Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries

Intro to Foundation 5: Teaching Creation Care and Appreciation

by Todd Bartlett, Executive Director for Camp and Retreat Ministries

My journey with creation care and appreciation began when I was a young child. When our family would go camping, my sister and I were paid by our parents 1 penny for every scrap of garbage that we picked up. This helped us to live out the “leave it better than you found it” mantra. There were field trips, scout trips, and of course, church camps, which all demonstrated and encouraged me to live out these values.

When I was the director at the Collins Retreat Center I had the joy of being able to regularly walk through its incredible temperate rain forest. I would inevitably encounter something that would catch my eye and, if I had been thoughtful enough to bring my camera, I would attempt to capture the image. 

What would often catch my eye was the color of flowers, water, small animals, and the many shades of green.  Integral to all of these was light.  The rays of sunlight streaming through forest canopy and the vivid contrast to the dark understory are great opportunities to depict the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.

I was blessed with figuring out how to share this appreciation with others by using those photos in cards sold at our gift shop and in our welcome sign in the lobby of the retreat center.

As I travel to the sites now, I look for opportunities to capture the beauty and wonder in all of our sacred spaces. However, I am sure that it would take me years to find and be there at just the right moment to capture your favorite scenes at the site you frequent.  So, if you have photos of our sites that express some of the spirit of these sacred places, I hope that you would share them with us. Please feel free to send them to me at along with any information that you would like shared!

May the photos that accompany this post inspire you to look for beauty and light and lead you to seek out ways to care for and appreciate God’s wondrous creation.

See you around the campfire soon,


Camp - For the Young AND the Young-at-Heart!!

by Rev. Eric Conklin, Camp and Retreat Ministries Associate for Communications

Today's Camp Magruder is not your grandparent's church camp - NOT TRUE!

Grand Camp at Camp Magruder continues to be a powerful opportunity for grandparents to strengthen their bonds with God, with Creation, and with their grandchildren. This all occurs in a loving and supportive community where new friends are made and existing friendships are rejuvenated in a sacred setting. I was fortunate enough to be the dean of this camp of 90 people, setting the space to consider what it means to be loved because of our gifts and joys, along with all of our disappointment and grief.

In spite of a new injury I now refer to as "Gaga Wrist" (see Gaga Ball), it was such a blessing to see how much love and care is expressed among families, across the generations. Furthermore, I feel proud of the staff of Camp Magruder for not only providing the space for that to happen, but for co-creating experiences of wonder and delight.

The smiles say it all...






Go Camping E-News is a publication of Camp and Retreat Ministries, a collaboration of the OR-ID Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.

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