Redwood Creek Camp (Local Church Ministry)
Redwood Creek Camp Reaches Out to Kids for Jesus
Article in the May 2013 Recorder
Each summer, a unique outdoor outreach takes place at Redwood Creek Camp. Kids sleep under the stars (no tents!), participate in fun camp activities and, most importantly, hear the good news about Jesus—many for the first time. This year’s camp, headed by Paradise church members Steve and Jennifer Shaw, will take place June 30 to July 7.
The camp generates positive interest among the local families in an economically depressed and isolated area of Humboldt County, where the nearest city is Blue Lake (population: 1,135). Most of the 50-60 campers who attend each summer do not belong to church-going families. “There aren’t a lot of things to do out here in the summer—except get into trouble,” said Jeanette Quinn, a member of the nearby Orleans church. “Around here it’s really difficult to reach people. We find this is one way that we can reach out to them that they will be open to.”
Often families can’t afford the camp fees; however, local church members have stepped in to help. In the 1980s, church member Robbie Cornwell started a scholarship fund and made it her mission to help as many disadvantaged children as possible go to the camp. After she passed away, the Orleans church took over the Campership Fund (now headed by Quinn), which has helped kids ever since, including 29 campers last summer. In addition to raising money, Quinn recruits kids in the area’s public schools. “I tell them about the activities—go-karts, rappelling, horseback riding,” she said. “I tell them it’s a Christian camp and anyone who wants to go is welcome.”
The camp’s staff members and volunteers have dedicated themselves to the rewarding—and sometimes difficult—task of introducing Jesus to children who don’t know much about Him. Part of the witness is providing a safe place for kids to relax in a loving environment. “We hope our campers will feel the love of Jesus as we humbly try to follow His example of reaching out to the world,” said Jennifer Shaw.
Arcata McKinleyville church Pastor Bob Mason shares the good news with the kids during the camp’s daily worship times. “If you give them a chance, there’s a lot of depth in them. They show that they’re really concerned about their lives, and about others, and want to know God,” he said.
One of the longest operating Adventist camps in the world, Redwood Creek Camp started in the late 1930s on land owned by Oliver Cookson. The camp has continued at the Cookson Ranch almost every summer since then. “I’ve heard people talk about how Oliver loved children and wanted to share the love of God through the beauty of nature,” said Shaw, whose parents attended the camp in the 1940s. Redwood Creek Camp’s first director was Eric B. Hare, noted missionary and storyteller.
Kids give the camp great reviews every summer. “It is so much fun to just be outside and be with fun people for a week,” said camper Anna McLane. “I wouldn’t change one thing about Redwood Creek Camp!”
Those who have seen the blessings that camp can provide the local children hope to continue the program for years to come. “Every year God sweetens some child’s life while swimming in the creek or running through the fields nestled between the tall trees at Redwood Creek Camp,” said Shaw. “Oliver Cookson’s dream lives on.”
Donate to camp operations: Cookson Ranch Foundation, PO Box 973, Blue Lake, CA 95525. (An anonymous donor will match up to $5,000 in contributions.) Donate to the Campership Fund: Orleans Adventist Church, PO Box 220, Orleans, CA 95556 or email@example.com. (Write “Campership Fund” on memo line.)
Redwood Creek Camp is a local ministry of the Arcata McKinleyville and Eureka churches. It is not operated by the Northern California Conference.
If you have questions, please call 530-872-4972 or e-mail Jennifer Shaw.
Click here to download a pdf for the application, flyer, and health and consent form.
Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists | 401 Taylor Blvd. | P.O. Box 23165 | Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 | (925) 685-4300 | firstname.lastname@example.org