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Pilgrim Lodge Director's Log


January 13, 2003

News alert: Bryan Breault is alive and well (his feet are a bitterly cold under the counter in the camp office with sub zero weather outside, but he is in fact, well)

Dear Cybercamper, 

If you've ever sat in the chapel and watched the sunset, you know that it plunks right down between the islands in the summer.  I am watching a sunset now out my office window and the sun is setting at the far south end of the lake.  It's quite beautiful in the snow.  

Gosh I've missed you.  I sure hope you had a nice Holiday season.  I sure did.  I had accumulated a bunch of unused vacation time and the powers that be suggested I make use of it, so I was (mostly) off from Thanksgiving through New Years Week.  What a blessing.  I had time to enjoy Eric's third Christmas, the first he was aware of the magic.  I read a bit, did some house projects, slept, and actually got in some regular exercise.  Painful at first but I really feel better for it.  We went to visit relatives in Connecticut for Thanksgiving and spent Christmas at home quietly.  

I took a long weekend and went to visit my friend Eric C. Smith (you've heard of him?) in Chicago where he was spending a semester at Chicago Theological Seminary.  I really enjoyed being back in the seminary environment.  Eric is now back in the area and temping a bit for me in the office.  I'm very grateful for the help.   

Before leaving I spent a good deal of time wrapping up stuff.  I was pleased to get the curriculum to the deans, via electronics, before the end of the year.  I also spend several days at the New England Conference Staff retreat.  I kind of groaned and moaned a bit before going (OK, a lot) but actually found it a really helpful retreat.  The speaker was Ron Buford from the Cleveland office of the UCC.  He explained the new advertising campaign the UCC recently embarked upon.  At first I was dubious about the concept of advertising and talking about the church's "brand" and "product" but he won me over.  He also took us through the campaigns website "still speaking."  If you haven't been there yet check it out.  It is designed for non-church seekers, not for UCC church members.  I like it.  While at the retreat I was shooting my mouth off about the film "Bowling For Columbine," which I thought was just great, when Ron surprised me by asking me to write a review of the film for the website.  If you haven't seen it and would like to read it, it is in the culture section of the still speaking site.  You've got to scroll down a bit.

There were a few other items I updated while I was off including the "splash" page which showed a card from 1946 sent to patrons of Balbrook Lodge (sold ten years later to the Maine Conference who renamed "Pilgrim Lodge.")  You could see the little sketch of the lodge on there.  I know, my love for such ephemera is freakish.  And it's only just begun!  I also updated the photo of the month to include a shot of the chapel from the frozen lake.  I will be updating it again soon so you'll have to go to "last month's" (kind of a euphemism isn't it) to see it.

I spent my first days back pouring through the accumulated correspondence.  I still have a small pile, but I'm picking away at it.  I've started work on the new camp brochure, I've got a few covers in mind and am spending way to much time tweaking each of them.  I hope to have it to the printers by the end of the month and in your mailbox by mid-February.  Saturday I met with OMC (a very great group of folks!).  We are all set for the summer season, with one late pull out so I am also working on filling that hole.  

In addition, I am beginning the hiring some new office help to fill the position Eric left a year ago;  starting the process of staff recruitment; working on architectural plans for a handicapped accessible ramp to the chapel (d'ja hear that Taylor!); plans for the cabin showers; the fiftieth anniversary of PL (2006); and climbing the perpetual administration mountain.  I also intend to overhaul this website piece by piece and get my archival project off the ground this winter.  (Just received an old PL poster that looks like early sixties to me).  

You will soon be hearing about our new trip camp, a hiking, climbing, biking, camping trip to the top of Mt. Washington for Senior High Schoolers.  It sounds like a blast.  More to come.   Sorry to say, the Allagash canoe trip is taking a years hiatus.  

I also must tell you of a new love of mine: snowshoeing!  Deb got me a pair for Christmas and I am taking my lunch breaks out and about the frozen PL.  Did the red trail the other day.  It's fantastic!  

I hope you are well and warm.  It's really a miracle that before long this site will awaken and blossom with life of all sorts.  I hope PL 2003 is going to be a part of your year.  We are all so richly blessed.

