Friday, August 7, 2009

From the Pathfinder Division Director

Greetings Cedarbrook Nation!!!

When Tai asked me to write this blog entry I was so excited and I thought of all the stories I could tell you about this summer. God has been teaching all of us, Staff and Campers, so much about who he is and where he meets us. But then Week 6 started, which lead to my getting busy with camp. I forgot about the blog entirely until I had a rare moment of down time on Thursday morning. Then I felt so foolish. But here I am, and now I will tell you about all the amazing things that happen when you are Voyager/Pathfinder Divisional Director.
The first thing you have to know about Pathfinder is our motto: “Pathfinder… it happens.” When you work with girls ages 8-10, things just kind of happen. You don’t own anything white, because you will be spilled on several times during the course of the meal. You always have Kleenex or paper towels in your bag because they will be needed several times a day. There is a stash of snack food in Soyster with your name on it because you know that on cook out night someone’s food is going to fall into the fire and you will have to give up that silver cloud that has been waiting for you so that the child does not in fact go to bed hungry. You will be told about all bodily functions and asked why for every possible scenario. But I love it.
Really, I do. There is something special about Pathfinders and the God of all creation. He loves them like CRAZY and goes out of his way to be visible to them. And when you work with the Pathfinders you get to see God too. Let me tell you what I mean. This week in Pathfinderland our Morning Watch and Bible Ex have been about the Fruits of the Spirit. It is a great curriculum, but there was no Morning Watch to go with it, so I ended up writing the Morning Watch. Hours, prayers and tears later I printed it off and handed it out Monday morning. It looked like they all liked it and I got a little bit excited. Yesterday Loona (one of the Cabin Counselors in Pathfinder) told me about what one of her girls said to her at the end of Morning Watch.
“Loona,” she said. “I did not do my Morning Watch…. Are you mad at me?” Loona, (with more grace than I would have been able to muster) asked why she had not done the Morning Watch, was it too hard? Did she not understand it? The camper replied, “No I understood it. I was reading the story that the paper told me to, then I got interested and just kept reading it. And it was so COOL!” The camper then proceeded to retell Loona all the wonderful things she had read.
I ask you how AMAZING is that? The God of Glory, Creature of everything we can see and everything we can’t see, just came, just sat on the hill in the morning sun with one of his daughters and introduced himself. And this is not the first time he has done something like that this week, or this summer, or this year, or even at camp. God is always on the look out to catch us looking for him. Then he shows up in all his splendor. We are not the only ones out there seeking, God is seeking us way harder than we are seeking him. Our spiritual theme for the summer is Encounters with Jesus, we are looking at what we can learn from his interaction with people in both the New and Old Testaments and here is a modern day encounter, right here, right now.
I have been on staff here since I graduated from the CILT program summer 2003, and every summer God makes himself clear to me in new and wonderful ways because I slow down and view the world with the eyes of my Pathfinders. The world from their view is so much more majestic than the eyes of a weary recent college graduate. There are all kinds of new bugs that must be studied and then remarked over. Weather or not dessert is watermelon or beaver houses takes on new importance. Everyday is a new gift, and they are waiting to explore it. What a wonderful reminder of what an awesome God we serve and what it can mean to have the Faith of a Child.

~Pippen, Pathfinder DD,

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Blog from Explorer Village

One of the wonderful things about being a camp counselor is learning how to take any situation and make it into either a party or a learning experience or both. This week, we took some of the food that the dining hall would have thrown away and turned it into a thrilling divisional activity. Every Monday and Thursday, the counselors in each division plan a shindig for all their girls—anything from a game of capture the flag all around camp to filming a video to tromping around in the mud to making crafts. This past Monday, the Explorer counselors decided to stage our own cooking show, which we called “cast iron chef.” The girls were put into teams and given an array of kitchen leftovers to choose from (peach sauce, sliced tomatoes, beaverhouses, and bananas, to name a few). Over a campfire, they had to cook a “gourmet meal,” which would be judged by our panel of expert chefs (three Explorer counselors, each with a different accent—French, Italian, and Southern); each meal also had to make use of leftover Jello salad.
The finished meals were presented with flourishes: interpretive dance, poetry, an infomercial. And, no matter how disgusting the meals were (fried bread with bananas, lettuce, jello, and maple syrup, for example), the counselors had to eat a whole forkful. I'll be the first to admit that some things were delicious while others were downright awful, but, at the end of the night, everyone was happy. And that's the point, isn't it?

