Celebrating 25 Years of Ministry at Cascades

posted in BLOG | Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Take a minute to check out this fun video depicting God’s faithful ministry at Cascades for the past 25 years!

Meaghan Luchau – Ranch Manager

posted in BLOG | Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

I am so excited to have joined the staff this past winter. I’ve already fallen in love with Sunrise Ranch, its programs, and our lovable herd of horses! Camping, horses, and the outdoors have been both my career and passion for a long time, and I’m excited to have found my next calling at Cascades. I am looking forward to my first summer here and can’t wait to serve others in such a serene and incredible setting. In my free time, I love to ride horses, of course, root for Seattle sports (Go Sounders!), explore the outdoors, and travel.


Summer Staff Reflection: “Gracioso”

posted in BLOG | Friday, February 28th, 2014

Starting in January, we hit the road in hopes of recruiting some stellar young people who are excited to serve the Lord at Cascades.  Recruiting season has recently wrapped up, but we’re still very much in the midst of hiring.  Slowly but surely, the pieces are falling into place and our 2014 summer staff is coming together.

In the spirit of the season and in anticipation of another great crew, we’ve been highlighting a few of our summer staffers from 2013.  This week, we’re sharing a reflection written by “Gracioso,” our kitchen intern last year and worship leader last summer.


My experience at CCACC has been a long and multifacted one as I’ve cycled through many of the roles.  Only missing one summer in between 1999 and 2013, I have been at camp as a camper, S.A.L.T., or summer staff member, and even spent nine months as the kitchen intern.  I think it’s safe to say I’ve had the full experience, even working in most of the departments.  Over the years, no place has been more influential than Cascades Camp in bringing out dedication in my faith and the outright goofiness in my personality.

I recall working at camp my very first summer in 2011.  Camp was kind of like celebrating your birthday for me.  It was something you got to enjoy so infrequently that the anticipation building up to it was almost unbearable glee, and the time actually spent there was always magical and packed with excitement.  Something slowly began to change when I had worked there one week, two weeks, three weeks, two months, and so on.  Camp did lose some of its magic, but that emotion was replaced with something better.  Camp became a home to me.  The passionate love that I had for camp gradually settled into a steady, reliable, dedicated sort of love for the place and what we do there.  Instead of being like a birthday party, camp felt like finally coming home after an arduous day of school or work.

I had the privilege of working summers on program both as a counselor and worship leader, and as a kitchen leader.  I loved getting to taste both sides of camp, in the forefront of our ministry and behind the scenes.  There are so many lessons to be learned, and so many different ones depending on what aspect of camp you serve in.  Being a counselor stretched me in new ways, teaching me to rely on God more than ever to do His work through me when I was doing more than I ever thought possible.  In the kitchen, God taught me to appreciate service that doesn’t get praised and I discovered the deep satisfaction of making something that provides for people’s needs in very practical way.  Without a doubt, God has changed my life in monumental ways through my experience at camp, providing me with mentors and giving me an opportunity to mentor others in turn.  Never have I been a part of a community that was so jointly dedicated to seeing God’s kingdom come by their impact.  People come together and serve this purpose and leave so much capable of living for Jesus in their own circles.

One of Cascades’ mottos is to do everything with excellence.  You hear this sort of thing all the time, recycled for countless missions and purpose statements.  Honestly, it gets a little bit old.  It was incredibly refreshing to work at camp and notice that this was the first place I’ve been where the staff models excellence more than they talk about it.  Every person showed me what it means to do everything to the best of their ability, and having that rub off in me is one of the most valuable things camp has given to me.  I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything in the world, and still when I pass under those wooden gates, I know I’m coming home.


Check in periodically to read about the experiences of other summer staffers – and if you know of any qualified post-high school/college-aged individuals – especially Jesus-loving dudes – who might be interested in serving at Cascades, send ‘em our way!


Summer Staff Reflection: “Luggabaloo”

posted in BLOG | Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Recruiting season is here, y’all!  Starting in January, we hit the road in hopes of recruiting some stellar young people who are excited to serve the Lord at Cascades.  Slowly but surely, the pieces are falling into place and our 2014 summer staff is coming together.

