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.

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Camp Wild Needs You!

Camp Wild is just around the corner! In fact, it kicks off on July 7th. It will run for four weeks during the summer.

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Just in case you aren’t familiar with Camp Wild, it’s a free day camp for kids ages 5-12. Camp Wild runs Monday thru Friday from 9:30am-4:30pm, including rainy days. Campers are welcome to attend one week during the summer. They are able to pick which week they’d prefer to attend, but our free transportation is provided to certain areas during designated weeks only.

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Mornings at Camp Wild are spent in the Trinity Center located on The Hope Center campus in Hagerstown. Morning activities include games, free time in our rec rooms, theme time, small group time and lunch. Theme time is where everyone comes together to learn the Biblical principles for the week of camp. During Theme Time the kids and counselors also sing and dance to hip-hop, R&B, and rock-styled praise & worship music!

Following lunch, everyone is transported to our outdoor camp facility located just outside Hagerstown on the Conococheague Creek. This outdoor space is a missionary-themed adventure land with areas like Africa, Asia and Latin America. These different areas have fun attractions and activities like the Sanaa Trail, which is an African styled art area, Expedition Panda, our 600 foot long zip line, and The Great Caiman, an inner-tube ride adventure on the Conococheague! There are plenty of other fun outdoor activities like hiking, obstacle courses and so much more!

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Like we said, all this fun and adventure is free for kids in the greater Hagerstown area! Each week about 50 campers fill our camp with laughter, excitement and the taste for adventure. To many of these kids, this is their only vacation. The majority of our campers come from Hagerstown’s West End, Jonathan Street district, Noland Village and Frederick Manor/South End area.

Since the camp is free, we rely heavily on the support of financial donations and volunteer labor. It takes many people and lots of supplies to make Camp Wild operational for four weeks each summer. We’d love for you to get involved. Below are some ways you can donate your time or resources to help reach kids for Christ this summer.

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Take a minute to read through the various needs for Camp Wild. If you’d like to get involved in one way or another, contact information is listed at the bottom. We’d love to have you partner with us to make a difference and bring hope to kids in Hagerstown!

Food Donations Needed:

200 individual serving bags of chips/pretzels/cookies etc.
400 individually wrapped snack cakes
5 jars of spaghetti sauce
45 boxes of spaghetti noodles
400 taco shells
200 cans of Sprite
150 fruit drinks (Kool-Aid/Capri Sun)
500 napkins

Volunteers Needed:

Counselors:

We’re looking for counselors ages 14 and up. We’re looking for Christian teens, young adults, and adults who are developing themselves spiritually and want to help reach out to kids. We’re looking for volunteers who can help in the mornings (8:30-1:00), the afternoons (1:00-5:00), or even all day (8:30-5:00).

Small Group Leaders:

These counselors will be assigned small groups of 4 to 7 kids. They will lead those children in small groups discussions, visit attractions with them at the campground, and take care of those children’s needs.

Assistant Helpers:

These helpers will assist Small Group Leaders, Team Leaders, Assistant Directors, and the Camp Director where and when needed by serving lunches, helping lead kids, helping with small tasks around the camp like sweeping and cleaning, and helping out at the campgrounds.

All counselors will help out at our afternoon attractions such as monitoring the creek, helping with the kayak and inner tube ride, running the Rental Shop, staffing the Sugar Shack, and helping the kids have fun at the playground or soccer field.

If you would like to donate food items or just make a monetary donation to Camp Wild, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. You can always drop off food/monetary donations to our Administrative Office during business hours, M-F, 8:30am-5pm. If you just want to financially support Camp Wild, you can go to http://www.hagerstownrescue.org and click on the ‘Give to HRM’ tab located in the red box on the left side of the page. Donations are processed through PayPal and are completely safe.

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If you’re free to volunteer and feel that God is leading you to help reach kids this summer, welcome! We’re so glad to have you interested in joining our volunteer team! You’ll have the wonderful opportunity of building relationships with kids, talking and getting to know them, and leading them to knowing and growing in Christ! Your time invested in the lives of kids this summer could change them for eternity. What an incredible thought! To volunteer, please call 301.739.1165, email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net, or visit http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com and fill out the Volunteer Interest form located on the ‘Why?’ page. Someone will contact you quickly and get you the information needed to begin volunteering.

