Happy, Happy Fall-O-Ween!

We may be a few days away from Halloween but Wildside Youth already started the spooky celebration with their well loved event, Fall-O-Ween!

73 Kids ages 5-12 flooded the Trinity Center for an evening of scary fun! The costumed kids enjoyed playing all sorts of festively themed carnival games in addition to free time play which included a crowd favorite: GaGa Ball!

The kids also had some fun partaking in the Trick-or-Treat Game Show which helped to finish the lesson about “corruption” in the series “Seven C’s of the Bible”. Throughout the various events during the month of October the kids have been learning about how Satan is full of tricks and continues to trick us today but Jesus is the ultimate treat because He loves us, forgives us, and saves us!

The kids this year were also able to experience the Halloween indoor tunnel which is the largest Wildside has done in the past five years. The indoor tunnel may sound silly but anyone who’s experienced it knows how much fun the tunnel truly is! It’s definitely one of the highlights of Fall-O-Ween.

But you know another highlight and fan favorite at Fall-O-Ween??? The food! From hotdogs wrapped to look like mummies to all sorts of treats, the kids at Fall-O-Ween sure didn’t get tricked when it came time to munch down on some great food!

Fall-O-Ween is always a great time for everyone – including our volunteer staff! Even as we’re saying goodbye to Halloween and all the tricks involved, the fun at Wildside is far from over. November ushers in a whole new month of activities for kids.

In November Wildside will host two Sunday Night Wild services (November 3rd & 17th) along with a Thanksgiving Party on November 12th. And then on Thanksgiving Day Wildside will host kids activities at the Trinity Center starting at 11am for our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There’s a lot of fun happening this month at Wildside and your kids can be a part of all the action! Just email info@wildsideyouth.com or call 301.739.1165 to learn more.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. Transportation to and from events is complimentary but space is limited and fills up quickly. Go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com to learn more about our youth program at The Hope Center.

Interested in volunteering and being a part of the fun at Wildside events?? We’re always looking for people to help at our Wildside events so if you’d like to learn more please call 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And as we noted, we are hosting our annual Thanksgiving buffet again this year on Thanksgiving Day (November 28th) at 11:30am in the Trinity Center. Doors open at 11am and kids activities kick off at the same time. All are invited to attend! We’ll have plenty of delicious food like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, succotash, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and more! This is a FREE event for people of all ages and tickets are NOT required. Spread the word and invite everyone to join us on Thanksgiving Day for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast at 11:30am in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center. More info to come so follow us on Facebook @hopecenterhagerstown or call 301.739.1165 for more info.

Ahoy, maties! Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yo ho! Yo ho! Ahoy, scallywags, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Who doesn’t love being a pirate? While talking like a pirate is fun and definitely will turn some heads – how about dressing like a pirate and running a 5K??!!

RTR Pirate PrincessWe may be months out from our 2020 Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess but today is a perfect day to go ahead and mark your calendar for our upcoming 5K on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown!

Talk Like a Pirate Day is a perfect time to invite others to join you in participating (running, walking, strolling, hobbling on your peg leg) or volunteering for our race. It’s a great activity for friends, small groups, landlubbers, coworkers, youth groups, mermaids, teams, buccaneers, and just yourself!

And it’s a perfect family activity too! With a 1 Mile Kids Fun Run prior to the 5K and pirate/princess themed kids activities during the 5K this is a great opportunity to bring the whole family out, dress up, have fun and raise money for a great cause!

Pirate and princess costumes are encouraged but not required to participate or volunteer. But the more the merrier to help make this a one-of-a-kind event in Hagerstown! To get some great ideas or complete your pirate/princess costumes check out Party City or other Halloween costumes stores now for a huge selection of items!

Learn more by visiting rocktherunhagerstown.com or calling 301.739.1165.

Have a great day, scallywags, and we’ll see ye in April!

Wildside Brings the Fun This Fall!

So we wrapped up another action-packed summer at Camp Wild in August but that doesn’t mean that kids have to wait until next summer to get in on all the fun!

IMG_7775Wildside Youth kicks off their party season with a Birthday Party Bash on September 17th! This is the first of monthly after school parties for kids ages 5-12. Following the party in September is one of everyone’s favorite October activities, Fall-O-Ween. (10/22). Then in November Wildside hosts a Thanksgiving party (11/12) followed by a Christmas party (12/10) in December.

But the monthly parties aren’t the only fun happening at Wildside this fall. Sunday Night Wild returns for multiple nights each month from October through December. Sunday Wildside 2019 Fall Event ScheduleNight Wild is a one-hour church designed just for kids! Sunday Night Wild returns this fall from 6-7pm starting on October 6th. This is a free activity for kids ages 5-12.

Just because summer has basically come and gone doesn’t mean the fun ends. Learn more about Wildside Youth events by visiting wildsideyouth.com. To talk to someone about the various activities hosted by Wildside or to register your kids for the upcoming Birthday Party in September call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com.

Wildside Celebrates Easter!

The Easter celebration at The Hope Center kicked off with Wildside’s Easter party in the beginning of April. Over 65 kids from Hagerstown attended the annual event. In addition to games and food, Wildside had a huge Easter egg hunt.

But before the egg hunt the kids enjoyed an interactive lesson which is part of the series, “How Big is My Problem?” This series is centered around conflict resolution and the kids learned at the party about how big our sin problem is and how sin builds a wall of conflict between us and Jesus. But the most important part of the lesson was learning how Jesus chose to resolve our conflict by tearing down the wall and saving us from sin!

