The Northern Light is written four times a year to share updates from program managers, photos, and peeks into life at HoneyRock.
A Note from the Executive Director
By Rob Ribbe, Executive Director
NEW seems to be the theme of this Northern Light. From new staff to new housing to new construction projects...we're in a significant season of growth at HoneyRock this fall and for the foreseeable future.
When I review the stories in this Northern Light, I find myself struck by God's grace and providence.
We persevered through a second summer of the pandemic, though this time serving a record high of 998 campers (944 overnight). Of those campers, a significant number spent 3+ days (up to 14 days) off our main site on wilderness trips. Through these experiences, our team witnessed incredible stories of authentic community and powerful experiences in creation.
God has given a powerful vision for our ministry through horses and the initial funding to actively pursue it. You'll see we've started breaking ground on the first phase: a much-needed new hay and feeding facility.
Our professional staff team is growing with exceptional individuals who are dedicated to fostering the development of whole and effective people through transformational outdoor experiences. You'll meet one of those individuals, the new Wheaton Passage Program Director, below.
My request to you is to pray on HoneyRock's behalf for:
- Wisdom as we navigate growing Passage into the orientation experience of Wheaton College
- Safety in our site and facilities projects, frequent trips between Wheaton and HoneyRock, and on our wilderness trips
- Growth of our Vanguards, Fellows, and Graduate Students as they seek the Lord during their time at HoneyRock
- Time to rest and reflect despite the new and busy-ness of life at HoneyRock
Executive Director of HoneyRock
Registration for Summer Camps at HoneyRock
We're anticipating another full summer at HoneyRock! Mark your calendar for November 15 at 9:00 am for 2022 camper registration.
Summer 2021 was full of God's provision!
The Lord was active at HoneyRock this summer! Campers came to know Jesus more deeply, some who had not already accepted him as their Lord and Savior. I still hear stories of transformational experiences from summer staff--how the challenges they faced, the community who surrounded them, and the time to rest and reflect grew their leadership skills and faith in Jesus. We were delivered through another Covid-free summer, even as we served our largest number of campers, with more than 940 overnight campers enjoying this place set apart.
A personal highlight from this past summer was the launch of Catalyst, our new high school program for rising juniors and seniors. It was great to see campers wrestle with tough questions of their faith and how they interact within the world today. It was a joy to watch Catalyst campers grow through their contributions to leading others in programs, instructing activities, and serving in HoneyRock's various departments (Operations, Business, Guest Services, etc...). I can't wait to see how this rich community of peers continues to come alongside and encourage one other as their relationships continue after camp has ended.
Every year we ask our parents and summer staff to evaluate our programs. This year, the highlights from the evaluations were in the growth parents reported seeing from their campers...100% saw their camper grow in personal character, 97% grew in their engagement with daily activities, 96% of campers made a new friend. The list goes on, but I love seeing that growth in our campers.
We are so grateful for the staff and parents who offer us feedback each year to help us continue to improve your camp experience. We read every comment and name themes that we can improve upon for next year.
You can continue to pray for us as we:
- Address the evaluation themes to improve upon through our program development process that happens over the school year
- Recruit next summer's staff team
- Train our graduate students to lead summer staff and run programming
Thanks for reading the summer review! Peace,
Ashley Page Kiley
Camp Programs Director
Overall a theme that has stood out in that time is best captured by one of our core values: Enthusiastic Engagement.
This community has kicked off with a profound enthusiasm for their experience. We are looking forward to another full year with our school year community and the depth of growth that happens when students are fully engaged in life at HoneyRock. This is very encouraging and exciting as it enables us to make the most of our school year opportunities and for our students to intentionally grow.
You can pray alongside us for the following things:
- Navigating our programming, especially offsite community involvement and travel through another pandemic-impacted year
- Seeing experiences and conversations as space to continue discipleship and character development in our students
- Hosting retreats after pausing them last winter due to COVID-19; that HoneyRock can be a hospitable and restful space for guests.
School Year Program Director
HoneyRock's Core Values: Other's Oriented Service, Purposeful Challenge, Enthusiastic Engagement, Rhythms of Rest and Reflection, Authentic Community, Truth-Infused Programming, Experiences in Creation.
Looking for a Quick Northwoods Getaway?
Our newly renovated private cabins create an incredible place apart for you and those you love to retreat and enjoy time spent with one another. Whether you're more of a cozy up and read a book type or one who likes to do all of the winter activities HoneyRock offers in a day (or a little bit of both!), we have an experience for you. Learn more about your Northwoods getaway options with the links below!
HoneyRock In the News
Tap the photo to continue reading the news release from Wheaton.
Wheaton Passage Expanded to Include All Incoming Wheaties
Passage will be a new, multi-site experience that will expand the College’s existing orientation program by enhancing its collaborative, community-based nature, providing all new students with a dedicated space to transition into their academic careers...
HoneyRock Hosts Fatherless Camp Ministry Summit
Wheaton College’s HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development hosted a conference on Christian Camping and Fatherless Ministries from September 27 through October 1. The meeting was led by Psalm68five Ministries and hosted by HoneyRock staff...
New Staff Highlight: Nate Thompson, Ph.D.
The HoneyRock team is growing! Over the next few editions we'll highlight a new team member. This edition you'll meet Nate Thompson, Wheaton Passage Program Director.
After growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, I graduated from Columbia International University with a Bachelor's Degree in Bible and Intercultural Studies and a minor degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. While studying at Columbia International University, I met Emily: my wife of eight years. I continued with my education at Columbia International University's Columbia Biblical Seminary. Through graduate teaching opportunities, I found that I had a passion for developing leaders in outdoor education contexts. The Lord used this discovery to nudge me to earn my Doctor of Philosophy degree in Outdoor Education from Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England. While studying in England, Emily and I had our son Owen.
My greatest passion in life is facilitating the growth that comes through connecting individuals together as they interface with God's creation. I have researched around the world to investigate how groups work together using team-building initiatives native to the adventure education disciple. The more I study community in creation, the deeper I grow in my fascination with God's power as His people fellowship in His Creation.
Long have I known of the reputation and history of Wheaton College and HoneyRock, and I am excited to play a role in connecting our dear students into the Wheaton College community through God's creation available at the HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development. The Wheaton College Passage Program is the perfect platform to facilitate those Christ-centered connections.
Work Begins on Equestrian Facility
Over the summer and into the Fall our Operations Team began readying the ground for our new hay storage building.
HoneyRock’s historic equine facilities have been home to thousands of campers, families, and guests since their inception in the 1960’s.
We're taking a phased approach to expand our current facilities into a new Equestrian Center. This first step is building new hay storage barn and feeding facility.
While this first phase is fully funded, the next phase requires significant funds to be raised. If you're interested in growing HoneyRock's ministry through horses, email Rob at email@example.com.
Click the photos below to see our current hay storage barn and feeding facility and the work completed to date. Construction is scheduled to start in November.
Photos of Site Work for Hay and Feeding Facility
Voyageur Center Renovation is Complete!
The renovations began in January 2021 and wrapped this summer. We're excited about the flexibility the new space provides!
This summer we wrapped work on the Voyageur Center at HoneyRock. The new space will host Passage participants in August, summer staff teams in the summer, and Vanguards through the school year.
Click on the photo below to view photos!