There’s nothing quite like a room full of 450 middle schoolers shouting in unison out of excitement for an epic weekend at camp with their friends. On Friday night of our annual Thunder Retreat, hundreds of kids from all over the Pacific Northwest gathered to kick off the event and the anticipation in the room was palpable. As soon as the doors opened, middle schoolers streamed into Rainier Center, which had been carefully transformed into a scene from Indiana Jones – complete with a decked out safari Jeep, jungle vines creeping over every surface, and colorful, swirling lights streaming across the eager crowd. Once everyone had made it inside, the lights shut off and the sound of a thunderstorm began…soon building into a universal roar of hundreds of voices expressing their enthusiasm for what was to come. At the height of the excitement, with the Indiana Jones soundtrack playing in the background, Pete Anderson of Crossroads Community Covenant Church in Yelm, WA suddenly started lowering himself down from the ceiling on a rope, stunning the awaiting crowd. As he descended, he welcomed everyone to the event and Thunder 2017 was officially kicked off.
The weekend was a wild ride – everywhere you looked there were kids running around in outrageous spirit costumes matching with their churches (my personal favorite was a group of kids in chef’s hats), elaborate games and activities happening, and countless conversations going on between old and new friends. The kids participated in a giant game called “Raiders of the Lost Book,” which called each church group to an epic quest around camp – completing Indiana Jones inspired challenges, collecting puzzle pieces, and racing other churches to the finish line. Many also got the chance to participate in one of camp’s epic extreme activities, such as the high-adrenaline zip line, Rubicon rides or climbing tower. Others went on peaceful trail rides through the endless acres of Cascades woods, participated in a creative pumpkin painting contest and other fall-inspired crafts, or went canoeing on Elbow Lake. One of the highlights of the weekend was bringing in a live reptile man, who wowed the crowd with his collection of snakes and other slithery creatures – kids even got the chance to take selfies with an alligator!
Along with all of the over-the-top fun and games, students were also provided the life-changing opportunities to connect with their peers and spiritual leaders, immerse themselves in poignant, inspiring worship, hear from dynamic speaker Erik Anderson, of Crossroads Church in Woodbury, MN, and remember God’s “never ending, never giving up, always there for you ‘hesed’ love.” Students discussed self-confidence, loving others well, and sensing God’s constant work in their lives, and were given the chance to connect with God and all that He has to teach them.
Hundreds of hot chocolates, cheeseballs, paper vines, selfies, and giggles later, we’ve concluded the appropriately chaotic and beautifully transformative weekend that was Thunder 2017. We are grateful once again for God’s blessing over the event, and can’t wait to invite hundreds more middle schoolers to camp again soon. See you next year!
Brielle “Lava” Cosgrove
As we transition into fall at Cascades Camp and Conference Center, we welcome colorful trees, warm scarves and four new faces to the year-round team! Every year, the different departments of camp each select an individual to learn and work with them throughout the entire off-season, continuing to provide our guests with adrenaline-pumping adventures, warm meals, relaxing coffee breaks and comfortable lodging all year long. Please join us in welcoming Abby “Remi” Adrian, Brielle “Lava” Cosgrove, Danny “Uggs” Schoeggl and Maddy “Kartoffel” DeMaris:
Abby “Remi” Adrian
As the first female Operations intern, Abby is spending her time improving and caring for the facilities at camp. She grew up in Elk, WA and was working at Hobby Lobby before coming to Cascades.
Previous jobs at camp: Operations Staff
Highlight of the past summer: “The team I got to work with!”
Favorite place at camp: The horse pastures at Easy Street
What you’re looking forward to about the internship: “How I’ll grow as a person and what I’ll learn here.”
Goal(s) for this year: “I’d love to figure out what I’d like to do after camp! That’s definitely a goal I already have in mind.”
