May 12, 2017
Tags: Food, Fun, Recipes
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of the people”. – St. Luke, Acts 2:46
I won’t lie, I like Netflix, and I’m not sure there’s anything entirely wrong with that. However, I get at least a little convicted when I realize that, as far as mealtime goes, I’ve probably spent more time eating and watching Netflix over the past two years than I have eating and being with the people I love most in the whole world. A good show, sporting event, or movie can do great things for community, but one of the best things about HoneyRock is that so many of the “staples” of our modern life are left so far in the rearview, and it changes how we eat together.
There are no TVs in Chrouser so, when you’re sitting down together for a meal at HoneyRock, it’s difficult to really do anything without acknowledging the presence of the people around you. Maybe this is the greatest gift of breaking bread together; while we enjoy nourishing our bodies with food, we also address the deepest longings of our soul. This is part of the reason we do family-style eating up here, and has been from the beginning, because it nudges us towards each other, both in proximity and in our connectedness.
But this is HoneyRock, and because of our culture here, it is very easy to establish this personal precedent. Yes, it is, but you can do it. This doesn’t have to be an every-night kind of thing; do it once a week, or twice a month. Just run with the idea that one meal together with family is better than zero meals. Now, how to address electronics. Easy, put all phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to touch their phone has to do the dishes. Any takers?
There you have it, folks, the recipe for vintage family-style meals at HoneyRock for your own hearth and home. Now you can set your table, grab the people that you love most, sit down to some tasty food, and talk about how much you miss the lake.
~ written by Lucas Taylor
May 2, 2017
Tags: Recipes, Traditions, Food
“If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.”
– Shauna Niequist
Eating together has been a part of the human experience forever. However, eating around the table is a relatively recent development in the scheme of human history. Some people say it started with the Greeks, but most people say that the table really started to occupy a central place in dining during the period of the great halls in the Middle Ages. Yes, it’s true that we’ve come a long way from these often smoky, likely odorous, gatherings around large trestle tables, but if Niequist is right, and she probably is, we have plenty to be thankful for.
The tables in the Chrouser dining hall have a history of their own, and depending on who you are, the stories that you tell about those tables are potentially very different. Maybe you’re a veteran of the old dining hall, seated around circular tables, fighting your bunkmates for one of the eight chairs. And because there were ten people in your cabin, maybe when you lost that fight you were one of the two poor souls that had to be moved to the “overflow table”. Maybe you remember how obnoxious it was to navigate the clutter, carrying all sorts of highly spillable items.
It took lots of playing around, three mock-ups and just as many trial runs in the design of Chrouser’s table space. What was for certain was that the circular tables had to go. A square or rectangular table would conserve space and make for easier navigation. Another non-negotiable was that the tables needed to have room for an entire cabin, ten people. The vital task, then, was finding the right dimensions.
Once the design was chosen, the work was completed by a craftsman and woodworker in the upper peninsula. In the year 1994, 33 new tables were delivered to their home in Chrouser dining hall. Then we had the first ingredient of the HoneyRock family-style dinner properly surveyed, the table, the “beating center” of this peculiar community, I can’t help but wonder, what about you? What is the story of your table? How do you gather?
As a two part blog series, Lucas Taylor, one of the program assistants at HoneyRock, will continue sharing how we do meal time at HoneyRock - our history and our traditions. As we break bread together, consider how what has blessed this time is during your next HoneyRock experience.
- written by Lucas Taylor
April 21, 2017
Tags: Graduate School, Summer Camp, Leadership
Some thoughts from Luke Taylor, one of our current HoneyRock Fellows:
For my wife and I, camp ministry was one of those things that seemed like it was probably a long way off. We'd met at a camp in Estes Park, CO in the summer of 2012 and, after we got married in January of 2016, we began to dream about what a life together in camp ministry might look like. However, in a world where experience is highly valued in the process of acquiring employment, and limited opportunities for volunteering in our local context, we were ultimately left wondering how or when we would be able to pursue this dream.
Through a series of grace-filled events, my wife began an application for the HoneyRock Fellows program, but we were still under the impression that a move to Three Lakes, WI from Lynchburg, VA was just not in the cards for our newly formed household. I had a stable full-time job, our mouths were fed, and those student loan payments weren't going to stop coming.
