Ponderosa Lodge is a place that changes lives. It changed my life and I am grateful!
After attending Redwood Camp several summers and rededicating my life to Christ there, I went on to attend Ponderosa Lodge every summer through high school. I also attended each winter while in high school because my youth group at First Covenant Church in Oakland ran their own weekend retreats. It was those weekends where my mentoring relationship and life long friendship with Ron Demolar (the director at the time) began.
Like many campers, while I was in college at UC Davis, I applied for summer staff at Ponderosa the summer of 1979. My 2 roommates also applied and got hired. I didn’t even though I was the one with the most history at Ponderosa! (It has has been a running joke all these years and a great teaching tool as I trained the summer staffers that worked under my leadership.) A few weeks later I did receive a call from Dick Dosker telling me there was an opening and I had a job at Ponderosa if I wanted it. That was the beginning of 17 years of service at Mt. Hermon.
I served on staff the summers of 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1983. Then Ron Demolar had the crazy idea to hire a single, 25 year old woman (3 strikes against me!) to take his spot as Director of Ponderosa Lodge. I started in 1984 and left the summer of 1996. Those 12 years were incredible as I grew in my ability to minister to others, deepened my relationship with Jesus, made life long friends, enjoyed an extended family in the Mt. Hermon community, and had FUN with the Ponderosa staff each summer! Oh, the runs to Marianne’s ice cream, the sailing expeditions in the Santa Cruz Bay, sitting by the pool and discussing theology and ministry, the crazy skits and themes, watching campers mature in their faith over the years, and on and on. Even one camper became my god daughter! What an incredible job that I had the privilege of doing for 12 years. I loved it!
To be able to celebrate Ponderosa Lodge’s 40th anniversary will be a blessing! I hope MANY of you – those I served with as a summer staffer, worked for me, were campers when I was director, were guest speakers at Ponderosa – will come to the festivities! You were all a part of changing my life! Thank you!
Robin Agee Spurlock