Wildside Makes January Fun Again!

January can be a bit of a downer month as all the holiday festivities come to a quick and abrupt end and all that’s left is short days and freezing nights. But Wildside Youth is provided a fun remedy for the winter blues for the kids in Hagerstown this past January:

The Meltdown

Wildside kicked off 2018 with a fun, winter-themed evening at Sunday Night Wild called ‘The Meltdown’. Thirty-three kids attended the night full of games, Jesus, food, and fun!

The frozen fun started with a ‘snowball fight’ played with balloons. After the snowball fight the kids got to go ‘ice fishing’ which involved finding Swedish Fish buried in a pan of whipped cream. Following the wintry games the kids enjoyed some singing and then dove right into the lesson.

The lesson, inspiring the events title, was teaching the kids to avoid meltdowns, temper tantrums, and throwing fits. They were taught that using self-control they could resist the attacks by Satan and avoid destructive behavior like tantrums and meltdowns.

The verse of the evening was, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28. An object lesson and a game called, ‘Don’t Have a Meltdown’ were used to help illustrate the verse and the lesson for all the kids.

After the lesson time, the kids had snacks and hung out before ending the first Sunday Night Wild of 2018.

Football and Cheerleading Party

On January 23rd the Trinity Center hosted a super bowl sized party to celebrate America’s favorite sport! 56 kids showed up to celebrate Wildside’s 3rd annual Football & Cheerleading Party. They participated in football themed carnival games, a flag football game,  and a football scavenger hunt, along with arts & crafts activities, enjoying delicious food, and hearing a message about being God’s champion.

Building off the lesson of self-control taught at The Meltdown, the kids at the party learned how becoming a champion for God requires self-control – a lot like becoming a championship quality football team. Just like a winning football team needs to practice, problem solve, and work as a team in order to win, we too, need to practice self-control by not throwing fits or getting angry and hurting others, we need to solve problems God’s way and we need to work peacefully together as a team for God.

The kids who attend Wildside events love every minute of it and continue to come back for more fun. Wildside still has some more fun coming with the next big party on February 13th to celebrate Valentines Day. This event is free for kids ages 5-12 so call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register your kids.

Wildside Youth is our kids ministry at The Hope Center. With various events taking place year round, Wildside is providing a safe, fun, and educational experience free for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. During the school year Wildside hosts large party events each month along with special Sunday evening services geared just for kids. In the summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp running for four weeks in July and August. Wildside is also cultivating student leaders through their after school program, The Crew, where young people learn valuable skills and are given some leadership responsibilities during various events and activities at Wildside. For more information about Wildside Youth check out http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

 

 

 

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Second Half of Camp Wild 2017 is Here!

We’re starting the second half of our 2017 Camp Wild season on Monday, July 31st. And as we prepare to welcome new campers for the next two weeks of adventure, we’re going to give you the chance to see some of the happy faces of campers who were a part of our first two weeks of 2017 Camp Wild.

Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12. The majority of our campers come from certain neighborhoods or areas inside of Hagerstown city limits. The typical camp day includes free time where the kids can play sports, create various art projects, play video games/board games and other indoor activities like table tennis and foosball. Campers also have a time of singing, interactive Bible lessons and small group discussion based on various Biblical principles of the week. Lunch is served just before we load everyone up and head to our outdoor camp facility where kids partake in group learning activities before having free time to swim, run, fly through the trees on our zip line or ride on our hayride.

Each week we provide complimentary transportation to pick up and drop off kids in these designated areas. The first two weeks of Camp Wild transportation was targeting the West End neighborhoods and Jonathan Street area of Hagerstown. These areas are the closest neighborhoods to The Hope Center in Hagerstown. We provide two weeks of Camp Wild to these neighborhoods because of the size and overall dense population of kids in the area.

This upcoming week of Camp Wild will provide complimentary transportation to Noland Village and the South End neighborhoods of Hagerstown and then the following week will see kids from Frederick Manor and the East Side join us for camp adventures.

