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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Another Successful Year at Camp Wild

The carefree days of summer have come and gone but while we still bask in the warmth of this long summer season, we can look back at all the fun-filled days of another great year at Camp Wild.

Camp Wild gave over 200 kids in Hagerstown the opportunity to experience a week of action-packed fun where they played games, sang & danced, created art, explored new worlds, made friendships and learned about how to live a life for Christ.

If you’re reading this and you are totally unfamiliar with Camp Wild let us take a quick moment to catch you up to speed. Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. Transportation to and from the camp is provided for free along with lunch and all activities. The morning takes place in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center where the kids have time to play various games and sports while also interacting with our counselors. Then they have a time of praise & worship music where they can sing and dance their hearts out followed by a very interactive lesson time where the kids not only learn about Jesus but are challenged to think deep and learn how to apply what they’ve learned in to everyday life. Following the lesson time the kids break into small groups where they can discuss more with their leader. It’s midday by this time which means that stomachs are growling and it’s time for lunch. After everyone gets their fill of our delicious camp food, we pack up and head out to our outdoor adventure camp area located on the Conococheague Creek near Cearfoss. There the kids enjoy various activities with their groups like Sanaa (arts & crafts area), The Dig (archaeologist treasure hunt), Life Cycles (learning about animal life) and Zulu (African experience) among other attractions. Each day the groups rotate through the various attractions so that each camper has an opportunity to experience each one. Once the group attractions are completed then it’s free time for the campers to enjoy swimming, zip line, snacks, soccer, tubing, hayrides and more.

All of this fun is provided free of charge because we feel it’s important that every kid in Hagerstown has the opportunity to experience a fun-filled summer no matter what. But to keep it free we rely heavily on donations from churches, businesses and individuals in the community. And we’re so thankful for everyone who has partnered with us to provide a great summer for thousands of kids over the years!

And while we appreciate all that our sponsors in the community do, we cannot forget to thank the volunteers who put in countless hours and lots of energy bringing Camp Wild to life and touching the lives of all these kids. We understand that it’s a very tiresome, exhausting and challenging job at times but God has always supplied us with the right people to make our camp perfect each summer. Thank you to all of our counselors, assistants, stage hands, cooks, servers, drivers and anyone else who did so much to change the lives of kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ok, by this point you’re probably ready to see some pics from Camp Wild 2016, aren’t you? We don’t blame you! Enjoy the images of Camp Wild 2016. And if you want to learn more about Camp Wild then go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center doesn’t just host Camp Wild. The school year is full of various free activities for kids ages 5-12. To learn more about Wildside Youth go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. You’ll get all the up-to-date info about anything and everything Wildside.

Interested in volunteering? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com, call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Volunteers Are the Heart of The Hope Center

In 2015 we celebrated 60 years of hope at The Hope Center. And a major part of what makes it possible for us to continue to provide services to men, women & children for free are all the hours of service given by faithful, caring friends in our community who serve as volunteers at The Hope Center.

Since 1955, The Hope Center has been a lighthouse to the needy in our community. Whether it was a man addicted to alcohol, a mother in need of clothing for her children, or a family who needs some food assistance, our doors have been open everyday to help those in need without asking a dime from any of our guests…or the tax-payer.

Friends, businesses, churches and other groups in the area have financially supported us from the very beginning allowing us to help so many people without being a burden on the tax payer.

But volunteers help supplement all of our finances by providing hours upon hours of compassion and hard work in many different ways at The Hope Center.

As we celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2015, we had some special events taking place in the community which gave us some new opportunities for volunteers to get involved and make an impact in our city. But many of the areas that volunteers gave so many hours were activities and events that happen on a regular basis at The Hope Center.

In total, we had 719 different volunteers work more than 13,394 hours! That’s incredible! This is exactly why we think that our volunteers are the best!

These volunteers worked throughout the year in one or more of the following areas of service:

  1. Sorting room
  2. Wildside Youth events (www.wildsideyouth.com)
  3. Camp Wild (www.campwildusa.com)
  4. Chapel services
  5. Men’s ministry check-in desk and teaching classes
  6. Off site: baking cakes, making sandwiches, providing food for after chapel (these are on a regular basis)
  7. Outreach: 60th anniversary events (Rock the Run 5K; Party-in-the-Park; Ladies’ Tea; Anniversary banquet); Thanksgiving Day and more.

Our volunteers gave in so many different ways throughout the year. And we’re so thankful for each and every one of them!

But our volunteer opportunities didn’t stop in 2015. We are always looking for volunteers to join the ranks of our volunteer program all the time. We have so many different areas for volunteers to get involved.