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?: Taste testing food
What would you spend all your time doing if you could?: Traveling
Favorite care package treat: Swedish Fish
Brielle “Lava” Cosgrove
As the Program Intern, Brielle is spending her time in the Program Office planning and preparing for all things summer camp! Originally from Spokane, WA, Brielle attended Seattle Pacific University and earned her Bachelor’s in Linguistics and Cultural Studies. Before this year, she was teaching afterschool enrichment classes and planning Lego birthday parties!
Previous jobs at camp: Counselor, Seasoned S.A.L.T. Leader
Highlight of the past summer: “Having a job that allowed me to invest in High Schoolers was incredible. It was so cool to befriend and mentor them, and they made me laugh SO HARD! I also loved having a lot of independence and freedom in my position to really take my ideas and run with them.”
Favorite place at camp: “The fishing dock, especially in the early mornings when it’s quiet and misty. I’ve had a lot of God moments on that dock.”
What you’re looking forward to about the internship: “I don’t even know where to start! The internship is a perfect mix of opportunities that utilize my strengths and passions as well as unique challenges. I think the combination is going to result in a lot of growth, and I love that get to do that in a ministry setting that I care for immensely!”
Goal(s) for this year: “I want to prioritize time with Jesus and have a lot of tangible growth I can speak for as a result of my time here. It would also be pretty cool to conquer the huge stack of fitness magazines I have free subscriptions to.”
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?: “Probably talking really fast.”
What would you spend all your time doing if you could?: “Exploring and adventuring with the people who know and love me well! I use all the free time I have finding new places to explore and spending quality time with friends.”
Favorite care package treat: Encouraging notes, flowers/plants, chocolate
Danny “Uggs” Schoeggl
Danny is working alongside Chris in the kitchen this year, providing thousands of guests with warm, delicious meals. Danny grew up in the Kirkland area, and had been attending school at University of Puget Sound and studying Political Science before taking a year off to intern at camp.
Previous jobs at camp: Kitchen Staff for two years, Kitchen Leader
Highlight of the past summer: “Growing a lot as a leader and making a lot of new friends!”
Favorite place at camp: “The deck of Madrona Lodge; I love to look at the sun and the view there.”
What you’re looking forward to about the internship: “I have a lot of feelings that I don’t know how to put into words. I think I’m just excited to learn not only about the world but myself as well.”
Goal(s) for this year: “First, I’d like to grow closer to God and improve my relationship with Him. Second, I’d like to improve my skills working with food. And third, I want to write a book of 101 Kitchen Puns.”
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?: Grilling
What would you spend all your time doing if you could?: “Any and all water activities: water skiing, tubing, boating – you name it!”
Favorite care package treat: “Blankets, Sour Patch Kids, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – in that order.”
Maddy “Kartoffel” DeMaris
The Sunrise Ranch team this year includes Maddy as the new Ranch intern. She is helping with all things horses: caring for them, training them and leading Ranch events for our guests! Originally from Snohomish, Maddy is also finishing up a degree in Psychology from Washington State University during her time at interning Cascades.
Previous jobs at camp: Wrangler for two summers
Highlight of the past summer: “Playing with horses with my fun co-workers!”
Favorite place at camp: “Also the horse pasture – but I can go in by myself without asking.”
What you’re looking forward to about the internship: “Getting to know the horses and how camp works even better than before! I think that is going to be super cool.”
Goal(s) for this year: “Growing as a person.”
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?: “Scooping horse poop.”
What would you spend all your time doing if you could?: “Cuddling animals, obviously.”
Favorite care package treat: Chocolate and sour candy
Now that you’re familiar with their faces, say hello on your next visit – chances are they will be making you coffee, sending you across the zipline, taking you on a trail ride or serving your dinner. J
Brielle “Lava” Cosgrove
A Letter From Tom & Donna Moline
Donna and I write you today with joyful and thankful hearts, and maybe a little trepidation. After a combined 80 years of work in Pacific Northwest Conference camping, we will be retiring this year. Whew! We often comment on the amazing journey camp life has been. God has been faithful to us personally, and to the ministry here, and before that at Covenant Beach. We are most thankful for the privilege of knowing you and being a part of what He has done these many years. His leading, provision, grace and mercy have sustained and blessed us and camp in every way, and brought so many kids to Christ. Praise be to God- “Great things He has done.”
