Happy Retirement, Fran! We’re Gonna Miss You!

As 2013 came to a close, we were saying goodbye to a long time friend & colleague, Fran Williamson, who retired from years of service at The Hope Center.

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Fran was a faithful employee at The Hope Center for 22 years. She started as a receptionist & secretary for Children’s Outreach Ministry. During her time with Children’s Outreach Ministry, she became the facilitator of the Just Kids Bible Club.

The Just Kids Bible Club was a correspondence course for kids ages preschool to high school. Students enrolled in the program would complete lessons in various series. Fran would grade each lesson and send out prizes and other rewards to children in the program.

Fran continued working with the Just Kids Bible Club after Childen’s Outreach Ministry became Wildside Kids (WSK). As WSK grew into Wildside Youth Ministries, Fran became a more visible part of the ministry by helping at after-school events and Camp Wild.

In addition to her work with Wildside Youth, Fran was also the afternoon receptionist in the Administrative Office at The Hope Center.

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Fran will always be considered a part of The Hope Center “family,” and while we’re definitely going to miss her, we’re thankful for her faithful and dedicated service to God and to this ministry, and we wish her the best for the future!

Thank You, Volunteers!

Friday, October 18th was a night dedicated to some of the most important people we know, our wonderful and dedicated volunteers!

We hosted our 2nd annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner for more than 160 of our volunteers who gave valuable time during this past year to help us reach thousands of people in Hagerstown.

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Our volunteers log hundreds of hours a year helping in many different ways at The Hope Center. From serving food, to building relationships with kids at Camp Wild, to preparing food bags, to teaching & counseling, to sorting items for our thrift stores, and helping to keep our facilities clean and up-to-date, our volunteers truly do help make a difference and keep this ministry moving forward.

We understand that everyone’s time is precious so that’s why we appreciate all the hours that our volunteers give. And this dinner is just a small way of saying “thank you” for partnering with us to bring hope to Hagerstown.

Our volunteer appreciation event was started as a way for us, and our residents, to say thank you to everyone who helps throughout the year. Our residents have a very unique opportunity to meet so many different people who help all over the place at The Hope Center. So this is a way for them to show their gratitude to all the faces that they’ve met while in the program.

The delicious meal was catered by Leiters’ Fine Catering. Our Hope Center residents were the servers for the evening. And to provide a touch of class, our residents wore tuxedo shirts loaned to us from J&B Bridals in Chambersburg. Each resident was assigned a table that he was responsible for serving food & drink as well as talking & mingling with our guests of honor.

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In addition to serving, our residents sang for our volunteers and two of our residents, Dustin & Dave, gave testimonies. Gene Ridenour, The Hope Center Board President, lead the men in singing and his wife, Holly, sang two solos.

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Ron Shank, Director of Pastoral Care at Brooklane, gave a short message to the volunteers, thanking them for their service and dedication to The Hope Center.

We were also pleased to have nine of our Board members in attendance. It’s good for our Board to see and meet some of the people who give so much to this ministry.

But we want to take a minute to thank some other very important supporters of this ministry, our Ladies’ Auxiliary. These wonderful women made all the delicious desserts for the event. In addition to that, they helped to set up the event and clean up afterwards. We can’t thank them enough for all the support that they provide The Hope Center throughout the year. We love them and are truly thankful for their faithful service to this ministry.

We thank God for all the people He has sent to partner with us to reach Hagerstown for Christ. God has sent us a very faithful group of friends to help us spread hope and love to so many who have been left behind or forgotten. We cannot even measure the eternal impact that our volunteers have had throughout the years.

We love our volunteers so incredibly much! Thank you for finding the time, energy and spirit to serve the least, the last & the lost. You’re truly making a difference in the lives of so many.

If you would like to join the ranks of the greatest volunteers in Hagerstown, call or email us immediately! There are plenty of ways to get plugged in. We can help find the right place for your talents and gifts. Call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net today.

Camp Wild 2013 – Part 2

We’re giving you a brief glimpse of all the fun kids in Hagerstown had this summer at Camp Wild. For more info on Camp Wild or other Wildside Youth programs, please visit www.wildsideyouth.com.

Wildside Youth is proudly sponsored by The Hope Center. If you’d like to volunteer at Wildside activities or any other programs or ministries at The Hope Center then please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

To learn more about the various ministries at The Hope Center, including Wildside Youth, please go to www.hagerstownrescue.org.

What a Great Summer at Camp Wild!

We can’t believe that Camp Wild has already come & gone for another year!

Even though Camp Wild has concluded, that doesn’t mean the fun has to end! Wildside Youth Ministries will be back in the fall with monthly themed parties and Sunday Night Wild every Sunday evening! Keep checking this blog to stay up-to-date with all the excitement that Wildside has to offer!

