irresistible)
2.  Recruit them (promise them candy)
3.  Keep them (don't let them go)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stocking Stuffers - D22

Talk about a target customer base.  Check out our Arrowhead Product - 50th Anniversary t-shirts, mugs and window sticks... for that special staff, camper or alumni "someone" on your list.

Send us an email to place an order -

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Going Back - D23

 “Serving at Arrowhead has helped me care about what God cares about. It was a humbling experience… to serve in the context of camp ministry.  It is also a place that is very special to me.  I rebelled against God for 16 years of my life until I attended a winter retreat at Arrowhead.  

I still remember sitting in the small room behind the gym on January 16, 2006 where I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.  I have had the opportunity to go back each year and now serve as a leader of my high school youth group.  It is the same time every year so I have the unique privilege to sit in that room on the same day and same time every year and thank God for His work in my life.  Arrowhead is very special place to me.  It is awesome to be able to go back and serve at a place that has played such a huge piece in my spiritual transformation.”
                                                                           - Alumni Camper / Staff Member

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Box - D24

James Project 2013 is almost full... and it's not even 2013. We have just a couple more spots available.  Hundreds of James Project group members will serve with us throughout the retreat seasons and summer.  One of the most exciting parts of the James Project is the variety of groups that come to serve.  From student ministries and leadership programs to families and other para-church ministries each group is uniquely different.

Friday, December 7, 2012

In The Beginning - D25

Well, almost the beginning.  This photo was taken circa 1947, just two years after Lake Arrowhead Bible Conference began.

Can anyone identify the make, model or year of the cars parked in front of the dining hall?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Step Up - D26

"I just wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time doing the James Project with you guys!  Thanks so much for the opportunity to serve you and to have the time to build into the group of girls we brought.  We truly met the objectives we set out to teach them - about serving with joy, deepening fellowship and learning a deeper, more personal relationship with Jesus.

The opportunity for one of our students to serve again and step up in a leadership role was invaluable and I thank you for all the times you approached her to get a team of girls to help in different jobs that needed to be accomplished.

All my girls had a blast and I know that is because you run a great camp, where there are hardly any questions marks about what to do or how do it.  You and your staff are so joyful and helpful and I know that spilled over into the great, worshipful attitude of my girls.

Just wanted to thank you and praise God for an awesome time with you guys."
                                                                                                                   - James Project group leader

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It - D27

Our staff know what it is.  Our James Project groups have experienced it.  Our volunteers could tell you crazy stories about it.  Some folks have dedicated their lives to it.  If you don't know what it is, then you don't even know that you don't know what it is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Classic - D28

To the untrained eye, it looks like there is a storm coming and we will most certainly have to cancel tonight's choir practice.  But, to our Alumni this is one of those pictures that makes you close your eyes and supernaturally take a deep breath of warm summer air... despite the fact that it is the beginning of December.

It is our classic camp game: Camper-Counselor Kickball.  The counselors raid our costume closet, putting together ensembles of epic Hollywood proportions.  A riveting game of kickball ensues in which the counselors act as silly as their thirty second wardrobe change would suggest.  The campers love watching the counselors run around the field in their outfits almost as much as they love winning at kickball.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Paul Bunyan and His EZ-GO - D30

It is big, it is blue and it has been a great blessing to our program staff, counselors and campers.  Our EZ-GO shuttle makes daily trips to the waterfront, ball field, bocce ball courts and even out to the mailboxes at the end of the road.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chain Link Investors - D31

"Wow!"  Everyone says the same thing about our new Home Run Fence.  But there is more than one reason to say, "Wow!" about this fence.

Wow #1 - It is hard not to notice the 185' home run fence arrayed with banners.  It looks sharp!

Wow #2 - Investors have made a huge impact!  Their investments are being used to purchase new recreational equipment for Shepherds Camp.  As a "Thank you" we put up a banner of their choice.

Wow #3 - Each banner is a dynamic show of support for the mission of Arrowhead.

Wow #4 - We put a high value on safety.  The new fence has added a measure of contain-ability for camp activities like kickball.

Wow #5 - Our open field now has great definition which has enhanced the look and feel of our activity areas.

Wow #6 - The home run fence was installed back in April.  By mid-summer the fence was full of banners!  What's even more exciting?  We have the other side of the fence just waiting for more investors to make a impact.

Wow #7 - Who doesn't love hitting a home run at summer camp?