We are thankful for the support and guidance of a large cadre of Conference personnel and Board members who have affirmed and encouraged us along the way. What a joy to be in God’s loving family. We are most thankful to our staff partners here at Cascades & Covenant Beach. Including Summer Staff – my wild guess would be around 2,500 folks. So many of God’s best for so many years. Thank you all, your service has touched hundreds of thousands of lives for Christ. What a blessing you all are.
Special thanks to our generous and kind financial partners. Your investments here have made so much possible. It wouldn’t be what it is without you! Your friendship is most valued! Lastly, thanks to the multitude of guests who chose to invest their life time in coming to camp. It is all joy to serve you. We have been truly blessed by you all! Going forward, we have every confidence in what is clearly God’s plan for the coming transition and beyond. If He tarries, we believe Cascades will continue to host and bless many thousands in the future.
Soon now, we will move nearby and live in temporary housing while we build a house. I will also work with the new Transitional Executive Director to finish a new summer staff house, a project currently underway.
Thank you, and God bless you all. God is so good. We’ll be around, and hope to see you soon.
Love you guys, and thanks for the memories.
Tom and Donna
A Letter From the Cascades Board
To Friends of Cascades,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Cascades, I want to express our deep gratitude to Tom and Donna Moline for their tremendous years of service in forming, nurturing, and enabling the amazing ministry that is Cascades. From the early building years, through exciting growth in program and facility, and now to the culmination of well-lived careers, Tom and Donna have exemplified excellence, servant leadership, and visionary direction. Yet they accomplished all of this with an unwavering and dedicated focus on inviting all who attend into a personal relationship with Jesus, and encouraging growth in their walk with Him. God has blessed us in countless ways through the Molines, and we thank them and wish them many fruitful years in the next chapter of their lives. Please join us in our celebration October 28th.
As we embark on a new chapter of leadership at Cascades, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Novak as our Transition Executive Director. Mark will be a tremendous help to us as we set the stage for what’s next, particularly in the areas of strategic direction for our program and staff. We also plan to leverage Mark’s many connections and relationships around our Pacific Northwest Conference and community to help tell our story to those who have yet to experience Cascades. Mark is recently retired as the executive minister for Develop Leaders for the Evangelical Covenant Church, and is a former Pacific Northwest Conference Superintendent. We are thrilled to have Mark begin his time with us in January, 2018.
We will continue to provide updates regarding our search process for a new Executive Director as it unfolds. Please pray for us as we continue our ministry during this time of change, as we celebrate our time with Tom and Donna, and as we welcome Mark into the tasks ahead.
With gratitude for all of God’s blessings,
The fall brings many new things to Cascades — one of our favorites being the addition of a handful of people to the year-round team. We are, once again, very excited to introduce you all to our newest set of interns! These folks, alongside the dedicated permanent staff, work hard to keep our programs and facilities running all year round.
So, here they are — the 2016-2017 Cascades Camp and Conference Center interns! Drum roll please…
Kali “Tums” Burnside is serving as the Kitchen Intern this year, working alongside Chris Dean to serve up all of the delicious food guests have come to expect while enjoying their time at Cascades.
Hometown: Marysville, WA
Previous jobs at camp: I worked on kitchen staff, as a counselor, then as the Ranch S.A.L.T. Leader, and this last summer I served as the Brightwood Program Leader.
What you were up to before this summer: Before coming to camp last summer I was finishing up my degree in English from the University of Washington, and managing a café on campus.
Favorite place at camp: The deck of Madrona. It has a beautiful view of the lake!
Favorite camp meal: I’m a huge fan of twice baked potatoes and brisket, but that seems to be more of an off-season thing. I’d say during the summer I always look forward to pulled pork sandwiches and jojos!
Most obscure talent: Crocheting dish scrubbies, quoting SpongeBob in everyday life, and impersonating Marcel the Shell.
