Asbury Staff: From Spencer

Our summer staff work Sunday-Friday each week pouring into campers.  Does that sound like a lot? It sure is.  Our staffers work each day to make sure our campers feel valued, loved and cherished.  What else do our staffers do each day? They become a better version of themselves.  They build new, lifelong relationships.  Our staff build community with people who love and cherish them just as they do for their campers.

Spencer served Asbury Hills as a counselor for Summer 2017.  Here is her viewpoint on serving on summer staff at Asbury Hills. 

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“I spent 3 1/2 months at one of my most favorite places on Earth, Asbury Hills. If you would have told me in December last year that I would be a counselor for the summer, I would have laughed and said yeah right. I went to Asbury Hills as a camper, and spent plenty of summers exploring this beautiful place. But, the thought had never really crossed my mind that maybe one day I would work there.

I’m pretty sure most

kids dream of being like their

counselor.  I know I did.

Around December, a friend of mine was talking about how she had worked at Asbury the previous summer. Memories of being a camper flashed through my mind, but I still wasn’t convinced I wanted to be a counselor for the summer.

Fast forward a few weeks. Yes, I said weeks. Literally THE day I had talked to my friend about her time at Asbury, I couldn’t get camp off of my mind. I don’t remember exactly what happened after that, but I did eventually apply to work at Asbury for the summer.

God always places things in our lives at exactly the right time.

I had previous plans to spend most of my summer in Haiti. The Lord had other plans, and those plans were so much greater than mine.  To say I was disappointed that I would not be returning to Haiti for the summer was an understatement. Little did I know that what the Lord had in store for me was better than I could have ever imagined.

I could honestly probably write a book about my summer at Asbury.  I experienced so much that I can’t even figure out what I want to say as I’m writing this.

Going into the summer, I didn’t realize how much I needed to be away from the realities of this crazy world we live in. During finals week, I remember being so overwhelmed that I left campus and drove to Pretty Place chapel. I sat in silence for probably 2 hours because I was so overwhelmed by all the noise in my life, and I needed an escape. Little did I know that the theme for the summer at camp would be noise and how we can break away from those everyday distractions in order to hear God.

I rediscovered myself this summer. I rediscovered God in the silence and in the small moments that we often miss.

I grew in my faith and in my relationship with Christ, I made friendships that will last forever, and I discovered a new home. Working at camp this summer was such a blessing. The Lord shaped and molded me in ways I didn’t expect, and I’ve become a better version of myself.

Asbury Hills, you rocked

my entire world.

My challenge to everyone reading is that you take time to sit in the silence and listen. Listen to the sounds around you. Listen to God. Remove the distractions in your life for 10 minutes and just be.

Be STILL.

Love always,  Spencer”

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Applications are now open for Summer 2018 Staff Positions.

Click here for more information.

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Are you Campsick?

campsick (adj.) [kamp-sik]

sad or depressed from a longing to be at camp or with camp family when away from them for an extended period of time

Ask anyone who has been to camp, being campsick is a serious thing! Do you ever wish you could just open your eyes and you’d be waking up in a cabin? Do your meals feel incomplete without singing and dancing to energizers before you eat? Do you long for worship two times a day? Have you felt like you’d much rather be climbing the Alpine Tower or Rock Wall rather than sitting in geometry class?

Does campsickness have a cure? Of course! The best way to cure campsickness is to go back to camp.  Sometimes, going back to camp isn’t an option so here is a list of temporary ways to cure your campsickness.

1. Check out the photos on Facebook!

There is an entire folder for each week on Facebook with some of our favorite moments.  You can even log back into our photos and look through all of the photos!

2.  Revisit your devotion booklet.

Those devotion booklets aren’t just for camp! Take some time and look through each devotion you did with your group.  Reread those Bible versus and re-answer the questions.  This will not only reinforce what it means to break the noise but also help you recall those feelings you had while at camp.

