Spring Retreat and Volunteers
This year’s Spring Retreat focused once again on Real Relationships, and this time it was all about Friendship on Purpose. We were so thankful for all of the guests who were able to attend! We were also blessed to have so many of our attendees stay as volunteers a few days after the retreat had come to an end. And did we mention the awesome volunteers we’d had in the days leading up to the retreat? Whoa!
Our Southpointe volunteers are getting some instruction from Mr. Brian. This was before the spring retreat began!
Faithful staff Natalie and Megan were a great example in service! They and the rest of our staff and volunteers all worked together to rake the fenced-in field of the Goliath challenge course! Thanks everyone!
Kicking off our Spring Retreat was our Pajama Party Game Night! There were board games, card games, and even a game of Mafia going on. Whoa!
Some of our lovely attendees proudly sporting their team colors!
Talk about a challenge! Our “Chum Challenge” amazing race game was so intense that it wasn’t even called on acount of rain!
Having your hands tied together during a pizza dinner? Now that’s REAL Friendship on Purpose! (And check out that AWESOME Goliath shirt being shown off by Miss Randi!)
Those who came to our Spring Retreat got their own opportunity to conquer Goliath!
Thanks again to all of those who came to the retreat and stayed to volunteer! We’re so thankful for each and every one of you.
Check out more Spring Retreat photos here!
New! Goliath Challenge Course
So waaaaaaay back in October we announced to everyone that we’d be putting together a brand-new super-awesome totoally Oaktastic high ropes challenge course. And we did it!
Oakridge’s Goliath Challenge Course is raised 52 feet into the beautiful blue Oklahoma sky. It has over 30 unique elements, each of them designed to challenge individuals in problem solving, teamwork, self-esteem, leadership skills, and much more!
So strap on your lobster claws (that’s a type of adventure rope gear that you’ll be using on Goliath) and get ready for our HUGEST blog post ever, all about GOLIATH!
This was back when the course was still being built. It’s so amazing that it’s finally done!
A better shot of just how high up the tower is.
Our whole crew at the base of the tower!
Check out all the different elements you can see from here.
Anderson learning how to climb using a device called a “cable-grab.”
Natalie, and a closer look at the cable-grab. The cable-grab is something just for facilitators to use when setting up the challenge course for guests!
Natalie going up the incline log.
Joshua and Natalie receiving instruction from Miss Betsie, who came out to train all of our staff.
Knots are a really big deal! The girls test Joshua’s knot.
Jesse makes sure that Mr. Brian is ready for adventure!
This knot is called a “bowline on a bite,” and is one of the most-used knots on the challenge course.
Here’s Brea at the top of the Pamper Pole, which is a whopping 48 feet in the air. The idea is that you jump off of the pole and try to grab at a handkerchief some feet away from you.
Jaime sets up some equipment for another element.
Rachel’s just hanging out!
Jaime show David the “ropes.” Get it?
Natalie flying around after being on the Haul Swing.
A view from the top of the tower.
More elements as seen from the top.
The view of camp from the top of the tower! Can you see the water slide?
David’s pretty tall; but not as tall as Goliath!
Rachel and Megan hanging out with the harnesses and lobster claws (the yellow ones!).
A better shot of the magnitude of the course, set against that beautiful blue sky!
One of the girls up on the huge cargo net.
Jesse showing off his good side on the Log Jam.
Megan flying off the Pamper Pole.
We so look forward to having people out and trying out this awesome new challenge!! Keep your eyes peeled for updates and videos.
Are you planning on coming to our Spring Retreat? Every attendee will get a FREE afternoon on the Goliath course! Check out our website for more information, or call our office at 405.247.5433.
The past year has been one of major refurbishing for us here at Oakridge Camp. We completely overhauled the Lower West Lodge, redid the Upper Boys’ Dorm, and (with the help of our wonderful SOWER friends!) worked some serious renovation magic on the central bath house.
But we’re not done yet! We’re currently working on renewing the inside of our Chapel. Here are some of the latest photos:
What comfy-looking seats we have! These chairs used to be in our church building in town (which we’re currently trying to sell; please keep it in your prayers!) and now they’ve found a home in our chapel. We think they’re just perfect for smaller groups!
The eastern and western walls of the chapel are getting a whole new look! Gone are the days of green lattice! Now we’ve got warm, pleasing earth-tones and totally awesome wallpaper that looks like an actual stone wall! Seriously, next time you’re here, check it out. It looks 3D until you put your hand right on it!
We’re experimenting with patterns on some of the light-colored panels along the walls. What do you think of them?
Here, our sweet Megan can be seen working to scrape excess paint from the stencil so she and Jenelle (our newest young lady on staff!) can continue their diligent work in the chapel.
We’re very excited that God provides for us to constantly improve the buildings around camp so that we can continually serve our guests with excellence!
What have been your favorite renovations at camp so far? What kind of changes would you like to see happen? Let us know!
We’re so very thankful for all of our friends, family, and guests who keep Oakridge in their prayers. Be sure to tell us how we can be praying for you as well. And, as always, don’t ever hesitate to ask how you can be of service to the camp! There’s still lots of painting to do!
We’re jumping back into the swing of things with weekly blog posts! Here are some photos of how gorgeous Oakridge Camp looks at the beginning of fall…some splashes of orange and red, but still lots of green!