Pray for peace,


February 15, 2003

This morning, when I woke up, the thermometer read 16 degrees below zero.  Let's put that into perspective: Imagine you are standing outside on a beautiful 80 degree day.  As you stand there, you begin to feel the temperature drop 48 degrees until it hits 32  - freezing.  That's a pretty significant change.  NOW: imagine that you START at freezing (32) and the temperature drops the same differential of 48 degrees - That's 16 below.  But wait!  Don't forget to add the wind chill factor.  It makes me wonder how our forbearers survived.  In fact, many of them didn't, but still, fills me with awe.  And it points out just what pampered wimps we all are.   

Well, this pampered wimp has been spending his late nights, warm and toasty, working on a new section of the website.  My sister-in-law's comment about finding a way to turn my obsession into part of my job wasn't exactly accurate since it was done on 'my time,' usually between 11 pm and 2 am.  The new section is three pages (four if you count the .asp to view the large photos) and is called Pilgrim Lodge history as told through its postcards.  Its permanent link will be from the history page. Let me know what you think, and if you find any errors - technical, grammatical or informational.  If I stop and think of how much time actually went into it:  surfing the internet; rummaging through a billion bins at stores and postcards shows; meeting with people; scanning; designing the pages and writing about each card; well, I'm aware I probably could have used that time to do something really meaningful, like end world hunger.  But I did have fun.  I have been meaning to get this on the web for sometime now, but just kept chipping away at it a bit at a time.  And (in case you are trying to diagnose me) I've only just begun.  You can expect other similar areas of the web to pop up in the future.

In the meantime if you have anything for the archives, please let me know.  I'll either scan them and send them back to you, or if you prefer, add them to the archival material at PL.  This might include material from Pilgrim Lodge, Camp Manitou and Akita before Pilgrim Lodge (1926-1955) or Balbrook Lodge.  Such items include camp brochures, photos, postcards not yet listed on the site, store items, advertisements, posters, old 'one free ice cream' certificates, you name it!  Sooner is better since I am pouring through all this in anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of PL, and the 80th anniversary of Maine Outdoor Ministries in about three years. 

The brochure is out, (Follow the link if you want a sneak peak at the cover.) Campers should be receiving it in the mail in the next week.     If not, after Wednesday Feb 19th, go to your church and ask your minister for one, or email Cathy Croudis. our camp registrar. 

Next week I head for Texas to go to the UCC Outdoor Ministry Association's (OMA) Consult XIV at Slumber Falls Camp in Texas.  Always a valuable time.  Anyone can go, so if you're into Outdoor Ministries, sign on up!   Speaking of which, OMA received a grant to generate a four color pamphlet on UCC outdoor ministries, which I volunteered to design and produce.  It's at the printing shop now.  More on that next time.

Until then, keep warm and Pray for peace, 



March 1, 2003



First, a hearty welcome to our new OMC members Allie Rimkunas, Matthew Hayden and Donna Stobbs!   I am writing from the UCC Outdoor Ministry Association's "Consult XIV" at Slumber Falls in New Braunfels, Texas, about a half hour east of San Antonio.


This event is held every two years at one of our UCC camps.  Slumber Falls is beautiful perched on the banks of a fast running Guadalupe River.  The fellowship, contacts, networking, support and education are tremendous.  As a member of the board of directors I am running around doing lots of administrative and hospitality things (sound familiar?) but the energy and relationships make the job fun and rewarding.  Today I spent the day at a pre-consult seminar on fund raising for church camps.  Tonight the event officially begins with worship.  It's camp for camp directors.  What's kind of nice is I now feel that I have as much to offer as I have to absorb.  Feels good. Photos of the event taken and posted by yours truly are on   


The theme for the event "Stepping In The Same River Twice" sounds cumbersome at first, but it is quite apt.  It is about finding that balance between honoring tradition and moving forward; making sure that both returning folks and new folks feel at home in your program.  How do we welcome the new folks and meet the expectations of those who have been coming for years?  This is a common tension among sites and directors and is an interesting topic to explore.  


