Make a Difference | Adopt-A-Staff

We can never underestimate the power of encouragement. Whether it’s a simple text, a note in the mail, a care package with some favorite things, or just knowing we are being prayed for, being uplifted, encouraged, boosted to keep going literally changes everything.

We want to invite you to change one life this summer through your encouragement. Will you Adopt-A-Staff? Will you encourage one summer staff as they run hard and give all they’ve got to Proclaim Christ to teens?


We wanted to share Megan’s Experience with you:

“As a lover of all things snail mail related, Adopt-A-Staff is one of my favorite ways to serve Whisper Mountain and was a huge encouragement to me when I was on staff. Adopt-A-Staff, for those who don’t know, is when someone not at Whisper Mountain agrees to come along side one summer staff to encourage and support them through prayer and mailings for the summer.

Whisper Mountain does a fabulous job passing along info to you on your staff member. They provide info on what the staff needs prayer for and things like favorite candy, color and beverage, what they like to do with their free time, what gift cards might be helpful and so on. It really helps you get to know them even if you’ve never met them. It also helps give you ideas for things you could mail them in a care package.

Now this may be where some of you jump ship, but please hear me out. A care package can be super clever, funny, themed and over the top but it can also be just as encouraging if it’s not. Also every time you send something it doesn’t have to be a full care package (but please do send at least one during the summer).

Something as simple as a card saying “I’m praying for you” or a card with an encouraging verse can be just what we need to pick us up and push us through the week. Heck, sometimes just being handed mail puts a smile on our face before we even open it. The idea that someone cares, someone is thinking and praying for you , someone took the time to do something for you means more than you can imagine when you are pouring yourself out all week. It really changes things. 

Personally, I love sending an over the top themed care package. It’s just in me to be creative. If you decide to Adopt-A-Staff and want to do an over the top package, but you aren’t the creative type, you can search google – the ideas are endless. If over the top isn’t in your wheel house please, please, please still adopt.

During my summer of being adopted, one of the most meaningful and encouraging things I received was a card with a short note reminding me they were praying for me and a little business size Bible verse card. It really helped me refocus and push me through a hard week.

When you Adopt-A-Staff, God sized things happen, I promise! You think, “Oh, I’ll just send this,” and God says, “Oh, I’ll deliver that at just the right moment.” You think, “Oh, this candy isn’t much,” but then a camper sees our favorite candy you sent and it’s their favorite candy and it helps us make a connection. Something so simple that you forget the moment you sent it may be something we hold on to for months or years.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are a few things other summer staff have said they found encouraging:

“… just knowing they were praying for me was huge.” 

“…the fact that they checked in via text and asked what I needed prayer for.”

“…just a little something (whether it be stickers, snacks or whatever) and a note can make your day receiving something in the mail.”

“… when my adopt-a-staff got me gifts that were not on my questionnaire. It showed a ton of effort and love.”

“…receiving a written out prayer. It took it a step beyond just saying they are praying for me.”

Alright, that’s all I have for you! Thanks for reading. Now please, go be an encourager and ADOPT!!

A Simple Way a Crowd is Making a Difference

A whole crowd of people gathered the cast off things, piled them on the lawn and welcomed the masses! Some call it crazy. We call it amazing! Welcome to a glimpse of the Yard Sale Fundraiser in Fort Myers, Florida.

Several years ago one adult group of people began to bless Whisper Mountain by selling a few things. The one simple idea has since exploded into four storage containers getting filled all throughout the year until the first weekend of March rolls around. Then all the willing and able come set up, run and clean up from the yard sale. IN THE FLORIDA HUMIDITY. (mind-blowing)

This year the sale ended early due to rain, but the volunteers stuck it out with a smile! So amazing! Although cut short, the success of this sale still managed to bring in thousands of dollars to support Whisper Mountain Camp. Seriously, do you understand how huge this is to us?

Even though we are sort of in the routine of them doing this work (and our guys going down to help out each year), we are still continually blown away by so many people willing to give so much of their time, energy and treasure. We know it’s a sacrifice, which makes receiving the blessing so entirely humbling. And encouraging, but so humbling.

While providing financially for the camp, they also give in other HUGE ways too! You may not know it, but ministry can be lonely and discouraging work at times. The job requires grit, resolve and perseverance. When people sacrifice even a little to be a part of the mission — there’s just no words. The overwhelm of support and encouragement helps to renew our resolve and grit to help us keep on keeping on. We feel stood with and if you’ve ever felt that, you know what we mean!

Whether friends of the ministry stopped in to say hello or volunteers came to do the work or shoppers came to shop: thank you to each of you who were a part of this Yard Sale in whatever way you were able to be a part! God sees and knows and we trust Him to bless you in ways we never will be able to. Thank you for standing with us and helping Whisper Mountain in the work of proclaiming Christ to teens!

