Happy, Happy Halloween!

Today may be Halloween but Wildside Youth started celebrating a little early!

Last Tuesday around 60 kids from Hagerstown enjoyed an evening of costumes, games, spooks, stories, and plenty of great food at our annual Fall-O-Ween party. The Trinity Center was transformed into a Halloween-themed carnival where kids were able to play all sorts of different games where they could win various Halloween prizes. In addition to the carnival games, the kids braved a spooky tunnel that delivered them into a “spooky room” with more Halloween fun!

The night wasn’t all games and prizes. Nothing is more exciting on Halloween than a good story which is exactly what Wildside delivered. The kids heard the tale of Tartan the Werewolf who helped to tell a valuable tale to the kids about how God loves us and welcomes us into His family even though He is perfect and we are not. Based off the verse, “even if my father and mother abandoned me, the Lord would take me in”, the story is helping to remind these kids that they are so important and valuable to God and they are never alone or forgotten.

But is it really a party without some great food? Volunteers cooked up some scary good food for the kids who came and provided Halloween treats for everyone. Everyone had a great time at Fall-O-Ween but we couldn’t have done it without all of the staff and volunteers who put so much time and work into making these events so much fun for all of the kids who attend. And we can’t forget to thank each of you who help to support The Hope Center through prayer, financial support, and other means to help us continue to keep all activities, programs and services free for everyone, including kids, in our community! Thank you for helping provide such a wonderfully frightening night for these kids!

Every year Fall-O-Ween is a fun evening of Halloween fun where kids can be themselves and enjoy this holiday in a safe environment. But the Wildside fun is just getting started! There are plenty more parties and events coming up including Wildside’s Thanksgiving party in a few short weeks as well as hosting some games and other activities during our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast on Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, starting at 11am in the Trinity Center. For more information please call 301.739.1165 and visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Advertisements

Everyone Had a WILD Time at Camp!

Schools are finally back in session and we’re just a few weeks away from saying goodbye to summer. The carefree, sun-kissed days of summer are now becoming just a memory of another great season of swimming, sunbathing, cooking out and gardening.

So as we start to prepare for fall and all of the wonderful things associated with this season, we fondly look back at our biggest event each summer at The Hope Center: Camp Wild.

This year was another fantastic year for the kids in Hagerstown who attended Camp Wild. Approximately 250 different kids attended Camp Wild this year. The campers were able to partake in such adventures as Tiger Trail: Obstacle Course, Rana Ranch, The Snake Charmer, Zulu, Expedition Panda which is our 600 ft zip line, hiking, hayrides, and, of course, swimming!

In addition to all those exciting outdoor activities, campers enjoyed mornings at the Trinity Center where they played games, sang & danced, participated in interactive Bible lessons, engaged in small group discussion, and ate some pretty good lunches.

Each year it is our privilege to host Camp Wild for free to the kids in Hagerstown’s neighborhoods. Over the course of the four weeks of camp, we target and reach out to kids in the West End, Jonathan Street area, Noland Village, South End, Frederick Manor, and East Side areas of our city.

By providing free transportation to and from our facilities, as well as providing free registration, food, prizes and activities, this is a genuine mission outreach to our city that’s been taking place since the 1970’s.

Bringing Camp Wild to life is not an easy task. There are so many people involved with everything from set up and construction, to helping each day during camp, and the process of cleaning up and tearing down everything after it’s all said and done. Our volunteers logged in approximately 4, 056 hours for Camp Wild 2017! Volunteers help us keep our camp operational each year and free for all the kids who attend. That’s something that each person involved should be proud of.

We’re thankful for volunteer groups from Antietam Rec, Maugansville Bible Brethren, and the many volunteers from Tri-State Fellowship. In addition to all those volunteers, we have many other individuals give so much of their time and resources to helping reach Hagerstown’s kids for Christ. We are so thankful for each and every person who volunteered, donated, and prayed for Camp Wild 2017.

Since many of you might not have been able to daily be a part of Camp Wild we wanted to post some pictures to let you feel like you were there with us each day. These pictures are a tiny snapshot into the fun everyone had at Camp Wild. This is a combination of all four weeks together. If you’d like to see more pics go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on ‘Year in Pictures’ under the ‘More’ tab on the upper tool bar. We hope you enjoy these pictures as much as the campers and staff who are in them!

And just because Camp Wild is over for the year doesn’t mean that all the fun of Wildside Youth Ministries is too. Wildside has a great lineup of activities this fall including:

  • SEPTEMBER 17TH: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD
  • SEPTEMBER 19TH: WILDSIDE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY!
  • OCTOBER 1ST: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD
  • OCTOBER 15TH: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD
  • OCTOBER 24TH: FALL-O-WEEN PARTY
  • NOVEMBER 5TH: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD
  • NOVEMBER 14TH: WILDSIDE THANKSGIVING PARTY
  • NOVEMBER 19TH: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD
  • DECEMBER 3RD: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD
  • DECEMBER 5TH: WILDSIDE’S THE PARTY BEFORE CHRISTMAS
  • DECEMBER 17TH: SUNDAY NIGHT WILD

To learn more about all these exciting, free activities for kids ages 5-12 please visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com or call 301.739.1165.

