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.


Cloudy with a Chance

Many have asked about the weather - is it cold? rainy? windy? We've had a little bit of all the above...but mainly just clouds. While it's chillier than normal, we're still having so much fun!

Let us tell you about a cool (no pun intended) thing that happened - right before it was time to take the swim test yesterday, the clouds cleared and the sun came out, instantly warming up the air temp. Campers were greeted at the swim area with sunny skies, which is incredible considering just 20 minutes earlier it was raining as we said hello to the busses.

Last night campers finished their swim test, ate dinner, were introduced to the Activity Staff, and performed and watched skits introducing their cabins to the rest of Res Camp. It was a busy night, learning all of the different names and faces that they'll be seeing for the next two weeks. At 9:30, campers gathered in their cabins for a time of reflection - talking about their highs and lows of the day and praying with one another before going to bed. As 10 rolled around, lights were flipped off and their first day of camp was in the books!

This morning, campers woke up to do Solid Rock, if they wanted. We ate breakfast, went to Cabin Impacts, Morning Watch, Camper Worship, and activities. Lunch followed, with an hour afterwards for some much needed rest time. Another round of activities kept them busy for much of the afternoon - now, they're in the middle of OPA, optional play activity time, where they can do activities as a cabin. Res campers follow this general schedule most days at camp.

To the parents of Res Campers, make sure to stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of your campers - they'll be up on our photo site before lunch tomorrow!


Queen Bee Makes Rounds

Shmo, the Beehive's Queen Bee, delivers packages to cabins!There's a buzz on camp this morning - we're getting ready for more Res campers to arrive! Busses are picking campers up down south, last touches are being made to Cabin Impacts, cabins are being fluffed for new campers, and deliveries are being made by the Beehive's (camp store) very own Queen Bee, Shmo. 

Over the weekend, staff and high school campers enjoyed a little down time - games of volleyball and Frisbee were played. Trips into town for laundry and some ice cream were made. Hanging out in hammocks happened and (lots) of naps were taken to rest up. Advance Camp counselors will go to White Buck, a nearby lodge, this afternoon to take the next few days to rest, reflect, and renew for the new group of Advance Campers, coming July 21.

ACs were able to get into town and made sure to stop by thrift shops and the print store to buy Wilderness Wednesday screenprint t's and sweatshirts. 2:22 celebrated stories from wilderness trips, went white-water rafting on the Wolf River and played some large group games on camp. They're heading into the second half of their time at HoneyRock, and will be busy in activities this week. Next week, they'll split into work groups and serve both camp and the surrounding communities. After helping with Family Day, Service Team went back to rotations.

A short update for today - but you can follow the busses as they make the trip up north via our Facebook page. We update as they stop for lunch at Madison, pass through Wausau and Rhinelander, and a final update once they reach camp. Prayers for safe travels and a great session are appreciated - we couldn't do it without the support of those back home praying for our staff and campers!