It was after a staff member contacted my wife and encouraged her to complete an application when we realized that there might be the rumblings of some seismic event that would occur in our lives. We took a hard look at what the Fellows program actually was, and the array of other exciting things that were happening at HoneyRock with the graduate school and Vanguard programs, and we felt that we were being offered a chance at really living into something that to us, at that point, was only a dream for the future. The opportunity to live in close community with people, to be a presence in the collective life of a cohort of transitioning young people, and to gain hands-on experience in the Christian camping world really made this a no-brainer for my wife and I. We knew that we'd come into a moment that would likely define the trajectory of our life together forever. It was as if Christ chose HoneyRock for us, he opened a door into the wild, and all we had to do was say "yes". But questions abounded: would there be enough money? What about health insurance? What does Wisconsin look like? What if the people are crazy? Where are we even going? Who does this? In the end, the scales tipped in favor of leaving those questions up to the Lord. The opportunity to take the plunge into camp ministry was in front of us, and we were stepping into that wild with Christ as our guide.
You know that process you go through when you're determining whether or not such and such a decision will likely end with a positive outcome? That process where you're working basically with hypotheticals, the imagination and the internet (that's what we had)? Our time at HoneyRock, even after two months, has proven to us that we are very good at imposing limits on what Christ can accomplish when He opens doors for us into wild things. I have learned more than I thought, I have experienced hosts of new things, I get to live life with young people who are curious and bright and full of struggles thatI've already had and already have. I am experiencing the story of the Kingdom in a way that is so up close and personal. This is an intangible benefit. As a tangible benefit, I am afforded the opportunity to see how a flourishing Christian camping ministry plays out in the world. This implies real life experience that will eventually find its way on to a resume. On an individual level, I have space to explore aspects of my personal spiritual formation that I otherwise would not have. The space includes intellectual space, but also the space of nature and the beauty of Christ's created order. It is amplifying my understanding of my own humanness in the context of divine love in unique and special ways.
If you're like me, maybe you possess some kind of soul-deep restlessness, some sense that you are floating in Christ's world like a listless tumbleweed. Or maybe you're like my wife, and you crave intimate relationality and the inherently communal way of life that camp ministry. Or maybe it's something entirely different. Either way, there is authentic experience to be had in this place, and we are living, discovering, and "being" in it day after day.
February 7, 2017
Tags: Fun, Student Programs
Two days after 12+ inches of snow fell in the Northwoods, the Cross Country Ski class of Wheaton College made their way up to HoneyRock for MLK weekend. It was an awesome opportunity to learn a new sport and enjoy the beautiful (and snowy!) Northwoods.
Students learned about all aspects of the sport: dressing for the weather, waxing skiis for optimal performance, technical skills required to ski, and more! Then, they applied their learning and hit the trails both at HoneyRock and on the Anvil Lakes Trail system in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Bryce, a CFM Graduate Student, co-led the class. He remembers one of his favorite moments, saying, “On Saturday night we cut tracks out onto the lake and skied in silence under the stars. As we passed under the bridge I heard a voice behind me say, "This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen."
This class isn’t just about learning how to kick double-pole or dog trot (XC ski terms!). It goes deeper than technical skills. We love offering students a place apart from Wheaton College – allowing them time to reflect and silence themselves before the Lord. When asked what her time was like, one student noted the peace she felt. She continued, “I loved we got to spend so much time in the snowy woods just enjoying nature and enjoying hanging out with each other.” This is HoneyRock at it’s best: teaching valuable life skills while making space for authentic community and connecting people with God’s creation.
We can’t wait for next year!
January 20, 2017
Tags: Leadership, Fun, Graduate School
This week HoneyRock hosted a unique retreat for freshmen and sophomores from Christian Heritage Academy (CHA) who came to experience the beauty of the Northwoods, delve into their personal leadership styles, and build up their faith. This is CHA's first Winterim retreat with HoneyRock. CHA came to HoneyRock with their students as a key step in preparing them for their journey beyond high school and to provide them with a different experience over Winterim break.
Wheaton College graduate students planned, built, and led this experiential learning retreat. Every part of the day offered students opportunities for growth and development. Through a diverse set of activities, these students spent four days exploring leadership styles, building self-awareness, practicing personal responsibility, and reflecting on Biblical leadership. After attending in-depth seminars, students applied what they learned through challenge initiatives, activities, and an overnight trip to a historic HoneyRock cabin deep in the woods!
From trekking on snowshoes for 2 miles in 16 inches of fresh powder to successfully completing all of their challenge initiatives, these students grew deeper in their understanding of themselves as leaders and God as our ultimate leader. Students left the retreat feeling “more energized and leadership like.”
We are thankful for the opportunity to impact these young peoples’ lives in a positive way, and sharing the word of Christ as they move toward becoming leaders and exploring God’s calling for their lives!
~ written by Sarah Davis and edited by Noah Lawrence