In the spirit of recruiting season and in anticipation of another great crew, we’ve been highlighting a few of our summer staffers from 2013.  This week, we’re sharing a reflection written last August by “Luggabaloo,” one of our counselors.


“Camp Reflection”

I have been out at camp for a little while now.

Alright, so a long while.  It was an incredible experience for a million different reasons. I couldn’t pinpoint just one.  The community was a huge blessing, for sure.  Every single person there is totally passionate about Jesus and about loving people.  They are all super genuine and caring people – camp provided one of the greatest (if not the greatest) communities I’ve ever been a part of.  Every department was full of the neatest people.  I feel so blessed to have been a part of it.  Then there are the cute elementary kids that say the strangest things.  One kid thought I was the father to one of my fellow counselors, and I’m definitely younger than her.  This past week I had a kid who was talking about camping and he said, “I ride my bike around and say ‘hi’ to people, because that’s my thing.”  Super fun!  Then, at the end of the week, we get to hear the kids talk about their lives and what they learned about at camp.  It’s awesome every week to hear the wisdom that comes from these kids.

This summer, I learned one really big thing that took a few weeks to get through my thick skull.  Every week, I was wanting campers to make huge, life-altering decisions in their walk with Christ.  For the first week, no big decisions/commitments were made.  And I would sit there, listening to other counselors talk about the great conversations they had with kids, thinking about the lack in wholesome conversations I had.  Then, my third week was rough.  I worked with a group who came from a church, but didn’t seem to want to gain anything spiritual from their camp experience.  They were there for the fun, the games – not for Jesus.  That was really frustrating, and I became frustrated with them, and myself, because I felt that they weren’t retaining anything I said.  However, as the week came to a close, God taught me a lesson.

He really laid on my heart that I shouldn’t always expect to see the fruit in peoples’ lives.  Sometimes I have to plant seeds in the lives of these guys, and leave it at that.  God gave me peace about my campers not having a life-changing week. He let me know that just because I didn’t get to see their lives being changed doesn’t mean they never will.  If I plant seeds, then He will grow those into a beautiful, blooming testimony later in their lives.  Going into my fourth and final week at camp, I had a renewed perspective.  I need to be pouring my all into these kids, even if I feel discouraged, because they will either apply what they’ve learned to their life right now, or they will remember it later in life.  Either way, God is going to use their week at camp to change them in some way.


Check in periodically over the next couple of weeks to read about the experiences of other summer staffers – and if you know of any qualified post-high school/college-aged individuals who might be interested in serving at Cascades, send ‘em our way!


Summer Staff Reflection: “Shalom”

posted in BLOG | Friday, January 24th, 2014

Recruiting season is here, y’all!  Over the next month or so, we’re hitting the road in hopes of recruiting some stellar young people who are excited to serve the Lord at Cascades.  Slowly but surely, the pieces are falling into place and our 2014 summer staff is coming together.

In the spirit of recruiting season and in anticipation of another great crew, we’re going to be highlighting a few of our summer staffers from 2013 over the next couple of weeks.  First up, we’re sharing a reflection written late-July by “Shalom,” one of our Brightwood S.A.L.T. leaders last summer.


“Flannels and REI Mugs at Sunrise”

I am such a camp person.

I am the most crazy, joyful, and full of love when I am at camp. There’s this aura about camp life that just draws people in and allows them to vibe on such an intimate level with the most real part of themselves; to be a part of a place like that is such a blessing. If there is anything to be said about me as a person it is that I am super super extroverted. I love nothing more than being in a room full of a bunch of people that I don’t know and to be able to go up to them and say “HI! I want to know you.”

Literally though, it’s almost always THAT creepy and THAT awkward. On the whole though I’d say I’m a fully functioning human being and it hasn’t once failed in me meeting someone new if not making an entirely new friendship start. People are just really cool. And really cool people and opportunities like that tend to happen in excess at camp.

Perfect job for me.

