Wildside Makes January Fun Again!

January can be a bit of a downer month as all the holiday festivities come to a quick and abrupt end and all that’s left is short days and freezing nights. But Wildside Youth is provided a fun remedy for the winter blues for the kids in Hagerstown this past January:

The Meltdown

Wildside kicked off 2018 with a fun, winter-themed evening at Sunday Night Wild called ‘The Meltdown’. Thirty-three kids attended the night full of games, Jesus, food, and fun!

The frozen fun started with a ‘snowball fight’ played with balloons. After the snowball fight the kids got to go ‘ice fishing’ which involved finding Swedish Fish buried in a pan of whipped cream. Following the wintry games the kids enjoyed some singing and then dove right into the lesson.

The lesson, inspiring the events title, was teaching the kids to avoid meltdowns, temper tantrums, and throwing fits. They were taught that using self-control they could resist the attacks by Satan and avoid destructive behavior like tantrums and meltdowns.

The verse of the evening was, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28. An object lesson and a game called, ‘Don’t Have a Meltdown’ were used to help illustrate the verse and the lesson for all the kids.

After the lesson time, the kids had snacks and hung out before ending the first Sunday Night Wild of 2018.

Football and Cheerleading Party

On January 23rd the Trinity Center hosted a super bowl sized party to celebrate America’s favorite sport! 56 kids showed up to celebrate Wildside’s 3rd annual Football & Cheerleading Party. They participated in football themed carnival games, a flag football game,  and a football scavenger hunt, along with arts & crafts activities, enjoying delicious food, and hearing a message about being God’s champion.

Building off the lesson of self-control taught at The Meltdown, the kids at the party learned how becoming a champion for God requires self-control – a lot like becoming a championship quality football team. Just like a winning football team needs to practice, problem solve, and work as a team in order to win, we too, need to practice self-control by not throwing fits or getting angry and hurting others, we need to solve problems God’s way and we need to work peacefully together as a team for God.

The kids who attend Wildside events love every minute of it and continue to come back for more fun. Wildside still has some more fun coming with the next big party on February 13th to celebrate Valentines Day. This event is free for kids ages 5-12 so call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register your kids.

Wildside Youth is our kids ministry at The Hope Center. With various events taking place year round, Wildside is providing a safe, fun, and educational experience free for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. During the school year Wildside hosts large party events each month along with special Sunday evening services geared just for kids. In the summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp running for four weeks in July and August. Wildside is also cultivating student leaders through their after school program, The Crew, where young people learn valuable skills and are given some leadership responsibilities during various events and activities at Wildside. For more information about Wildside Youth check out http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

 

 

 

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Guess Who Has a New Website?

We have a brand spanking new website! Have you visited it yet? If you haven’t then check out http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Our new site provides a wealth of information for those seeking help and services as well as our supporters and volunteers who want to learn more about all the various ways we serve the community.

From learning about our rich history to fully understanding the entire scope of services we provide, our website can help answer any question you might have about The Hope Center.

Take some time to check out our new website at http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. And be sure to tell others who are looking for a local non-profit to support or are in need of help to check out our website for all the information they need.

Another Successful Year at Camp Wild

The carefree days of summer have come and gone but while we still bask in the warmth of this long summer season, we can look back at all the fun-filled days of another great year at Camp Wild.

Camp Wild gave over 200 kids in Hagerstown the opportunity to experience a week of action-packed fun where they played games, sang & danced, created art, explored new worlds, made friendships and learned about how to live a life for Christ.

If you’re reading this and you are totally unfamiliar with Camp Wild let us take a quick moment to catch you up to speed. Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. Transportation to and from the camp is provided for free along with lunch and all activities. The morning takes place in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center where the kids have time to play various games and sports while also interacting with our counselors. Then they have a time of praise & worship music where they can sing and dance their hearts out followed by a very interactive lesson time where the kids not only learn about Jesus but are challenged to think deep and learn how to apply what they’ve learned in to everyday life. Following the lesson time the kids break into small groups where they can discuss more with their leader. It’s midday by this time which means that stomachs are growling and it’s time for lunch. After everyone gets their fill of our delicious camp food, we pack up and head out to our outdoor adventure camp area located on the Conococheague Creek near Cearfoss. There the kids enjoy various activities with their groups like Sanaa (arts & crafts area), The Dig (archaeologist treasure hunt), Life Cycles (learning about animal life) and Zulu (African experience) among other attractions. Each day the groups rotate through the various attractions so that each camper has an opportunity to experience each one. Once the group attractions are completed then it’s free time for the campers to enjoy swimming, zip line, snacks, soccer, tubing, hayrides and more.

All of this fun is provided free of charge because we feel it’s important that every kid in Hagerstown has the opportunity to experience a fun-filled summer no matter what. But to keep it free we rely heavily on donations from churches, businesses and individuals in the community. And we’re so thankful for everyone who has partnered with us to provide a great summer for thousands of kids over the years!

And while we appreciate all that our sponsors in the community do, we cannot forget to thank the volunteers who put in countless hours and lots of energy bringing Camp Wild to life and touching the lives of all these kids. We understand that it’s a very tiresome, exhausting and challenging job at times but God has always supplied us with the right people to make our camp perfect each summer. Thank you to all of our counselors, assistants, stage hands, cooks, servers, drivers and anyone else who did so much to change the lives of kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ok, by this point you’re probably ready to see some pics from Camp Wild 2016, aren’t you? We don’t blame you! Enjoy the images of Camp Wild 2016. And if you want to learn more about Camp Wild then go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center doesn’t just host Camp Wild. The school year is full of various free activities for kids ages 5-12. To learn more about Wildside Youth go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. You’ll get all the up-to-date info about anything and everything Wildside.

