My, My What a Spring It Was!

Summer has officially arrived! We love those long, hazy and hot days of summer. The smell of grilling out, the taste of a cold glass of lemonade and the chance to cool off by taking a dip in the pool are some of the things we like the best about this season. But we also love hosting hundreds of kids each summer at Camp Wild, our free summer day camp for kids in Hagerstown.

But before we kickoff Camp Wild season at The Hope Center, we want to take a moment to look back at Spring 2017.

From our 3rd annual Rock the Run 5k, to Easter celebrations, to Soup Line parties and more, our spring was loaded with activities.

We started celebrating random “National Holidays” with our Soup Line guests. On any given day we would include our guests in a “holiday” of sorts which could include prizes and a themed meal. There’s so much negativity and hurt in the world today so we wanted to have some fun with our guests and bring smiles to their faces as they celebrate such days as Oreo Day, Strawberry Day and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day.

But of all the springtime celebrations, of course nothing can compare to the importance of Easter. And this Easter we had so much going on! We hosted everything from a Wildside Youth party complete with a huge Easter Egg Hunt, to our Auxiliary bake sale, Easter celebration with our staff, residents and guests and an Easter cantata performance by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church with a delicious meal too! Easter is obviously so important to our ministry because it is the basis for the change and hope that we offer at The Hope Center. The power of Christ’s resurrection is what makes all this change possible. So we make sure that our residents and guests understand how important this celebration is to the power of hope.

As soon as Easter was over we were tying our running shoes for our 3rd annual Rock the Run: A Race for Hope presented by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. Each year our race gets better and better as we see so many new faces. But with all the new faces, we’re so thrilled to see so many participants returning to support The Hope Center. From our sponsors, to our volunteers and participants, our race this year was an overwhelming success! And we’ll be hosting it again in April, 2018 so plan to join us. Learn more about the race at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

And just this past weekend the awesome folks at Germantown Church of God hosted our residents for an evening of fellowship and great food! The people at the church have been hosting this picnic for years upon years and it’s an activity that our men genuinely love. We were so thrilled to have some of our staff join our men as we mixed and mingled with the people from Germantown Church of God. In fact, our very own Sue (she’s the voice you hear every time you call The Hope Center) is wife to Mark, the pastor of Germantown Church of God. We’re so thankful that the church continues to provide this evening of relaxation and fellowship for our men.

So as we bid farewell to yet another spring, we excitedly look forward to what God has in store for this summer. Camp Wild is just weeks away and things here are focused on making sure that our campers have another safe, fun and action-packed experience this year. Keep up-to-date on Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating supplies for Camp Wild 2017 then call us at 301.739.1165.

We want to thank each of you who have prayed for us, supported us and volunteered with us thus far in 2017. We couldn’t do all that we do without the loving support of each of you. Your gifts, time and talents do not go unnoticed by our staff or our Heavenly Father. Thank you for caring and sharing and investing so much in the lives of so many! We look forward to all the great things in store for the rest of the year!

If you would like to learn more about all the different ways that The Hope Center is working in our area then go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. Thinking about volunteering? Great! We’ve got the information you need at http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

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Happy Memorial Day!

“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!

While God is marching on”    -Battle Hymn of the Republic

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As Americans we love our freedoms but sometimes we often forget the extreme price that has been paid for those freedoms. We can easily get caught in our day-to-day routine of balancing family with work and navigating such busy lives that we sometimes forget how blessed we are to not just live in a prosperous nation but also one that enjoys such incredible freedoms.

As we go to picnics, parties and gatherings today, we need to remember the thousands of patriots who have gone before us sacrificing their lives, their blood and their families so that we can enjoy such human freedom that was once only imagined as a dream.

We thank God everyday for our military and their families who give up so much so that we can be free. Thank you to each of you who are currently serving right now to make sure that these shores are protected and our rights and freedoms continue.

Thank you to the families who watch as their loved ones leave for long periods of time to put their lives on the line for millions of fellow Americans that they’ve never met.

And we thank God for giving us the honor of living in a country where we value freedoms and each other so much. We hope that each day serves as a reminder of the blessings given to each of us from above. May we continue to fight for freedom, both here and elsewhere, defending those whose voices have been silenced and whom God asks of us to help.