This summer I was hired to be the Brightwood S.A.L.T. leader. S.A.L.T. stands for Servant and Leadership Training and Brightwood S.A.L.T.s in particular are juniors and seniors in high school who pay to come hang out at camp to love and serve throughout the week. If you’d have asked me seven weeks ago how I felt about this job I would have probably said I was terrified, incapable, or simply stared at you blankly…and then laughed. I didn’t feel capable of teaching three different sessions of high school students. I didn’t feel wise enough or able enough to love a bunch of high schoolers right where they were at as well as teach and show them the love of Jesus. I felt like I was in way over my head.

And for the past seven weeks I have sat back in awe of God and the way He works through our biggest insecurities. I have been awed, blessed, loved, laughed with, and found joy in all 31 of the crazy high school students who came into my life this summer and wrecked my heart in the best way possible.

This summer I have learned.

I am a love person.

A flannel person.

A hiking person.

A simplicity person.

A worship person.

A joyful person.

A “I-find-joy-in-serving-person.”

A 6 am with coffee person.

A Bible person.

A community person.

I am a camp person.

Hear me say: Let me love.

Soli Deo gloria, Shalom.


Check in periodically over the next couple of weeks to read about the experiences of other summer staffers – and if you know of any qualified post-high school/college-aged individuals who might be interested in serving at Cascades, send ‘em our way!


Introducing the 2013-2014 Interns

posted in BLOG | Friday, December 27th, 2013

Meet the Ranch Intern – Sarah “Firefly” Slater
Hometown: Vancouver, Washington
What you were up to before coming to camp: Attending Olympic College in Bremerton.
Alma Mater: Olympic College, associate’s in Fine Arts, 2013
Favorite place at camp: The pasture at about 7:00 in the morning; just when the sun is coming up.
Highlight of the summer: The whole summer was wonderful, but I think my highlight was seeing my little sister come to camp for the first time and watching her face as she got to experience new things around the horses and with other campers.
Some goals for this year: This year I want to learn to take the time to just sit and let God speak to me, and not worry about what else may be coming around next year.
Dream vacation: Traveling through middle-earth (New Zealand). Or road-tripping with my best friends.
Favorite treat: Gooey cookies of any sort, but chocolate chip especially. (It doesn’t even have to be cooked at all really – I will eat it straight out of the bowl!)

Meet the Kitchen Intern – Carl “Falsetto” Jeppessen
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
What you were up to before coming to camp: Working at a center for troubled youth.
Alma mater: University of Portland, Music with an emphasis in vocal performance, 2010
Favorite place at camp: The waterfront
Highlight of the summer: Dancing in the Yelm Parade & Timber Rock guys night
Some goals for this year: Grow closer to God in community and figure out the next step in life.
Dream vacation: Into orbit
Favorite treat: Soft and chewy white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Meet the Operations Team Intern – Christian “Fender” Kerrigan
Hometown: Shoreline, Washington
What you were up to before coming to camp: Student teaching at St. Hilary School in Chicago, IL
Alma mater: North Park University, Elementary Education, 2013
Favorite place at camp: Grandview
Highlight of the summer: Seeing my good friends get married
Some goals for this year: Build stuff. Wood stuff. And go to a Sounders game.
Dream vacation: Hike the Appalachian Trail
Favorite treat: Rice Krispie treats

Meet the Program Interns - 

Jessica “Lambchop” Martin
Hometown: Selah, Washington
What you were up to before coming to camp: Graduated from SPU last winter, and have been interning at camp since January.
Alma mater: Seattle Pacific University, Global Development Studies, December 2012
Favorite place at camp: The Timber Rock amphitheater
Highlight of the summer: Watching faces light up because of an experience that I had a hand in creating – whether that was connecting with Christ for the first time, or going on a safari adventure out to Frontier Village.
Some goals for this year: To grow in my understanding of both Christ and camping ministry, to build community, and to go running on every trail at camp.
Dream vacation: Europe backpacking adventure
Favorite treat: Dried mangoes, Stumptown coffee, or anything chocolate

