Earning point in FUAGNEM February is a lot easier than you think ... applying the rhythms of our summers or years at T Bar M into our everyday life.
We sit and eat with our friends.
We strive to huddle up as a family at the end of a day, even if it’s only to talk through hard things.
We take our neighbors trash can in.
We for sure eat at Chick-fil-A. (Surely that’s the yellow meal)
We text each other encouraging things … sometimes.
We find ourselves telling our kids about how we used to have 12 kids that cleaned cabins.
We get excited when we see our own kid apply to Work Crew or to be a Coach.
We tell others about what God is doing in our lives and listen as they do the same.
And if it's not those things... it’s time to grab those camo pants, cue the Mission Impossible music and start.
It will make your days better and help YOUR team win. (Motivator: Looks like the Alphas have the lead now!)
Download this score sheet. Tape it to your fridge, put it in your car, place it in the middle of the table. Use these categories to have high connection, silly moments and fun with your friends, roommates, and family. Simply keep a tally mark of each time you do one of the tasks, tally it up, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 29th (yep, we have an extra day to "Don't Waste Fun" this year).
The WINNER of this Alumni Competition plus the Summer 2024 Summer Theme will be announced on March 1st.
I know, you can't wait. Me Either
- Kelli Boyd + Your T Bar M Family
The Timothy Team has arrived home from Maui!
The second half of our trip to Maui was full of lots of work & even more fun! We spent a few more days on the farm, turning trimmings of their plants into new ones that will beautify new housing developments for families displaced as a result of the August fires. With an eventual plant total of around 1,500, it was incredibly rewarding to see the products of our hard work on this project begin to be delivered to the farm’s church partner. We also spent more time at the distribution center unpacking, processing, and organizing shipping containers full of new donations. A few of us were able to lead high schoolers in a nursing program through team-building games.
We also left plenty of time for rest & play, spending most of our evenings watching the sunset from the beach. On Sunday, we went back to Hope Chapel to join our friends for worship & teaching. We were also able to eat our lunch there, supporting their youth ministry in sending their students to camp this summer! On Sunday afternoon, we did some souvenir shopping, played beach volleyball, and spent hours in the ocean with Hope Chapel’s young adult ministry. Monday was our last day on the island, and we spent the day on a boat tour snorkeling and whale watching.
Each night we spent the last moments of the evening discussing the moments of that day where we saw God move. Between our work on the farm, conversations at the distribution center, moments of wonder at God’s creation, and more, it was clear that God met each one of us in a unique way on our trip. Through our service, hard work, fun, and fellowship, God used our time in Maui not only to bring hope, healing, and the light of Christ into a dark situation, but to draw near to each of us. We are so, so thankful for all of the prayers, planning, and financial support that made our time in Maui possible!!
Love God, Love Others,
Claire + The Timothy Team
Timothy Team 28 Says Hello From Maui!
Over the past few days on the island, our team has been blessed with a variety of opportunities to serve the people of Maui.
We’ve been staying and working on a family-operated farm that produces bananas, coconuts, guavas, lilikoi (passionfruit), avocados, and more. The property is a busy place full of family members, interns, guests, rams, sheep, chickens, and cats. Along with a few other projects around the farm, we’ve spent most of our time over the past few days planting ferns, parrot beak heliconias, coconuts, and paikas in portable bags to be distributed to some of the farm’s ministry partners. Eventually, these bags will be replanted in new housing developments for families displaced by the devastating fires in August of last year. Our final count came out to around 900 plants, and it was so exciting to see the Lord use the work of our many hands to bring forth life & beauty that will long outlast our short stay on the island.
On Wednesday night, we spent time with the young adults of Hope Chapel Church, joining them for worship and leading them in a few of our favorite team building games. It was so much fun to befriend some of our peers here on the island and share some of what we do every day in New Braunfels with them.
On Thursday, we were able to send a group to serve at a distribution center organizing boxes full of food, bedding, and personal care products for those in need as a result of the fires. It was so exciting to be able to serve those families in such a tangible way.
We’ve been blessed to hear from a few of our friends here that our work has been an answered prayer for them, and we’re so excited to see what else God has in store for us in our remaining time on Maui!!
We are so thankful for all of the prayers and support of our friends, family, and the T Bar M community. This trip couldn’t have happened without you!
- Claire + Timothy Team 28
It's a good family to be a part of. A really good one.