If you want to learn more about Wildside, go to www.wildsideyouth.com.

Enjoy some more pics from Camp Wild 2013!

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Genesis Fellowship VBS Helps to Sow the Seeds

On Thursday, June 27th, a group from Genesis Fellowship spent the morning helping Wildside Youth make some final preparations for this year’s Camp Wild program.

Six adults and nine young people volunteered several hours of their day painting, cleaning and setting up three different stations & activity areas for Camp Wild.

But the VBS group from Genesis Fellowship didn’t come just to pitch in. They came to teach their students about the importance of helping ministries and missions groups who spread the Gospel all over the world, including right here in Hagerstown. Pastor Steve Fretz wanted the young people to learn to serve in their own backyard as well as learning to serve people overseas.

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Pastor Fretz says, “we recognize that our society has become very ‘self’ oriented – people spend their time pursuing what they like or want or desire, or what they think will make them more comfortable, etc. This has led to an entire generation of people and their children who care more for their own comforts and conveniences than they do for others. Genesis Fellowship has embraced the biblical ideal that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ calls His disciples to display His life and His Gospel in both word and deed … for the Father’s glory.”

 At Genesis Fellowship, they believe that their VBS ministry is a great opportunity to reach out to their own community and share the Gospel of Christ with the neighborhood children and their families.

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Since their VBS program is a “seed-planting” ministry in their neighborhood, they take time during their VBS to teach the children about the importance of sharing Jesus with others also. This year’s missions emphasis told the children about the millions of kids in India who are working as slaves. Booklets in their language were personalized by every child at VBS, and then sent to the children in India.

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But the leaders at Genesis Fellowship didn’t stop with just educating the kids about foreign missions. Pastor Fretz said that in addition to “recognizing the global need for evangelism and ministry, Genesis Fellowship also believes we live in a mission field that is close to home.” They wanted the children to understand that there is a world just outside of their own doors where children live each day without ever knowing of Christ or how much God loves them.

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The desire to teach the children about the need to reach the community is how Genesis Fellowship got involved with Camp Wild.

Camp Wild is a program that helps to “sow the seeds” in the hearts of hundreds of children in Hagerstown. Many of these kids are not exposed to the life-changing message of Jesus so this may be one of the only times that some of these kids hear the Gospel. But we all know that once a seed is planted, the Holy Spirit can do miraculous things!

So by helping Camp Wild, the students from Genesis Fellowships VBS program are helping to plant seeds in the hearts of so many local kids. This opportunity of service is not only beneficial for Camp Wild but also for the VBS students who learn that the world does not center around them and that God has called them to help reach the lost, even in their own backyard, for Him. This service to God can help impact their city which could ultimately help change the world.

We are so thankful for the students and leaders of Genesis Fellowship for volunteering at Camp Wild. But we’re not just thankful for their physical service to our youth ministry. We’re thankful that they have such a heart for people that they desire to teach the next generation the importance of winning people, whether old or young, to Christ. They understand the needs of local ministries and they see the mission field, here at home, so clearly.

We hope that the students who helped that day will continue to have a heart for children both here and overseas.

If you are looking for a church with a strong emphasis on missions, please check out Genesis Fellowship in Chambersburg, PA. To learn more about this church go to www.genesisfellowshipchurch.org.

Local Students Lend a Hand for Camp Wild

We love our volunteers! From helping to paint buildings, to cleaning vans and windows, to helping prepare meals and fill bags for our food bank, volunteers really help relieve a major burden of work at The Hope Center.
And when young people come to volunteer at The Hope Center, it’s a very special thing. When young people are given the chance to volunteer to help others, their lives and outlook on life changes.
That’s why we were so happy to have three students from Stone Bridge Academy stop by The Hope Center and help prepare the outdoor facilities for Camp Wild.
But what makes this so special is that one of our former Camp Wild leaders was the teacher who brought the students to volunteer.
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Christy White has been a volunteer at Wildside Youth, the children’s ministry at The Hope Center which hosts Camp Wild, for years. She’s been a leader during after-school parties and a counselor at Camp Wild for many years.
She knows the amount of work that goes into preparing and running Camp Wild and she wanted to bring some students who could help with manual labor and learn something in the process.
These students helped paint the playground set, clear brush, and assist in setting the flag poles in cement in preparation for the upcoming Camp Wild season.
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When asked why they wanted to come out and volunteer, each replied that they genuinely enjoy helping others.  They were excited to help, knowing that kids, like themselves, would benefit from the camp this summer.
One student is a former Camp Wild camper and appreciates what Camp Wild has to offer.  She stated that Camp Wild is a good place to go for local kids, because it keeps them out of trouble.  She liked learning about God and really connected to last year’s theme of learning about what God has planned for your life, memorizing Jeremiah 29:11.
After the group was finished working for the day, they received a tour of the grounds from Wildside Youth director, Adrian Black.  The students were excited to hear about the new attractions coming this year and for the next years to come.  Each girl is looking forward to coming back and to further help in projects leading up to camp’s first week in July.  They also hope to come back as camp volunteers and experience all Camp Wild has to offer.
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Christy was so encouraged in seeing how excited her students were in coming out on a hot summer day to haul buckets of water and be willing to get a little paint on themselves, and being genuinely excited for the kids who will benefit from having their facilities upgraded.  It was great seeing them working so hard and not wanting to stop until the work was finished.
We are always thankful for volunteers! If you would like to get involved as an individual or bring a group, just call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. If you are interested in volunteering at Camp Wild this summer, please call immediately! There are only a few short weeks left before Camp Wild kicks off for 2013.
To learn more about Camp Wild, go to www.campwildusa.com.