In fact, our 2016 Party-in-the-Park will be held on Saturday, October 22 at Wheaton Park in Hagerstown. We are currently looking for volunteers for this fantastic outreach opportunity. This is a great service project for youth groups to get involved with in their own community.  We will need volunteers to help with food, games, music, face and nail painting, crowd control, popcorn machine, cotton candy, set up and tear down, etc.

If you, your family & friends, church group, civic club or more would like to volunteer at our upcoming Party-in-the-Park then give us a call today at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We welcome you to help us reach our city and provide hope for those in need!

For more information about all the various volunteer opportunities at The Hope Center go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

 

2015: Year of Celebration Part 2

We’re gonna keep the pictures of 2015 coming your way! Enjoy the pictures from our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration. If you want to see more or read more about our 60th Anniversary or even learn about the history of The Hope Center, go to http://www.hopecenter60.com.

 

 

Party-in-the-Park is Back!!!!!

Our Halloween Party-in-the-Park is almost here!

Join us at Wheaton Park on Saturday, October 24th from 3-6pm for games, prizes, food, fun and more!

This is a free event for anyone and everyone so spread the word and invite all your friends, family & neighbors.

For more information about the event, including volunteer info, please call 301.739.1165.

See ya Saturday!!

60th Park Party Fall

Our Block Party Rocked!

On Saturday, May 16th, Walnut Street was the scene of another party for all of our neighbors and friends in Hagerstown!

We hosted a Block Party which was free for anyone in the community. There was plenty to do including a dodge ball tournament, a bounce house, face painting, sports activities, carnival games and plenty of free food!

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Anniversary Block (10)Anniversary Block (21)We’re thankful for all of our faithful friends who volunteered their time and energy to help us throw a great party in the streets! We completely and thoroughly appreciate everything our volunteers do for The Hope Center. Our volunteers have been faithfully serving and supporting this ministry for 60 years and we’re thankful for the strong bond we have with the local community who believe in the importance of reaching, helping, caring, and loving the least, the last and the lost in our city.

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The Block Party was just another fantastic event in our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration! Thank you to all who participated and supported this event.

To see more pics from this event go to http://www.hopecenter60.com and click on the ‘Events’ tab. At the bottom of that page you’ll see a gallery full of pictures from our Block Party.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for upcoming 60th Anniversary events in the fall. There’s more to come so go to wwwhopecenter60.com to learn more about our upcoming events.

In addition to celebrating 60 years of hope, our Block Party was also the kick-off event for Camp Wild 2015, our free summer day camp program for kids in Hagerstown and surrounding areas.

Camp Wild is a summer camp program for kids ages 5-12. Kids can attend one of four weeks during July & August for free. From morning until afternoon, the campers partake in tons of various activities like games, interactive Bible lessons, singing & dancing, art projects, lunch and snacks, hay rides, zip line, swimming, adventure lessons, hiking trails, and so much more. Campers are also given free transportation* to our adventure camp! Camp Wild is definitely a highlight of the summer for hundreds of kids in downtown Hagerstown.

To volunteer at The Hope Center, including upcoming 60th Anniversary events and Camp Wild call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about the many ways you can get involved at The Hope Center.

*Camp Wild transportation is free but limited. Complimentary transportation is only available to select areas of the city during select weeks. Check the transportation schedule at http://www.campwildusa.com to see what weeks our vans will be in your part of Hagerstown. If you can provide transportation then you are free to pick the week of your choice but don’t delay, space is limited. Call 301.739.1165 or email info@campwildusa.com immediately.

Our 60th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off Was a Blast!

Our 60th Anniversary celebration kicked off in March with a party planned outside at Wheaton Park just two blocks from The Hope Center.

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As the day approached, the weather man wasn’t providing us with exactly what we wanted to hear. There were some nice, mild days in the forecast but, unfortunately the day of our outdoor party was not going to cooperate.

We all know that God is in charge of the weather and He wouldn’t allow anything to happen that day that would be more than we could handle so we pressed forward with our plans to host a party for our community. We prayed that the weather would cooperate enough for us to have a good day but, more importantly, that God would bring the crowds to our event.

The morning of our party was much colder than we had hoped. In fact, it was below freezing … literally with a wind chill of 14 degrees. Our volunteers were not going to let a little cold bother them so we began setting up for our party. But God, just reminding us that He’s watching over us and showing us that He’s definitely involved in our event, provided an absolutely unexpected miracle that day.

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The director of the Head Start program at the MLK, Jr. Center had received our fliers about the Party-in-the-Park and had promised to help distribute them in the neighborhood.  Because of the frigid temperatures the morning of the party, this kind lady offered to allow us to use the MLK Jr Center, a community center/gym located just one block away from Wheaton Park. We hadn’t inquired about the building.  We didn’t even know it was an option. But God knew – and He had a plan! 