As 270 plus alumni gathered two Saturdays ago to pray for and support Jen and Cole Adams before Layne's Celebration of Life service, we could not deny the JOY that was in that room. Even in the midst of hard things, there was a joy and peace that only comes from Christ. Glen Stern said years ago, "There is going to be a room in heaven that's a bit louder and tighter than the others. People are going to wonder who is in there. 'Oh, that's the T Bar M Family', they will say."
The family that we are a part of began when we walked through the gates of T Bar M, stood in a circle at Training Camp, hauled rocks with a new friend during Hi Hos, shared our stories with one another, prayed for the campers we longed to know Jesus, and laughed, cried, and encouraged one another for the weeks or years we served our Father together.
Those are the days, weeks, years that shaped us each in some way, and we want to put into action what God did and continues to do in us.
So, let's do it ... the whole month of February! Let's connect, let's laugh, let's impact our hearts, homes and communities. And let's see who wins at it all ... Alphas or Omegas!
Check out all the details of FUAGNEM February: How to connect others, how to compete for your team (ALPHA or OMEGA), and how to follow and add to the excitement here at T Bar M.
A few of our young professional Alumni in Austin have created a video to get YOU Fired Up.
Huddle Up, Folks. We have a challenge for you.
In February, we are calling for a competition that only T Bar M Alumni can handle. Sure, you might need to knock off the cobwebs to remember the cheers. (Here's some help: A-L-P-H-A, Alpha, Alpha all the way! O-Omega, Mighty, Mighty Omega!)
It will be a competition that will take you right back to the days of your time at T Bar M. We have compiled the everyday things of being a coach that YOU can put into your life right now, right where you are. But of course, we will wrap it up in one big competition between the Alphas and the Omegas. Fact is, we still abide by the #1 rule of camp: Don't Waste Fun!
There's no doubt God changed us through our experiences at T Bar M. Encouraging one another, circling up in a huddle or covenant group, sharing our stories, and basking in traditions (yes, traditions) were used then and can most certainly be used now.
We cannot wait to connect with you, compete with (or against) you, and share what the Lord continues to do in and through T Bar M!
So, let's get FUAGNEM (Fired Up and Going Nuts Every Minute) ... even if it's at a slower pace for a few of us.
Who can compete? Anyone and everyone that has served at T Bar M.
Where will you compete? In your home, your office, your town. Anywhere!
How will you compete? The following categories will have simple, purposeful (& maybe a bit crazy) tasks for you to complete. Encouragement, huddle, testimony, coaches, tradition, hi-hos and future FUAGNEM.
A downloadable scorecard will be turned in at the end of February.
Why compete? For fun. To gather. To represent Alpha or Omega for the bragging rights of the Alumni Score on the summer board!
What can I do to prepare for such a worthy competition?
1. Stretch (I’m looking at y’all from the early 90’s).
2. Pull out your red or blue best.
3, Recruit your fellow coaches.
4. Be Ready2Go!
Full details are coming to you in an email on January 13th.
How to be thankful ... in ALL circumstances.
Thanksgiving has always been one of those holidays that I tend to brush over…it’s a warmup for Christmas, right? Family getting together, eating huge meals, holiday hours of sleep, and seriously…Christmas has gifts…that’s next level. Thanksgiving, I mean…yeah, I’m thankful…but am I really?
I find myself in a little different headspace and heart space this year around this time. I don’t know how much you know or may have heard about the Adams fam’s last couple of years…but to say, “we have so much to be thankful for…” is an understatement.
As we look back three years, this journey began with two strokes, two knee surgeries, and a long recovery for my myself and my middle son. The word "hard" comes quickly to mind. But not as challenging as the next curve in the road. In November 2022, our oldest son suffered a life-threatening accident where he experienced a tremendous fall after coming into contact with 7,200 volts of electricity. There's an incredible God story in all of this; but suffice it to say we were on yet another long road to recovery.
Looking back over that list, the Lord's faithfulness and grace are so apparent in so many ways. I am humbled to say, we are all upright and even getting back to "normal". There really is so much to be thankful for. But man, when you are in it, it is so hard to really have a heart of gratitude.
