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Showing posts with label mount carmel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mount carmel. Show all posts

family camp at mount carmel ministries

This picture above really is my favorite scene in the whole world. When I have to picture a place to help me relax, this is the image I have in my head. Mount Carmel has been such a precious part of my whole life, and it was once again, a joy to be back.

You know what hit me the most this year? (And I felt this way at Lake Geneva too...) Family camp is so awesome for young moms. Because the meals are all made for you. You don't need to bring groceries or stop playing at the beach early to go and prep dinner. You can stay in your swimsuit right up until the bell rings and when you head up to the dining hall food will magically appear in front of you and your family. Another reason camp is awesome is because there is childcare. Our mornings and evening worship are spent with our age groups. Which means that for two, sometimes three hours my kids get to play with toys and counselors, while I get to enjoy a little time without them. Family camp actually provides little "vacations" away from your own kids. And it also provides really special memories of together time too. It's the best of both.

And then there is the whole grandparent thing. Not everyone brings extended family with them to camp (most families come without relations) but if you do, you are able to call your mom at 8am in the dining hall to see if she'll come and sit in your cabin to wait for your kids to wake, while you go and eat breakfast with your cousins.

We had a great time this year, as always. We went with my folks, my sister and her girls and then my Aunt Louie and her girls (Sarah and Kathy) and their families. 10 kids, 11 adults. And it was a blast. If you have any interest in coming some year, let me know. I'd be happy to tell you all about it. I think these pictures sort of paint a picture as to why I love it so much.
I've written a whole lot about Mount Carmel over the years, and even created this sweet video made up of pictures from my own childhood growing up at camp. Grandma B used to call it, "a little bit of heaven on earth" and I'd have to agree. 

a weekend at Mount Carmel

                   IvarTalentShow from Becca Groves on Vimeo.

We got to go to Mount Carmel this weekend to celebrate the camp's 75th Anniversary. It was a perfect weekend, full of lots of old friends and now some new ones.

There was a time for telling stories, the annual meeting, worship and a program where we walked through the camp's history. They played audio of Grandma Bredberg telling of her favorite parts of camp. My mom told some awesome stories and then I spoke too. It was a neat way to get a feel for all of the generations who have loved this place so well.

But the coolest part of the weekend for me was watching Mount Carmel become Ivar's second home. He started to run around like he owned the place and even made some new friends that were often looking for him and he was always looking for them. Three brothers, Sam, Jacob and Joshua were all much older than Ivar, but they were so good to him. Sam even wrote Ivar a silly song on his guitar about Ivar's chickens who say Bagok Bagok.

On Saturday night they held a talent show and I decided to sign the kids up. First Elsie came up and showed everyone her talent: crawling across the stage. It was pretty great. And then Ivar came up. I knew we had a 50/50 chance that he would decide not to sing, but felt our odds were better with Sam up there for support. And sure enough, he sang every word.

The little red book in his hands is the New Testament, a gift from his Papa Groves. He loves that little Bible and I have found him many times sitting at his little table and chairs in his room, flipping through the pages even though there are no pictures. For a while I was hanging onto it for safe keeping...a good lesson for me! He knows what the Bible says!

Troy and Sara Groves' Speaking Sessions

When Ivar gets super excited he inhales loudly and yells, "My Cited!"

Well, I just got super excited. Sara emailed me her write ups for the three sessions she and Troy will be teaching while at Mount Carmel Family Bible Camp this summer (July 16th-19th). Tell me how great these conversations will be?!!

This Creative Life (overall title)

Session One (Wednesday Morning) - The Art of Family - While we make intentional plans for work, building a house, or planning a vacation, we often don't think to apply this same intentionality to our family life.  In this session we will explore how family rituals, traditions (however small) and a common faith roadmap can anchor the modern family.

Session Two (Thursday Morning) - Why it Matters - There is a creative heart in every family!  Join us as we discuss how a healthy engagement with the arts can enhance your faith, your family and your own Kingdom imagination!

Session Three (Friday Morning) - Missional Marriage - What does it mean to be in mission together, and why is that important?  Much music has been written about the joys and trials of the Groves' marriage.  Troy and Sara share candidly about their less than perfect, but redemptive journey together in marriage, and helpful lessons learned along the way.

I wrote back immediately and said how excited I am for these teaching sessions, and even more excited for the conversations we as a camp will share casually at the beach or over dinner after hearing these lessons. 

