Written by Patrick Scriven: Director of Communications & Young People’s Ministries at PNWUMC
Ellensburg, Wash. – Last Sunday, approximately 75 friends and supporters of Lazy F Camp drove out to the retreat center in central Washington State to participate in a ground breaking ceremony for a new dining hall. During the event, participants prayed for the space, remembered and thanked God for visionary volunteers, and took turns making use of five golden shovels.
The ground breaking occurs as final preparations are underway for construction on the site. A campaign to fund the new dining hall called ‘A Place at the Table’ surpassed a $1.4 million benchmark it had set to begin construction earlier this spring. A fundraising goal of $1.75 million to complete the project is still on the horizon.
A number of leaders engaged in the ministry of Lazy F and Pacific Northwest (PNW) Conference camping were on hand to mark the occasion. The ceremony included the singing of reflective camp songs led by Peter Fraser and Alan Rogstad on guitar. Rev. David Tinney, current chairperson for the Site Advisory Team, was on hand to offer a greeting.
Rogstad, who serves as the Executive Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries for the PNW Conference introduced Lazy F Director Dave Burfeind. Rogstad described the success of the camp during last decade’s recession as evidence of “what can happen when we have the right leadership in place, the right vision, and the right focus on what we want to do with a ministry.”
Burfeind offered extended remarks sharing how the camp had arrived at this point. He found touch points in the camp’s history dating back to 1937, prior even to the Methodist purchase of the site for $40k in 1954. Visionary’s who nourished young saplings in the 70s, hired consultants in the 80s, and developed a strategic plan in the 90s all had a role to play. Burfeind went item by item through that plan he received when he was hired in ’96 marking each “done” with the exception of a new dining hall.
The importance of an active site advisory team was lifted up by Burfeind as key to Lazy F’s success. Foster and Virginia Searls who will have the dining room in the new hall named in their memory, and Linda Toycen with a lounge named in her honor were evidentiary. Each were lifted up for their active involvement on the site advisory team and as avid promoters of the camp in their home churches of Bothell United Methodist and Cornerstone United Methodist.
“There have been a number of visionaries who have also championed Lazy F and the ministry here through the years.” Speaking to those in attendance, Burfeind added, “It is your vision to be a part of the ministry, and to lend a hand, that actually brings us here today.”
The director’s words on vision were followed by a liturgical invitation to the “Breaking of Ground” led by Peter Fraser, chairperson for the PNW Camping Board of Stewards, and a number of readers. Shannon Brannon, co-chairperson for the campaign along with Rev. Bruce Smith, invited representatives of the Searls and Toycen families to put the first golden shovels in the ground, soon to be followed by most in attendance. Rev. Smith closed the ceremony with a blessing.
The day concluded with a camp favorite meal: Taco Bar.
The construction of Lazy’s F’s new dining hall is expected to take 7 to 8 months to complete with contracted work complemented by gifts from friends of the camp. During this time the campaign will continue to seek gifts and pledges to close a final funding gap of approximately $250k. You can learn more about this project by visiting Lazy F’s website.