Written by: Magpie, Explorer Division Director

Monday, April 13, 2009

Summer is in the Air

Greetings Cedarbrook Nation,

As I sit here in our living room tonight I have realized that Summer is fast approaching. The weather's stopped snowing at least. I'm told it will be warmer later on this week so maybe then the weather will show signs of summer approaching. However, around camp despite the chilly temperatures there are signs that summer is just around the corner. Last week Paul put up the ropes and stakes around the parking lot, the snow has melted on the hill, and the ice has finally gone out on the lake.

Today Linea and Noah started their softball and baseball practices. Just another sign that summer is on it's way. While I was at Noah's practice with Jared and Becky at Linea's accross town at another field I had a little scare with Jared. I was picking out Noah's uniform and turned around and Jared was gone. He was no where to be found. I searched high and low for him and enlisted the help of the other parents around me. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. He had wandered into the school building looking for Becky. I definately aged 10 years tonight.

I would like to bring some sad news and ask for your prayers. Alton Bay Christian Conference Center in Alton Bay, New Hampshire had a fire yesterday that destroyed 45 buildings. One firefighter was hurt and hospitalized. So please join me in praying for the staff at Alton Bay and the firefighter as the next several days and weeks unfold for them.

We had a suprise visit today from Kent (last summer's waterfront director). She was meeting some friends who also used to work at camp in the kitchen some years ago. I can't quite remember their bird names but they are now missionaries in Rwanda. It was nice catching up with Kent and hearing about how busy she's been as she wraps up her 3rd year of nursing school. We are sad that Kent won't be able to work at camp all summer this year. She has an opportunity to do an internship at a hospital that she is very excited about.

Lastly registrations are coming in and staffing is shaping up nicely for this summer. We are excited to be launching our 64th year of ministry yet our first year known as New England Camp Cedarbrook. God has gone ahead of us and is paving a path for the staff and girls that will come to camp this summer. We pray that we would not be a roadblock for that path.

Well I'm quite tired, off to bed.

Good night and God bless!

Rob and Becky
(Keelah and Tai)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Conferences, Conferences, Conferences!!!

Greetings Cedarbrook Nation,

It's still a little wierd calling you all Cedarbrook Nation, but I'm starting to get used to it. I've had to post a little sign on my computer screen so that I answer the phone correctly.

Well, we are both at the Christian Camping and Conference Association (CCCA) regional conference for New England and New York at Camp Brookwoods in New Hampshire. We are meeting with other Christian camps discussing what's going on in the camping world and it's relevance to Christian Camping, we are fellowshiping with friends, and praying for this summer. Last week we were both at the American Camping Association New England Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire. There we talked alot about the ACA standards and had many discussions about the current economy and it's effect on Camping. We got lots of ideas to bring back to camp. We also spent lots of time purchasing all the great new Cedarbrook items that we will sell in the Tuck Shop this year.

All in all we realized this week that it's APRIL...that means the Camp is coming at us like an oncoming train. We are so excited about this summer and all that God is going to do at New England Camp Cedarbrook. But, yet we are a little overwhelmed with all the preparations that are going into it.

The great news is that many of you have begun sending in your registrations for camp!!! We are encouraged by the direction that registration is going. Encouraged but cautious! There are still many of you out there that haven't sent in your registrations yet! We understand the economy is taking it's hit on everyone this year. We have been working hard at trying to raise money for scholarships to camp. If you are struggling this year and aren't sure you can swing the camp fee but your daughter still want's to come to camp, we want her to come. So, fill out the campership request form and send it in and we will see what we can do to help.

If you are out there and have some extra funds and feel God leading you to give we would encourage you to contribute to the Campership Fund. We need your help to make this summer possible for the girls that want to come to camp.

Don't forget about work weekend. We are doing a servfest along with our Spring work weekend, and asking folks that come to work weekend to get friends and family so sponsor them for the number of hours they will work. If you are planning to attend work weekend make sure to send your rsvp to Rob at . If you would like to participate in the servfest, please email Rob and he will send you the form.

Mother/Daughter registrations are on the website for our two mother/daughter retreats at the end of May and beginning of June. There still a few spots left for each retreat. Get your registration forms in before it's too late.

Well, that's all for now, the snow is starting to clear at camp and we are starting to hear birds singing. The lake ice has disappeard and the signs that summer is approaching are in the air! Thank you all for your ongoing support and prayers for this important ministry.

Becky and Rob Riley
Keelah and Tai

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Good evening NECC Nation!

I am so excited to announce that registration for summer 2009 is now open! Brochures and registrations have been sent out to last years and the year befores campers. So keep your eyes open for them. We have also posted our brochure and registration form to the website. And what I'm most excited about is we have gotten our NEW and IMPROVED online registration uploaded and ready to take registrations. This new streamlined system will be easier for parents and streamline the process in the office, which will reduce the room for error or data loss. Our new system will main stream a whole lot of processes for us here at camp.

