Choosing Thankfulness

After helping with the Falling Creek Expeditions to Oregon this summer, my daughter, Honey, and I headed to California to meet a friend to climb a technical route up the east face of Mt. Whitney. Whitney towers over the high Sierras and is the tallest peak in the continental U.S.

There are three challenges that face a potential Whitney climber. The first is getting the coveted, limited permit to climb. The second is having stable weather and last, but most importantly, is your team’s physical ability and skills to handle the challenge. On the beautiful day of August 3rd all three of these elements seemed to be lined up perfectly, until…

We ascended thousands of feet over the moon-like granite slabs and rocky scree fields when one of our team members began to struggle. He’s a strong muscular guy, but was out of breath and losing his footing. He also began to complain. A LOT. After a frigid night at Iceberg Lake, we launched at dawn for our summit bid. Big Man struggled then reluctantly agreed to wait while Honey and I ascended to the top. When we all returned to our high camp, everyone needed to get to lower altitude before the frigid shadows moved across the lunar grey talus. Honey had climbed strong, but was now suffering with headache and nausea from the 14,000-foot day so I sent her on down the trail with the tent, food and specific instructions where to camp at tree line. I stayed back to help our big Whiney team member.

Honey and Dusty

As darkness descended on the million-acre wilderness, Big Man plopped down for the night trail-side and I sprinted on with a headlamp to find my daughter. “Honey!” I yelled till my voice and my headlamp batteries faded. As darkness bled over the landscape, I realized I would have to wait till morning to find her, but all I had in my backpack was ropes and carabineers. I felt angry and frustrated. Why did I let my daughter our of my sight on this bear infested mountain and why did I give her my sleeping bag?

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and it reminds me of my intense mental and emotional struggle back on Whitney. It seemed the perfect set-up with weather, permits, my daughter and the majestic mountain. We were so blessed to climb and experience God’s amazing creation. Yet, it all seemed so tainted by one person who grumbled and was not thankful. The Falling Creek Code echoes the New Testament’s words, “If you want to know God’s will for your life—it is to be thankful in everything.” Being thankful is a choice. It is not an emotion. We are not always in comfortable or appealing situations, but we can CHOOSE thankfulness for what we can learn through the process.


The California sun came up early and I rose with it to continue my search for Honey. I chose to give thanks even though my chest was tight with worry. It wasn’t too long before I saw her bee-bopping down the trail with her blond braids swinging. I grabbed her up in my arms and swung her around with a shout of thanks. Hours later we got Big Man down the mountain and celebrated big man sizes burgers!

Hoping all the Falling Creek Families will choose to give thanks during this season of Thanksgiving.

- Dusty Davis

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What is Your Legacy?

Frank Tindall and his son, Wilson, competed in the NYC Marathon on November 1st. What an awesome accomplishment to cross that finish line, but to be able to cross the finish line with your son?! This is a memory neither will ever forget! What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?

Deuteronomy 6:2 says, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”

Frank running NYC Marathon

Is the legacy you leave behind material or is it something that you leave with your child that can be passed down generation after generation and will never break, fade, or rust? Here at Falling Creek, we believe that their is a strong value in the relationship you hold with your children. We celebrate this relationship twice a year with our Father/Son Weekends, where we allow fathers to spend quality, intentional time with their son(s). Time that so easily gets away from us in this busy world, yet is so important to the raising of our children.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Wilson NYC marathon

The relationship you have with Christ will reflect on your children. The time you spend with them, how you encourage them, and the habits you have formed will also remain as part of your legacy.

Frank has passed down the importance of fitness and health to his children. His legacy is not being left through what he tells them to do, but through what he does, by example. Through intentional time with them. Neither Wilson nor Frank woke up one day and said, “I think I want to go run the NYC Marathon” but instead they worked at it and set goals to one day achieve such an accomplishment. This is something that Frank has imprinted on his children over the years of raising them. And then to cross the finish line of a world-known marathon with his son says a lot about their relationship and the time Frank spent with him over the years.

How do you spend quality time with your children? What kind of legacy will you leave behind?

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What is Halloween, anyways?

Pumpkins and candy, that cool autumn breeze and falling leaves, and the tiny little witches, super heroes, and ghosts that roam the streets. Halloween is a fun time of year. The celebration of… well, what is Halloween exactly? How did we come into a tradition of dressing up, knocking on a stranger’s door, and asking for candy, anyways?

falling creek ninja turtles

Halloween started over 2,000 years ago, as a celebration of the new year, which for the Celts (ancient Ireland, UK, and northern France) started on November 1. They held a huge festival called the Festival of Samhain to rejoice the end of the harvest season and sadly bring in the cold, dark winter season. 2,000 years ago, this season was known for death, especially in the harshest of winters when survival was tough!

The Celts believed that on October 31, the night before the new year, the netherworld opened up and many ghosts and spirits joined them on the streets, some of them haunting their harvests and crops! To prevent these spirits from possessing them, the people would create a hug bonfire and everyone would dress up in costumes and make tons of noise, dancing around the fire, to scare off the evil spirits.