3.  Wear your camp t-shirt!

Plan to wear your camp t-shirt.  Do you go to school or church with some friends you met at camp? Ask them to wear their shirts, too! Get together and snap a photo.  Post it online and be sure to tag us!

4. Listen to your favorite camp songs.

You know those songs that were stuck in your head weeks after you left Asbury Hills? Listen to them again! They all are so great so why not get them stuck in your head again?!

5.  Watch your highlight video.

Remember those super cool wrist bands you got at camp? Plug it into a computer and turn the volume up! Relive your favorite moments with your group and counselors.

6.  Make a s’more!

Ask your parents for help and make a s’more! Show your friends and family just how it is done.

 

Still not good enough?

There is one more option.

Join us on October 21st for our annual Fall Festival! Starting at 10am, we will have activities open for you to do, apple cider and apple butter and a live bluegrass band.  Spend the day at camp and cure your campsickness!

We hope these ideas will help you cure your campsickness.  Just know, you aren’t alone in this and everyone who has an incredible experience at Asbury Hills has to deal with being campsick!

 

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That’s a Lot of Love

There are a lot of reasons our staff love working summers at Asbury Hills.  Some say they love it because they make lots of new friends while others claim that the campers change their lives. A reason you may not hear very often is that our staffers love making Love Gifts.  What is a Love Gift? I am so glad you asked.

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**Curious about the crazy outfits? This year’s theme was 80s.**

At the beginning of staff training, when everyone is still super new and a little timid, we have each staff member draw a name from a hat. (More like draw a name from a helmet.)  The most important part is for the staff to keep whosoever name they drew a secret until the end of the summer.

What draw names?

Why keep it a secret?

The names are drawn to keep it random, mix up the staff and to make sure everyone gets picked. On the very last day of camp, our staff gather for our closing Love Gift Ceremony.

 

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If everyone succeeded at keeping the secret, then everyone gets a nice surprise during the ceremony when whoever had them gets up to present a one of a kind gift.  Staffers are encouraged to really get to know whoever they draw and put together a handmade gift to present to them during the Lceremony.

 

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As you can see, that is a lot of love! Our staff spend an entire summer pouring into campers and making sure those campers have the best summer of their lives.  Not only are they exhausted physically but they are exhausted mentally and nothing cures mental exhaustion better than a heartfelt love gift ceremony.  Our staff are so good at loving each other.  If that isn’t obvious, take a look at the photos.  Look into the expressions of not only the people receiving/giving their gift but the expressions of the staff in the background.

That is a lot of love!

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We Broke the Noise

Summer 2017 has officially come to a close.  Of course, we are never happy to see summer end but we are thrilled with how well this summer went! Planning for this summer started over a year ago and hiring our summer staff began at the new year.  So much goes into making sure each summer is better than the last.

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This year, our campers explored what it meant to break the noise and listen to God. Each week, our camp pastors broke this meaning down in their own way while conveying the underlying meaning of breaking the noise. Young people today live with so many distractions and sometimes don’t even realize it.  Our goal this summer was to open our campers’ eyes to what it means to really listen to God, hear what He is saying, obey what He is saying and speak it to others.  While our campers are only with us for a week, our goal is to impact their lives endlessly! Here are a few things we got back from parents in our survey.  If these don’t convey how powerful this summer was, read it again!

“My camper learned how to turn off the ‘noise’. He shared examples of putting down the phone, remote, and electronic games.  He stated that in order to hear God, you need to listen.”

 

“My camper learned that it is important to take time to hear God’s voice.  She also met many young women and men who have and will serve as role models for authentic Christian Faith.”

 

“My camper learned that with faith she can take on any challenge and God will take care of her.”

 

“My camper learned that sometimes you need to try to focus on God even when there is a lot going on in your life and you feel too busy.”

 

“God is with us and never leaves our side.  Even the littlest things can make noise between me and God.  I can ignore that noise.”

