Winter has hit Washington State. We've been getting snow in the mountains for at least a week now, and it has even dusted the lower elevations a time or two. With the roads to Camp Ortoha impassable during the winter months there might not be as much happening up on the hill, but that certainly doesn't mean all activity ceases! There is still plenty to do, and plenty getting done!
First off, the Ortoha planning board schedules a day in either late September or early October every year to officially close camp. It's a fairly straight forward process that just requires a small group of volunteers putting in one afternoon's worth of work. They do things like lock up all the doors, winterize all the windows and pipes, and stow away supplies. A locked gate gets placed over the entry road to bar any vehicles from trespassing. (The process of opening camp back up in the spring is actually the more grueling of the two tasks; we are always in need of volunteers for opening day, so please keep that in mind if you are interested in helping out! We will announce opening day well in advance so you can plan for it.)
Once the camp is secure for the winter, the planning board starts to meet on a monthly basis to start planning for the next summer. They identify any improvements or changes they want to implement before the next camp season hits, and also begin to work on things like the speaker list, camp theme, and new program ideas (for example, arts and crafts activities, devotional resources, etc.). It takes a lot of coordination to make sure all the staff slots are filled for the upcoming season and to spread the word far and wide by the time registration opens again in the spring. At that point, the planning meetings tend to become even more frequent as final details get worked out.
If you are interested in helping us during the 2016 season, now is the time to let us know! We are always eager to have more volunteer help, as well as fresh ideas and creative changes to consider.
Cheers! And remember to keep the Ortoha planning board in mind and in your prayers as the snow begins to fall and their work load amps up.