Eventually, the Roman Empire took control of the Celtic territory and by the 9th Century, Christianity became the primary religion of the region, mixing with the ancient Celtic culture. Ultimately, the church created a day specifically to honor the dead, known as All Souls’ Day or All-hallowmas, which was mostly created to replace the festival of the dead through a more religious-based holiday. With many of the same ceremonies, including bonfires, parades, and dressing-up, the day became more of a celebration rather than survival. Over time, October 31st became known as All-hallows Eve, which is where we get Halloween from today.

falling creek 4th of july

As colonies began to form in America, Halloween traditions followed. People held parties where they would all sing and dance, share stories of the dead, and celebrate the harvest. As the populations continued to grow, only those who could afford such parties continued to have them!
Sometime towards the end of World War II, many people could not afford to celebrate Halloween and host or even attend these parties. That is when the idea of Trick-or-Treating came in. The idea was for all people, especially children, to be able to celebrate the ancient traditions of dressing up and celebrating the harvest. Families who could afford small treats would light a candle on Halloween and children could parade through the neighborhood in their costumes to collect them. This idea took off and now is a widely celebrated holiday across the nation, stuffing our pillowcases with chocolates and candies galore!

It is definitely a fun time of year, whether you go to your local trunk-or-treat at church or knock on the doors of your neighborhood, or maybe you choose not to celebrate the holiday at all. Either way, we feel blessed at Falling Creek for the beautiful autumn we have had and are excited to welcome in the winter! We know that following winter is that warm sun which summer camp centers itself on!

falling creek pirates

Here is an idea to leave you with! If you feel overwhelmed by the calories collected in your children’s bags, discuss with them what a good amount of candy to keep is and then have them choose a place to donate the rest to. You could put them in little baggies and take them to a local shelter or nursing home!

Happy Halloween! Have a safe, wonderful, and fun weekend!


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Yummy Camp Recipes Perfect for Autumn

Longenecker Lumps

Falling Creek Longenecker Lumps


  • Box of Bisquick or dry biscuit mix
  • Liter of cooking oil
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon

1. Put Bisquick mix in a mixing bowl, being sure to leave some in the box. You may need to add more mix later to keep the dough from becoming sticky.

2. Add water to the dry mix and mix it around until you have a big lump of dough in the bowl. It should be a perfect consistency, not too dry and not too wet.

3. Pinch some of the dough off into a perfect-sized “lump”. Roll each lump around in-between your palms until it is perfectly round. If you make it too large, the inside will not cook and be doughy.

4. With a parent, heat up the oil in a cooking pot. Using a slotted spoon, dip a “test lump” in the hot oil and gently roll it around to see if it is hot enough. Do not drop the lump into the oil! This may cause the hot oil to splash out of the pot and burn you. If the oil is hot enough, the lump will float on top, and if the oil is not hot enough, the lump will sink to the bottom.

5. You can cook multiple lumps at one time. Once the lumps are right in color, remove it with the spoon, allowing the oil to drain back into the cooking pot.

6. Roll them around in the cinnamon/sugar, allow to cool, and then enjoy!

Hot Apple Cider


  • 4-5 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 apple cut into slices

1. In a small pot heat the apple juice, and spices over low/medium heat.

2. Stir often while the mixture is heating so the spices will blend into the juice (you don’t want any spice clumps).

3. Once it’s hot, pour into two mugs and garnish with an apple slices and a cinnamon stick. Serve warm.


Falling Creek S'mores


  • Honey Graham Crackers (box)
  • Semisweet chocolate (bar or minis)
  • Bag of marshmallows

1. Have a parent help you with setting up a campfire or preheat a grill to medium-high.

2. Top a honey graham-cracker square with a 1/2-to-1-ounce square of semisweet chocolate.

3. Place on the edge of the grill or fire, away from the direct heat, to melt the chocolate.

4. Meanwhile, skewer a jumbo marshmallow and hold over the heat or flame, turning, until soft and toasted.

5. Put the marshmallow on top of the chocolate, cover with another graham and gently press together as you slide off the skewer.

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Movie Show & Reunion

Yates is packing up his gear and getting ready to start touring the country! With an exciting new DVD, 2016 trunk sticker, and premiering the new Falling Creek magazine, there will be a lot to see!

Movie show falling creek

It is especially refreshing to see camp friends, staff, and alumni, as well as reminisce about favorite camp memories from past years. This is also an amazing time to introduce friends to the Falling Creek family and give them a taste of what makes camp such a special place!

No need to pack your trunk yet, but definitely get some friends together and head to a Falling Creek Movie Show and Reunion near you!

falling creek movie show

Atlanta, GA- September 28
Birmingham, AL- September 29
New Orleans, LA- September 30
Charleston, SC- October 5
Augusta, GA- October 6
Jacksonville, FL- October 7
Nashville, TN- October 13
Lexington, KY- October 14
Beaufort, SC- October 19
Columbia, SC- October 20
Charlotte, NC- October 21
Greenville, SC- October 26
Alexandria, VA- October 27
Richmond, VA- October 28
Coral Gables, FL- November 8
Houston, TX- November 9
Austin, TX- November 10
Dallas, TX- November 11

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