When I was 16, I met Jesus at summer camp. I think it’s fair to say that my passion for camp started then. Over the next decade, I spent every summer (and many other seasons) on staff at Hume Lake Christian Camps in California. I attended The Joshua Wilderness institute on their campus and finished my education with studies in Bible and Philosophy at San Diego Christian College. Spending the next 10 years in youth and college church ministry, I’m so excited to return to my first love in camp. I enjoy trees, coffee and my two pups, Gunther and Daisy Mae.
Camp Firwood, a ministry of The Firs, has a rich history that began in 1921 at a site not far from the Firwood grounds. With a desire to use what God had given them for His purposes, Otis and Julia Whipple gathered a group of 35 people at their property overlooking Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, Washington, for a five-day retreat. Their purpose during that July week in 1921 was to “meet the Lord and strengthen the ties of an extended spiritual family”. They probably couldn’t have imagined what was to follow: an unbroken string of camp and conference activity that has spanned many decades and grown into a multi-site, multi-program organization now called The Firs.
Held together by the faithful efforts of 18 core individuals, The Firs became an official, incorporated non-profit entity in June 1927. It was called, initially, the Lake Whatcom Bible & Missionary Conference and for almost 35 years, flourished at its original Retreat Center site.
In the summer of 1954, a group of 30 junior high campers paddled along the shores of Lake Whatcom to a beautiful camp site they called “White Sands”. With permission from the owner, the first week of resident youth camp took place on this 80-acre site that soon became known as Camp Firwood. In 1955, with its 4,500 feet of pristine shoreline, Camp Firwood was purchased. What a tremendous act of God, as this expansion of The Firs ministry would soon become a fully developed summer youth program.
Throughout our history, we have had a sincere desire to see people of all ages come away to experience the biblical message of Jesus in a camp and retreat setting. It is a story of faithful people acting in obedience to God and committed to God’s Word. We are thankful for all of those who have been a part of our programs at Camp Firwood and look forward to what’s in store as we continue to meet Jesus and experience the love of God in new ways each summer.