We are so thankful for supporters like you! You help to keep this ministry and all the other ministries of hope operational throughout the year at The Hope Center! Whether it’s volunteering time, donating gently used items, hosting food drives or providing monetary gifts, our friends and supporters are the heart of this ministry. The many different ways of community involvement help us keep everything free for our guests and also tax-free for the community. We don’t take any money from the government so all of the ministries and programs at The Hope Center are made possible through kind people in our community!

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Thank you again for your interest in Camp Wild and The Hope Center!

 

 

Koffee Klatch Says Goodbye…for Now

On Thursday, June 5th, Koffee Klatch had their final meeting for the season.

Instead of the traditional donuts and Bible study time, the season finale was a delicious lunch and time of fellowship, praise and celebration. Following the Bible study, the women had a wonderful time eating and socializing. The ladies all prepared food for the celebration and there was plenty of delicious food to be had!

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Usually, the Bible study follows the fellowship time, but this day was a little different. The ladies sang some songs, shared some stories, prayed together and gave special thanks to those who help make Koffee Klatch successful.

We, too, want to take a minute to thank the people who work behind the scenes to make Koffee Klatch possible each week. Becky Shank, who works in our administrative office, makes sure that all the food & coffee is prepped and ready to go each Thursday. She sets up the fellowship area and cleans up after each Koffee Klatch. We also want to thank the two very special ladies who lead Koffee Klatch each week. Dorcas Black, who works in our Sorting Ministry (donated goods), and Anna Nunemaker, a volunteer and former missionary to Africa, team lead Koffee Klatch each week. We are so thankful for their service to the ministry and their heart for all the women who attend.

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Anna Nunemaker, who usually teaches Koffee Klatch, brought a special speaker to give the ladies a word of encouragement. Anna’s granddaughter, Melanie, who lives in Switzerland, was visiting her grandmother and accompanied her to Koffee Klatch. Melanie, who travels Europe to speak about Science and the Bible, spoke to the women about using every opportunity, whether good or bad, to show the world who God truly is. She talked about how Satan may try to use a situation for evil, but can use it for good. She encouraged the ladies to keep up the fight during the summer break and remember that no matter what happens in life, always remember God means it for good.

During the Bible study time, the ladies in attendance gave God praise for the many blessings and prayers answered during this year. Many of the ladies talked about how God provided miracles in their lives, healed relatives and friends, and how He opened doors through various means to allow the women to share Christ with total strangers.

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Many of the women noted that Koffee Klatch is something that helps them grow in the Lord and is an activity that is much needed in their lives. One lady even said that the thing she loves most about Koffee Klatch is seeing women from all different churches, denominations, ages, and social backgrounds coming together at the weekly Bible study to worship God and grow spiritually.

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And she’s right. One of the most beautiful things about Koffee Klatch is the blending of women from all over the area. Some women are Baptists, others Brethren, and others Mennonite. There are women who have careers, others who are retired, and some who are housewives. The differences of these women show the power of God’s Word. It’s a unifying force that draws people together who would never usually mix. It’s the common thread that creates lasting friendships and breaks down barriers and stereotypes among humans. These women don’t see each other with the man-made labels we often give each other. They see each other as daughters of God. They’re sisters in Christ and they’re coming together to teach each other, support each other, pray for each other, love each other, and grow in the Lord together.

And this is why we want to encourage you to join us in the fall when Koffee Klatch returns. This is a great opportunity to create new friendships, help other women through various situations, and learn more about God in a different atmosphere. Koffee Klatch is free and open to any women who have some time each Thursday to attend.

And don’t forget to invite your friends, too! Bring your mom, sister, coworker, neighbor, and join us for a very informal worship time together. There’s so much that we can learn from each other so why not stop by? Unfortunately we don’t provide childcare. If you would like to learn more about Koffee Klatch, call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Have a great summer, ladies, and we’ll see you in the fall!

 

 

Koffee Klatch Season Finale is Thursday!

Ladies, this Thursday is the last meeting of Koffee Klatch until the fall.

And since we’re saying goodbye for the summer, we’ve decided to make it a little special. Instead of having a time of donuts and fellowship before the Bible study, we’re serving lunch after!

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This special Koffee Klatch starts at 10am instead of 9am in the Trinity Center. Our Bible study, prayer time and worship session will take place first followed by a delicious lunch.

And like usual, this entire event is free! This is a great opportunity to invite other ladies who don’t normally take part in Bible studies or regularly fellowship with other Godly women.

Again, Koffee Klatch this Thursday starts at 10am in the Trinity Center followed by a lunch. If you have any questions please call 301.739.1165.

We hope to see you there!