I came across this article Billy Graham wrote back in November of 2021. It was really encouraging (and convicting!). I want to share a couple of my takeaways (let's call them "Cole's notes" instead of Cliff's notes) and the biblical references the reverend used… I hope it is inspiring to you as well:
- The Bible commands us over and over to have a heart of gratitude. That should be a distinctive mark of a believer. If ever there was a follower of Jesus who seemed warranted to live without a thankful heart, it would be Paul. Despite tons of tough circumstances… it’s him who tells us in Ephesians 5: “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV).
- I never seem to be satisfied with what I have, where I’m at, or the circumstances I’m in. But what a change of mindset when I trust the Lord and believe that it is all from Him, just as King David points us to in Chronicles: “Wealth and honor come from you… We give you thanks and praise your glorious name… Everything comes from you” (1 Chronicles 29:12-14, NIV).
- God’s people. I cannot tell you enough how important people have been through our trials the last couple of years. God deeply used Jen, our kids, our family, and our community. I have become so thankful for those folks the Lord lets us do life with… I hope you have a community that loves and supports you as well. I want my response to be the same as Paul’s in Acts: “At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged” (Acts 28:15, NIV).
- None of us are exempt from hard times. I think the question is, “what will we do with those hard times?” Embrace them, learn and grow; or become bitter and live life mad. I hope any anger and bitterness doesn’t last for you. Here are a couple of verses for you:
- “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).
- "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
- Finally, may we never forget… God has given us the greatest Gift of all—His Son, who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally and spend eternity with Him in heaven: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).
May it be said of us that we are “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, NIV)… on Thanksgiving Day AND every day!
P.S. We might have not moved the same rocks at the same T Bar M training camp “Hi-Ho”, but we have done the same hard work of “lovin’ on kids for Christ” as alumni, and we serve the same Lord. If you ever want to get together to have coffee and talk over the hard things that you are fighting to be thankful for… hollar. We have had some good practice on giving thanks in ALL circumstances. So tough, and so worth it.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
Our daughter, put this video together if you want to see what God can do in an incredible situation.
Saying "welcome home" as YOU walk through the gate, sure puts a smile on our face!
It gives you the opportunity to perhaps step back in time a bit to remember how God met you and shaped you while you spent part of your summer or part of your year at T Bar M.
Glenn Stern (former camper, coach) said it well as he picked up his daughter from Camp Travis, "There is something about being here that reminds you who God created you to be."
It gives us all the opportunity to see the continuation of God's story in your life, cheer for you, pray for you and give you a bit of respite.
We saw a whole lot of that this month as we welcomed many alumni. Will Washington, speaking to a group of University of Texas Students, Emma Dotter & the Join the Journey team embarking on a weekend of team building, Andy Zinkgraf checking out school space for a retreat, or John Boudreaux, Garrett Newsom, Ana, Brett, and Bonnie coming with a family CRU weekend. It was a JOY to see you each serving the Lord in so many capacities.
So, don't hesitate to stop by when you drive through New Braunfels or Spicewood, or come with a group. You can bet we are going to be looking forward to seeing you!
(psst ... we are about to have some super fun opportunities to welcome you back to camp ... stay tuned!)
Christy, Cyndea & Jamie: Three WOGS & their 11 MAC sons!
T Bar M Camp Store has heart ... and great gifts!
We are excited to announce we have a new team in the Camp Store. They are not new to T Bar M! Sarah has been serving at T Bar M since 2013, starting as a coach and then joining full time staff. Megan served on our Day Camp team and has just recently come back to join our full time staff.
The joy that comes in the logistics of running the Camp Store is found as they provide products to help people remember what God did in their hearts while at T Bar M! We all know that to be true. You throw on your favorite hat or t-shirt and think of the place where you laughed so hard it was healing or met with Jesus in a way that you can't forget. You kick back in your Eno hammock or Crazy Creek and think about sitting still at a place where your heart finds respite. These "things" bring us back to an eternal moment.
While you are beginning (or maybe wrapping up) your shopping for the holidays ... we have some goodies that will spark the warmth of summer in the chill of winter to put under your tree. From stocking stuffers to a gift that will cause a pause, our desire is that these items will be a reminder of God’s faithfulness and spark conversations about all the ways you saw God move at T Bar M.
What does a Camp Director do all year?
I love my job.
I don't know how many people can say that. I imagine there are a lot of people who like their job. But actually love their job? I think I'm definitely in the minority on that one.