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day 4On Monday we celebrate the American worker! Our nation was built on the backs of great people who sacrificed and poured their own blood, sweat and tears into making this such a successful, diverse, and creative nation. Even today people from all over the world do anything they can to be a part of this nation of hard workers.

We’re happy to celebrate the women and men who keep this nation moving forward. Thank you to each of you who work hard at your jobs and then give back some of your earnings to support our mission to bring hope to the less fortunate. We appreciate your hard work and your kind and generous heart to give to others. Our supporters, donors, and partners are an example of everything that is good about America.

So we honor each of you hard workers on Monday! Thank you for all you do!

Our Administrative Offices, Thrift Stores, Wildside Youth, Sorting/Donation Center, and Recycling Facility will all be closed on Monday, September 4th, so that our staff can enjoy a time of relaxation and celebration.

Our daily food service and overnight shelter will be open and operational on Monday, September 4th. If anyone is hungry and needs a delicious meal on Labor Day then please join us at 1:15pm for our Soup Line. And men looking for a place to sleep for the evening can check in beginning at 5:30pm. If anyone has any questions about Labor Day schedules or any other inquiries please call 301.739.1165 or visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

We hope everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day!

Welcome, Michelle!

We have a new addition to our staff at The Hope Center. But this newest addition to our team really isn’t that new at all.

Michelle Rizer (2)We are excited to welcome Michelle Rizer to our staff as the new assistant to our youth program, Wildside Youth.

To some of you, her name and face may not ring a bell, but to others who’ve been following The Hope Center, even back when it was called the Union Rescue Mission or Hagerstown Rescue Mission, might recognize her. Michelle may be a new staff member but she’s actually the granddaughter of the founders, Jim & Ellen Resh.

Jim & Ellen were parents to four daughters, Sharon, Dorcas, Laurel and Becky, and one son, Jim. Those five children gave Jim & Ellen twelve grandchildren who are now having children of their own.

Michelle is one of the daughters of Sharon & Henry Hughes. When the Mission had a TV show, Echoes of Hope, a publication, Free Press, and other public events it was quite often that Michelle, along with the rest of the family, was in attendance or participating in one way or another.

But now, Michelle has officially joined our staff and is eager to start her journey into ministry in a facility that has a deep personal connection to her.

We asked Michelle to tell us about the journey that brought her from her early days on Echoes of Hope to her current position working with kids in Hagerstown.

“My name is Michelle Rizer and I’m the granddaughter of Jimmy and Ellen Resh, founders of the Four States Christian Missions, Inc. (The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission).

Sin, and the inability to forgive myself or believe God could forgive me, lead me away from God for many years. Then, 5 years ago, I rededicated my life to my Lord Jesus Christ and began a new life with Jesus in the center of my life.

My husband, Brian, and I became very active in our church and became youth leaders. Being in this position gave me the opportunity to go with our youth pastor to take a class certifying me to work with high risk youth.

Although Brian and I loved our position in the church, I kept feeling a nudging from the Holy Spirit that God was leading me into full-time ministry.

I felt that if God was leading me into ministry maybe it would be back at the Rescue Mission and my family heritage. So, I contacted Becky and Sonny Shank, my aunt and uncle, who run the Mission now, and shared God’s leading in my life with them. We all decided to pray where God was leading me.

In the meantime, I took a leap of faith and left my job in the hair industry after 33 years and waited and prayed for God to reveal His plan for me.

It was about a month later that Becky called me to come in and talk with them. I was excited and scared as to where God wanted me, but I had placed my complete faith in Him and believed that whatever He had revealed to them was where He was leading me.

I went in and talked to them and when they presented me with the opportunity to serve as Assistant Director of Wildside Youth Ministries I about fell off my chair because Becky and Sonny had no idea I was already working with youth at my church or had taken a class to work with high risk youth.

God had clearly revealed His plan to me and everyone involved, but I had no way of knowing He was preparing me in advance for the ministry He was calling me to do.

What a mighty God we serve! He has taken a broken, lost soul and transformed her for His glory! The road I’m on is challenging and hard, but the rewards are many and God gives me the strength everyday to do the job He has called me to do and to lead others to His kingdom.”

We are so thankful and excited to have Michelle join our staff at The Hope Center. We are so proud of all she’s accomplished in her life and we look forward to seeing her wisdom and compassion reach so many children and their families for Christ in this new endeavor in her life. Please pray for Michelle, her family, and Wildside Youth as she starts this new chapter of her life and the beginning of her journey in full-time ministry.

Remember, God doesn’t just use those who we deem are perfect. He is a God of redemption, forgiveness and He loves to show how His power changes people. God doesn’t need perfect people to do His work. He needs willing people who are able to acknowledge their mistakes and allow Him to do a miraculous work in them. This is the story of hope. This is what we are about. We know that we serve a God who sees all of us, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly and loves us unconditionally. He loves us enough to not only send His Son but to allow that perfect Man to die for us so that we might have the opportunity and power to change who we are.

