Flashback: Camp Wild 2015

Even though the carefree days of summer are a thing of the past, our memory of the excitement of all the various summer activities lives on!

As we all start to bundle up, sip our delicious PSL and enjoy the crispness of the air, we want to take a quick trip back to one of the highlights of our summer: Camp Wild 2015.

In case you’re not familiar with what Camp Wild is, let’s get you up to speed.

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Every summer Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center hosts four unbelievably fun weeks of camp for kids in Hagerstown. This camp is free for any kid between the ages of 5 -12 and we even provide complimentary transportation to kids living in certain parts of the city.

While at Camp Wild, the kids are given an assortment of activities to be a part of. From singing, to group games, hiking, art projects, interactive Bible lessons, hands-on educational activities, swimming, and more, the campers are not lacking for excitement each day.

Since Camp Wild is a free ministry to the kids of Hagerstown, we rely on the generous support of donors and volunteers to make each summer possible for our campers. We’re so thankful to say that since the 1970’s our summer camp programs, Conoco Camp/Camp Wild, have been blessed by God and He has provided the necessary funds, volunteers and resources to reach hundreds of kids for Christ! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our summer camp outreach programs in the past.

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Camp Wild 2015 was an amazing summer of ministry. God proved Himself faithful by providing over and over again in the areas of drivers, counselors, donations, and plenty of campers. We ministered to 228 children, sharing with them the message of Jesus’ love and salvation. Churches like Tri-State Fellowship, Faith Christian Fellowship, Maranatha Brethren Church, and Grace Point Community Church came along side us in the ministry. A truly fantastic summer.

This summer’s lesson series focused on our core-value of relationships. In today’s culture there is a big need in understanding how to cultivate and maintain healthy, pure relationships. We wanted to use our lesson time to help children learn some great truths from the Bible about how we connect and bond with others.

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We began by explaining and defining a relationship. We learned through the Bible that we are to do our best to live in peace with everyone. This means that living in peace is a key to having good relationships with others. Fighting hurts relationships, but peace leads to life.

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After defining relationships we moved on to talking about the most important relationship of all, the one we have with Jesus Christ. Campers learned that we need to stop trying to live life our own way but start living life Jesus’ way. Our Bible verse for the day focused on how when we were God’s enemies He made peace with us through the death of Jesus.

Next, we moved on to talking about relationships with friends and family. Campers learned how it is necessary to have balance in relationships, to ask for forgiveness when needed, and to always forgive others as Christ forgave us. They learned the key to having good relationships with parents comes from God’s command that children are to obey their parents in all things because this pleases Him.

We spent some time talking about a negative relationship- enemies. We all have relationships that require hard work. In this lesson we talked about loving enemies and praying for those who hurt us, just like Jesus did when He sacrificed Himself for us.

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The week concluded with learning how having successful relationships will lead to having a successful life. The Bible commands us to encourage one another and give each other strength. Nothing in life is a complete solo task, we depend on others and others depend on us. Because of this, our lives and dreams need to be centered around Jesus and serving the needs of others.

Africa Park
This year saw the re-opening of our Africa park. We went back to the roots of camp and gave our African-themed area a complete facelift and overhaul. This involved both major and minor renovations, a new attraction, lots of paint, and tons of flags.

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Part of the transformation process began in 2012 by opening GPS, God’s Preaching System, in what was to become the Habari Jungle. This was the first part of a three-year strategy to consolidate our existing African attractions to one area of the campground while opening the Latin America and Asia parks. In 2013 we moved The Dig and Sanaa into their permanent spots.

This year we added new signs to the camp, new exhibits, new buildings, and lots of details to really make campers feel like they have traveled into the heart of Africa. We added lots of decorative elements to the camp, repainted some old signs, and added new cultural elements all around the African park to enhance the camper’s experience. In an effort to celebrate the diversity of God’s creation among cultures, we added in 45 flag poles. These were used to display flags from African countries.

ZULU
One area we were very excited to open was Zulu! Campers traveled to South Africa to train how to be a Zulu warrior. The word Zulu means “people of Heaven’. Here camper’s learned about the armor of God, King Shaka Zulu, and the culture of the Zulu nation. Camper’s got to shoot bow and arrow, practice dodging splash balls with a shield, and learn how to toss a spear. Each activity took place in brightly painted, African gazebos.

Our new activity center was complete with an 8-foot display of the armor of God, real spears, an authentic cowhide shield, and a six-foot tall mannequin dressed as King Shaka. We also included a life-size elephant skull replica, as well as replicas of zebra and leopard skins.