To God be the glory!

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

2019 Summer Volunteers | July

We have been remiss in sharing with you our second round of summer volunteers that came to serve with us through the month of July! Terrible of us! Because we truly are so appreciative of them! Did you see the superheroes from June over here?

Brooke at Whisper Mountain Camp

The month got kicked off with Brooke Maclarion showing up to help in the kitchen for two weeks! One thing we think is great about our volunteers is their willingness to use whatever time they have been given, free time in their schedules or vacation time they choose to “give up” to serve with us, to work hard in whatever capacity we need. Brooke did just that, using the free time she had to serve with us! She even got to try out our high ropes course and enjoy the quiet escape that is Whisper Mountain!

Lila Pearl at wm

Lila Pearl came to lend a hand for a couple weeks! This girl — she can make people laugh! She joined in with our staff like nobody’s business. It felt like she’d been with us all along rather than showing up in the middle of summer. She worked hard wherever we needed her to and played hard whenever possible! We completely enjoyed having her pitch in this summer and are thankful for the joy and fun she brings to life!

Brad and Melloe at Whisper Mountain Camp.jpg

Next up was the Nash’s! Brad and Melloe have been long time friends of Whisper Mountain (and beyond) and to spend a week with them is always most refreshing! They have such encouraging ways about them! They served in the kitchen and mingled with visitors, leaders and campers who were at camp. They also got to experience the teaching and worship time with our campers! When volunteers come to Whisper Mountain, they are most certainly helping us make it all happen, but they are also given the opportunity to see the power of camp at Whisper Mountain first hand! Win-Win!

Dave and Nancy Houchin at WM.jpg

Dave and Nancy Houchin returned again this summer — we just always look forward to their coming! They have such a peace about them that exudes to those around. Dave and Nancy both helped with various kitchen/serving tasks.  And Dave pitched in with Marty on random projects! They are really great about connecting with our summer staff and encouraging them while spending their weeks with us too! We are telling you, we get the best volunteers around!

To each of these we want to say a humungous thank you for giving your time and energy and talent to come and help carry the load of camp ministry! We seriously couldn’t do what we do without all the hands, all the hearts, pooling together for the glory of God!

We look forward to whoever God brings to serve with us next summer! What a privilege to be a part of God’s work with such amazing people! Keep promoting the gospel wherever and however you can! It’s worth our every effort!


Author | Cassi   Photography | Cassi + Adrienne

2019 Summer Volunteers | June

Each summer we rely heavily on people coming alongside us to help get the work done. Our summer staff are obviously critical to the work we do, but we are already tell you all about them on our Awesomeness Takes the Stage! (you should go read about them if you’ve been missing out!)

The other set of people that are pretty critical to our work here, especially in the summer, are our week-long volunteers! In fact, we call them our superheroes because most people are giving up vacation time, family time or rearranging a whole slew of things just to make it possible to be here helping out! We are continually blown away by our volunteers! So this post is about telling you all about our June volunteers!

Well, let’s back it up to May when people helped us get ready for summer to begin!

Weston and Craig at Whisper Mountain Camp

Craig and Weston drove looooooonngg hours to come and clean. COME.AND.CLEAN. What?! (Hold on while we try to pull ourselves together real quick.) We felt so blessed by their hearts to serve us in this way because here at Whisper Mountain Camp the few do it all! (phew. Okay. we’re okay.)

Ellis Family at Whisper MountainEllis Couple Canoeing

A lovely couple, Richard and Tina, spent their time with us beautifying spaces, building more sets of corn hole boards for our campers (which they have loved BTW), folding a bazillion t-shirts for our camp store, forming the new sidewalk that was put in just before summer, among many other things! Their mark is all over the place!

Harkness Boys at Whisper MountainHarkness Family at Whisper Mountain

The Harkness family came alongside us in many ways as well. Shoveling gravel (among other manual labor that young men excel at!), fixing vehicles, helping in the kitchen, etc. Seeing a family serve together is always a beautiful thing, especially when they have a strong work ethic already in place! Such a gift!

Kathy at Whisper Mountain Camp

Kathy is a woman who mentors and works with college kids at Columbia International University! We met her through Sam, and were delighted she was willing to come and use her skills and know-how in the kitchen to help Patti cook all the food! We were thankful for her thoughtfulness and encouragement while she served!

Anna Megan Kyle at Whisper Mountain Camp

I’m not sure how it happened at around the same time, but we had a week where we got to have a few past staff come and serve! Whatever ways they could be involved or helpful, they were! Returning during summer can be weird for past summer staff because they see how things are different than when they were here, but their time is also refreshing as they get away, remember how God has been working in their lives, and see how He is working in campers and current staff’s lives. We are thankful for the time we got with Anna, Megan and Kyle!

