2020 | Fall Retreats

We have had a swelling retreat season this fall! We usually have a decently full fall, but 2020 was different – people needed to get out of isolation and into community in the great outdoors!

Some groups requested we didn’t post their group while at camp and we also desired to protect people from seeing an image and misunderstanding how we were following the proper protocols, so we didn’t share very many pictures of our fall retreats on social media. These times are crazy, aren’t they? So much fear has been instilled in us during this COVID time that we don’t always see clearly.

All that aside, we have felt privileged to serve the people who have come our way. We shared about our Men’s Retreat here (click that!). Below are a few pictures we felt were okay to share of some of the groups we welcomed (following all the proper protocols!!).

God pulled people from isolation and brought them into the mountains this fall where they could be with people who encouraged them, spoke truth from His Word and provided the face to face community all of humanity was meant to have!

How are you handling these times? Hope may be harder to find in these times, but the God of hope is able to “fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Keep believing!

Shoot Straight Men’s Retreat| 2020

We promoted this year’s men’s retreat as something they really needed. Of all the years we’ve been doing Shoot Straight, this year’s deep breath in the woods seemed more necessary than others. Thanks Covid, election year, civil unrest, among so many other personal stresses.

The weekend’s weather couldn’t have been any more beautiful and served as the perfect backdrop to all the outdoor activities. Whether standing around laughing or talking, throwing hatchets or darts, shooting sling shots or walking the woods for the 3D Archery Tournament, men and kids alike seemed to soak up their time outdoors.

We were entirely thankful for Brian Solomon’s charge to the men to rise up in these days by becoming men of prayer, of the Word and of following God’s lead as we navigate our times. He shared of his work with Capitol Ministries and challenged the men to take on a mindset of praying for God’s work to take place in government.

Of course the raffles are always loved! As usual, some were more lucky than others! One mom posted on facebook how she couldn’t believe how much her son came home with! That’s right! We like to spoil our guests!

While the tournament is fun and the food is raved about and the accommodations are praised for their cleanliness, it’s the getting away that really matters. Hearing the Word be preached feeds the weary soul, but the time away to refresh mind, body and soul makes the guys look forward to next year’s event! Will you be joining us?

Mark your calendar now for October 1-3, 2021. We would love to have you get away to find such refreshment and fun with some of your favorite guys!

Thanks for coming this year, guys! We sure loved having you, Covid rules and all! See you next time!

Dave + Nancy Houchin | Whisper Mountain Stories

You may have heard us say it a million times through the years, but we are always in awe of how God orchestrates people’s lives. He’s always moving pieces together to bring about the most glory for Himself and the most good for those involved!

As you know, we said goodbye to Sam a couple months back. And soon after, we said goodbye to Selah as she left for college. She was such a big help with office work. While we were excited for both of them to continue the path God had called them to, they both left voids in the load we carry at Whisper Mountain!

But God knew all about it and met our need above and beyond, per His usual! Watch this video to see just how He provided!

We are pretty thrilled with God’s provision. And continue to give Him the glory for all He is doing in and through Whisper Mountain Camp!

Thanks, Dave and Nancy! You inspire and relieve! We are thankful for your friendship and service. May God heap blessing on you both as you continue to follow Him!


Author + Photographer | Cassi Werner

Sam’s Journey at Whisper Mountain Camp | 2020

We first got to know Sam Wammock when she was a camper in 2011 and then as she returned for years until joining our Summer Staff team in 2016. (see these posts: 2016, 2017) Her story continued as she joined Full Time Staff last year (2019).

Today she is sharing with you how her story continues! Watch the video to see a quick peek of her through the years and hear what she has to say!

We love Sam’s heart for the Lord, how well she leads, her strong work ethic and her fun-lovin’ ways!

She tends to leave a mark wherever she goes. We know she will continue to do so as the Lord continues to lead and make Himself known through her.

We love you Sam! Thank you for your years spent Proclaiming Christ with us!

Until next time,
your Robbinsville family

A New Feature of the Whisper Mountain Experience!

When it comes to campers, there’s one thing we’ve heard (in its various forms) repeatedly throughout all fourteen years of camp:

“We hate walking up the hill.”
“Get rid of the hill and my week was perfect!”
“Can you guys get a conveyer belt to pull us up the hill?”
“My least favorite part of camp was having to walk up the hill!”

By “hill” they mean from the Field to the Hub or all the way to the cabins! Now, most teens aren’t used to hiking hills. So on the one hand, it’s good for them, right?! But on the other hand, when you have to do it multiple times in a day, by the end, you just really don’t want to do it one.more.time!