KIJIJI EXPEDITION
After being closed for two years, we re-opened the Kijiji Expedition. This summer we shortened the trail, condensed the activity centers, and refurbished some displays to give them longevity. Arnold Horst and the S.W.A.T. team (Senior Worker Attack Team) completely transformed our temple area to include nice thick plywood walls and a sheet-metal roof. We created a new meerkat mound using Styrofoam and cement, as well as covering our existing termite mound in cement. We also added a back wall to one of our bamboo huts, really giving the campers the illusion that they had stepped into someone’s house in the jungle.

SENEGAL
Kids traveled to Senegal to visit two active learning centers. First up is the return of GPS. This year we made GPS, our missionary zone, into a word scavenger hunt. Campers would work in their Small Groups to figure out clues related to each of our Senegal cultural signs. At the end of the activity, all the kids reviewed things together and learned how they could be missionaries at home.

The second active learning center is Matu. We reopened this attraction after a year hiatus and put it in the middle of the GPS trail loop. Here at Matu campers learn about the creation of the world, the anatomy of a seed, Senegal’s exotic animals, the life cycle of a plant, and even take home a plant pot of their own. The goal of this hands-on learning center is to educate and celebrate God’s marvelous creation!

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At the Sanaa Trail, camper’s got to express their creativity and reflect their Creator God by making some different forms of art. This summer campers were able to make safari ornaments and color their own tribal masks.

The Dig is one of the camper’s favorite attractions. This archaeological dig simulator teaches campers the purpose of learning other cultures and the excitement of finding buried treasures. We always teach campers that you must also dig into the Word of God to find the true treasure of Jesus Christ and eternal salvation.

Matu Base/Shed
In an effort to make the best use of space, we placed the Matu attraction inside the loop created by GPS. We wanted to have a building erected that would serve as a jungle base for the kids to play in. Here the campers can look at animal replicas, play on a chalkboard, learn about God’s creation, and take a break from the sun’s heat. After camp ends, we utilize this space as storage for displays, tables, and most of our Africa décor. Having this new storage shed greatly reduced our clean up time this year while freeing up storage space at the office. The majority of the materials were donated by Mike & Bre Black and the construction was done by Arnold Horst and his crew.

Staff
This summer we introduced two new levels of staffing into Camp Wild. The first group is called Shepherds. These counselors were the ones who led the daily small group discussions with the campers. They were available if any campers had questions of a spiritual nature or need prayer.

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The second group added was the Student Trainee. These were older campers who had been appointed by the Director or Assistant Directors to pitch in to help out with small tasks where and when needed. Although Student Trainees did not have authority over other campers they proved to be a big asset in having a successful summer of camp.

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As camp moves forward, we hope to continue finding ways to better serve our faithful counselors. Equipping them better, giving them more training and encouragement has been invaluable in improving the quality and effectiveness of camp ministry.

Thank you to everyone who has donated of their time, talent, and treasure to make Camp Wild a success. Every year I am encouraged by the generosity of God‘s people, amazed at God’s faithfulness, and grateful for all everyone who cares about the campers and has sacrificed in order to give them a summer they’ll never forget!

To learn more about Camp Wild, including seeing more pictures from 2015, go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Even though Camp Wild is over, the fun of Wildside isn’t! Our youth ministry hosts activities all year long! Go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com to learn more about our youth ministry program and all the activities Wildside has planned in the upcoming months.

Want to be a part of the action? We’re always looking for volunteers to help at Wildside and our other ministries at The Hope Center. Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to see all the various opportunities we have for you to get involved.

Maybe you don’t have the time to commit to volunteering but you really want to become a financial partner of The Hope Center. If this is you then don’t wait any longer to get in touch with us! We’re always thankful for our donors who help to fund all of our programs to the people in our community. Since we do not receive any tax money or government funding, we operate completely on the generosity of our faithful donors and Thrift Store patrons. Call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to talk to somone about financially supporting this ministry.

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There’s Always a New Adventure at Camp Wild

The second week of Camp Wild is coming to an end. And even though we had a couple days of rainy weather, the kids have been having a blast this week!

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A little rain didn’t stop anyone from having fun, but because of the rain campers stayed indoors at the Trinity Center in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday.

 

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They spent the afternoons playing games, enjoying free time to shoot hoops, and making art projects.

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But since the campers couldn’t enjoy all the various outdoor activities the first two days of camp, for Wednesday, Camp Wild planned to do something they’ve never done before.

Yesterday the kids were able to spend the entire day at our outdoor camp facility!

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The kids were thrilled to enjoy the morning and afternoon exploring, discovering, and playing outside. In addition to free time, the campers also experienced attractions like the Tiger Trail, Snake Charmer and Life Cycles.

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For lunch, the campers enjoyed having a “picnic” with chips, drinks, snacks, and delicious Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches!

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The staff at Camp Wild work hard to make each day special and fun for the campers. Even when the weather makes it difficult, our staff doesn’t miss a beat keeping the kids engaged and entertained.

