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.

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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.

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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.

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 Block Party Rocked!

On Saturday, May 16th, Walnut Street was the scene of another party for all of our neighbors and friends in Hagerstown!

We hosted a Block Party which was free for anyone in the community. There was plenty to do including a dodge ball tournament, a bounce house, face painting, sports activities, carnival games and plenty of free food!

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Anniversary Block (10)Anniversary Block (21)We’re thankful for all of our faithful friends who volunteered their time and energy to help us throw a great party in the streets! We completely and thoroughly appreciate everything our volunteers do for The Hope Center. Our volunteers have been faithfully serving and supporting this ministry for 60 years and we’re thankful for the strong bond we have with the local community who believe in the importance of reaching, helping, caring, and loving the least, the last and the lost in our city.

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The Block Party was just another fantastic event in our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration! Thank you to all who participated and supported this event.

To see more pics from this event go to http://www.hopecenter60.com and click on the ‘Events’ tab. At the bottom of that page you’ll see a gallery full of pictures from our Block Party.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for upcoming 60th Anniversary events in the fall. There’s more to come so go to wwwhopecenter60.com to learn more about our upcoming events.

In addition to celebrating 60 years of hope, our Block Party was also the kick-off event for Camp Wild 2015, our free summer day camp program for kids in Hagerstown and surrounding areas.

Camp Wild is a summer camp program for kids ages 5-12. Kids can attend one of four weeks during July & August for free. From morning until afternoon, the campers partake in tons of various activities like games, interactive Bible lessons, singing & dancing, art projects, lunch and snacks, hay rides, zip line, swimming, adventure lessons, hiking trails, and so much more. Campers are also given free transportation* to our adventure camp! Camp Wild is definitely a highlight of the summer for hundreds of kids in downtown Hagerstown.

To volunteer at The Hope Center, including upcoming 60th Anniversary events and Camp Wild call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about the many ways you can get involved at The Hope Center.

*Camp Wild transportation is free but limited. Complimentary transportation is only available to select areas of the city during select weeks. Check the transportation schedule at http://www.campwildusa.com to see what weeks our vans will be in your part of Hagerstown. If you can provide transportation then you are free to pick the week of your choice but don’t delay, space is limited. Call 301.739.1165 or email info@campwildusa.com immediately.

It’s Time to Rock and Run!

We are inching closer and closer to our 1st 5K, Rock the Run: A Race for Hope! Have you registered for the race yet? There’s still time, but don’t delay. It’ll be here before you know it.

Rock the run logo jpgRock the Run: A Race for Hope is a 5K race/walk at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown on April 25th, 2015. There will also be a kids race prior to the main event. This is a wonderful opportunity for your whole family to get involved and help reach the less fortunate.

Our Rock the Run: A Race for Hope is an important opportunity for us to expose the community to the struggles of homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. The Hope Center has been open everyday for people in need since our beginning 60 years ago.

We are still dedicated, as we were at the beginning, to helping those in physical, emotional, and spiritual need in our community. Homelessness and hunger can affect anyone at any given time and it is our goal to relieve the burden and stress of the situation by not only addressing the physical needs but the spiritual ones as well.

God has called us to help each other. And for 60 years we’ve been doing exactly that. We’ve seen the demographic trend change from older to younger, from alcohol to drugs, from starving singles to desperate families. God has blessed The Hope Center and we know it’s because of our great support system of friends, volunteers, and donors.

Now, as we celebrate 60 years of helping people in our community, we want to take 60th-HiRestime to help make our community more aware of the reality that is homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown.

And that’s why we’re doing Rock the Run: A Race for Hope. This 5K helps us raise financial support through sponsors and participants, exposes the work of The Hope Center to a new group in our community who may not totally be aware of exactly what we do, and gives everyone a chance to help those in need.

In addition to the run/walk, we’re bringing our donation trucks to the race so that participants and volunteers can donate food items, toiletries, shoes, clothes, and household items. These items will be used in one way or another in our various outreach ministries. From our food bank, to our daily Soup Line, our overnight shelter, to Camp Wild, Family Assistance program, Foundations Life Recovery program, and our Thrift Stores, these donated items will help in multiple ways to provide the physical relief that so many people in our area need.

So go ahead and fill out that registration for Rock the Run: A Race for Hope. You don’t have to be a seasoned runner, you can walk it. And invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, Sunday School class, and more because it’s always more fun to participate in an event like this with friends.

Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to learn more and register for this event. Also, go to http://www.facebook.com/rocktherun5krace to join the community on Facebook. Spread the word and tell others to join you. This is not just an ordinary 5K. We’re coming together as a community to run homelessness out of town. And it all starts with the click of the mouse.

We’ll see you on April 25th in your running shoes!

A Wildside Party Kids are Gonna L-O-V-E

Valentine’s Day is almost here and Wildside is ready to celebrate with a big party!

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All kids ages 5-12 are invited to join all their friends at Wildside’s Valentine’s Party on Tuesday, February 10th, from 5-7pm in the Trinity Center.

Kids are gonna have a great time playing games, earning prizes, creating art projects, eating delicious food, and learning all about the love of Jesus! And there will be special prizes for the person who wears the most red!

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This is a free activity for kids but we do ask that you call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register your kids for this event.

Complimentary transportation is provided to select areas inside of Hagerstown but space is limited so please call or email Wildside immediately if your children need transportation to and from this event.

To learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries and other activities at Wildside, go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com.