Samantha “Mushu” Trestik
Hometown: Tigard, Oregon
What you were up to before coming to camp: After graduating from Whitworth in 2012, I started interning at camp. I kind of like it here!
Alma mater: Whitworth University, Marketing, 2012
Favorite place at camp: The linen closet – it smells so fresh and clean!
Highlight of the summer: The whole thing, but some individual “it is good” moments – Tent City, working in the nursery during Double Fun Family Camp, spending an hour in the canteen each day getting to know new campers and reconnecting with old ones, and cleaning out the ball field shed!
Some goals for this year: Read at least 4 books for fun, learn how to cook, hide on a trail and jump out and scare Jessica while she is running, write or blog about my experiences this year, and learn the Thriller dance.
Dream vacation: Any place that is peaceful, with a beautiful view and few distractions. It could be a beach, a lake, a cabin in the mountains, or by a pool. And of course spending time with quality people.
Favorite Treat: Oatmeal-chai cookies

If you were thinking of sending us a care package (HINT-HINT), feel free to include fun board games, delicious homemade cookies, gift certificates to Dairy Queen or Starbucks, and encouraging notes.

Peace and blessings,

Jessica “Lambchop” Martin & Sammie “Mushu” Trestik


NPC Conference Annual Meeting

posted in BLOG | Friday, December 20th, 2013

NPC Events:

  1. MUD Retreat
  2. Thunder Retreat
  3. Men’s Retreat
  4. Women’s Retreat
  5. Pastor’s, Staff, and Families Retreat

Family Camp 2013 Goodies

posted in BLOG | Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Recap Video

You know how a picture says a thousand words? Well it turns out a video says around a million words. We had far too many exciting things happening at Family Camp this summer to explain with words, so our media technician, New Twig made this video, which happens to be worth one-million words. WOW!

Watch this super-awesome recap video to see all the super-awesome things we were doing at Independence Day Family Camp last week.

Independence Day Family Camp 2013 Recap from Cascades Camp on Vimeo.

Sermon Recordings

All of the sermons were recorded and uploaded to the Cascades Podcast. Enjoy morning sermons by Pastor Dave Kersten and evening sermons by Pastor Eugene Cho.

Every sermon is available for free download or direct streaming via the Cascades Podcast on iTunes. Or you can simply click below to listen.


Wednesday PM

Pastor Eugene Cho

Thursday AM

Pastor Dave Kersten

Thursday PM

Pastor Eugene Cho

Friday AM

Pastor Dave Kersten


Friday PM

Pastor Eugene Cho

Saturday AM

Pastor Dave Kersten

Saturday PM

Pastern Eugene Cho

Sunday AM

Pastor Dave Kersten

If you are having a hard time listening to the sermons please do not hesitate to contact us!


Introducing the 2013 Leadership Staff

posted in BLOG | Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Ranch Hand: Kershaw

Head Wrangler: Mela

Timber Rock Program Leader: Reepicheep

Timber Rock Rec. Leader: Dovahkiin

Brightwood Program Leader: Nano

Brightwood Rec. Leader: Fender

Rainier Kids Day Camp Leaders: Precious & Abel

Worship Leader: Gracioso

Videographer/Media Tech: New Twig

Health Assistant: Ikea

Activities Coordinator: Lambchop

Program Assistant: Mushu

Camp Pastors: Nomad & Braids

Seasoned S.A.L.T. Leaders: Tiltro & Ciabatta

Ranch S.A.L.T. Leader: Firefly

Brightwood S.A.L.T. Leaders: Mater & Shalom

S.A.L.T. Crew Leaders: Jolley-Fish & Forté

Kitchen Leaders: YeeHaw & Bowser

Waterfront Director: Teaspoon

O-Team Leaders: Chica & Smakelijk


We can’t wait to meet you this summer!