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We’re so thankful for everyone who has been helping to make Camp Wild successful. They pour their heart into this ministry and work hard to create a fun, adventurous atmosphere for each camper. They work hard at Camp Wild because each one sees the value of each camper and understands the importance of reaching these kids for Christ! Thank you, Camp Wild staff & volunteers, for all you do to show Jesus to these precious campers.

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And we want to thank Chick-Fil-A for sponsoring those absolutely delicious chicken sandwiches for our campers each week! It’s a special treat for the kids, and the counselors too!

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There is still some space left for the last two weeks of Camp Wild on July 28-August 1 and August 4-8. While transportation is provided, space is limited and could be full. If you’re interested in signing your kids up for a free week of camp, call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com immediately. We highly suggest that you don’t delay. If you’re providing your own transportation, please notify the Camp Wild representative when you register your kids.

If you’d like to learn more about Camp Wild or our youth ministry, Wildside, go to http://www.campwildusa.com or http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Camp Wild Week 2 is Off and Running!

Camp Wild 2014 is back for a second week of fun!

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The Trinity Center was full of the sounds of laughter, excitement and fun as a new group of campers kicked off their week of adventure.

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Unfortunately for the campers, they weren’t able to go to the outdoor section of Camp Wild due to severe thunderstorms and torrential rain. But the weather sure didn’t dampen the spirit of the campers!

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The kids enjoyed the afternoon in the Trinity Center playing sports, games, getting their faces painted and creating several different art projects!

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Although the weather hasn’t been cooperating, everyone is still enjoying the fun of being together and making new friends! Hopefully the rest of the week will have a break from all the rain long enough for the kids to get outside and enjoy all the awesome activities Camp Wild has planned in Asia.

Even though Week 2 of Camp Wild is full, there’s still some space for the next two weeks. Week 3 of Camp Wild is from July 28-August 1 and Week 4 is August 4-8. Complimentary transportation is limited so please call or email immediately to see if there is still space available.

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For more info on Camp Wild 2014 go to http://www.campwildusa.com. To talk to someone about Camp Wild call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com.

Camp Wild is Almost Here!

In just one week Camp Wild kicks off another summer of action-packed fun!

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Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12. The camp runs Monday through Friday from 9:30am until 4:30pm each day, including rainy days.

Camp Wild is a fun adventure camp for kids who want to get out of the house and experience a week of exciting activities, outdoor fun, building new friendships, and learning about God.

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Campers start the morning at our indoor multi-purpose building at The Hope Center where they enjoy free time in our game rooms, sports areas & craft tables. After free time, campers are taken to the Wildside Sanctuary where they sing, dance, and enjoy interactive Bible lessons followed by a small group time to learn more about Biblical principles and grow closer to Jesus.

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By midday the campers are given a delicious lunch and then transported to our outdoor camp facility located just outside of Hagerstown on our property by the Conococheague Creek.

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At the outdoor facility, kids are immersed into an adventure park based on exotic lands like Asia, Africa and Central America.

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Each land has themed attractions and activities for our campers to explore and discover. From activities like archaeological digs, to art centers, to interactive hiking trails, to obstacle courses, and our 600 foot zip line, there’s plenty of things to keep your campers busy. If that isn’t enough, we also have swimming, educational experiences and an inner-tube ride down the Conococheague Creek! There’s so much for your campers to see & do at Camp Wild…and it’s all free!

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Registration is easy. Just call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com. Did you know that for just $10 you can upgrade the Camp Wild experience for your kids? For $10 per kid, you can add the Camp Wild Premium package which includes a Camp Wild t-shirt, sugar shack* (snack bar) coupons, rental shack* coupons and VIP line jumping passes!

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Camp Wild hosts four separate weeks of camp. Campers may attend one week of their choice based on availability. Complimentary transportation is provided to certain areas during designated weeks only.

Camp Wild Dates:

  • July 7-11              North End
  • July 14-18             West End
  • July 28-August 1 South End
  • August 4-8           East End

If you have any questions about which week your campers would be receiving free transportation, please call Camp Wild immediately. Contact information is located at the bottom of this post.

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Space at Camp Wild is limited so please don’t delay contacting Camp Wild. For more information about Camp Wild, go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

 

If campers are in need of complimentary transportation but are not able to attend during scheduled transportation weeks, please contact Camp Wild immediately at 301.739.1165 or info@wildsideyouth.com.

*The Sugar Shack & Rental Shack are located at the outdoor camp facility. Neither one requires actual money to purchase snacks or rent items for play. Campers earn points based on various activities during the day that can be used to “buy” snacks, souvenirs and rental items like water toys, goggles and other things. Coupons given from the premium upgrade allow the camper to receive items without earning points during the daily activities.