My only disappointment has been not being able to get this rolled out sooner. So our appologies to those who are used to getting registration information earlier. The name change coninciding with registration for this summer proved to be a NIGHTMARE!!! But we survived, certainly not without your support and most importantly prayers!

Camp is at a pivotal time right now with a new name, in an unstable economy. So I would ask that you constantly be lifting NECC and it's ministry to young women up in your prayers! Keep Keelah and I in your prayers as we have taken on the daunting task of filling the shoes of Doc and Willow who in our opinion are way to big to fill! Pray that God will send a wave of campers this summer, and that we will be able to minister to a record number of young women. Pray that God will challenge us to constantly be creating an extraordinary ministry in an ordinary world.

Well off to watch Biggest Loser with my beautiful wife!

In His Service,

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Greetings Cedarbrook Nation (Ok that sounds wierd),

Well, a lot has happened since our last blog posting. So first we must appologize for the lapse in posting, we promise to get better!

As most of you know and have heard we have changed our name to New England Camp Cedarbrook. While ultimately it will be a good thing for camp, it has brought lots and lots of challenges. There have been lots of little changes and paperwork to give attention to.

The one thing I am most excited about now is that we have changed over and made some improvements to our website, so please check out our home page as that has had the most changes to it. The slide show on the home page will change quite often to announce what we have going on at camp most currently. Be sure the check back for important announcements and camp news as we update the slide show.

Otherwise all is well at 15 Camp Cherith Road. Linea turned 10 years old last month and we are coming to the gripping reality that we have a child in the double digits now!!! Noah is beginning to find his niche here in Maine and loving school. He has begun to make some friends and branch out on his own from his sister.

Jared has come crashing into being a three year old...literally. He had a little sledding accident in which he ironically crashed into the infirmary. He is fine, but had a nice little egg on his forehead. Otherwise he is VERY THREE!!! I don't know who said that two's were terrible, no no no my friends. Three is quite challenging! As much as I don't want him to grow up, I am looking forward to him being 4!!!

Chips (our cocker spaniel) has had his welcome to the woods of Maine. About two weeks ago he was down at camp with me. When it came time to head up to the house he was barking fiercely at something in the woods (like only a cocker spaniel who thinkgs he's a guard dog can do) and wouldn't follow me. This not being that unusual I headed up the road confident he would follow as he usually did. Well when chips arrived at the house he had obviously confronted something that was more powerful than him and had two good bite marks on his abdomen and one on his paw. So we cleaned him up and took him to the vet. After a few rough days of being very sore Chips has bounced back and is barking at something in the driveway as we speak.

We are now getting ready to start registration for the 2009 camp season!!! How exciting is that? The brochures have arrived and are in the process of being prepared to be sent out. Online registration will begin next week so keep you eyes open for announcements on the web! This will be a historic summer as it will be our first as New England Camp Cedarbrook. We look forward to seeing you there.

In His service,
Tai and Keelah (Rob and Becky)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Winter is fast approaching!

Greetings [NECC] Nation,

Well at Camp we can certainly feel the rush of winter as it knocks on our doorstep. It has quickly gotten cold and last week we actually had a snow flurry. Ok, so that never happened in Lynn. Snow in October is virtually unheard of this early in Massachusetts. So the realities of living in Maine are setting in quickly as I must take a quick break from typing to stoke the fire!

Ok, I'm back now. Life at camp has certainly slowed down a little bit. We had our Scrapbooking retreat last weekend where there were 34 women of all walks of life in the dining hall all scrapbooking to their hearts content! It was great to watch the fellowship and excitement as these women got to take a break from their busy lives and do what they love to do.

Keelah and I have begun our preparations for next summer as the promotions committee has met and the NEW Camp Brochure is well underway and expected to be in the mail sometime in December. We have got some GREAT new programs we will be offering in the spring and next summer. The one we are most excited is that we will be adding in a WEEK 8 to our summer program. During week 8 we will host our FIRST EVER Family Camp. An opportunity for the whole family to come up to camp for a week or just a few days and experience all camp has to offer. Also during week 8 we will be offering a day camp program to families in the local area. We are excited at the opportunities this will allow and look forward to implementing this new program. So SAVE THE DATES!!! August 16 - 21!

Well that's enough for now, it's time for me to get back to stoking that fire! Keep warm where ever you are, and continue to keep [NECC] in your prayers!