So Marty created a solution we were super excited to implement this summer! Only, as you know, summer didn’t happen! While the name is still being finalized (we had some good ideas from our instagram/facebook followers — thanks guys!), we’d like to introduce you to a new and we hope soon-to-be-a-favorite feature of the Whisper Mountain Experience — The Whatever It’s Going to Be Called Express! And by “Express” we mean a pleasant but slow climb up the hill!

We did have a small teen group come through this summer who got to be the first ones to give the Express a whirl! (Thanks guys for the sacrifice!) Smiles — everyone had smiles! For some reason it sorta makes ya giddy to climb aboard a trailer and have a tractor haul you around! Of course the driver’s joy might just be contagious (isn’t he cute?!!)!

So what do you guys think? Anyone excited to get to enjoy this feature at Whisper Mountain next time you come?!

Craftivities Weekend | 2020

In the spirit of catching up on all the communications since the COVID pandemic, I’m taking you back to March, when things were just starting to get harry! March, when the ladies were to be gathering at Whisper Mountain Camp for the annual Craftivities Weekend!

Let me tell you about Craftivities in case you are unfamiliar! Each spring we welcome a small group of ladies to the mountains for simple encouragement, white space for the heart and mind, and a new skill to learn to cultivate beauty in their lives!

This year we learned the art of Block Printing! A simple way to create things of beauty for gifting, homemaking and so much more!

Because this weekend was at the very start of people being afraid to interact with each other, about half the guests who were supposed to come ended up cancelling at the last minute. This was the first disappointment in a long line of disappointments for our ministry in association with the pandemic changing our lives! We definitely missed having those who didn’t feel comfortable coming, but found those who braved the outing to have been glad they did!

Many beautiful things were made, each one’s personality seen in their creations. We hand carved the stamp blocks with our preferred designs then printed those designs with a permanent and washable ink on canvas bags, large cloth “flour sack” towels, and paper for wall art and/or stationary. Each design was happy, unique and beautiful!

Not everyone was around for the group picture, but here’s most people!

When we weren’t creating, eating good food or chatting, we were being encouraged by the words and message of Becca Giancana! Becca is from Long Island, NY living in Columbia, SC. She has a degree from Columbia International University in Bible and Bible Education and is currently studying for her Master’s Degree. We really enjoyed her coming and teaching us!

She had an easy to grasp way of communicating God’s Word with us. Becca gently challenged and encouraged us through Mary and Martha’s story and helped make the Gospel relatable for everyone, no matter where they are in their walks with Jesus.

The weekend was rainy, the fear of the coronavirus was swelling, and we were on the brink of quarantine as none of us had ever known. But this weekend was a weekend filled with the white space necessary to be refreshed, make something beautiful with our hands and be encouraged. Thanks to all who came!

Lord willing, we will host our next annual Craftivities Weekend in the Spring of 2021! So tuck that away in your mind and be looking for more information in the new year!

Thanks for reading and may the Lord be encouraging you in these times,

Cassi

Finding the Words

Since the beginnings of Covid, I’ve sort of felt unsure about how and what to share with you guys about camp! As the communicator of this ministry, that’s just pretty unacceptable though right?! I’ve covered the big things, like the announcement we sent out about cancelling camp, and Sam shared her heart to you all, but beyond this, my words have been scarce! I’m sorry for the quiet, not that you’ve probably even noticed, but I’m starting to find my footing again! And it feels great!

I have much to catch you up on! I will take you back to the beginning, when quarantine was just being talked about and we were stunned with the crazy of what was really starting to happen! Meet me here tomorrow so you can start getting caught up on all things Whisper Mountain?!

See you then,
Cassi

In This Season

Sam and Selah. Adrienne

This past year of my life has been unlike any other. It was the first time in 18 years that I wasn’t in school. I was super excited about being done and moving to my dream job to start working in a ministry I really wanted to get behind. I started off last summer well and was so sure I made the right decision to work at camp, but then the summer ended and everything got harder. All the people left and the ministering to people part of my job seemed to come to an end. For a while, I kept telling myself everything was okay because I love the place I work and the people I work for. Over time my view changed. It became harder and harder to do the background work for the ministry and not be able to do the ministering. I have struggled through this the whole year and have wanted to fix it, but I just held on to the hope that the summer was coming soon.

Sam on Gator. Adrienne

Fast forward to right now. As a camp, we have decided we will not be running our summer program this year (which in my opinion was logically the right decision), yet I feel crushed by the fact that it will be a whole year until I can do the thing that I love most again.

