Wildside’s Birthday Bash Kicks Off the Party Season!

Imagine one giant party to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Sounds kinda wild, doesn’t it? Well Wildside Youth Ministries likes to do things a little different so they kicked off their school year party season with a huge birthday party celebration!

All the kids who attended the Birthday Bash on September 25th were able to celebrate their birthday. Each month was given a celebration and no one was left out of the fun! 52 kids ages 5-12 attended the first Wildside party of the season where they played birthday themed carnival games, painted faces, made crafts and enjoyed some great food.

But the most important part of the evening was learning about having the most important birthday: a spiritual birthday. The kids in attendance learned all about the importance of being born again and following Jesus.

Wildside is the youth ministry at The Hope Center. In addition to monthly large event parties during the school year, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings during the school year as well as The Crew which is the student leadership development program for older kids in the program. And each summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp for kids in July & August. All Wildside activities are free for kids ages 5-12. Learn more about Wildside and upcoming events by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Your financial donations to The Hope Center help fund these important activities for kids in Hagerstown. We are able to keep Wildside and our other programs and services for free for our guests because of generous and faithful supporters in our community. Thank you for your support of The Hope Center as we continue to reach everyone in our community – even kids – for Christ!

Want to learn more about donating or volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to get all the info you need on how to become a partner with us.

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Thank You, Dorcas, For Your Lifetime of Service!

As we bid farewell to 2017 and joyfully welcomed a new year, at The Hope Center we said goodbye to a long-time employee. Dorcas Black, known to many simply as Aunt DSC_0463 (2)Dorcas, retired from 48 years of full-time ministry at The Hope Center. Dorcas, daughter of founders, Jim & Ellen Resh, has been actively involved in many different areas of ministry at The Hope Center in her 48 years of service. From singing with The Missionaires, to directing The Lighthouse Puppeteers who entertained and ministered to hundreds of people throughout the area, to directing Echoes of Hope TV broadcast, to creating Conoco Camp, Just Kids TV show, helping in our Ladies’ Auxiliary, cohosting Koffee Klatch, and supervising the Sorting Room just to name a few. Her impact and influence has been a major part of the formation of many ministries and programs at The Hope Center, most notably the long-running children’s ministry that she started, now known as Wildside Youth & Camp Wild, which to this day is still reaching kids in Hagerstown’s downtown neighborhoods.

Dorcas has been a faithful servant of the Lord in her time here at The Hope Center. So inDSC_0447 (2) December we threw her a retirement luncheon in our former “studio” building where she spent so much of her time creating Just Kids and Echoes of Hope TV shows. Our staff joined the pride of Dorcas’ life, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in celebrating her career and all of the things she’s done while serving God here.

With all she’s experienced and accomplished at The Hope Center, we asked Dorcas to give us her thoughts about the 48 years of her ministry to reaching so many for Christ. Here are her thoughts:

“48 years… sounds like a really long time, but when you think about it, it’s almost like yesterday. And after 48 years of employment here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, I have retired. I never thought that I would retire but it was the right time and the right thing for me to do. I really never considered my years here at the Mission as “employment” but rather as service and I am so thankful for the opportunities that the Lord gave me to serve. Actually I was here from the very beginning which was 62 years ago. My siblings and I watched as our dad and mom followed God’s call to start a rescue mission in Hagerstown. When we moved to the apartment above the Mission on Jail Alley, we soon realized that our neighbor was the county jail. We had no yard. We could not go out on the street under any circumstances so it was quite an adjustment for all of us five kids. But there was an excitement about this as we watched miracle after miracle take place as the Lord used our parents to minister to “the least, the last, and the lost” – as Dad used to say.

At the age of eighteen, I married Carl Black. That was July 9th, 1960. In May of 1962, with our two baby boys, Carl Jr. and Curtis, we moved to York, PA where Carl directed the York Rescue Mission for seven years. Moving back to Hagerstown, Carl became assistant to my dad and I started my employment as a clerk in the Thrift Store. That was August, 1969.  It has been quite a journey as I reflect on the past 48 years. For 34 years, I directed the Conoco Day Camp for children, the Lighthouse Puppeteers, Just Kids TV, Just Kids Bible Club, as well as helping in other areas of the ministry. Then in 2004 I took over supervising the Warehouse (Sorting Room) in place of my mother who was having some serious health issues – she was 87 years old and a faithful worker.