Goals for the year: Some of my goals for this year are to jump down an entire flight of the program office stairs in one leap, learn to play the ukulele proficiently, build something with wood, start a blog, and to play Nintendo 64 with Dan Clifford.
Favorite care package treat: Kind notes, your favorite book, and all kinds of baked goods!
As this year’s Ranch Intern, Ellie “Bellator” Leegwater is spending the year out at Sunrise Ranch taking great care of all of our horses with Rowanne Fairchild.
Hometown: Kirkland, WA
Previous jobs at camp: I have been on kitchen staff twice (serving the second summer as Kitchen Leader), and this last summer I worked as the Brightwood S.A.L.T. Leader for the majority of the season and as the Ranch Program Leader for the last few weeks.
What you were up to before this summer: Before this summer started I took a road trip for about a month visiting 10 national parks in different states.
Favorite place at camp: My favorite places around camp are 1) up at Brightwood, 2) at the ranch, and 3) by the pastures — all of which have incredible views of the mountain and the sky during sunsets!
Favorite camp meal: I’m always a big fan of oatmeal!
Most obscure talent: I like painting, drawing, and other art. I enjoy making cards to send to my friends.
Goals for the year: I’m looking for something, of which I’m not sure yet, but I hope to discover what it is this year. I know that this place is one of healing and peace, which I’ve seen start to shape things — I know I’m doing better now that I’m here. I feel as though there is a purpose to life and to being here. What comes after my time here for the internship is still unknown, so my goal for this year is to find what that ‘something’ is, and I know that will happen here because I’m able to learn and grow in this atmosphere.
Favorite care package treat: I like notes and flowers and smiles and chai!
Ethan “Crescendo” Lindell has taken on the role of Operations Intern this year, working with Cean Williard, to keep our grounds and facilities functioning with excellence.
Hometown: Ballard, WA
Previous jobs at camp: My first summer I was the male S.A.L.T. Crew Leader, and this last summer I served as the Rainier Kids Day Camp Recreation Leader.
What you were up to before this summer: I was finishing up my sophomore year at Western Washington University.
Favorite place at camp: Walking out on the left side of the lake along the trail until you get to the elbow, at this spot there are two trees right on the edge of the lake that you can hang a hammock between — that’s my favorite place.
Favorite camp meal: Chicken Caesar salad wraps.
Most obscure talent: I can unicycle backwards!
Goals for the year: During the internship I want to learn to play the tin whistle, to further my education in a non-traditional way, and to, most importantly, grow in my understanding and knowledge of what it means to be a Christian. I want to create a firm foundation for my life in Christ this year.
Favorite care package treat: The coolest post card you can find from your town!
Alex “Oseye” Farag is working this year as the Program Intern, alongside Jessica Martin, to plan and execute each of our weekend retreats, family camps, and kids camps.
Hometown: McMinnville, Oregon
Previous jobs at camp: I worked as the Barista for two summers (the second summer I also served as the Retail Leader), then I was the female Seasoned S.A.L.T. Leader, and this last summer I served as the Activities Coordinator.
What you were up to before this summer: Before this last summer I was graduating from Linfield College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Favorite place at camp: My favorite place at camp is Paradise Point early on a clear day! I love the beautiful 360° views and the silhouette of Mt. Rainier on a crisp morning.
Favorite camp meal: I absolutely love pesto, so my favorite off-season meal is pesto chicken pasta! Or breakfast tacos! Or the veggie-ham soup! (I can’t decide, it’s all so good…)
Most obscure talent: I’ve been told that my laugh can be heard from halfway around the world — so I’d say my obscure talent is obnoxiously loud laughter!
Goals for the year: I have a few goals for this year — I plan to read a book for each month that I’m here, to learn some basic guitar, and to consistently be trying new activities that get me out of my comfort zone.
Favorite care package treat: Encouraging notes, your favorite board game, and chocolate covered almonds!
There they are, folks! Please join us in welcoming them to the Cascades Camp family!
Alex “Oseye” Farag