 Fresh from the printer for distribution at this Consult is the new OMA pamphlet.  It's designed to be an interpretive piece on UCC Outdoor Ministries as a whole.   As an OMA board member I took on the responsibility to design and produce this piece (on our little camp computer no less) and as a result, Pilgrim Lodge is represented a whole lot.  I used every photo sent by other camps that was usable and had to fill in the rest.  A couple photos are clearly PL, but most are 'could be anywhere' photos.  I am pleased with the result and I hope you will be to.  We also received a larger-than-most share of the 25,000 we printed.  We can use them in presentations, to put out at churches, at the annual meeting.  They can be opened and posted as a poster (the inside).   Happily, we did not have to pay for the production of these pamphlets, they are a gift from OMA which received a grant to print them.  I will get a .pdf file of it on the site soon so you can see it, but if you want any just email me your US postal address and the quantity you would like and I mail them as soon as I get back.


One more OMA item, I was scheduled to go off the board this meeting, but, what do you know, they are thinking of changing the terms.  Currently members may serve one - six year term.  I have  served out four years of someone else's term.  Now we may go to two - four year terms and the board has asked that I consider second.  I may possibly take a two year term to even out the distribution of New England reps staggering their terms to one person going off every two years.  Complicated I know.  I feel I gain so much from the experience, and by extension, Pilgrim Lodge does as well. 


Bah now,


Cowboy Bry  

April 7, 2003

OK so the roller coaster has tipped over the top of the hill and we are currently screaming toward summer.  It's kind of deceiving since it still feels like we're in late February, but I expect that any day now we'll go from mid-30's to upper 60's and then it'll really hit.   The camp road has been closed for weeks to keep it from getting torn up.  I enjoy the daily walks into and out of camp; very restful and centering.  Restful and centering is very welcome in the craziness of the world these days.  Unlike the gym or the convenience store, my walk down to camp does not feature CNN. 

At last report I was in Texas.  The second half of the Outdoor Ministry Consult was as inspirational as the first.  When I got off the plane, however, I was met by a good a faithful Maine Conference member who was waiting for his wife.  Upon hearing my enthusiastic tale of where I was and how charged I was for the new season he shuffled his feet a bit and replied "well, I guess you gott'a do something in the winter."   

I just smiled and said "uh-huh."

March is pretty much a blur.  I spent a great deal of time on staff hiring, including the hiring of a new permanent staff assistant (more on that in a couple of weeks).  The summer staff is coming along nicely.  We will have a few friends from abroad again this year, and there are quite a few returning members.  A few of them are returning from years past.  I'll post the staff list as soon as it's all official.  

I put a couple of days into preparing a report for the coordinating council.  Since it's now been over five years since I began at PL, I thought a five year report was apropos.  I was actually kind of shocked to see all the progress of the last five years staring at me there on those four pages.  What a long involved trip it has been!

I also attended the annual convention of the New England Region of the American Camping Association.  This is a huge meeting, this year it was held in Sturbridge, Mass.  After spending time with my UCC brothers and sisters, it is so interesting to go hang out with other camp directors.  Many of these camps are 'for profit.' Most are much bigger than little ole PL.  Still, there is a great spirit of professionalism and lots of experience from which to draw.  I believe, after years of talking, I am ready to begin the process of getting PL accredited.  I had lots of conversation and got gobs of helpful information to start this rather major journey.  Expect to see me studying this summer.  

Finally I spent a great deal of time preparing for the annual deans' retreat.  It was held once again at Camp Mechuwana, the Methodist camp, one lake over.  What a wonderful group of people.  I really enjoyed myself this year.  It bodes well for this summer season.  We had a great time, brainstormed and got ready for summer.  We had a presentation on the mission project, Camp Sunshine (a web update on that is on the way), a speaker on campers with special needs, and lots of time to go over curriculum and policy.  Probably the most important aspect of the event is the informal time for deans' to share experiences and ideas.  I posted photos of the event.