Introducing the 2012-2013 Interns!!

posted in BLOG | Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

In January we added to our intern family, so we figured now would be a good time to introduce you to all of our interns! Drum roll please…

Returning for her second year working with Jessica out at the ranch, Kaitlyn “Kershaw” Adrian is this year’s Ranch Intern. Before coming to camp during the summer of 2011 to be a wrangler at Sunrise Ranch, Kaitlyn was living with her family in Elk, Washington – north of Spokane, training horses, showing beef cattle and market lambs, working as a handywoman, and helping out with her youth group. This past summer Kaitlyn worked as the Ranch Hand and enjoyed watching the Wranglers and S.A.L.T.s grow in their faith, commitment, responsibility, and friendship. When asked why she wanted to serve at Cascades again, she replied “I feel at peace here and I know that the staff can teach me a lot. I can grow more in God and what he has planned for me.” Her goal for this year is to learn all she can. Some fun facts about Kaitlyn include, she has never known an animal she couldn’t get along with, and since being at camp she has cleaned approximately 1273 toilets.

Jonathan “Ciabatta” Goheen is working alongside Cean this year as the Operations Team Intern! Jon hails from the desert land of Southern Arizona, but prior to coming out to camp this summer he was living with his older brother in Medford, Oregon and taking a couple classes at a local community college. This past summer Jon served as one half of the Brightwood S.A.L.T leadership team and enjoyed spending quality time with some quality high school students and staff. Jonathan wanted to serve this year at Cascades because, “I love the idea of spending a year at Cascades doing an internship! I look forward to learning new things and hanging out with my fellow interns!” Jonathan’s goal for this year is to figure out what is the next step in his life. Something most people don’t know about Jon is that apparently reds and browns compliment his skin tone, or at least that is what he has been told…

Working in food service with Mike as this year’s Kitchen Intern is Tim “Gracioso” Chase. This past summer Tim served as one third of the kitchen leadership team and enjoyed it so much he didn’t want to leave! This summer he enjoyed watching the kitchen team grow into a group of friends and enjoyed the enriching community throughout the summer. Tim is originally from Gresham, Oregon and recently graduated from Mt. Hood Community College with an Associates of Arts. When asked why he wanted to serve at Cascades for the year he replied, “I am serving at Cascades because Jesus called us to be servants. At camp, I wake up and every day is not about myself. Camp has always felt like a home to me, and I’m just really glad to be a part of the community here.” One of Tim’s goals this year is to grow in the Lord, grow in friendship, grow into the man God is making him to be, and to grow a mustache. Some interesting facts about Tim are that he is legally blind in his left eye and he once fit 33 baby carrots into his mouth!

Samantha “Mushu” Trestik is working with Claudia as one of this year’s Program Interns. This past summer Sammie served as the Program Assistant and enjoyed the challenges and knowledge that comes with a new job as well as working in a community that was supportive and a BLAST! Sammie is from Tigard, Oregon and graduated this past May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Whitworth University. When asked why she wanted to serve at Cascades she replied “God has continuously called me back to this place, I’ve always wanted to intern out here. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Claudia and challenge myself with the planning, promotion, and execution of everything program!” This year she hopes to apply her marketing knowledge into the camping industry, and choose to serve with joy each day while working with the rest of the interns and staff. Some unique things about Sammie include are that she competed in jump rope club as a kid, her life is just a little bit better when she has her 32″ care bear by her side, and she has worked for at least two weeks in every department at camp.

Jessica “Lambchop” Martin is working with Claudia as the other half of the Program Intern Team. This past summer Jessica served as the Program Leader at Camp Timber Rock and loved being able to create a space and facilitate an experience for God to move in the hearts and lives of both campers and staff! Jessica is originally from Selah, Washington and graduated this past December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Development Studies from Seattle Pacific University. When asked why she wants to serve at Cascades she replied “Camping ministry is a perfect blend of my passions, and because I want to take part in the ministry that has so profoundly impacted my own faith journey.” One of Jessica’s goals is to grow in her knowledge and love for both Christ and camping ministry… and get the best Chaco sandal tan on summer staff. Some fun facts about Jessica are that she plays the oboe, drinks a tall Americano with light room for cream, and makes a lot of sound effects in everyday conversation.

If you were thinking of sending us a care package (HINT HINT) feel free to include fun board games, delicious homemade cookies, gift certificates to places like Dairy Queen or Starbucks and most importantly encouraging notes!

Peace and Blessings,

Sammie “Mushu” Trestik