On November 3, 2015, while working, I tripped on a box and fell, breaking my hip. Following surgery and many, many weeks of therapy, it was determined that the bone was not healing properly, so a second surgery was performed in May of 2016. Again, after months of therapy and very little progress in healing, on November 2, 2016, I was sent to Baltimore where I had total hip replacement. Then seven weeks after this surgery, a knock came to my door. It was Sonny, Becky & Laurel (my sisters). Sonny informed me that my son, Curtis, age 54, had dropped over with a massive heart attack. I was totally devastated. It was difficult. The Lord had called my husband home to Glory in December, 2007. I was blessed to have two wonderful sons who had been there  to help me with anything I needed (even though they were grieving the loss of their father). And now my youngest, sweet Curtis, is gone. I can’t express the pain as I go through this grieving process, but I can express the wonderful sweet presence and peace of my Heavenly Father.

I never cease to be amazed at the sovereignty of God, knowing that He is in control and that He makes no mistakes and that He is faithful. I draw upon the precious promises of His Word which assures me that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5. Jesus is the healer of broken hearts. He is mending my heart as I depend on Him. I have wonderful memories as a wife and mother and I am slowly learning that even death cannot rob me of the joy of all those many sweet memories.

And now that time has come to retire. It was such a hard decision to make but through much prayer and soul searching I knew it was what I needed to do. I will still be involved in many ways. But as I adjust to this new schedule I know that the Lord will direct my path as I trust in Him, lean on Him, and acknowledge Him. And, I will always look back on those many, many memories of serving here at the Mission – some heart-wrenching, some hilarious, some miraculous. I am truly blessed.”

Aunt Dorcas, thank you for your creativity and passion and being willing to do so much to reach all people, young and old, churched and unchurched, for Christ! You will never know your true impact while on earth but Heaven is most certainly keeping track of all you did – and will continue to do even in your retirement.

Please join us in thanking Dorcas for all that she’s done to further the Kingdom of God in her 48 years of service! To God be the glory!

 

 

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.

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.

Spring 2017 is Going to be Wild!

We’re two months into 2017 and things are getting already getting crazy! And no, we’re not talking about the unseasonably warm, but wonderful, weather we’ve been experiencing.

We’re talking about all the exciting and fun activities hosted by Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center!

In January Wildside hosted a Football & Cheerleader party to celebrate the Super Bowl and then they turned right back around and hosted a Valentines party to celebrate everything about love.

These large themed events are free for any kid ages 5-12. Each month Wildside has a fun theme for each event complete with games, activities and food to celebrate the theme. Kids from all over Hagerstown join their friends at Wildside to have fun, eat some great food and learn some Biblical lessons in a way that is geared specifically for them.

Sorry your kids missed the events in January and February? Don’t worry, there’s still so much more fun for kids the rest of the year. Take a look at the upcoming schedule of events and mark your calendars to make sure that your kids don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Wildside Spring 2017 Schedule:

  • March 5th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • March 14th – St. Patrick’s Party (5-7pm)
  • March 19th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 2nd – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 11th – Easter Party (5-7pm)
  • May 7th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • May 16th – Camp Wild Kick-Off Party (5-7pm)
  • May 21st – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)

And like we’ve already mentioned, all this is provided free for the kids. Thanks to the generous financial donations of people and groups in our community along with funds generated from the proceeds of sales in our two Thrift Stores, Wildside is able to reach these kids for Christ and provide a safe and fun atmosphere for them to let loose and enjoy life.

If you’d like to learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries or Camp Wild hosted by Wildside Youth then go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com and http://www.campwildusa.com. To register your kids or talk to someone about Wildside events call 301.739.1165 or email us at info@wildsideyouth.com.

Thinking about volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about all the various ways, including Wildside Youth activities, that you can become a volunteer and help make a difference in our community.