So, all that has kept me running, but happy.  Forgive me if I owe you an email.  This week I had staff meeting and went to a  hearing at the state capital.  There is a bill being proposed that would have the effect of taxing non-profit camps.  If it gets much further, you'll be hearing a lot more from me on this one.  Get ready to write letters.  I'll keep you posted.   Tomorrow and Friday I am going to Portland for a computer class.  Got' a keep developing those skills!  In the evening tomorrow I am speaking about PL at the New Gloucester church.  Friday Deb and I are going to see Dar Williams in concert (thanks for babysitting Kristen!).  She's one of my all time favorites.  

Eric continues to grow and is happy. You won't recognize him this summer.  He's quite the little chatterbox, and funny too.  

Now it's on to designing and ordering store items, getting camp open, Mission Camp, Jump Start Weekend and Rental Season.  It's never dull.

Peace, not as the world can give, 



April 27, 2003

As you well know, it was a long hard winter.  I looked around camp last week and thought "we'll never be ready."  I have this thought every year, and every year I am astonished by the number of dedicated people who show up for Jump Start Weekend to offer their hard work to get camp ready.  This year "I Love PL Mission Camp" also helped move us along.  

We had seven people for Mission camp, including our Chef Kris and Counselor EricJack Steeves and I were the deans and Jamie, Tom and CC showed up for work detail too.  First we hung the new PL sign.  The old sign went up about seven years ago. Last fall some poor people who didn't know that God loves them, decided to take a baseball bat to the sign, the frame, the lights and the new flower box.  So we hoisted up the  new sign, and Tom fixed the lights with parts from the shop.  The first picture is of our little group in front of the new sign which is a soft yellow so that it matches the Lodge and stands out from the green of the forest.  Click the picture to enlarge it. We will mount the old sign, which is still usable on one side, down in camp.  

We cleared out the old barn next to the farmhouse.  Then we built shelves, installed a railing, and added new lighting and put up lines in the attic for tent drying. Next we moved all the trip camp equipment up from its former place above the camp office,  ready for Trip Camp Coordinator Laurie Mooney to organize it in its new home.  Laurie got started over the weekend.  Finally we cleaned and organized the old space above the office (it looks beautiful).  Now the trip camp items are easily accessed and organized and trips can set up shop away from the goings on of camp.  It's a great plan.  We also had a big burn on Wednesday night and then on Thursday we went out bowling and stopped for a little ice cream on the way home.  Thank You Mission Campers!

During Jump Start Weekend, which overlapped on Friday, we had a gorgeous but cool day.  We were racing the big storm which started Saturday morning and really picked up after lunch.  In spite of the rain we go a bunch of stuff done.  Take a look at the JSW page for a list of what was accomplished.  My deepest gratitude to all who worked so hard this weekend.  It is what makes Pilgrim Lodge special: the care and love of the people of the Maine Conference.  You were willing to come in the damp and cold and bring your good energy and spirits.  The place looks stunning.  

Thank You. 



June 21, 2003

Happy Birthday Pam!

Yes, it's been a long while  since I updated this page.  And I am sorry to say that I am just about asleep and not able to do justice to the last two months.  Lots of great stuff happening here.  I am now getting ready to change hats and be the dean for Arts Alive.  It's a big job and it's good for me to remember first hand all that the many volunteer deans go through to make the magic at PL.  Please check back here in early July.  We are working on a 'meet the staff' page and I will be sure to catch you up on the months of May and June.  Suffice it to say that our program is off and running.  Women in the Wilds, Vintage Ventures, Promises to Keep went great and currently the half week for third and fourth graders, Faith Foundations is just so much fun to experience.  In the meantime, check out the photos.  More soon.  Promise!   


July 18, 2003

Oh my faithful and neglected cybercamper!  Woe is me that I have failed to bring you along on the ride for summer 2003 thus far.  What a summer!  I hope you have been following along through the photos, which we have indeed faithfully updated.  Verily I say to thee, blessed am I to be offered the stewardship of such a vibrant and vital ministry.  Itís essential for me to sit here on the porch of the lodge and watch as family groups focus on the task of the moment at picnic tables and in circles between Lake Cobbosseecontee and me.  It helps me remember the why of PL (which frankly can get a bit blurry while feverishly attending to the multitude of minutia necessary to make the whole thing go).  But indeed, going it is.  

