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It Only Takes a Spark

It Only Takes A Spark grant program has been established to provide Falling Creek staff members resources and support to positively impact others beyond the summer months. Through an application process, the selection committee awards funding from $250 – $1,000 per project for various work within our own nation and around the world. Recipients demonstrate “Servant’s Heart”, one of the four pillars of The Falling Creek Code.

Ryan Smith, a counselor in the summer of 2014, was one of the recipients for the grant this past year.

It Only Takes a Spark

On December 21, 2014, he left for Choluteca, in southern Honduras for a mission trip. Ryan said, “I found myself emerging into a completely new reality. It was shocking to think that such a short span of time could so drastically separate the two worlds I was now comparing.”

Ryan describes his initial culture shock as he and two friends he was travelling with found themselves in an unfamiliar country and way of life. The first shock; what seemed like lawless driving. With only two lanes, cars would pass each other in any direction, using either lane, regardless of speed and visibility.

It Only Takes a Spark

Ryan and his friends stayed with a missionary and his family from New Beginnings Baptist Mission. The next day, they took a short drive from the missionary’s house to the village of Javier Soriano where they would be spending the next several days constructing a home for one of the families living there.

“Nearly 100 families live in this village, which is decorated by homes made of mud, sticks, dried cow manure, tree branches, clay bricks, and plastic tarps. The latrines can be clearly seen behind the homes.” Ryan describes.

Each home has a fire that continuously burns throughout the day, which allows each family to cook rice, beans, and corn tortillas which are served nearly every meal.

There are no chimneys, no running water, and no electricity. Recently a mission installed a water system to supply the village with accessible clean drinking water, in which the families can retrieve water from daily.

It Only Takes a Spark

The team was a mixture of missionaries and local village workers. Ryan and the team began the project by laying cinderblock, using cement or mezcla that was made on the ground. It was a physically demanding task in itself and continued until all four walls had been constructed. Next, the doors and windows were installed and reinforced.

The next day, they returned to install the roof or techo made up of clay tiles. Ryan’s role in the process was to throw each tile from the ground to the roof above, where another person would catch them and pass them off to another. Someone else would then set the tiles into place on the roof.

“After two days of strenuous work, our team finishes the home for the family. With the help of Falling
Creek Camp, I was able to fund almost half of the cost of the entire home!” Ryan said.

It Only Takes a Spark

Each afternoon, Ryan and his friends would go to town to eat and hand out food to the local people. They delivered over 3,000 pounds of food to numerous families sponsored by the mission. They delivered Christmas presents, clothing, and food to several families in 3 different villages that the mission had previously built homes for.

Soccer, or futbol, was extremely popular there. Ryan played with many kids in one of the villages and was able to pass out quite a few soccer balls that he had collected from his own home.

“I learned a lot from my trip to Choluteca, Honduras and gained an invaluable perspective of a different culture and lifestyle. I spent time with some genuine and incredibly amazing people that have had a substantial impact on my life.” Ryan explained.

“The best part of the whole experience was the ability to connect two communities, living in two drastically different parts of the world; my camp family and my new found Honduran family.”

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Falling Creek Camp's Father-Daughter Weekend

From the first time that little girl clasped her Daddy’s finger, before she could even open her eyes, wrapped in that pink, receiving blanket in the chilly hospital room, a bond began. It is an unexplainable bond. It grows stronger and stronger over time, as she claims to be Daddy’s girl. She looks for him during dance recitals and soccer games, knowing that her nerves are calmed the moment she lays eyes on him. He dreads the emotional day when he walks her down the aisle and hands her off to another man, whom he deeply respects, but knows will never share the same bond that they both share. It is a deep bond; found deep in the heart. It is a bond that only fathers and daughters understand.

Trailblazing Together © and Falling Creek Camp have come together to create a once-a-year event;

Falling Creek Camp Father Daughter Weekend

The Father-Daughter Weekend is an opportunity for Fathers and their daughters to grow the bond they already have. An opportunity to relax, play, eat, and celebrate together, while experiencing and learning new things about each other.

Falling Creek Camp traditions like Morning Watch, Camp Fire, swimming in the lake, the climbing wall, riflery, and blacksmithing are part of the fun, but other meaningful activities like the Adventure Race and discussions are also a huge part of the weekend. Wonderful memories are sure to unfold through the weekend that will be cherished forever!

Falling Creek Father Daughter Weekend

“We both learned new things about each other,” Anna said after her experience at this past summer’s Father-Daughter weekend.

Ian, a father said, “Thank you! This has been a tremendous experience!”

“I was surprised by my daughter’s ‘can do’ attitude,” Adam said as he watched his daughter face adventure in a way he has never seen before.

Do not miss out on a chance to grow an incredible bond between a father and a daughter this year! The weekend is designed for girls between grades 5 and 11. Mark your calendars for August 21-23, 2015, as a weekend you daughter will never forget!

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New Years Resolutions

3…2…1… Happy New Year!
Have you ever welcomed in the New Year with a resolution? According to Statistic Brain, 45% of Americans make a New Years Resolution each year.

What are the top five resolutions for Americans, anyways?