We’ll continue to post more pics and adventures from Camp Wild 2017 so keep checking back! If you’d like to learn more about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Fourth of July Schedule

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In observance of Independence Day The Hope Center will operate on the following schedule:

OPEN

  • Overnight (homeless) Shelter: regular schedule (registration begins at 5:30pm)
  • Soup Line: Doors open at 1:15pm
  • Evening chapel service and meal: regular schedule (7pm)

CLOSED

  • Administrative & Camp Wild offices
  • Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg)
  • Donation & Sorting center
  • Food Bank
  • Recycling facilities

Everything will return to normal operating schedule on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017. If you have any questions about services on July 4th please call 301.739.1165.

Thank you and have a safe & fun Independence Day!

Camp Wild Volunteers Needed

Camp Wild 2017 is quickly approaching! Each summer the Trinity Center at The Hope Center comes alive with the sounds of kids laughing, playing and having a great time together.

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Camp Wild is our free summer day camp for kids ages 5-12. We provide four weeks of camp that include transportation, specialized activities, interactive Bible lessons, lunch, prizes, snacks and more. Again, all of this summertime fun is provided free of charge to all of our campers thanks to the generous support of people in our community.

But since Camp Wild is free, we rely on volunteers to help us make the whole experience exciting for our campers. And we’re still looking for volunteers to be counselors for Camp Wild 2017.

As a Camp Wild counselor you will spread the Gospel of Jesus to the campers in your small group by building relationships with them. This happens by connecting with them during Team Time, leading them in daily discussions, encouraging them as they play games, and eating lunch alongside of them. In the afternoons at our Camp Wild facility just outside of Hagerstown you will visit one of our many outdoor attractions with your small group during our Daily Adventures times. Afterwards you will assist in monitoring our many other activities.

Our Camp Wild volunteers make a huge impact on the lives of the kids who attend camp. There are many roles that our counselors play in making sure that each day the kids have a fun and safe environment to learn, study, play, relax and grow. If you have one week or multiple weeks that you can volunteer at Camp Wild please contact us immediately.

Camp Wild runs from 9:30am – 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. As a Camp Wild volunteer we ask that you arrive at 8:30am for our morning prayer and Bible study, and stay until 5pm.

Camp Wild operates the following weeks:

  • July 10-14: North End/Jonathan Street
  • July 17-21: West End/Gateway Crossing
  • July 31-August 4: South End/Noland Village
  • August 7-11: East End/Locust Point

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact us at 301.739.1165 or info@wildsideyouth.com. To learn more about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

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.

 

Spring 2017 is Going to be Wild!

We’re two months into 2017 and things are getting already getting crazy! And no, we’re not talking about the unseasonably warm, but wonderful, weather we’ve been experiencing.

We’re talking about all the exciting and fun activities hosted by Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center!

In January Wildside hosted a Football & Cheerleader party to celebrate the Super Bowl and then they turned right back around and hosted a Valentines party to celebrate everything about love.

These large themed events are free for any kid ages 5-12. Each month Wildside has a fun theme for each event complete with games, activities and food to celebrate the theme. Kids from all over Hagerstown join their friends at Wildside to have fun, eat some great food and learn some Biblical lessons in a way that is geared specifically for them.

Sorry your kids missed the events in January and February? Don’t worry, there’s still so much more fun for kids the rest of the year. Take a look at the upcoming schedule of events and mark your calendars to make sure that your kids don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Wildside Spring 2017 Schedule:

  • March 5th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • March 14th – St. Patrick’s Party (5-7pm)
  • March 19th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 2nd – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 11th – Easter Party (5-7pm)
  • May 7th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • May 16th – Camp Wild Kick-Off Party (5-7pm)
  • May 21st – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)

And like we’ve already mentioned, all this is provided free for the kids. Thanks to the generous financial donations of people and groups in our community along with funds generated from the proceeds of sales in our two Thrift Stores, Wildside is able to reach these kids for Christ and provide a safe and fun atmosphere for them to let loose and enjoy life.

If you’d like to learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries or Camp Wild hosted by Wildside Youth then go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com and http://www.campwildusa.com. To register your kids or talk to someone about Wildside events call 301.739.1165 or email us at info@wildsideyouth.com.

Thinking about volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about all the various ways, including Wildside Youth activities, that you can become a volunteer and help make a difference in our community.

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.

Camp Wild 2

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.