This summer the Maine Conference is blessed to have an amazingly dedicated camp staff.  These people work so very hard, and with such a great attitude.  I thank God daily for each one of them.   I asked our camp photographer, the ever-positive Sarah, to write profiles along with the photos.  She had so very much to learn this year and just took to it like a fish to water.  It was kind of odd to have someone else write my own profile, but it was fun too.  I just asked her put up a new gallery of staff candids so go check out the staff page.

The camps have been great.  Random Acts of Kindness was a sweet and gentle group under the leadership of Amy and Amy, they endured sweltering heat once again.  Joyful Community was filled with fun and spirit with deans Diane and Stacey.  Take a look at their photos.  

This week is at capacity so we are bursting at the seams (and thatís a good thing!).  Middler Spirit is living up to its name and reputation.  The counselors are all fully engaged and focused, and the kids are responding to the magic that happens when all the pieces are in place.  I believe this week holds the record for the most mission money ever raised in the 47 years of Pilgrim Lodge.  They have already brought in over $1,600 for Camp Sunshine.  Keep in mind that $1,500 is the cost to send a family to this profound program.  That is amazing!  Kudos to deans Laura and Amber for a great week, which is the result of great a detailed planning, open hearts and abundant energy. 

 Speaking of Camp Sunshine, I hope you have taken a moment to view the mission project page.  I continue to tweak it as the summer progresses.  It is my hope that three or four families will be able to attend Camp Sunshine next year as the result of our efforts.  Every time I see the presentation I am overwhelmed with emotion by the incredible outpouring of love Camp Sunshine engenders.  

 Of course, when last I spoke to you I was about to start deaning Arts Alive.  WOW.  It was great to be on the other side of the boardwalk for a week.  Sure Iíve been a dean many times before, but this was my first full week camp at PL.  Iíve served communion in the  chapel a hundred times and yet on the Friday of Arts Alive it felt like the first time.  It was a remarkable group of campers.  I like having both middlers and seniors here at the same time.  One of our many themes was risk-taking (which artists are called to do over and over again).  As a result we took a risk with our camp photo which turned out really well!  The photographer was in a boat and we were at Ednaís point. The photo happens to catch me gesturing with my arms out and it looks like Iím about to baptize the lot of them.  Thatís because when I went to get in the water, I slipped and went in to my chest.   Whhhhaaaaaa!  splash.

The camp is looking better.  Cabin seven got a great paint job thanks to its adopted family from Kittery 1st Congregational and Aaron Sinay who came up for a week to paint it.  The road was really well graded with drainage built in so it's holding up better than ever.  Another side to the farmhouse is painted as is the wall outside the office.  The middle room floor was refinished (it looks great) and the wall painted so there is no sign of the former store configuration.  It really opens up that room (not to mention gives light and air to the poor suffocating store clerks).  Cabin eight has a new roof thanks to Ron Ashworth and Franklin Association.  Don Isham came one Saturday and got under the lodge and jacked the whole thing up to help with the sagging floor in the dining room.  It is noticeably better.  The back half of cabin 13ís roof was finished, as was the back half of Cabin sevenís roof.  Once we get through summer I am going to post a full adopt-a-cabin report.  All this is in addition to the regular ongoing work.

As always, the physical plant activity is ministry.  However it enhances and uplifts the stage on which the root ministry takes place.  I see campers leaving here each week touched by what can only be described as the Holy Spirit.

