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      Loberg Lodge Basement Made New!

      After almost 35 years of heavy year round use Loberg Lodge is receiving a massive face lift this winter.  Almost all of the summer female and school-year staff have lived in the 8 bedrooms of the dark long hallway of Loberg's basement.  Many games have been played, books have been read, and late night talks have happened in the lounge with its brown Superior stone fireplace.  


      Loberg was one of the first large winterized buildings constructed at HoneyRock back in late 1970s and named in honor of Dan Loberg, a long time camper who died in a car accident.  This 2 story, 10,000 square foot building cost $160,000 to build. This past month the entire basement was gutted down to the 2x4s and will be re-built by summer with a new ventilation system, new bathrooms, and updated electrical, furnishings, and decor.  All of this is in preparation for the expanding graduate program (link) and new Vanguard Gap Year program (link) beginning next year.


      Do you have a great Loberg Lodge story we need to hear?  Please send it our way. Are you interested in helping us complete the project by adopting a room or helping us purchase a new outdoor wood boiler to heat the building?  Let us know.  Want to see the new facility when it is done?  Join us this spring for our Partners and Friends Weekend, May 22-25, 2015 when we re-dedicate the new Loberg Lodge to another 40 plus years of service and break ground on a new health center....Lord willing.


      Have  wonderful Christmas celebrating the Lord's birth with your family and friends.


      Rob Ribbe, Ph.D.

      Director, HoneyRock - Outdoor Center for Leadership Development

      Assistant Professor, Christian Formation and Ministry Department


      Advent Reflections 

      As I stand at the office of HoneyRock, decked out in multiple winter layers, staff nametag and backpack filled with more layers, I peer expectantly past the HoneyRock sign to the big bend in the road. I’m waiting with other winter retreat hosts for the first retreat group’s arrival! Questions of “what will the group be like”, “are we ready for this?” “will I be able to start the campfire on the lake?” and “what things does the Lord have planned for this time?” drift through my mind as I shuffle my boots in the crispy snow.

      While we wait in the snowy silence of the Northwoods, 40 plus students and volunteers ready to escape the confines of fast food scented church vans are growing in energy and volume as they drive through the winding roads of highway X.  Tales of fast tube runs, sleigh rides, and infamous broomball competitions are told by those who are winter retreat veterans, while others ponder some of the same questions of “what will it be like”, “will there be endless hot chocolate”, and again “what does the Lord have planned?”

      That was the beginning of just one of many winter retreats, seasons, and moments in which my heart was filled with nervous but hopeful expectation for something unknown. It has been quite a while since my first retreat hosting experience, but the memory of waiting expectantly for van headlights to appear around the bend parallels my advent ponderings.

      During recent staff devotion this quote was given. “The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before… .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s back fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon (Jan L. Richardson).”


      Something is on the horizon indeed! Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace has come to be with us! Whether you find yourself standing in a Narnia-like land waiting to greet a retreat group or standing in a long check-out line, may you savor the feeling of anticipation and may it cause you to consider how God has answered and is answering that which we truly long for!

       - written By Mary Elise Masters, HoneyRock Staff and Passage Leader


      Reflections from a Road Trip by Jackie Ribbe

      Being one hour into our 14- hour road trip to Memphis for Thanksgiving, I am faced with that moment of deciding whether to hunker down and embrace the journey or dread the long day ahead.  It is quite understandable to feel challenged in the quest for optimism, with three teenagers crammed between pillows, blankets, duffle bags, gifts, food and “the healthy choice” snack bag … not to mention, a husband navigating snow covered slippery roads with a windshield demanding an endless supply of washing fluid.

      Yet, already we have been surprised by some simple joys…an impressive 10- point buck on the top of a car next to us, a bald eagle perched in a tree on the side of the road, and seeing two of our Kenyan friends shoveling six inches of snow off their Northwoods driveway!

      My inner mom is also smiling, as I reflect on an assignment our son, Ben, who just submitted an English assignment (literally just submitted via internet and the laptop in our car). Reflecting on a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ben provides further perspective on how we can see beauty rather than drudgery in the everyday, and why we should choose to enjoy what God has put before us. 

      I decided to share this with you since I really couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a simple choice really. 


      Ben Ribbe

      English 3rd Hour


      Emerson/Thoreau Essay


      When walking through nature, it is very easy to overlook the many stunning characteristics that contribute to the Earth. Ralph Waldo Emerson elaborated on this subject with the following quote: “The invariable mark of wisdom is to find the miraculous in the common.” Nature provides many unique and miraculous aspects that we take for granted, among them are the changing of the leaves, the falling of snow, and the twinkling of the stars.

      When the leaves change, it is an amazing sight. Throughout the life of a tree the leaves grow, live, and fall many times. This is amazing because it shows that no matter what, the tree will continue it’s life cycle. It perseveres through the cold of the winter and the heat of the summer, all the while revealing its beauty through breathtaking colors.

      This beauty can also be observed through the stars in the night. Just think of the number 300 billion. There are 300 billion stars that make up the vast night sky. 300 billion unique balls of light shining, without fail, bringing beauty and proclaiming their artistry in the night sky. Take a moment and look up, it is a sight that no television screen can display. It is a gift from God to every person on the Earth. From peasants to great lords, no one is exempt from the panorama of astonishing grace displayed through the stars.