On this Memorial Day, we hope that we all can come together, in spite of our differences, to thank those who have given their lives so that we can all live in peace and be free.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

 

2014 Year in Pictures: Part 2

This is the second part of a series of pictures celebrating all the people that God brought into The Hope Center in one way or another in 2014.

We appreciate, love, and value each of our guests, staff, donors, and volunteers so much! Thank you to each and every one of you who have partnered with us in 2014. Thank you for your prayers, financial support, volunteer hours, and all the food and gently used goods donated to help us fight against homelessness, hunger, addiction and hopelessness in the name of Christ.

Thank you for helping to make Hagerstown a better place!

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Germantown Church of God Hosts a Delicious Picnic!

Since 2005, one special Sunday evening in June the residents and staff at The Hope Center are invited to an evening of food, fellowship & worship from our good friends at Germantown Bethel Church of God in Cascade, MD.

The annual event is a chance for the members of the church to meet and mingle with the residents and staff at The Hope Center and to learn more about how the church’s continued support is helping change lives and reach people for Christ in Hagerstown.

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The evening begins with a delicious picnic full of wonderful foods prepared and provided by the church families in attendance. This year, though, was a wee bit different.

Usually there are hamburgers and hot dogs served at the picnic but this year the church did something a little unexpected and had a delicious pig roast! The pig was prepared by Ed and Margaret Baker of Sabillasville, MD.

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Following the food, everyone gathers together for the evening service hosted by The Hope Center. The service included songs and testimonies from the men. The service is also a time for the church members to hear about all the work that God is doing at The Hope Center and receive an inspiring message to challenge everyone in attendance.

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Germantown Church of God has been partnering, supporting and helping in various ways at The Hope Center for many, many years. In fact, Germantown has been involved with The Hope Center since at least the spring of 1956!

We are so thankful for the lifelong commitment the people of Germantown Church of God have made to this ministry! They understand the importance of the work done at The Hope Center and they take an active part following God’s command to reach all people for Christ.

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And we really appreciate the yearly invitation for our residents and staff to get to know and see the faces of the people who help to make this ministry possible. We want to give a big “thank you” to Pastor Mark Hosler and his wife, Sue, for always being such wonderful hosts, faithful supporters, and for promoting God’s work here at The Hope Center to their church family.

Thank you, Germantown Church of God, for your support and friendship through the years!

If you would like to know more about Germantown Church of God, please visit http://www.germantowncog.org or call 301.241.3050.

There’s Always a New Adventure at Camp Wild

The second week of Camp Wild is coming to an end. And even though we had a couple days of rainy weather, the kids have been having a blast this week!

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A little rain didn’t stop anyone from having fun, but because of the rain campers stayed indoors at the Trinity Center in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday.

 

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They spent the afternoons playing games, enjoying free time to shoot hoops, and making art projects.

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But since the campers couldn’t enjoy all the various outdoor activities the first two days of camp, for Wednesday, Camp Wild planned to do something they’ve never done before.

Yesterday the kids were able to spend the entire day at our outdoor camp facility!

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The kids were thrilled to enjoy the morning and afternoon exploring, discovering, and playing outside. In addition to free time, the campers also experienced attractions like the Tiger Trail, Snake Charmer and Life Cycles.

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For lunch, the campers enjoyed having a “picnic” with chips, drinks, snacks, and delicious Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches!

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The staff at Camp Wild work hard to make each day special and fun for the campers. Even when the weather makes it difficult, our staff doesn’t miss a beat keeping the kids engaged and entertained.

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We’re so thankful for everyone who has been helping to make Camp Wild successful. They pour their heart into this ministry and work hard to create a fun, adventurous atmosphere for each camper. They work hard at Camp Wild because each one sees the value of each camper and understands the importance of reaching these kids for Christ! Thank you, Camp Wild staff & volunteers, for all you do to show Jesus to these precious campers.

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And we want to thank Chick-Fil-A for sponsoring those absolutely delicious chicken sandwiches for our campers each week! It’s a special treat for the kids, and the counselors too!