So, I'll do my best to report back, but in the meantime, pray for a safe, healthy and meaningful summer here at Pilgrim Lodge (clap clap)


Happy Birthday Eric, 
beautiful, beautiful, beautiful - beautiful boy


August 15, 2003

The weather has finally broken.  Almost two full weeks of unbelievable humidity have given way to gorgeous blue skies and crisp clear nights.  I'd almost say there is a hint of summer's end in the chilly evenings but I'm not ready to go there yet.  Still, today is the final 'regular' day of camp.  Tomorrow these children (who did remarkably well in the humidity although we adults seemed a bit soggy) under the guidance of Joanne Bartlett and Peter Godfrey will leave for home after a fantastic week of spirit and caring.  That's hard to believe.  Oh it's not over, not at all.  On Sunday we host the little ones (Kindergarten through second grade) for A Day At Camp.  I LOVE this day! Pray for this same weather please.  The whole staff will be here to help them have a good first PL experience along with their parents.  Then, on Monday we welcome "Grandparents and Grandkids" with deans Dotty Kay and David Stillman (who have been leaders at PL for years and we are so grateful to  have them here!).  Speaking of the Stillman's, look at the article on the news page about the restoration work they did on the "Give Us This Day" artwork in the lodge.   It's after that on Wednesday that the staff leaves for the four winds.  

But no moss will grow. The very next day 10 Americorps volunteers are arriving and staying in Balbrook.  The will be working on our erosion issue on the waterfront.  These young people have been working all over Lake Cobbosseecontee and beyond all summer.  They will stay here for about three weeks although only a one of those weeks will involve work at PL.  The Americore volunteers were arranged by a great new non-profit organization named "Friends of the Cobbosee Watershed."  This group, with guidance of Director Bob Moore, is doing a lot of amazing work on our behalf.  We should all be grateful.  I for one, sleep better knowing that someone out there is putting an effort out to protect Lake Cobbosee (and all the lakes that flow into it) from invasive water plants.  Please take a look at their website.  One of the ways they are raising money and awareness is to sell ice cream off their boat "The Otter."  

One of my favorite days this summer was the day my wife Deborah and I surprised the trip camp "White Mountain Adventure" by driving up to the top of Mt. Washington to cheer them on the last leg of their journey.  We got very lucky in that we arrived about fifteen minutes before they did and we were waiting for them up on the summit.  We were able to carry back unneeded supplies and take their photo up there on the mountain top.  All reports were that this was a fantastic experience led by Holly Hancock and Kevin Pleas. Although one camper did need to leave early due to a leg injury, even that seemed to bond the group as they pulled together to get that camper up to his sleeping area for the night.  Such great people we have in the Maine Conference!  Great reports also abound from the other trip camp, the one to Moosehead Lake named "Wilderness Awakenings."  Photos of both are posted.  Speaking of photos, I hope you have been following the summer as it progresses through our three website updates per week!

John and Allie Rimkunas and Rocky Ackroyd really led the troops through the most difficult weather days last week to an amazing conclusion.  "Foundations of Sharing" was a great camp for first (mostly) time PL'ers.  Before that we had a really profound week of Senior High Camp led by Jon Young and Todd Goodeill.  That camp had a real tangible sense of caring to it.  What a fun switch in energy to go from Sr. to Jr.  You've got the end of the line with kids begging for "Pharaoh Pharaoh" just for the nostalgia of it, followed by kids who are learning it for the first time.   

Of course I must mention the unforgettable team of OMC member Karen Choate and Bill Ingraham.  Bill came all the way from Ann Arbor, MI (who, I understand are part of the great black out going on as I type).  Well organized and with lots of enthusiasm, it was an easy week to be on staff because it flowed so naturally from them and their staff. 

Even though I have said it before, it bears repeating that I wish I could mention every counselor by name and thank them for the amazing gift they have given this summer.  It also should be mentioned that this summer staff has worked so hard and with such dedication.  They made it a joy to be here this summer.  Thanks guys, you really did an amazing job.

A couple of random things:  Take a look at the banner at the top of the recent news page.  It is a composite of photos taken by Laura Barrantes.  I think it has an ethereal quality to it.  Also, I have updated the Camp Sunshine Mission Page.  I don't have the total yet, but we have raised quite a bit of money to send families next year.  I hope to make a presentation at the annual meeting and then to go to Camp Sunshine myself and make a presentation their as well.  In addition to money, we have offered prayers, cards, bracelets, prayer boats, letters, banners, and lots of other offerings.  It's been a great focus for our campers to remember others also at camp.  