Foster and Virginia at Whisper Mountain

What a surprise to get Foster and Virginia back again this summer! When we said goodbye last year, we thought it was the last time they’d be back to serve with us! Imagine how sad we were because they are the greatest! Virginia keeps us laughing in the kitchen with her sass and Foster finds so many small things we’ve let go too long to help out with. They are both such an encouragement and help! We love them to pieces!

Dennis and Corrie Serve at Whisper Mountain CampDennis at Whisper Mountain Camp

Dennis and Corrie have been serving with us for years! Dennis, all the things with Marty plus serving on the food line and cleaning dishes! Corrie, all the heavy cooking in the kitchen. We are always thankful for the ways they encourage us and help us when they come! Well, mostly thankful! Dennis can be a real stinker! But we love him and are thankful for the fun he adds to life! We’d keep ’em both around forever if we could!

Whisper Mountain Volunteers Help Run the Race

We are completely thankful for all these who have given their time, energy and talents to work alongside us as we strive to reach teens for Jesus! It takes a team effort to keep all the balls moving! Every minor or major part each of these played while with us has been seen by our God. When we serve with a heart of worship, no matter how big or small the task, we bring Him the greatest glory! May we each be encouraged to continue (or start) serving with a willingness in whatever capacity is made available to us! To God Be the Glory!


Author + Photography | Cassi

 

 

 

The Adrian’s Pack Us In!

Pack Shack Enclosure Project at Whisper Mountain CampPack Shack Rennovation at Whisper Mountain Camp Inside View

If you’ve been keeping up with our (sporadic) updates on our Pack Shack Enclosure Project, then you know we are hustling to get this done for summer! Life has set us back way more than we planned, so the hustle is real. (By we, I actually mean Marty!)

Adriannes and Marty

Last week we were super excited to have Adrian and Adrian of European Craftsmen of Southwest Florida come to insulate our building. They brought a new technique to the table (or the walls actually!). Rather than the puffy, itchy insulation that is usually in the walls (and not so fun to install), they sprayed this cool foam insulation that set in 30 seconds and cured in 2 minutes. WHAT?!!!!!

Adrian One (as Tegan called him!) is the same awesome guy who came to tile our bathrooms way back here! We couldn’t be more thankful for his heart to bless Whisper Mountain in such generous and practical ways! Well beyond his giving of time, talent and materials, Adrian carries a heart of generosity with him in all things! Our guys especially enjoyed connecting with him and the other Adrian during their time with us!

We still have much to do to get this ready for summer camp in a few short weeks, but man are we thankful to have this part done in such a top of the line way and in partnership with such great people!

Thank you Adrian’s for coming, serving and giving of yourselves in ways we are still thinking about! May God bless you tenfold!

(If you’re in southwest Florida, these are the guys to renovate your kitchen or bath! Check out some of their work! They are amazing!)

Author and Photos | Cassi

We lost a Super Hero

If you’ve spent any time around Whisper Mountain or read our stuff, it’s likely you’ve read about how highly we esteem our volunteers! We see them as super heroes, really! They are the turbo boost to the work that happens around here — we simply couldn’t do it all without them!

Alex in the Woods 4.11.jpgA little more than a week ago, we lost one of our favorite volunteers and friends.

Alex Birthday Group 10.11.jpgMr. Alex or Alex Alex, as we called him (his last name was Alexandrov so it was easier!), got to take the flight of a life time as he headed to heaven! Since near the beginning of Whisper Mountain, Alex has served with us! Here are a few of our favorite things about him (that we can share — because he was a character!).

 

He was bold in his faith, willing to do the most tedious tasks, spent his retirement serving (not just us, but multiple non-profits), and helped us keep an eternal perspective. His honesty sometimes surprised us but also made us think. He didn’t seek the spotlight but was well deserving of it.

Alex Birthday 10.11.jpg

He always made us laugh, shared a passion for people knowing Jesus, was a man who made mistakes in life but allowed God to work in and through him to make him a brilliant light in this world.

Alex Birthday Balloons 10.13

He was family to us and we looked forward to his spring and fall weeks of coming to “live” with us, serve with us, and share in the work of Whisper Mountain.

Alex Mechanic 6.10

He brought life to the broken down and new life to the passed over — both in equipment/material things and those things involving people.

Alex Apartment 7.17

We are most thankful for the life Alex shared with us individually and as a ministry. He’s a valuable part of our family. We love him and will miss him greatly.

Alex Smiling 10.11

Until we see you again, Mr. Alex!