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There is still some space left for the last two weeks of Camp Wild on July 28-August 1 and August 4-8. While transportation is provided, space is limited and could be full. If you’re interested in signing your kids up for a free week of camp, call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com immediately. We highly suggest that you don’t delay. If you’re providing your own transportation, please notify the Camp Wild representative when you register your kids.

If you’d like to learn more about Camp Wild or our youth ministry, Wildside, go to http://www.campwildusa.com or http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Happy Independence Day, America!

There’s just something about Independence Day that just makes you feel down right good.

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Whether it’s the cookouts with the family, basking in the warm summer sun, jumping into a refreshing pool, or gazing into a sky glittered with dazzling fireworks, the Fourth of July is the crown jewel of the summer break.

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And while it’s a great day to celebrate all that is summer, Independence Day is one to be remembered as a the day that God sparked a fire inside the hearts of brave men & women to stand up and chart their own destiny.

The Fourth of July is a celebration of rebellion against tyranny, oppression and a victory of the rights of man. Our founding fathers put their lives on the line so that their children and future generations of Americans would be able to live free and successfully without an oppressive government controlling every detail of their lives.

Today we celebrate all that it means to be free, to be American. We have been given the opportunity, within reason, to choose our own path and be whomever we want to be.

But on this day of celebration against tyranny, we can’t forget that the real fight is not yet over. This is not the fight against man, it’s the fight against spiritual tyranny.

So many of our fellow Americans are not free because of various opportunities or choices made. They are bound by seriously destructive sins. They are being controlled by a tyrant of epic proportions whose whole goal is their destruction.

And that’s why we’re here. The Hope Center values freedom. We want people to be free spiritually to be all that God intended them to be. Whether their choices left them addicted, homeless, broke, hungry, angry, alone, scared, desperate or confused, we’re here to tell them about true freedom, freedom in Christ.

We want them to know that God has written, for them, a Declaration of Independence and signed it in the blood of Christ. They’re already free from sin. God already fought the enemy and won the victory. All they need to do is choose.

At The Hope Center we help them understand that they are not alone. We want them to know that mistakes, bad choices, unfortunate circumstances don’t dictate their spiritual freedom for eternity. We don’t force anyone to choose, but we don’t hide the truth from them. Just like our Founding Fathers wanted, they are free to make their own decisions, and we are here to help them choose wisely.

As you join with your family & friends to celebrate America’s independence, remember to pray for those who are still battling for their own independence from sin. Pray that Satan will lose his grip on their hearts and minds. Pray that our staff & volunteers will show them the love, compassion and understanding that is needed to win this fight.

Thank you for helping us help others. Through your prayers, donations, financial support, and volunteer hours you have helped us continue to fight the good fight and encourage, help and heal those who are hopeless and lost. We appreciate and value your contributions to The Hope Center and all the various ways that your generous heart has helped us change lives for Christ!

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Enjoy your holiday with those who are important to you! Thank God for your freedom! And pray for those still searching for their own day of independence!

Great Evening at our Annual Picnic!

Each year, our staff, residents, Auxiliary, Board of Directors and family members come together for an evening of sports, fellowship, activities and delicious food.

Our annual Hope Center Picnic was held on Friday, September, 27th at the Washington County Regional Park.

Our residents enjoyed an evening away from our downtown facilities to play softball, horseshoes, Frisbee and socializing.

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Approximately 60 people attended. Our Auxiliary provided chicken & sodas and other guests brought delicious side dishes, salads and desserts.

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We always enjoy this event. It’s a nice, casual way to get to know each other outside of The Hope Center and it provides our Board of Directors and Auxiliary to really get to know some of our residents and staff on a more personal level.

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This is a wonderful opportunity for our residents to meet some of the loving people who help in many different ways at The Hope Center. The men in the program get to meet and talk to the people who are their invisible support team helping each of the men reach their spiritual, physical and emotional goals.

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We are so thankful for our staff, Auxiliary and Board of Directors. These people care so much for this ministry and the hundreds and thousands of lives who are reached by the various programs at The Hope Center.

If you would like to get involved with The Hope Center by joining our Auxiliary, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

  • Auxiliary provided fried chicken and sodas