This is why The Hope Center exists. It’s for the son who was lost to drugs. It’s for the mother trying to feed her children. It’s for the family dealing with heartache. It’s the child struggling with abandonment. The Hope Center exists because God is real and has a real plan for each and every one of us and He’s not willing to give up on us. And we’re not willing to give up either.

Michelle traveled a path that many people haven’t. But that path, through it’s dark valleys, was being watched over by a God who doesn’t miss a beat nor misses a step. Michelle, and so many others, serve as a living testament to how powerful and awesome our God truly is. And we are so thankful and fortunate to have her sharing her life and her personal experiences with the children and their families in our city.

Thank you to each of you who support our ministry of hope and change. Your donations, time, and, most importantly, your prayers have been changing lives and reaching thousands of people for Christ for over 60 years. Thank you for supporting us and showing God’s love to all of Hagerstown.

To learn how you can support our ministry, or just learn more about the work that we’re doing in the heart of Hagerstown please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. And if you’re interested in learning more about our youth ministry where Michelle is serving please go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. To learn more about volunteer opportunities please visit http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com. Ok, so that’s a lot of http://www.com’s…but we’re genuinely thankful for your support through the years. You help us bring hope to so many.  And because of your support we’re still here, more than 60 years later, to help anyone and everyone who is ready for a fresh start or a new chapter. To God be the glory!

Share-A-Haircut is Back!

Hairy Cuttery is back again hosting their annual Share-A-Haircut program. This year’s Share-A-Haircut program is from August 1-15, 2017.

What’s Share-A-Haircut? Well, it’s the community’s opportunity to give a disadvantaged kid in our area the chance to have a fresh haircut for back-to-school for free. For every kid’s (18 and under) haircut purchased at local Hair Cuttery locations a free haircut certificate will be given to kids in need. For over 18 years Hair Cuttery has been helping give free haircuts to disadvantaged kids in communities around the nation.

The Hope Center is proud to be participating again with Hair Cuttery to provide our guests’ children with the free haircut certificates. We’ve handed out hundreds of certificates to families the past several years that we have been participating.

As we are currently hosting Camp Wild, we have a unique opportunity to make strong connections and build positive relationships with hundreds of kids and their families in our area. Haircuts provided will help these families save some money and give their kids a fresh start to their new school year.

So please join us in spreading the word to your friends, family, church, civic club, coworkers, and anyone else you can think of.

Something so simple as a free haircut can make a huge difference in the life of someone else. Thank you for caring and sharing for disadvantaged kids in our community.

Hagerstown has 3 local Hair Cuttery’s:

  • CROSSPOINT SHOPPING CENTER – 17251 Cole Rd // 301.582.0296
  • HAGERSTOWN COMMONS – 1733 Dual Highway // 301.745.9726
  • SHOPPES AT HAGERSTOWN – 18035 Garland Groh Blvd // 301.714.0003

To learn more about Hair Cuttery, local shop operating hours, or Share-A-Haircut please visit http://www.haircuttery.com.

Second Half of Camp Wild 2017 is Here!

We’re starting the second half of our 2017 Camp Wild season on Monday, July 31st. And as we prepare to welcome new campers for the next two weeks of adventure, we’re going to give you the chance to see some of the happy faces of campers who were a part of our first two weeks of 2017 Camp Wild.

Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12. The majority of our campers come from certain neighborhoods or areas inside of Hagerstown city limits. The typical camp day includes free time where the kids can play sports, create various art projects, play video games/board games and other indoor activities like table tennis and foosball. Campers also have a time of singing, interactive Bible lessons and small group discussion based on various Biblical principles of the week. Lunch is served just before we load everyone up and head to our outdoor camp facility where kids partake in group learning activities before having free time to swim, run, fly through the trees on our zip line or ride on our hayride.

Each week we provide complimentary transportation to pick up and drop off kids in these designated areas. The first two weeks of Camp Wild transportation was targeting the West End neighborhoods and Jonathan Street area of Hagerstown. These areas are the closest neighborhoods to The Hope Center in Hagerstown. We provide two weeks of Camp Wild to these neighborhoods because of the size and overall dense population of kids in the area.

This upcoming week of Camp Wild will provide complimentary transportation to Noland Village and the South End neighborhoods of Hagerstown and then the following week will see kids from Frederick Manor and the East Side join us for camp adventures.

We’ll continue to post more pics and adventures from Camp Wild 2017 so keep checking back! If you’d like to learn more about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Fourth of July Schedule

4th 1

In observance of Independence Day The Hope Center will operate on the following schedule:

OPEN

  • Overnight (homeless) Shelter: regular schedule (registration begins at 5:30pm)
  • Soup Line: Doors open at 1:15pm
  • Evening chapel service and meal: regular schedule (7pm)

CLOSED

  • Administrative & Camp Wild offices
  • Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg)
  • Donation & Sorting center
  • Food Bank
  • Recycling facilities

Everything will return to normal operating schedule on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017. If you have any questions about services on July 4th please call 301.739.1165.

Thank you and have a safe & fun Independence Day!