 

Summer 2016 Volunteers

We couldn’t do what we do here at Whisper Mountain Camp without people serving alongside us. We also can’t thank those enough who spent their time, talent, vacations and energy to come serve with us this summer! These quick snapshots don’t do justice to what these people did to help us this summer, but here’s a try at helping you see some of the faces of our volunteers!

Summer 2016 Volunteers at Whisper MOuntain CampServing at Whisper Mountain CampSummer Volunteers at Whisper Mountain CampWhisper Mountain Camp Summer VolunteersKitchen Volunteers at Whisper Mountain Camp.jpgWhisper Mountain Camp Volunteers

Some served all summer, some two weeks, most one week! For the big and small things they did — we trust God to bless them for their hearts in serving Him!

Thank you, Aaron, Jamie, Bay, Bruce, Brooke, Lori, Dave, Foster, Virginia, Gary, Nancy, Dave, Nancy, Kaleigh, Selah, Lexi, Mitchell, Traci, Parker, Susan, Chuck, Tara, Olivia, Emily, Bernie and Tayman. We appreciate all the ways you helped Whisper Mountain proclaim Christ this summer! 

Flamingo Flocking — say what?

Flamingo Flocking for WM

Have you ever heard of a Flamingo Flocking?! We hadn’t either, but boy have we gotten acquainted now! Here’s the deal: a Life Group in Florida wanted a way to help raise money for Whisper Mountain Camp. SOOO they gathered some Plastic Pink Flamingos, attached a letter to one of them, and “flocked” a yard of a friend. When the friend came home, he was delightfully surprised to find a flock of flamingos in his yard. After reading the letter, he decided to make a donation to Whisper Mountain Camp in North Carolina. He then got to “flock” a friend too! On and on it went!

Flamingo Flocking Collage

You guys, it’s nuts how great this worked. Who would have ever thought 75 people would give several thousand dollars to help grow the vision of Whisper Mountain Camp? We can’t get over it! And the fun stories we’ve heard from those who went and flocked together! I imagine it was just as fun as those TPing days back in high school (or so I’ve heard, I’ve never actually…. ahem…!)! What a great way to build community and have fun together — kids and all! We couldn’t be more thankful for all those who generously flocked and/or donated! (If that was you — HUGE thank you!)

Flamingo Flocking Graduates

We got to thinking how other people might like to have some fun with their Life Group or community while also raising money and awareness of Whisper Mountain Camp! If that’s you…

VIEW THIS QUICK VIDEO!

Thanks, and have a great day!

 

3 Reasons You Should Take a Trip With Your Life Group

3 Reasons to Take a Trip with Your Life Group.jpg

Have you ever been asked to take a trip with people you don’t know super well (or maybe you do) so you all can work tirelessly together? Maybe it feels too hard to pull away from your schedule, maybe you loathe long car rides, maybe you don’t really like the people you’d go with, or maybe working isn’t exactly how you want to spend your week(end).

We completely understand how you feel! Those are legitimate reasons to say no. Here are a few reasons you might want to think about to help you say yes!

Deepen Community

Entire Kreller GroupEven if you aren’t sure if you like the people, a weekend away with a community helps deepen relationships. You might be surprised by the comradery found with people different than you. You might laugh with people you thought to be boring. You might connect with the most unlikely person in the crowd. A weekend is a short commitment with often a very big return!

Strengthen Family

Cup FunIf the trip includes family, getting away from your everyday helps you bond with each other in fresh ways. Experiencing something different together helps you get to know each other better or strengthens what already exists. Those family relationships can always use a fresh breath of togetherness! If the trip is service oriented, getting to be an example of helping others builds into the character of your kids which ultimately strengthens the family. Husbands and wives serving others together ultimately strengthens the marriage.

have Fun

Serve Others. Kids

We are pretty good about working hard, right? But we don’t always make time to play! Our mental and emotional selves just need a little “let loose” sometimes! A trip, even if service oriented, can be just the touch of fun you need! If you work indoors and at a desk most of the time, the outdoor work of a service trip can actually feel fun because it’s different than your norm! Getting out to move that bod and soak in the outdoors refreshes the spirit!

Here at Whisper Mountain, we really enjoy having families and community groups come serve with us throughout the year! Their help with projects around the property makes a difference and encourages us greatly, but we also enjoy seeing the benefits of their group/families growing stronger together!

Building community can feel scary. Strengthening your family can feel overwhelming. Having fun can too easily get pushed back as unimportant.  We hope you’ll stay intentional to build into these things because they really do matter. Be brave! Take a road trip with some people! Go serve somebody!

Thanks for reading here today!

PS: The pictures above are from the Kreller Class Life Group’s recent trip to Whisper Mountain. A few years ago they helped us make a video about families serving together!  Watch that video!