And you're probably saying to yourself, "Yeah Chris, real hard to love your job. You're a camp director. What's not to love?! You probably just play disc golf and hang out at the blob pool most days." Most of our summer staff probably think the same thing. In fact, the #1 question that a camp director gets asked in the off-season is something along the lines of, "What exactly do you do all year?"
Well, truth be told ... we do play a LOT of disc golf.
But in addition to that, believe it or not, we do some actual work. And while that work list is long, it is safe to say that there is one task that occupies the brain-space of a camp director more than any other ... staff recruiting.
Maybe some of you are like me and started working at camp back in the nineteen hundreds. For me, it was the "chance" encounter in the student center with a group of young adults who were WAY too enthusiastic about what they were doing for a living. They were standing at a table trying to awkwardly initiate conversation with students who were avoiding eye contact at all costs. (And if you ever ran into Johnny Polk in one of those student centers, words don't even begin to describe that crazy experience!)
Back in my day (FYI: one of the tell-tell signs you're getting older is when you start hearing yourself say, "Back in my day ..." ), staff recruiting was mostly confined to the spring semester. In January and February camps started showing up on campus in an attempt to build their teams for the summer ahead. I remember one year, an overly ambitious camp did something crazy and showed up on campus in November!! Can you imagine? What a waste of time. There is no possible way a college student could commit to something 6 months away.
What I wouldn't give for the good old days when we didn't START recruiting until January.
In the overly-connected, break-neck pace world we live in, the competition for summer camp staff is at a fever pitch. Often, on move-in days in August, camps are already on campuses hard at work trying to gain commitments from students for a job that is 9+ months away.
And you know what ... I get it. I get the feelings of anxiousness. I get the borderline panic. I get the same questions running through my head: Will we have enough staff next summer? What happens if I don't get enough guys? Will we have to turn away campers?
"O you of little faith ... do not be anxious ... your Heavenly Father knows what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
So, what does it look like for a camp director to "not be anxious" and to "seek first the kingdom of God" when it comes to staff recruiting? For us, it means refocusing.
As a team, our directors have made a concerted effort to refocus our approach with our college staff. Rather than see them as a mere number or a name on a spreadsheet, we are striving to continue doing exactly what we did all summer. Encourage them. Challenge them. Pray for them. Equip them. Love them.
The verse that I pray for our staff is Philippians 1:9-11. "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes from through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
The easy and temporary thing is convincing them to work at camp next summer. The thing of eternal value is helping their love for the Father abound more and more! That's what we want to be about. We trust that if we keep our focus where it needs to be (on His Kingdom and righteousness), then we can trust that a Heavenly Father will provide what we need.
Will you join us by praying for our staff? Praying for both the ones who have served already and the ones we haven't even met yet. Pray that their love and relationship with the Lord will continue to grow. And while you're at it, will you pray for us directors? Pray that we will keep our focus in the right place, squarely on Him. I can't wait to see what He has in store!!
I love my job.
- Chris Shelton
Remember the Goodness and Greatness of God
Each month, the T Bar M Staff gathers for Espresso … like Coffee, but with a little extra. We worship, pray, and learn about spaces around camp property, how it came to be, and how God continues to use it.
You can imagine our delight, laughter, and hanging on every word as Johnny Polk shared with us about the Standing Stones (formerly known as Lincoln Logs 1981-2010). It would be unkind not to pass on the wisdom and challenge he gave us, to you ...
There is no shortage of folks purposefully placing stones in places where the Lord did amazing things. Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, those that crossed the Jordan. Standing Stones were used by God many times throughout the Old Testament as a memorial of God’s blessings and greatness. So that, when the ancients would pass a standing stone, they would ask “What happened here?” And God’s work would be remembered, and HE would be praised. God was HERE and this is what He did!
And that is the challenge for our lives today ... “Our lives should be living stones testifying what God is doing in our lives.” (1 Peter 2:4-7) Wherever God has place us as living stones, we are a testimony that He is HERE in our lives, and this is what He is doing. In your job, at your school, at camp, in your home, with your neighbors, at the store or in the bleachers, WE get to tell those around us about God’s faithfulness and blessings.
As we headed our separate ways to start the day, we each grabbed a rock to put on our desk that day to remind us to be that Living Stone standing daily for Christ.
Though we, as T Bar M alumni, are spread out across the world, we pray for you as YOU are standing as a testimony to Christ and remembering His faithfulness to you.