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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Camp Wild 2018 Needs List

We’re less than a month until the start of Camp Wild 2018! We’re always as excited as the campers each year for the return of Camp Wild. But preparing and operating Camp Wild is a lot of work and requires so much.

 

Camp Wild 2

Camp Wild is a free week-long day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. The camp operates for four weeks each summer and focuses on kids from four different regions in Hagerstown. Each week is a target area where kids living in those areas can receive complimentary transportation to and from camp each day. In addition to free transportation, the campers also enjoy free lunch, snacks, activities, art projects, prizes, and more! To learn more about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Camp Wild can host around 60 kids each week for the four weeks of camp. Kids are free to come whichever week they want but complimentary transportation can only be provided in the designated week schedule.

Camp Wild is dedicated to the principles first established over 40 years ago when Conoco Camp first opened its doors for inner-city kids. The Hope Center and Camp Wild believe that every child should have a summer filled with fun, adventure, and new friendships and children should be given a chance to experience something new and different. But most importantly, all of this should be done in a safe, encouraging environment where kids are able to learn about Jesus in ways geared specific to their lives and culture. To make sure that every kid has this opportunity we’ve kept Camp Wild free – and it’s been that way dating all the way back to the very beginning.

But to keep it free we need the assistance of our faithful community to provide the essentials to keep Camp Wild free and operational each year. Now is your chance to help reach over 200 kids, and their families, this summer simply by providing some of the items on our needs list below. And spreading the word to your family, friends, church family, social networks, coworkers, and local businesses never hurts. We appreciate any donation you can give and we greatly appreciate continued prayer all summer long.

Once you’ve purchased items, please feel free to drop them off at our Administrative Office whenever you can. The Admin Office is located on 125 N. Prospect Street but parking and entrance is off of our central parking lot on Church Street between Prospect and Walnut Streets. To talk to someone about Camp Wild donations please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Thank you so much for caring and sharing with the kids of Hagerstown this summer!

Camp Wild 2018 Needs List:

PANTRY ITEMS

  • Taco shells
  • Fruit
  • Pasta sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Ranch dressing
  • BBQ sauce

PRODUCE

  • Shredded lettuce (16oz bag)
  • Baby carrots (2lb bag)
  • Watermelons

DRINKS

  • Little Hugs
  • Sprite (individual bottles)
  • Gatorade (individual bottles)

REFRIGERATED FOODS/MEATS

  • Butter (80oz tub)
  • American cheese slices
  • Shredded taco cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Hot dogs (beef)
  • Ground beef (5lb rolls)

FROZEN FOODS

  • Chicken nuggets
  • French fries

BREAD

  • Hot dog rolls
  • Bread (sliced loaves)
  • English muffins

SNACKS AND CANDY

  • Granola bars
  • Little Debbie snack cakes (oatmeal pies, brownies – nut free)
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Twizzlers (2lb tub individually wrapped)
  • Hershey chocolate bars (regular sized bars)
  • Hershey chocolate bars (10 ct mini bars)
  • Freeze pops

 

Who’s Ready for Camp Wild 2018?!!!

As we welcome June the countdown is on for summer which means that Camp Wild isn’t very far away!

In fact, on May 15th Wildside hosted their annual Camp Wild Kick-Off party in the Trinity Center. The camp themed party was full of fun activities and previews of Camp Wild 2018 as well as an opportunity for families to register their kids on the spot for a free week of camp.

Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown that runs for four weeks in the summer. Camp Wild is Monday – Friday, 9:30-4:30 each day, including rainy days.

Kids are able to attend Camp Wild one of the four weeks offered in the summer. Each week of Camp Wild targets a certain area of Hagerstown. Kids are welcome to attend any one of the four weeks, but transportation will be provided to certain areas during designated weeks only. While Camp Wild is free, space is limited so don’t delay registering your child if interested.

Camp Wild 2018 dates:

  • July 9-13 – North End
  • July 16-20 – West End
  • July 30 – August 3 – South End
  • August 6-10 – East End

The campers will spend their mornings in our Trinity Center indoor recreational building and their afternoons at our outdoor Camp Wild facility just outside of Hagerstown on the Conococheague Creek. Morning activities include games, prizes, theme time which includes singing & dancing, interactive Bible lessons, and other fun activities, small group time where kids can connect with each other and a counselor to build relationships and dig deeper into the daily theme, and last but not least, lunch where each camper will enjoy a main course, drink and a snack!

In the afternoon campers are transported to our outdoor facility where they will experience various themed areas like Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These themed lands provide kids with plenty of fun activities like inner-tube rides, swimming in the Conococheague Creek, art projects, hiking, learning expeditions, and flying over the savanna on our 600 foot long zip line!

If you are interested in signing your kids up for Camp Wild then don’t wait any longer! Call us today at 301.739.1165 or email us at info@wildsideyouth.com. You can also visit http://www.campwildusa.com to learn more about Camp Wild and see all the exciting activities kids in Hagerstown will get to experience this summer at Camp Wild!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.