Of course we couldn’t say no! For the sake of our volunteers and guests we quickly took her up on the offer. And we’re so glad we did! The warmth of the building was a literal God thing that day!

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Our volunteers quickly began setting up the rec center for our event. We had plenty of carnival games, a photo booth, face painting, finger nail painting, food, prizes and more.

As the time approached for the start of our event, we wondered just how many people would brave the chilly weather to come to a park event.

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We never expected to have the turnout as we did. Not only had God provided an indoor facility for us to use, He brought the people out in droves! We had close to 300 guests for our “park” party! The line to get into the building was out the door for a long time!

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Parents, grandparents and kids filled that building with the sights and sounds of happiness & memories being made. Everyone had a wonderful time playing games, goofing around, eating, and just hanging out.

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We even had a surprise visit by the Easter Bunny!

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In addition to all the indoor activities, we were able to have the egg hunt outside for all the families. Over hundreds of eggs filled with candy were hidden in plain view for all the kids who were there. Within a matter of minutes the eggs had been found but not before parents and their children had their chance to have fun together racing around to get as many as they could.

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We had so many prizes that day but we were so excited to have drawings for a few big door prizes like big stuffed animals from LifeWay Christian Bookstore, a Mickey Mouse Easter-themed basket with a special Mickey Mouse plush all the way from Walt Disney World, and a brand new tablet!

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We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our 60th Anniversary celebration! God reminded us that He is still with us, supporting us just as He’s done the past 60 years.

We want to thank so many people for their hard work in making this event come to life.

First, we want to thank the kind people of the MLK Jr Center for offering us their facility to use. We appreciate their commitment to the community and all they do to help improve the lives of our neighbors.

 

DSC_0014We also want to thank a few 4th graders from Fountaindale Elementary School who wanted to do something nice for the community. These girls created “health bags” which were full of personal care items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other items. They collected all the items themselves and put it all together for our guests. These wonderful young ladies made 75 bags for our guests! We’re so thankful that these girls have such a big heart for others and that they actually did something to help make a difference.

To all of our volunteers, thank you! A BIG thank you! These awesome folks were willing to brave the cold temperatures to have this party outside. And they adjusted quickly to the changes once we moved the party indoors. Our volunteers probably had just as much fun as the guests and that’s exactly what we were hoping for. Thank you, volunteers, for giving your Saturday to spend it with total strangers. You may never know the impact you made on the lives of our guests but God does and someday you’ll be amazed at what those few hours on that cold Saturday morning did for someone else’s eternity. Thank you for supporting this ministry and helping us reach so many people for Christ! It’s because of faithful people like you that The Hope Center has been so successful. We thank God for our volunteers and we’re so proud to call you a part of The Hope Center family!

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A big thank you to Maranatha Brethren Church for providing food, prizes, activities and volunteers for this event. To all our donors and supporters, it’s not cheap nor easy to host an event like this but because of your generosity, we were able to provide our guests with a great Easter party!  Even if you only bought a bag of candy, that candy was used to tell someone that they are loved by a great God who cares so much for them. Thank you for caring & sharing and helping us show our community the love of Christ!

To Krista, Gene, Sue and Adrian, thank you for the hours of planning that you put into this event. Your heart for others is evident by how hard you worked to put this entire event together. And even when the weather wasn’t kind, your enthusiasm and optimism helped make the event so successful. We are so beyond thankful for your commitment and investment in this ministry. We know that God will bless you so much more than any of us can imagine and one day in Heaven you will see the rewards of your service. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting together such a great event!

And to Mr. & Mrs. Shank, who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes from day one on this event, and all the other 60th Anniversary events yet to come. This is a challenging year of celebration but God has put the right people in place to make it all come to life! Your love for Christ and this ministry is evident in everything that you do each day and we don’t thank you enough for your hard work and sacrifice. Thank you for all you do and for helping to reach the least, the last and the lost for Christ. Even though its tiring and difficult, just remember as The Hope Center founder, Mr. Resh, would say, “keep on, keepin’ on!” To God be the glory!

Rock the run logo jpgOur 60th Anniversary celebration is rolling right on with our first 5K event in April. Rock the Run 5K: A Race for Hope will take place on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. This race will help to raise awareness & support for the ministry at The Hope Center that deal with homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. So many lives are affected by homelessness and hunger and this is our way of helping to get people involved to end the hopelessness. Registration is only $25 until race day and you can register now at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

Be sure to visit http://www.hopecenter60.com to learn more about The Hope Center, see pictures from the past 60 years, and get all the info about the other upcoming events planned for 2015.