Dear Friend of Pine Lake,
This was certainly not the year we hoped for, nor expected. As the last pages of the calendar fall away, it’s tempting to box up the woes of 2020 and label it “The Worst Year,” while looking toward a brighter new year in 2021. Before we close the box completely, I invite you to pause and join me in recognition of the ways God has worked at Pine Lake throughout this year. We look forward to what God has planned in 2021!- Suzanne
The act of thanks-giving is holy protest against cynicism, covetousness, fatalism, entitlement, self-pity, joylessness, discontentment, self-sufficiency, greed, arrogance, and apathy. – Duke Kwon
God’s Work at Camp in 2020!
Strong Financial Standing at Year’s Start
Pine Lake started the year 2020 off with a budget surplus from 2019. In January, Pine Lake anticipated a year of sizable growth with expanded summer plans and an increase in guest group reservations. Today, we recognize the 2019 budget surplus as God’s provision to sustain Pine Lake through a year of uncertainty.
New Partnership Boosts Camp’s Outreach
After pouring every bit of energy into rebuilding parts of the local community affected by tornado damage, volunteers with World Renew (a disaster relief group) refueled and rested in the natural setting of camp through January and February. Their leaders still gush over their comfortable lodging at Pine Lake.
New Volunteers Came to Camp
Throughout the winter months, five retired couples volunteered at camp and helped with everything from new lighting around the Pavilion to finishing the Tall Pines gym. Their reward for their hard work: the knowledge they served where and when they could, with the bonus of a warm winter and even warmer community.
Pine Lake Community Gathered in March
Cleaning, wood splitting, raking, fellowship over smoked chicken, and more. Caring for camp at Work Day was especially poignant as the last major camp event before the cascade of COVID-19 closures and cancellations began.
Wildlife at Pine Lake
Mr. and Mrs. goose hatched 6 fuzzy goslings at Pine Lake in the spring, and nurtured their family at camp for most of the spring! Wild turkeys and deer showed their faces more, too.
Neighbors and community members were able to enjoy the serenity and retreat experience of camp when they came to fish during the long gaps in between guest groups. Several voiced that fishing at Pine Lake was a needed restful escape and a delight.
Summer Staff Stay Committed to Campers
When the tides shifted on summer camp and we had to cancel, every single summer staff agreed to volunteer. They all wanted to help in whatever way they could to make camp happen for campers at home. The staff found ways to encourage and nurture both campers and each other. At the end of the summer, a zoom camper declared her favorite part of camp, “Meeting everyone, so now I’ll know people when I come to camp next summer!
Thirty People, One Gorgeous Quilt
Veteran and rookie quilters gathered at the Camp Quilt Retreat & Workshop to complete the Camp Quilt, a symbol of the community of Pine Lake. A former Pine Lake camper who now lives far away came to quilt, spend time with old friends, and introduce her daughter to Pine Lake.
Family Fun in a New Way
Several parents said, “We needed this,” and the wide smiles on their kids’ faces confirmed it. For the 10 families who gathered for Family Escapes in July & September, camp continues to be a place where kids (and adults) can unplug, be wholly themselves, and feel God’s closeness.
Homeschoolers Came Home to Camp
For some, Fall Homeschool Camp Days were a return to a familiar place. For others, a new love for camp blossomed as they flew down the zip line, roasted cinnamon apple slices over a fire they built on their own, and more!
Deep Family Bonding
Dads and kids built more than birdhouses as they stepped out of their normal routines and made new memories at Dads & Kids Weekend in October. Between boating (and splashing) on the lake and getting lost in worship music at campfire, fathers and children experienced adventure and retreat together.
A Nation-wide Auction
The support of so many Pine Lakers from all over the country was both humbling and thrilling. People who’ve never been to Pine Lake before bid up items made by people who hold Pine Lake dear in their heart.
Go Local, Get Delicious
Chess squares, coconut cream pies, jambalaya, barbecue, and more! United in spirit, though divided by distance, churches and individuals worked together to raise money in their own communities through mouth-watering means! Des Allemands Mennonite, a former Camp Sale host church, put on a craft and bake sale in their town and raised over $1,100 dollars! In Jackson, Rhoda, Jody, and company pulled off a full fledged barbecue plate sale with sides, pound cake, banana pudding, and optional delivery. Local people shared their warm memories of Pine Lake as they bought plates!
The Engine of Camp
While the board of directors stewards Pine Lake and the year round staff oversee operations, volunteers are undoubtedly the engine who keep Pine Lake going. Our volunteer layout looked very different, but was rich in deep support. From winter service workers last winter to Jeff Landis jumping on the mower and John Opel doing dirt work, many of camp’s essential needs were met. Dozens of hours were spent around the camp quilt and filling the wood box this year. The volunteer virtual summer staff spent time leading worship and connecting with Pine Lake From Home campers.
There’s no doubt, volunteers are the engine that keeps Pine Lake moving!
Here’s a list of what was done this year, powered by volunteers:
Painted boys & girls bathhouse
All Tall Pines and Lodge windows washed
Tall Pines gym panels finished
New exterior lights on the Pavilion
Wood shed stocked
Cleaning and organizing the old office
New Tall Pines dishes unboxed, washed, and stored
Outdoor furniture at Tall Pines sealed
Camp Quilt quilted, bound, and finished
Craft and Bake Sale
Gumbo & Jambalaya Sale
Shelter campsites raked and trimmed
swamp trail Pressure washed
Picnic tables and benches pressure washed
Semi-annual raking around Shelter campsites, basketball court, Bender, Lodge, and perimeter of Tall Pines fields