Sam Watermelon. Adrienne

From most of the people I have talked to and also just from the things going on in the world around us, I think there is a lot of hurt and frustration. I don’t know what the answers to fix all the problems are (and if you know me, I want to fix all the problems) and I am so frustrated because I don’t know what to do.

Then, I found myself reading Ecclesiates 3:1-8. It’s a fairly popular passage, but nonetheless it says:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Sam Sitting HighRopes. Adrienne

I was reminded me so quickly of my need to sit at the feet of Jesus and recognize this is a time that needs to happen. This is a season I don’t understand and I wish I did, but I do know that through this, the Lord will be glorified. Of this I am confident. I don’t have to get it or even be happy all the time about everything, but I do need to continue to worship my Lord and Savior in this time and love everyone around me.

There will be a new season and new time eventually, but until then my hope is still found in the Lord.


Author | Sam Wammock     Photos| Adrienne Cicero

2020 | Creekside Basketball Retreat

Right after Estero Study Retreat, we welcomed a middle school girls basketball team from Georgia to Whisper Mountain for a weekend retreat!

Creekside Basketball Girls Title at Whisper Mountain 2020

Kaleigh has a heart to help her team get away together so they can work on their team unity and experience reflection and encouragement from God’s Word and each other!

We were thankful for Maggie and Brinley (some local friends) who were willing to come lead worship one night and loved when the team themselves led worship! Such talent! Their leaders challenged and encouraged them throughout the weekend! These girls have some amazing people leading them!

Creekside Basketball Fire Pit Chats at Whisper Mountain Camp 2020Creekside Basketball Opening Letters at Whisper Mountain 2020Creekside Basketball open Letters 2 at Whisper Mountain Camp 2020

They fought rain most of the weekend, but on the last day the sun came out and the group ended with shoutouts and letters Kaleigh asked parents or caregivers to write for their girls! Coupled with a gift basket, they received love, affirmation and encouragement in just the way they needed most! The special touches are everything!

Creekside Basketball Group at Whisper Mountain

We so much enjoyed getting to be part of your season this year! Thanks for spending the weekend with us — may you remember all God whispered to your hearts while you were with us!

PS: They ended their season as Champs!!!

Creekside Champs 2020


Author | Cassi     Photography | Cassi + Shaun + Kaleigh

2020 | Estero Study Retreat

Estero Study Retreat Title

We jumped into the new year with two groups right out of the gate! The first of which was First Baptist Estero’s Salt ‘n Light Teens! Twenty people hopped in vans and drove up from sunny, warm Florida into the cold and leafless forest of the backwoods of Appalachia! I think we’d all agree, we are so glad they did!

Estero Study Retreat Pastor Weston

Pastor Weston is a guy with a heart for his teens to youth group armed with a passion for God’s Word so they stay near to God as they leave the nest! One way he tries to prepare them for walking life with God is through what we call a Study Retreat. It blows my mind, but these middle and high school teens spend 4 days intensely digging into God’s Word. I  N  T  E  N  S  E  L  Y. We are talking hours at a time.

Estero Study Retreat Tablescapes

They learned how to read in context, how to use other resources to gain deeper understanding, how to practically apply what they read. They discussed what they gleaned and asked questions when they didn’t understand.

Estero Study Retreat Tablescapes 2Estero Study Retreat Praying Man

They may not realize it yet, but these teens were given a treasure as they learned to study God’s Word. Because being in God’s Word changes us and shapes us and leads us in powerful ways. We simply aren’t the same after encountering God’s truth. To be given to tools to break down God’s Word so it’s no longer daunting but actually understandable is a fantastic gift to receive. And Whisper Mountain is grateful for the opportunity to be part of that!

Estero Study Retreat Outdoor Fun

Of course there was fun to be had as well! We got a skiff of snow but to Floridians it might as well have been a blizzard!! They LOVED it! They also enjoyed tomahawk throwing and the simple pleasure of hanging together!

A couple of them were willing to share their experience with you on camera (SO BRAVE!) so follow the link below to catch a glimpse into their time with us!

Study Retreat Video Still

If you are a youth pastor wanting something unique for your teens, a way to help arm them for life, carrying the Word of God with them rather than abandoning it as so many are doing, then reach out to us so we can schedule your weekend!

Estero Group Study Retreat at Whisper Mountain Camp

Thank you, Estero, for hiking all the way up to us so you can encounter the Whisper of God in deep and personal ways! May you find His light for your path to be enough!


Author | Cassi     Photography | Susanna Eckert, Marty Paul, Cassi