The end of the evening saw all sorts of prizes handed out to some pretty good kids who were the winners of the Good Behavior Challenge. The Good Behavior Challenge isn’t an easy task, though. The challenge was to attend the 4 most recent Wildside events and avoid getting a single strike during those 4 events. Wildside started with 53 kids at the beginning of the challenge but by the Easter party only 19 kids were left in the competition. We’d like to announce that Aniya won the giant Easter basket prize and Josiah won the giant chocolate bunny for their continued good behavior at Wildside events! Other kids that evening won prizes for their good behavior during the event.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. In addition to big events like the recent Easter party, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings throughout the school year. Wildside also has a youth leadership program, The Crew, where mature kids in the Wildside program are selected and go through a leadership training program. And one of the biggest Wildside events is Camp Wild – which is quickly approaching. Camp Wild is a free day camp during the summer for kids in Hagerstown’s various neighborhoods and regions. Registration for Camp Wild isn’t open yet but will start soon. Learn more about Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com.

To learn more about all the Wildside activities please visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com. If you’re interested in volunteering for Wildside events or Camp Wild during the summer please email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165.

 

Goodbye, Sue! Enjoy Your Well-Deserved Retirement!

At the end of October we said farewell and see ya real soon to one of our staff members who was more like family than just a co-worker.

Sue Hosler retired this fall from The Hope Center. She started working with us in December of 2008. During her years as our Administrative Assistant, Sue talked with or came in contact with basically anyone and everyone who had anything to do with The Hope Center. She was the voice you heard when you called and the smile you saw when you dropped by.

We will definitely miss Sue for many reasons, but one major thing we could always count on Sue to do was to keep everything chugging away each day. Maintaining the office and all the various ministries can get pretty hectic and overwhelming, but Sue was able to always keep everything together and organized. During the busy holiday season Sue kept up with all the demands of the job including a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing and handling all the various donations of food and gifts from generous people during the season.

During Camp Wild Sue was always able to make sure parents’ needs were taken care of while various issues were sorted out. Every Monday of a new camp week was an adventure of sorts for Sue as she helped make sure all the concerns of parents were addressed and always kept up with questions about vans and pick up times.

For our Rock the Run 5K Sue made sure we had everything we needed and the event was efficient and fantastic. And the day of the event Sue was there helping to organize the food area for all of our participants and volunteers.

And those are just a few of the ways Sue really had a massive impact on the ministry at The Hope Center. But even beyond the paycheck Sue and her husband, Mark, pastor at Germantown Church of God, lived up to God’s calling by volunteering at various events at The Hope Center and hosting the men who are residents in our 13-month life recovery program, Foundations, each summer for a picnic just for them.

In addition to her job duties, Sue volunteered her time and services for our Party-in-the-Park events, Rock the Run 5K, Thanksgiving Day, Wildside Youth events, Christmas Day celebrations with our residents and community guests, and baking desserts for various activities and events at The Hope Center.

“I came to The Hope Center looking for a job – something to help pay the mortgage of a house we had left in another state and that we thought we had sold. Our tenant/buyers moved out leaving us with the house and the payments.

“What I found was a wonderful community of people who are sharing the Good News of the Gospel while trying to help some of the neediest people in our community. I considered it a joy to work with the Shanks, all my coworkers and faithful volunteers as we provided food, clothing, Godly counsel, shelter to men and activities to children. In everything that happens at The Hope Center the Gospel is presented – every day.

“I have been humbled many times those who I wished to bless by helping them turn around and blessed me.

“While I will no longer be answering the phone or greeting those who walk through the door every day, I will still be involved at The Hope Center. I will still volunteer at Wildside parties for the children. I will still show up at 6:30 AM on race day to volunteer. I will come with my church family to volunteer for evening chapel and the meal once a month. My husband and I will continue to support The Hope Center with our gifts and our prayers. Please consider joining us – pray, give, volunteer.”

Sue has been an incredible staff person, volunteer, and supporter of this ministry and we are so sad to say goodbye. She didn’t just come to do a job. She came to make a difference. And she did just that. Thank you, Sue, for your years of service at The Hope Center and for all the things you did and all the ways you helped reach thousands of people for Christ. We are so blessed to have been able to have you serve with us and we will certainly miss you each day!

 

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.

Yo Ho, Matey! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Everyone loves a pirate and a lot of us would love to be one. But unless you work at Disney World, talking like a pirate on a regular basis might draw some funny looks. Fortunately for all the wannabe scallywags out there, there are two days out of the year where it’s absolutely ok to be a pirate – and one of those days is today! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

And the second pirate day, you ask? Well it’s our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess! One Saturday a year Fairgrounds Park is overrun by pirates, princesses, knights, mermaids, and more running for fun and a great cause.

RTR Pirate Princess

On Saturday, April 27th, 2019, anyone and everyone can dress up, act, and run like a pirate! This is your chance to show your pirate side and raise money for a great cause – helping us combat homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown.

We’re currently in the beginning stages of renovating our kitchen, dining, and pantry areas at The Hope Center. Our kitchen feeds hundreds of men, women, and kids a year. Meals are served to anyone in the community who is hungry – no matter age or housing status. But because of how many people we serve, we need to improve and expand our food services area. With a brand new, up-to-date kitchen, larger dining room and more efficient pantry, we’ll be able to help make sure no one in Hagerstown and the surrounding area are ever without something to eat.

Our sponsors and every person who registers to participate in our Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess will be a part of helping to feed the hungry in our community.

 

And who says helping those in need can’t be fun? That’s why we encourage each participant to dress up and invite their family and friends to join them. We even have a 1 mile Kids Fun Run for the smaller buccaneers in your family! From our photo booth, to kids activities, themed music and more, Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is a legitimate race for hope with a fun twist.

So go ahead and mark your calendars now! Saturday, April 27th, 2019, at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. For more info about our 5K please visit http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

So to all you scallywags out there surrounded by landlubbers, happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! And we’ll see you and your best Jack Sparrow inspired self at Rock the Run this April!