**It's not too late! You can come too! If you're interested in joining us in Alexandria, Minnesota this summer on glorious Lake Carlos, please do! Email Deb the camp registrar for more information: or you can click on this link for the registration form with pricing

My Cited!!!!

MC Summer Staff

Rory and I lived at Mount Carmel from April to September in 2007 when I worked as the Summer Staff Coordinator. This is the staff I got to work with. They were awesome.

The most important part of a great summer camp is a phenomenal summer staff.

I have recruited, interviewed, hired and trained four different camp staffs. I have spent a lot of time talking to college age students (and sometimes post college) telling them all the reasons why working at camp for the summer will likely be one of the best decisions of their life. And I mean it. And a lot of people decide to apply.

When Rory heard my stories after weeks of recruiting in  college student centers he would tell me I needed to go into sales. He said I was natural and could be very successful in this field.

I told him I am good at "selling" a summer of camp counseling because I believe in what I am selling with my whole heart. It's not hard to sell when you love your product. And I love summer camp. Every student has the same reasons why they shouldn't (need to make more money, a boyfriend at home, summer school classes to take) but in the end, I can't really think of one soul who would look back and regret having spent a summer working at camp.

If you know of someone looking for the best summer job in the whole wide world, encourage them to apply to work at Mount Carmel. They are looking to hire college age and older, men and women, in the following areas:
  • nursery care
  • preschool, elementary, middle and high school counselors
  • maintenance
  • a marketing assistant
  • an office assistant
  • hospitality and housekeeping 
  • audio visual
  • lifeguards
  • musicians (guitar players!)
The application process and application is online here. Print it out, send it to them with a personal note. Send them to my blog to see pictures and to get a better feel. They'll thank you at the end of the summer! Promise.

**and yes, that is me singing in the video (with a bunch of kids at Mount Carmel in 2007). I believe this version of Jesus Loves Me was written by some counselors at FLBC a few summers before I worked there. Ivar has been singing this version lately :)

Mount Carmel Summer Schedule

My dad called tonight and said to be sure I make it very clear that Mount Carmel is for all ages. And that some come by themselves for the week. Some people bring their grandkids (this is a great idea if the parents can't get away from work. What a special week together!) Dad's exact quote was, "it's different from a kids sure people know it is multigenerational."

So there you have it. All ages. Welcome. At Mount Carmel.

Summer Schedule: 
Mount Carmel offers six weeks of Bible Camp during the summer, bookended by Elderversity weeks (Bible education geared toward retired men and women) Of the schedule below, I wish I could live at Mount Carmel the first four weeks.

Of special note, Wendy Berthelsen is one of the directors of Call Inc., a non-profit that helps men and women understand and live out God's call on their life. I have shared a few conversations with her and always walk away inspired and grateful for her work. A big part of me is hopeful to get to be there for part of this week...

Wendy also wrote the curriculum that all of the youth will be working through, centered on the unique and personal call that Christ has placed on each one of our lives.

June 22-28   “God’s Call in Scripture” (Fine Arts Week) with Rev. Steve Dornbusch

June 29-July 5  “Discover Your Call” with Rev. Wendy Berthelsen

July 6-12  “God’s Call to Faith Formation at Home and Church” with Tim Coltvet

July 13-19 Mini-Weeks for Families (Full week available also)
                   July 13-16  "Families Drawing Closer to God & Closer to Each other" with Peder Eide
                   July 16-19  "God’s Masterpiece In & Through You" with Sara Groves

July 20-26  “Genesis – Great Stories of Faith” with Steve Paulson and Chris Croghan

July 27- Aug 2   “God’s Call to Missions” speaker to be announced

A day at Mount Carmel

I've heard of some whispers of a few readers trying to get to Mount Carmel this summer. Some have emailed their sisters or close friends, forwarding on the post from yesterday, asking if they'd consider going. I'm so pleased! And I want to give you a better feel of what the day to day is like at family camp.

Daily Schedule
Now this is all based on what I've known from years past. But things can change from year to year, so here is my best from what I know:

7:00-8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Morning Praise (family devotion and worship time)
9:30-11:30 Age Group Time
Adults have their own study while the kids go for their own age-specific kids camp. Nursery and Preschool care is provided, and there is programming for elementary, middle and high school age kids.
12:00- Lunch
1:00- Quiet Time
2:00- Beach Opens: Swimming, Boating, Crafts...
4:30- Sometimes an adult discussion small group
5:30- Supper
Evening plans can differ from week to week. Some weeks there is evening worship. Some weeks are geared more towards an earlier bedtime for little kids, so the talent show, campfires, camp concerts, capture the flag etc are moved a bit earlier.
Every night has canteen and each evening the sauna is available for an evening swim, games are in the lodge and conversations are always plentiful.