      Once the stars disappear, and the sun begins to rise, the world awakens to a winter wonderland. The white, pure, blanket of snow covers every inch of the ground. Most people will groan and complain about the hardships the snow brings, but remember to look at all levels of the spectrum and focus on the positives. The snow really is one of nature's most remarkable gifts. Overnight it can transform the world into an unfathomable beauty. Consider yourself lucky to live in a place where snow also finds its home.

      When the leaves change, the snow falls, and the stars twinkle, one must make it a choice to recognize the astonishing beauty that nature gives us. It is important to take a look around and notice the remarkable gifts that God has given to all beings on Earth. When going out into the world, one should keep Emerson’s quote in mind: “The invariable mark of wisdom is to find the miraculous in the common.”


      Best wishes to all of you for a miraculous and wise Thanksgiving!

       - from the Ribbe family on the road



      Our First Ceramics Master

      One of our two ceramics instructors, Ali Mayer, is here today to share some exciting news about the Ceramics studio! Ali has a deep connection with the program, as she was an Assistant Counselor the summer we began Ceramics. She shares how the studio has not only shaped her story, but a glimpse into how it is impacting others.

      "Hello! My name is Alison Mayer and I am one of the ceramics instructors this summer. 

      Ceramics was added to the activity roster in 2010 in an effort to expand the arts at HoneyRock. When I was an Assistant Counselor, I had the opportunity to be in the studio. My experience working with the clay that summer shaped the path of my lif, giving me a vision for the direction that God was leading me. Creating art became passion which has continued to grow since that summer. In order to fulfill my calling, I am pursuing a degree of Fine Art at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. My desire is to become an art professor at a small college or art school.

      I am very pleased to introduce the very first ceramics masters student at HoneyRock, Jacob Fisco! Jacob participated in Advance Camp this summer and has been coming to HoneyRock for several years. He has participated in the ceramics program since it’s beginning. As a Masters student, Jacob created a tea set including a teapot, saucers, and tea cups. He also created a series of five mugs, learned how to load and fire the kiln, made glazes and slips, plates, lidded jars, and the list goes on. Another important part of all Masters awards at HoneyRock is the service and assisting hours that the student completes, giving back to the activity area. Jacob served all areas of the studio for a total of six hours in order to receive his Masters. It was a great joy to work with Jacob and share in something we have both come to love so much at HoneyRock!"

      The Ceramics studio serves more than our camper programs. During the spring, Professor Hooker runs a Woodfire class, where Wheaton students come to HoneyRock for two weeks to create pieces, firing them in our wood kiln. The studio will also play an incredible role in Vanguard year, coming September 2015.


      {Recipe} Oatmeal Bake

      Over the summer, a couple people have asked us for our Oatmeal Bake Recipe. While we keep our bread recipes under wraps, the Oatmeal Bake is fair game. From Res campers to staff, it's a loved meal around here - love to eat or love to...well, pass up. One way to start a lively breakfast discussion is debate whether OB really is the best breakfast or not. Anyway, eat it plain, top it with applesauce, vanilla or plain yogurt or maybe a combination of all three. Any way you top it, it's guarenteed to bring back those camp vibes. 

      We assumed you probably won't want to manage 3 gallons of oatmeal and 48 eggs, so we've cut down our recipe from twelve oatmeal bake casseroles to one. Depending on age and size of the cabin, a little more than one casserole can feed about eight hungry Res campers and their two counselors. We would venture a guess of two casseroles for a hearty breaksfast for 10 of our Activity Staff - but those are just guesses!

      The things you'll need are pretty basic: two bowls, a mixer, measuring cups/spoons, casserole dish (9x11?), cooking spray. As for ingredients:

      4 cups oatmeal
      1 cups brown sugar
      1/3 T salt
      1 & 1/3 t baking powder

      4 eggs
      1 1/2 cup oil
      2 cups milk
      3.5 T vanilla

      1. Mix your dry ingredients in mixer, add wet and mix well; 4-5 minutes on 2nd speed.
      2. Spray casserole dish & pour in mixture.
      3. Bake 300F for about 45 minutes, rotating dish half way through.
      4. Cool oatmeal bake before serving.

      As far as toppings go - we've seen a lot. Chocolate chips, plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt, brown sugar, honey, apple slices or apple sauce. We could even imagine a good strawberry or blueberry topping... any way you have it, Oatmeal Bake is the best!


      Advance Camp is on their way!

      Our Advance Campers come today! As of 9am this morning, they were leaving Rockford - you can look to our Facebook page to follow their drive up North. After a week of rest and reflection, their counselors are ready to spend the next three weeks pouring into these high school freshman asking questions like Who am I? What is true? What is my purpose? The answers to these questions have the potential to provide an incredible foundation as they begin their high school journey. We're pumped to welcome them to HoneyRock!

      Res: The boys are all back from their trip - 7/8th grade girls leave this afternoon while 5/6th graders leave tomorrow. They will all return Wednesday afternoon just in time for OPA and Banquet.

      2:22: Our 2:22ers begin their service trips today. They'll serve not only on camp, but make day trips to communities as far away as Green Bay.

      Service Team: With less than half of their time left, Service Team is continuing to serve in and around camp. Friday morning we received a call from a local strawberry farm who needed some help - they were driving there that afternoon to lend a hand!

      Assistant Counselors: ACs were off last night. After grabbing some groceries in town, they came back to camp to make dinner and hang out, taking some much deserved time off!

      Family Day is coming up for Res Camp & 2:22 - we're looking forward to welcoming families on camp this Thursday! Need more info? Visit our Family Day page. Still haven't registered? Click here.