A huge thank you to the Carpenter's Boat Shop in Pemaquid who are refurbishing our little prams.  This year they gave Happy a make over.  The work was done by Jay and Melissa Glendinning over the winter.  This is the third pram they have worked on.  Take a look at the news page for a photo of the three prams redone so far.  

This has been a very smooth summer.  I am so grateful to so many people and to God for making this ministry vibrant and relevant.  I hope your summer was good too.  

Demos Gracias El SeŮor, Demos Gracias, Demos Gracias por su amor




October 29, 2003 1

Happy Halloween and a Righteous All Saints Day!  




Scared ya didn't I?  You didn't  expect to find me.2  Yet, here I am.  Alive and well and mostly recovered from a great, albeit exhausting summer.  One of the wonderful things about summer is the former staff members who stop by.  This summer I was able to briefly catch up with the once and future Jacob Allen who noted that I begin every log entry with an apology for not having updated sooner.  Well forget it.  I'm here now, let the wild rumpus start.  I have just created lots and lots of updating, but here's the rub, the website is being all funky and whatnot so I can't upload all my nifty work.  When this page gets uploaded (cough*Kristen*cough) all sorts of things will also be available.  (uh, perhaps you'll want to stretch these out over a couple of weeks)

Director's Log splash page (but you knew that)

Main Splash page (you knew that too)

Recent News (kind of redundant, isn't it)

Mission Project 

Fall Work Day

State Youth Council Photos

Photo of the Month

Summer Jobs pages

and various and sundry tweaking throughout

No this is not the major overhaul I have been promising but it will just have to do for now (how am I doing on the 'not apologizing thing?')  

Summer ended well.  In fact I can't think of a summer that was as smooth.  The staff was great (hence their portrait on the photo of the month) and I miss them; there were really no major crises or mandatory projects.  The fall was gorgeous here at Pilgrim Lodge.  The Americorps volunteers were here for three weeks, (two days of which included PL work) Rental season went quite well.  Last Saturday we held our annual "Pull The Plug" Fall Work Day.  Attendance was down, but we got a lot done.  Thank you so very much to all who attended.  During the summer work has proceeded on several adopted cabins, particularly seven, eight, and thirteen.  On the radar is a comprehensive web page of each cabin, what's been done and what's needed.  That way you can see what is adopted, what is in need and pick the cabin that cuddles up in your lap and looks at you with those big brown (but peeling) eyes.  

Eric Smith and I went to Hallowell to see a Bill Staines concert.  I think he played his song "Place in the Choir" just for us.  I asked.  Well, I all but asked while gushing before the performance.  And I can now settle the dispute once and for all:  It's "Listen to the Bass" as in 'lower musical register,' not "Bass" as in 'fish'.  Ten points for Ben.  Speaking of Chancellor Bigney, our local minstrel now delighting travelers from Galveston, Texas to points South on the most fun cruise ship in the world (I'm going on hearsay for that one): I got to watch him (well, his ship anyway) go through the panama canal on the canal's webcam.  What a world, what a world.

The highlight of the post-season season was the annual meeting and announcing the total gift made to Camp Sunshine for our 2003 mission project.  We exceeded my (always high) expectations.  Check out the mission project page and see how much it was.  Go on.  Pretty impressive, eh? A couple of weeks later I went to Camp Sunshine to deliver the check.  What an amazing place!  I was privileged to be there for the group's wish boat launching and man, what a powerful moment!  (I don't actually say "man" much now that the 60's are over, but there it is).  As we toured the campus I noticed that in the chapel a banner from one of our PL camps hangs that reads "FROM OUR CAMP TO YOURS."  It made me aware of how much more than just money was exchanged between our camps: prayers, cards, beads, letters, banners, crafts and good will.  As the mission page says, "Thank you Terry Cusick" for all the trips to PL, the energy, passion and commitment.  Great work

I received a nice letter from Alan Bartlett, former camper and counselor who is now on Parris Island in basic training.  He sounds great, and it was so good to hear from him.  I have such profound respect for people who serve the country.  