We’re also excited to announce that we got an Instagram! So you can start tagging us in all your camp photos!
59 Years of Marriage: Think It’ll Last?
Today, our staff had the privilege of celebrating the 59th wedding anniversary of one of our SOWERS ministry volunteer couples - Roy and Jo Butler. After retiring, they joined the SOWERS ministry; now they travel across the country to volunteer and improve Christian camping facilities. SOWERS are basically two-person Extreme Makeover: Camp Edition teams. When you see a SOWERS RV pull onto the camp, you know big changes are about to happen.
My husband(Jesse) and I(Rachel) haven’t even lived a combined lifespan of 59 years yet, so imagining a 59th anniversary is a bit staggering.
But we certainly hope and pray to make it to 59 years together, so we asked for some advice from these seasoned veterans. Here are a few ideas we learned:
Fidelity starts in your mind.
"We never considered any thought but that we were married for life," Jo said.
Plan to forgive each other.
Both Roy and Jo separately mentioned Colossians 3:13 as a central verse for relationships: “…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Family support matters.
In Roy’s family, there were seven brothers. All married only once, he said. His family’s strong devotion to God bolstered Roy and Jo’s commitment to each other.
"I’d prayed God would send me a Christian man," Jo said. She expressed thankfulness for the spiritual support of her in-laws. "I didn’t have that kind of family. It was the desire of my heart."
Remember to have fun.
"That’s the other thing in your family - to have fun just messing with each other," Jo said, laughing and recalling pranks pulled throughout the years. "Humor helps your marriage a whole lot."
Our friend Garrett wrote a news story about us!
As an assignment, Garrett was to write a report like a journalist. He decided to write about our Real Relationships retreat back in March! Here is what he had to say:
Oakridge Christian Camp hosted their first annual spring retreat last weekend. Entitled “Real Relationships,” the retreat taught teenagers and young adults about the importance of relationships and how to obtain and develop good ones. Students from three different youth groups in Oklahoma and Texas attended the retreat near Anadarko, Oklahoma.
During the retreat, which lasted from Friday, March fifteenth to Sunday, March seventeenth, students attended a total of five chapel sessions. These sessions consisted of worship music and preaching. Tabatha K., from Dayspring Community Church in Lawton, Oklahoma, said that her “favorite part was the worship … Everyone was free to worship as they pleased with no judgment.” Indeed, many people freed themselves to worship in extravagant ways during the weekend. People raised their hands, danced, kneeled, and even lay prostrate on the concrete floor of the chapel during worship.
Brian Ball’s teaching also impacted the attendees of the event. Ball, who with his family runs and coordinates Oakridge Christian Camp, preached on the importance of relationships in the lives of Christians. Using relatable examples to impress his points, Ball began by reminding the listeners of their relationships with Christ. In his sermons, Ball implemented that many people attempt to “date” God, loving Him one day and forgetting Him the next, whereas the Bible tells Christians to remain faithful to Him always, using the Scriptural analogy of marriage. Building off of this foundation, Ball related one’s relationship with the Lord to his or her personal relationships, romantic and nonromantic.
Many people learned from the teaching. Tabatha said, “One teaching stood out to me the most … It was about saving your purity … If you hand yourself out like you’re cheap, then people will treat you like you’re cheap.” Rachel L., also from Dayspring, said, “What primarily stuck with me was that we are the Bride of Christ, not just His girlfriend so to speak.” Even those who work at the camp learned from the retreat. Megan M., who has volunteered to work at Oakridge for three years, stated, “I learned that my value isn’t in the mistakes I made, but in Christ and the quality of relationship that I have with Him that branches out to all my other relationships.”
In addition to receiving spiritual feeding, those who attended the retreat spent plenty of time bonding with those around them, thus living out the weekend’s theme of “real relationships.” Garrett C. said, “It was fun because I didn’t know everyone in my dorm so I got to know some new people.” On Saturday and Sunday mornings, everyone gathered to play fun games like Nine-Square, Gaga Ball, and “Brian Ball.” During the afternoons, opportunities arose to partake in activities like go-carting, laser tag, skeet shooting, and archery. Rachel said, “My favorite memory was skeet shooting and how proud I was of myself for being able to shoot a twelve gage shotgun (something I never thought I’d actually do).”
At the beginning of the event, Ball welcomed everyone to Oakridge’s “first annual” spring retreat, stating that they will host another retreat next year. Successfully blending spiritual teaching with personal bonding, Oakridge provided, as Kobi put it, an “experience unlike any other camp I had gone to. I had been fed spiritually to the fullest and had fun bonding time with my friends, which you don’t get usually as a package deal.”
Note: We changed Garrett’s style of writing just a little, putting in people’s first names rather than last.
A day in the life of Oakridge staff!
Clockwise from bottom left: John Bates (plumbing master), Natalie Bryant & Sarah Cade (door artists), Anderson Hutto, left, & Jesse Ball (men with power tools), Daniel Clayton, a lovely volunteer, & James Breen (painting fiends), Sarah Cade, Josh Ball (detail painter), Rachel & Jaime Ball (sisters-in-law and in office crime / work), Brian Ball (paperwork guru).
We’re all doing our part to make camp a reality for you! Keep checking back for updates on our projects - like this beautiful Lower West Lodge - and developments!