Housing Options
I have these pictures from a few years back. They kind of give you a feel. But actually, no two cabins are really alike at Mount Carmel. These are some of the nicer ones. There are others that feel a bit more "campy" read: not remodeled yet :)

These are awesome remodeled housekeeping cabins:
inside: (2 bedrooms, living space with futon, bathroom and a small deck looking out at the lake.

This is what a typical Lodge Room looks like. Lodge rooms are the only living spaces air conditioned and feel a bit more like a hotel than a camp.

The Ridge Cabins are my favorite. Tiny and adorable, they feel campy and quaint.
This is the inside of one that has been remodeled. Not all have been remodeled.

There are six new colored cabins. Pretty awesome. And these are available too in the winter for family getaways!

I hope this helps continue to paint a picture for you :)

Childhood Summers

Both sets of my grandparents brought their children to Mount Carmel for a week each year. My parents brought us kids each summer. And now we're bringing our babies.

This song was another one of those songs that when I heard it, I saw these pictures with it. My dad helped me find a few through his slide collection and the rest I scanned this week. That's me in each one of the pictures...a bit self indulgent, but also a really cool way to see how this place has shaped me so. I love the pictures of us playing church in the prayer chapel.

And with me in nearly every picture are my cousins, Sarah and Kathy. Did you catch that our mom's (in their swimsuits) were holding Sarah and me when we were babies, and at the end, that was me and Sarah holding our own babies? I believe we call that full circle. :)

All pictures were taken at Mount Carmel Family Bible Camp in Alexandria, Minnesota 
Music: Childhood Summers by Sara Groves Yep...the same Sara Groves who is going to be teaching at Mount Carmel this summer! Join us!

an invitation

The first time I heard this song (from a mix cd given to me) I could see these pictures right along with the music.  All of these pictures were taken at Mount Carmel Family Bible Camp, my favorite place on earth. The song made me breathe deeper and I thought, "that's exactly how I feel at Mount I'm breathing deeper."

Mount Carmel is located in Alexandria Minnesota and has been teaching the Bible to all ages for seventy five years. Both sets of my grandparents took their children there when they were little. My parents met through this camp and I have many of my happiest memories at this place.

The camp was founded by the Lutheran Bible Institute, with a focused mission on teaching the scriptures. Today I would consider this place to be a kingdom camp. All denominations are represented. Jesus is the common ground.

Well, I want to share this goodness. And I could not be more excited about this next part.

Troy and Sara Groves are coming this summer to lead a mini week. From a Tuesday night to a Friday afternoon we will gather and learn from two of my favorite theologians. The mini week that Troy and Sara are leading will have three morning sessions: 1) Marriage, 2) Faith and art, and 3) Parenting and technology (Actually, not totally positive on #3...I think it's something like that.)

I AM SO EXCITED! And they're excited too. And I just want to be sure the whole world knows this is happening. Because I would love for you to consider bringing your family.

To summarize, here are the bullets:

  • Mount Carmel Family Bible Camp, Alexandria, MN
  • July 16-19
  • Speakers Troy and Sara Groves
  • Call Deb at Mount Carmel to register: 320-846-2744

Maybe you have another family you like hanging out with that would like to join you. Maybe you have family who live out of town and this could serve as a little mini reunion. Maybe your folks would love to spend some time with their grandkids, and this way you can all enjoy each other while having lots of space too. Maybe you want to come alone or with your spouse. You figure that out. I just want you to come!

The dates are Tuesday evening, July 16th- Friday, July 19th

The website hasn't been updated in a long time, so if you're interested, I'm going to send you right to Deb, the lovely camp registrar who is wonderful and can answer all your questions. Her email is and the camp phone number is 320-846-2744. Ask for Deb. You'll love her.

And I'd be happy to answer your questions too! Leave a comment or drop me a line: beccagroves (at) gmail (dot) com

I've got more to say, but as it turns out, I have more videos to share this week... I'll tell more (daily schedule, lodging options, the thing I love best about Mount Carmel) as the week continues.

And at the risk of sounding like an urgent infomercial, I would encourage you to call soon. My biggest fear (and greatest hope) is that this week fills up fast! So don't delay! Call Deb today!