Tai and Keelah

Monday, October 6, 2008

Update on the House

Greetings [NECC] Nation,

I just wanted to jump on and give you all the update as to where we are with the $42,000.00 we needed to raise for the down payment on the Soysters House. We have just pased the threshold of 33,000.00 We have just about $9000.00 left to raise. We are hoping to meet and exceed that goal. Of course as you know as much as we can put down on the mortgage the less interest and fees we have to pay and the lower the payment will be. So keep praying that God will continue to bless our ministry here in Lyman Maine.

Other than that. Things are going farily well on Camp Cherith Road. We have had a few bouts with sickness, with Jared and Noah, but they both seem to be getting better. We are preparing for our work weekend and scrapbooking retreats that are coming up over the next few weeks.

What our family is most excited about is that we are preparing for a ten day vacation in November where we will be driving to Florida!!! I'm not so excited about the drive, as growing up and in Lynn, most everything was only 5 minutes away. Now certainly the last 6 months in Maine have taught me to be a bit more patient with driving times as everything is at least 20 - 30 minutes away here.

A few weeks ago we had Paul install a woodstove into our fireplace in an effort to conserve energy and heat the house as best we can with wood. Well that's been quite a little adventure for this boy from Burlington Massachusetts. It's been a bit frustrating when it can take me 10 - 15 minutes to get a fire going and my wife can swoop in start a fire in a cold wood stove in 30 seconds flat! I guess I'll learn...

Well that's enough from Camp Cherith Road!

In His Service,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally....a Post from Keelah

Hello [NECC] Nation!

It's nice to feel like I finally have some time to write to you myself. Tai has been great at writing for both of us throughout the summer, but now I am happily sitting in the quiet, listening to the crackle of the wood stove, and typing this greeting to all of you.The weather is beginning to get colder here and the leaves are turning color. The days and nights have been absolutely beautiful and we are waiting for just the right day to enjoy some apple picking and hot cider doughnuts! Linea, Noah and Jared are so excited that the farmstand up the street sells "punkins" (as Jared calls them) for just $1.00.Jared is loving his new school. Thanks Miss Mel! Noah is waiting for just the right thing to come his way and Linea is ecstatic about being on the Manta Rays Swim Team! Life is always an adventure with the three of them, but we are truly enjoying having lots more time together as a family. We are so grateful for this experience where we can live and serve so closely together.

Today we spent the afternoon poking around Freeport. I can't remember the last time I had the opportunity to do that. My how LL Bean has changed in the last few years! We picked out coats so that we'll be ready for the cold mornings waiting for the bus and the snow that will inevitably come our way. We decided that we needed some "real" protection for the Maine winter that's ahead of us. So we bought the coats and then practiced being cold by munching on some Ben & Jerry's. Yum!

I have been struck this month with God's ability to constantly make our jaws drop in awe. God continues to show us in so many ways that His provision is perfect and more than enough. I can't say those three words, More Than Enough, without smiling and remembering all that we learned together as a camp community this summer. But it's true! His provision in our lives is perfect and complete. We lack nothing. He always does what is in our best interest, provides what is best for us in the long run and what will make us most like Him in the end. He is..."More Than Enough". So that's life here on Camp Cherith Road this week.

Keep Growing Strong,
Keelah and Tai

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back in the Office, back to work, back to School

Greeting [NECC] Nation,

Keelah and I are sitting at our dining room table working on the calendar for this year. Quite a daunting task. Today we visited a local daycare center for Jared to spend a few days a week. That went pretty well, and we are considering all of our options. Linea and Noah have returned to school and are getting settled into their routines. And Chips is chewing happily on a bone beside me after successfully sitting, laying down, and staying on command!! Yeah Chips!

God has been especially gracious to us today. Most of you may know that we are in the middle of a campaign to raise $52,000.00 for the down payment on the final mortgage for Paul and LaRue Soyster's House and Property which Keelah and I know reside in with our family. One of the options for us to explore was to sell a piece of land 5 acres at the very back of our property. We posted the property on Craigslist and in two days had an interested buyer. Partly excited at the prospects of a buyer in today's market and partly sad that we might part with some of NECC's Land. However this past weekend the buyers decided they didn't want to pursue the land any more and all discussions came to a halt. Today Keelah and I went to the mailbox and opened the mail to find a very generous donation of $10,000.00 from a great supporter of NECC. So when God closes a door he opens a window! We are very encouraged by this and know that God is going to provide the $52,000.00 we need. We are at about $35,000.00 leaving us with about only $17,000.00 to go. So all you out there in [NECC] Nation need to continue to pray for God's blessing as we inch closer and closer to our goal.

Well, back to calendar planning. Thanks for listening tonight.

Glad the tomb was empty,
Keelah and Tai