Interested in volunteering? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com, call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Volunteers Are the Heart of The Hope Center

In 2015 we celebrated 60 years of hope at The Hope Center. And a major part of what makes it possible for us to continue to provide services to men, women & children for free are all the hours of service given by faithful, caring friends in our community who serve as volunteers at The Hope Center.

Since 1955, The Hope Center has been a lighthouse to the needy in our community. Whether it was a man addicted to alcohol, a mother in need of clothing for her children, or a family who needs some food assistance, our doors have been open everyday to help those in need without asking a dime from any of our guests…or the tax-payer.

Friends, businesses, churches and other groups in the area have financially supported us from the very beginning allowing us to help so many people without being a burden on the tax payer.

But volunteers help supplement all of our finances by providing hours upon hours of compassion and hard work in many different ways at The Hope Center.

As we celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2015, we had some special events taking place in the community which gave us some new opportunities for volunteers to get involved and make an impact in our city. But many of the areas that volunteers gave so many hours were activities and events that happen on a regular basis at The Hope Center.

In total, we had 719 different volunteers work more than 13,394 hours! That’s incredible! This is exactly why we think that our volunteers are the best!

These volunteers worked throughout the year in one or more of the following areas of service:

  1. Sorting room
  2. Wildside Youth events (www.wildsideyouth.com)
  3. Camp Wild (www.campwildusa.com)
  4. Chapel services
  5. Men’s ministry check-in desk and teaching classes
  6. Off site: baking cakes, making sandwiches, providing food for after chapel (these are on a regular basis)
  7. Outreach: 60th anniversary events (Rock the Run 5K; Party-in-the-Park; Ladies’ Tea; Anniversary banquet); Thanksgiving Day and more.

Our volunteers gave in so many different ways throughout the year. And we’re so thankful for each and every one of them!

But our volunteer opportunities didn’t stop in 2015. We are always looking for volunteers to join the ranks of our volunteer program all the time. We have so many different areas for volunteers to get involved.

In fact, our 2016 Party-in-the-Park will be held on Saturday, October 22 at Wheaton Park in Hagerstown. We are currently looking for volunteers for this fantastic outreach opportunity. This is a great service project for youth groups to get involved with in their own community.  We will need volunteers to help with food, games, music, face and nail painting, crowd control, popcorn machine, cotton candy, set up and tear down, etc.

If you, your family & friends, church group, civic club or more would like to volunteer at our upcoming Party-in-the-Park then give us a call today at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We welcome you to help us reach our city and provide hope for those in need!

For more information about all the various volunteer opportunities at The Hope Center go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

 

Camp Wild 2015: Gallery of Smiles

Camp Wild 2015 was an incredible summer for both our campers and staff! We had over 230 kids experience all the action & adventure of our free summer day camp. There are plenty of activities for our campers to get involved in each day. From learning about Jesus, to building relationships, to creating art, hiking, swimming, exploring and playing, campers at Camp Wild are never lacking for anything exciting to do each day.

Since Camp Wild is free for any kid ages 5-12, we rely on the generous support of all of our donors in the area. We want to say thank you to all the individuals, churches, civic clubs, businesses and other organizations who helped to underwrite the cost of Camp Wild 2015. We appreciate your support and your commitment to reaching these precious kids for Christ and giving them a summer experience they will always remember.

For more information about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com. To learn more about our youth ministry, Wildside Youth, go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

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.

Camp Wild 2

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.

Camp Wild 2015

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.

Our Pantry Needs You!

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35

Since our beginning in 1955, one of our missions was to make sure that the hungry in Hagerstown had a welcomed place to eat. As our society has changed and economic troubles have hurt families, our mission to feed the less fortunate has changed from not just serving a hot plate of food but also making sure that families had food in their own cupboards to help them get through the month.

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Our pantry is looking a little too similar to Old Mother Hubbard’s these days. To be honest, it’s becoming a little difficult to keep our food bags filled with a nice variety of food.

Please consider helping us keep our pantry full for all of our daily guests, our residents and all our neighbors who need food bags for their homes.

The next time you’re at the grocery store, why not pick up a few of these items and drop them off? Or your church, Sunday School class, workplace, school, civic club, Boy/Girl scout troop or neighborhood could host a food drive to collect some of these much needed items.

Please help us fight hunger and hopelessness in Hagerstown!

PANTRY ITEMS NEEDED:
  • Macaroni & cheese boxed dinners
  • Hamburger Helper or similar boxed dinners
  • Spaghettios, Ravioli, or similar heat & serve pasta
  • Creamy peanut butter (15-16 oz. jars please)
  • Cans of soup (all varieties and sizes – except no cream soup please)
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Tuna (5 oz. cans please)
  • Any canned meat (Spam, chicken, potted meat, etc.)
  • Rice A Roni (all varieties)
  • Pork ‘n Beans
  • Spaghetti (1 lb. pkg)
  • Spaghetti sauce (cans or jars 24-26 oz.)

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Thank you for helping us feed our city! We appreciate your commitment to following God’s call to help take care of the poor and less fortunate in our community. For more information about our food program or to talk to someone about food drives or other ways you can help, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.