Two last things:
If you'd like to go for a full week of camp, this is also an option. The Saturday-Tuesday before Troy and Sara's week, Peder Eide will be teaching and leading worship. We had him out at the camp I worked at in Nebraska and loved him. Super upbeat, spirited worship leader.

And if this week doesn't work for you, you can click here to see the whole schedule (I'll write more about this later this week...there are some AMAZING presenters this summer)

And finally, if you happen to know who sings the song on this video, would you kindly tell me? I got it as a gift, tossed the liner cover and can't figure it out for the life of me. I would like to give due credit for a gorgeous song.

why I love camp the most...

Bottom line of why I love camp: there are few other places in the whole wide world where you get a kids undivided attention. When they are at camp, camp is their world and their life. Computer games don't come along, cell phones shouldn't come (though you'd be surprised how many are still snuck in!), televisions are no where to be found, and almost everything we do is outside.

I believe God made us to love his creation, and feel closest to him when we enjoy his imagination while laying the foundations of the world. Kids start thinking bigger thoughts, they start dreaming bigger, they start wondering if maybe this is not by accident, but perhaps by some glorious God intended his kids to stand in awe of his world, and intended us to care for one another while living in community, and intended for us to learn how to treat each person with kindness and sincerity.

Camp is where faith in Jesus is passed on. I believe this so strongly. Especially when Sunday school is just an hour a's worth it, and it's completely valuable. But it's also hard getting to deep conversation points in just sixty minutes. I know this after teaching Sunday school myself for seven years. You can get there, but those moments are trickier to unveil. But at camp, it seems like every night when the lights go out, a campers heart stands wide open and they start wondering about their place in God's whole big picture.

I've got enough friends right now that have turned away from faith in Jesus Christ that I am beginning to worry about my peers and what this all means a few decades from now. And the truth is, "turned away" is even too strong of a phrase. They're really just indifferent, not particularly interested and in no way committed to a faith in Jesus Christ. That's what worries me. But what I see every day at summer camp gives me so much hope. I see our counselors alive and excited and I see campers joy filled and full of wonder. And it's all surrounding God having sent his son, Jesus. We talk about Jesus taking away the sins of the world, and we talk about Jesus calling us to preach his good news all over the world, and we talk about loving our neighbor as ourselves. And there is a freedom and happiness and life that permeates camp that lets everyone know in the deepest part of their hearts...this is all true.

So get your kiddos to camp! Sign up for a family camp. I don't care what denomination or camp you choose, do your homework and make sure other parents give it thumbs up. And then send them. Because God changes lives at camp.

freedom at camp

There is a freedom at camp that is like none other. When the caravan door flew open upon our arrival to Mount Carmel we were free to run around, find our cousins and revisit all of our favorite places. We were just expected to show up for meals and check in once in a while.

Of course, kids camp is a bit different! The camp I'm at now, every kid is with his or her counselor at ALL times! But even still, the freedom of being outside, the long, stretched out days and the unexpected adventures are all still the same.

The picture above is the prayer chapel on Lake Carlos at Mount Carmel. It's a tiny building that seats eight, and was always a favorite destination when we'd run around camp. The picture below is of me and my cousin Dan. I love this picture and hope to frame it soon. This chapel was good for praying in, but it also served as the most perfect location for the best barbie weddings you could ever imagine. Lots of barbies were married here, complete with toilet paper runners and Ken-pastors.

why I love camp

I know that I won't have time to blog during staff training (or if I do, it will be a complete bonus) so it is Saturday night, and I thought I would put together some posts surrounding camp and why I love it so.

I grew up going to Mount Carmel Family Bible Camp in Alexandria, Minnesota. Each year my family would go for a full seven days. Both sets of grandparents were there, along with cousins and aunts and uncles. I was certain we owned the place, just because every part of this camp was so familiar, homey and safe.

I've got memories unending of weekly water carnivals, talent shows, finding one of my grandpa's each night during canteen to buy my skittles, and late night sauna meetings that concluded in the lake. In the mornings adults would hear a speaker and have their own Bible studies while the youth were taught about Jesus by counselors who were fun-loving and easy to like.

My grandma used to say that Mount Carmel was a "little piece of heaven on earth." It felt that way. Filled with loving community, familiar friends, faithful conversations and so much joy and laughter...I always have thought this is what God intended for us all. I love camp because it truly is a place set apart. There is no other time when our family had uninterrupted family time for seven whole days, where the everyday life stresses were left back at home, and where peace and blue skied days, sunny afternoons on the beach and lots of late night popcorn and conversation are the norm.