Conference: Discovering Our Cultures

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by Pam Murphy, Director of Visual Outreach: PNW Camping

Six years ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and applied for a job as a camp counselor at Lazy F Camp. Since then I have worked my way up to a conference job and am now the Director of Visual Outreach for our camping conference.

Some of you may be thinking, “Director of Visual Outreach? That sounds fancy!” To which I’d say “As much as I would like to say I’m a big deal, I wear jeans and a t-shirt most days and basically just do marketing and graphic design for our four camps. Not to mention that I worked out of my parents' basement for the first six months before graciously being given a work space at Covenant UMC in Spokane.”

Even though it may not be as big as it sounds, this job has been a blast so far, and well worth those long days in my basement office. This summer I had the opportunity to travel to each of our camps a few times to document our ministry through photos and video.

Having my roots as a staff member at Lazy F meant that I already knew their culture on a pretty intimate level. So, heading into this summer I pulled your typical millennial move and thought I had a good feel for the other three camps just because, ya know, I had talked to them on the phone a few times.

My experience this summer was incredible. By nature, my job is visual story telling. I learned a ridiculous amount about Ocean Park, Indianola, Lazy F, and Twinlow by just working along-side staff members and hanging out with campers. They told me their stories and I’m excited to share them with you in this coming year.

OK, enough serious stuff…lets have some fun. I have come up with four silly awards (although some of you may take them very seriously) to which the prize is the pride and joy of winning 😉

Now, when I started brainstorming for categories, the things that came to mind were coffee, taco bar, bacon, s’more’s…do you see a theme emerging here? I love food 😉 But I dialed back the food and added in a couple categories that are also very important. Here we go…


Best camp coffee: INDIANOLA!

Indianola, you are on the heart of the Puget Sound with Seattle in your view and it shows. You satisfied my coffee addiction and for that I am forever grateful.

Messiest camp experience: LAZY F!

Lazy F, your Messy Olympics ending in a mud pit finale is hard to compete with. Youth will remember that experience for as long as they have their mud-stained t-shirt and for many years after.

Funniest camp song: TWINLOW!

Twinlow, you excel in every musical genre, but a song called “A Very Special Animal” taught and sung by a counselor named Gladiator takes the cake.  

Best taco bar: OCEAN PARK!

Ocean Park, ALL of your food was great! Congratulations! You guys have won the most competitive category as Taco Bar is VERY coveted at all of our camps. Yours was on point!


Thank you to all of our camps for welcoming me into your communities.

For those of you that have only been to one of our camps, I encourage you to visit the others as well. Step out of your comfort zone and learn the stories behind all four of our camping ministry sites.


Two High School Campers jousting at the Indianola Water Olympics 

Campers hug after the Messy Olympics at Senior High Camp at Lazy F

Staff members lead the Fish N Sale campers in "A Very Special Animal" at Twinlow

Ocean Park staff going the extra mile to help a young Sandcastle Camper at archery