Straight Ahead Youth Group Gets Wild!!

Every year, for about the past 10 years, a group of young people from Everett, PA, has traveled to Hagerstown to spend a day with the kids who attend Camp Wild.

And just like in the past, this wonderful group of young people showed their happy faces on Wednesday of week 3 of Camp Wild 2012. The Straight Ahead Youth Group from Community Grace Brethren Church drives over an hour to come hang out with our campers. This year they even brought a young lady from France!

The group spent the morning with the campers in the Trinity Center playing games, interacting in small group time and eating lunch. Then in the afternoon the group followed the campers out to the Camp Wild outdoor facility where they were able to swim, ride hayrides, go on hikes and play sports with the campers.

Kids always love having fun, energetic teenagers to spend time with. And even though this group is only able to come one day, the impact that they make on the life of one of these precious kids could last for eternity!

We want to thank the Straight Ahead Youth Group for coming every year to spend some time with the campers at Camp Wild!

Camp Wild 2012 is Almost Here!!

Can you believe that in only 2 weeks Wildside will welcome the first campers to Camp Wild 2012?!

The fun begins on Monday, July 9th. Campers will start the day with fun indoor activities at the Trinity Center and Sanctuary at Wildside. Morning activities include games, singing, interactive Bible lessons, small group time, free time in the rec rooms and a delicious lunch.

In the afternoon the kids are taken to the outdoor facility located on the Conococheague Creek just a few miles outside of Hagerstown in Cearfoss. Outdoor activities include swimming, tubing, a zip line, hay rides, hikes,  art projects, immersive cultural learning, environmental awareness activities and so much more!

All this fun is provided totally free of charge for all the campers! Many campers that attend Camp Wild cannot afford to go to other local camps that charge a fee. Also, many of these campers are not fortunate enough to be able to go away on a vacation with their families.

Camp Wild has become an important part of the summer activities for kids all throughout Hagerstown. Not only does the camp provide fun activities and an escape from TV  and video games each day, it also provides Wildside staff a chance to build relationships with the kids that last well past the last day of camp. But most importantly, Camp Wild provides us with the opportunity to teach these awesome kids about Jesus! Each day provides countless opportunities for the kids to see and hear who Jesus really is and why He’s so important to their lives.

And providing this camp free-of-charge is essential to the success of the program. We don’t operate this camp as a way of making money or supporting the ministry. Camp Wild IS the ministry. The majority of campers that come to Camp Wild are lower-income, at-risk children who do not regularly attend church. It’s important to us to provide them with a fun camp experience that will not only enhance their summer but also have the opportunity to change their lives for eternity!

If you know of kids that would benefit from this exciting summer camp program then please contact Camp Wild immediately. Space is limited and is first-come-first-served. But it never hurts to ask! Email Camp Wild at info@wildsideyouth.com or call 301.739.1165 and ask for Camp Wild. You can also find Camp Wild on facebook at www.facebook.com/campwildusa

If you are interested in financially helping Camp Wild then please call our office at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to find out how you can give*. If you would like to give by credit card, just go to our website at www.hagerstownrescue.org. Locate the red box on the left side of the homepage and click on the “Give To HRM” tab. Follow the simple instructions to safely donate via PayPal.

If you are unable to financially help, please don’t forget to pray for Camp Wild this summer. Pray for safety during the four weeks of camp. Pray that God will really work and move in the lives of the staff and campers. Money is important to keeping the doors open and the vans running but prayer is truly the most important resource to the success of the entire program.

For more info on Camp Wild, just go to www.campwildusa.com to see pics and videos of past years and to get all the latest updates on Camp Wild 2012!

*Any funds received over and above what is needed to fund Camp Wild will be used for other programs and services of The Hope Center.