About next Tuesday's Election: concerning question one the Maine Youth and Camping Association is endorsing item 1B on next weeks ballot because they are afraid that 1A will result in non-profit camps (such as PL) being forced to pay both property tax and tax on camp fees.  We dodged that bullet last spring and I hope we don't go there again.  1B essentially phases in slower than 1A.   

We drained the pipes Tuesday and the camp is pretty much buttoned up.  Now on to development and 2004. The OMC has the schedule pretty pinned down, but we have one more planning meeting on November 8, after which I will post the preliminary 2004 summer schedule so you can begin planning.  There is  some major tweaking this year so be sure to take a look!  The OMC has labored hard and I think the changes we are making are all positive.  

That's it for now.  I am going to go home and hope to be able to upload this before too long. On the way I will stop and pick up Eric.  We'll then go release the squirrel next to me that I captured this afternoon from upstairs above my office.  He will be placed in the 'perpetrator relocation program.'  Then, we will stop at a local farm and feed all the ice cream cones (cones only) leftover from summer to the cows, donkeys, goats, and llamas.  Eric likes the donkeys best but I dig the llamas.

Peace to you and yours and pray for peace in the world. 

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with we, 


 1 This was actually written on October 29 but I couldn't upload it until Nov. 1
2 You thought this was Ceti Alpha SIX!


December 11, 2003

I've got a blog!  Yes that's correct, a blog!   If you don't know what that means, don't worry, I just found out.  Within a single week I kept running into that term and finally asked a friend (from the under 20 set) Sarah Bigney, and she explained that it was a contraction of "WeB log."   'blog.  Get it?  They're all the rage.  I've been blogging for four years now.  

I updated the photo of the month so have a look

Some personal news.  You may already know that my wife Deborah started in September as Pastor of the South Freeport Congregational Church.  Since we both agree that parish ministry really isn't a commuting affair, we put our house on the market.  While the deal ain't done until it's done, it looks like we will be leaving our home in Readfield in mid-January.  Of course, we don't know where we will be going, but that's the fun part.  Right?  We very well may be moving in to a temporary situation.  Deb and I both love our home very much so this is kind of a tough one, but we believe that God has good things planned for the future so off we go.  We are trying to keep the packing to a minimum so as not to taint the oh-so-magical three year old's Christmas we have in process.  

I asked Eric what kind of presents he wanted and he replied very matter-of-factly "CHRISTMAS presents!"  Very reasonable.  

Back at ranch: I have moved the office back up to the Farmhouse for the first time in three years.  I love being down in camp all winter, but it costs a lot to keep the road open so here I am.  It takes me about a week to get everything up to speed.  There's still stuff I can't find.  

I spent a weekend in Rhode Island for a board meeting of the Outdoor Ministry Association.  The next national Consult will be in March of 2005 in Connecticut (at Silver Lake, my old stomping ground) so maybe you will be able to attend.  They're very informative and lots of fun, and we'd finally get a chance to catch up.  Actually we wouldn't.  Board members are running around hosting the thing.  But you should think about it anyway.

Then I went to Massachusetts for the New England UCC Conference Staff event.  It was at the St. Joseph monastery.  It's always good to see the other staff's and connect with folks.  The keynoters was UCC General Minister and President John Thomas and Minster to Conferences Lorin Cope. They were interesting and thought provoking.  Best of all was worship led by Maren Tirabasi

Here at camp I am working on the new brochure, (which may be late this year as a result of the move - so keep updated on the schedule page) getting particulars of the program together, reading curriculum, getting all the year end financials in order and dealing with a zillion endless details.  I keep getting caught up in the small stuff.  The good news is that the conference has deemed PL one of its priorities for the next three years.  We've got an anniversary to celebrate and a campaign to put together.  Anyone interested in working on that should let me know.

In the meantime, I am trying to focus on one thing at a time and ignore the constant backsliding.  I keep to my list and try to focus.  Advent is a season of beginnings so I am trying to remember that God makes all things new.  

If I don't get back here, have a Spirit-filled Christmas.  



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