Falling Creek Running

Number 5 is staying fit and healthy. After the past 2 months of stuffing turkey, ham, every casserole you could think of, the most delicious pies and cobblers in existence, and of course cookies, cookies, and more cookies into your mouth, it does seem like a good idea to put back on the tennis shoes and give your digestive system a good cleanse. Eating Well has some delicious easy and healthy recipes for any budget to get yourself back on track!

Number 4 is to enjoy life to the fullest. It seems like just yesterday, we were sitting at the table carving the turkey. The holidays fly by! It seems like the more that gets put on the calendar, the faster the days go by. Busyness takes over and we forget to slow down and actually enjoy life. Maybe we should just throw the calendar out the window! For most of us, that is impossible. There is soccer practice, piano practice, dance class, soccer game, oh, and the neighbor’s birthday party. Phew. Zen Habits says that it is actually possible to get the “you-time” in that you need each week! One wonderful habit they say to start, if you have not already, are date-nights with your spouse! Make sure this gets put on the calendar before anything else does!

Falling Creek nap
Have at least one each month. Another great tip is to create your calendar first. Find a time in the morning and evening to start and end the day without the kiddos. This means wake-up before them and send them to bed early so that you have a chance to enjoy yourself. You can use this time to workout, read scripture, meditate, or maybe just sit down and watch a good T.V. show or read a good book. You can also create more time for yourself by making household chores a family activity each week; not necessarily your own responsibilities.

Number 3 is to spend less and save more. If you have never heard of Dave Ramsey, he is “the guy” when it comes to dealing with that f-word…finances! Dave is a strong Christian man with amazing insights on how to grab hold of your finances and take control so that you are saving more money each week. If it has anything to do with money, spending, investing, or saving, he has tips and tricks to make you feel more satisfied and confident about your finances.

falling creek morning assembly
Number 2 is to get organized. The most frustrating thing is when you know you have seen something, you know, that thing you need right at that moment, but remembering where you saw it… huh. You open junk drawer number 1 and sift through the random assortment of gadgets, batteries, pens, and the duct tape you needed last weekend, but couldn’t find. You move to junk drawer number two, but no luck there. Then you face the dreaded closet; the one that you are afraid to open because an avalanche of who-knows-what is waiting behind a slight turn of the handle. Real Simple has some great tips on organizing those scary places in your home so that you can lose the fear of the dreaded closet. The first step is to have a family day specifically dedicated to cleaning out the closets and drawers and making a pile of anything that has not been touched or worn in 6 months. That Xbox game that has not been played in a year- see ya! The shirt you used to love, but it just does not fit right anymore. Yes, it is time to get rid of that one too. If it is taking up space in the closet and is no use to you, today, it is time to go! Depending on your pile of “stuff” you can either sell it or donate it. Once you get rid of the useless stuff, do not just throw what is left back in the drawer or closet. Instead, separate them into likes and neatly put them away. For example, one place for all of the shoes to go, unless going to your own closet. All the batteries gathered and placed in one drawer. Make sure they are easy to find this time so you do not have that frustrating, “I know I saw that somewhere” moment.

Number 1 is, you guessed it, weight-loss. What is the most successful way to lose weight, anyways? We all hate hearing it, but it is not the powder you sprinkle on your french fries or the pill you take to burn off body fat. The most successful way to lose weight is, well, refer back to resolution number 5. Diet and exercise. Of course we go back to the most ancient from of weight-loss, but it is still the most successful to this date. There are many diets out there, but eating healthy portions and well-balanced meals is truly the best. There are some diets out there to guide you on the foods you should be eating, like Weight-Watchers or the Mediterranean diet.

falling creek fireworks
There are many ways to work-out as well, from popular work-out DVDs like PiYo and Insanity which allow you to work-out in your own home, or apps for the phone like Nike’s app called Running which will track your runs and workouts and help you achieve your goals. And do not forget the new Fitbit or iFit fitness trackers that work with your phone as well.

Although only 8% of Americans are successful in completing their resolutions, 46% are able to commit to an entire month, which is definitely enough to start some good habits. Even if you do not fully complete your resolution, there are other ways to measure success. The first step is to determine what success is, create a plan on reaching it, and stay determined to follow through! Most of the time, short-term goals are more successful than long-term, so start small to give yourself a an opportunity to succeed!

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Sounds of Falling Creek III

The Eastern Screech Owl

Falling Creek Screech Owl
They say there’s a Screech Owl in almost every neighborhood of the US. So, chances are, you may be sitting less than 100 meters from one right now. But the characteristic open-air screens of the Falling Creek cabins lend themselves to making you more available to hear the mews of the nighttime birds, sounding more like a horse wandering out of the pasture than a bird of prey prowling the forest.

If you’ve had the privilege of taking Steve Longenecker’s falconer course, then you will recognize Yoda or Harley’s call, perhaps while doing a late-night check.

Falling Creek Owl
Otherwise you may not realize the noise you’re hearing is that of an Eastern Screech Owl, which can take on all forms of hooting, braying, barking, or chuckling.

Easter Screech Owl

Along with the distinct call of the Eastern Screech Owl, you might also hear— as I have— some of its nocturnal allies in the late evening or early morning, like the…

great horned owl
Great Horned Owl

or the whippoorwill.
Whippoorwill

If any of these sounds puts you in a moment of reminiscing in your days at the Creek, whether you were dropping off your boy, or sleeping under the Falling Creek stars, feel free to leave a comment about it in the comment section.

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