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This year, we welcomed 1122 campers at Asbury Hills to share with them what it means to Break the Noise and listen to God.  While this doesn’t make this summer our largest, it is definitely our second largest summer to date! Think about it; 1122 campers came on property, were welcomed by their counselor, tried something new, worshiped and made new friends.  Still need help putting that into perspective? Keep reading.

  • With $1122, you could buy 224 Unicorn Frappuccinos from Starbucks
  • 1122 football fields equals over 60 miles
  • With $1122, you could buy 93 tickets to watch the Greenville Drive play behind home plate
  • With $1122, you could buy 1122 $1 sweet teas from McDonalds
  • You could buy 2 iPad Airs with $1122

What did we do? We impacted 1122 camper’s lives.

 

As you can see, this summer was a huge success! Thanks to over 50 summer staffers, 8 camp pastors and a handful of volunteers for helping make Summer 2017 the best yet!

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“My camper’s knowledge is deeper any time he can be involved in something like this, and I feel he can learn in a fun environment like.  Camp learning is invaluable.”

 

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5th Annual Golf Tournament

Just a few weeks ago we wrapped up our 5th Annual Camps & Retreat Ministries Golf Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina.  As you all may know, we typically have this tournament the Saturday before Annual Conference starts.  Our hope is that those attending Annual Conference will make the trip a day early, invite others and spend some time on the green raising funds for camper scholarships at Asbury Hills.  This year, we are excited to say that it was a huge success!

Those attending a day early will make the effort to

Invite others

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The Details:

What: 5th Annual Camps & Retreat Ministries Golf Tournament

When: Saturday, June 3rd with a 1:00pm shot gun start

Where: The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville, South Carolina

Why: Raise funds for our camper scholarship program with Asbury Hills

A huge thank you to our hole sponsors and donors is due! This event wouldn’t be possible without those who donated to sponsor a hole or donated materials to make the day a success.  All the proceeds go back into camping; which is what we all love so dearly.  At Asbury Hills, we work to provide the camping experience for all campers regardless of their financial situation.  Events like this golf tournament help make those camping experiences happen for campers who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.

Donors & Sponsors

Agape Hospice

Asbury Hills

Bryan & Haar

Burgess & Lindsay Metcalf

Caldwell Contractors

Candy Friday Farms

Church Mutual Insurance Company

Clemson YLI

DP3 Architects

Eagle Embroidery & Screenprinting

Golfsmith

Green River Adventure

Highland UMC

Hillcrest Dentistry

Kim Welborn

Knight Furniture

Lee Maxwell Roofing

Lloyd Hunter

Morrow Insurance Agency

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Paul & Ruth Ann Frey

Pepsi

Premier Lighting

Preserve at Verdae

Robin Roberts

SC Camps & Retreat Board

SC United Methodist Advocate

St. John’s UMC

Tom Jeffries

Unity Baptist Church

US Foods

Vertical Engineering

Congratulations to our winners in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!

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*Thank you to Joel Jones for standing in for Rev. George Howle.*

First Place: Jeff Jaeggi, Mark Cochran, Paul Dunn, Rev. George Howle

Second Place: Geoff Bloomquist, Maralo Torricos, Hamp Randall, Will Randall

Third Place: Tony Dean, Trace Silvers, Stuart Barber, Burns Cale

 

 

If you missed this event, we have already set the date for next year’s tournament. It gets better! We are staying in Greenville! Go ahead and mark your calendars for Saturday, June 2, 2018 at the Preserve at Verdae!

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Check-In at Asbury Hills: 2017

Summer 2017 Staff training is underway so that means that the first week of camp is very close! Checking in your camper is a process we are constantly working to improve.  While we do our best to make it seamless and smooth, it does help to know what to expect.  Even if you have been dropping your camper off at Asbury Hills for years, we suggest reading through this just to refresh your memory! As always, any questions can be emailed to Sarah, our Summer Camp Director.

Station 1: Greeter

This station is located at the gate entrance.  You’ll be waiting behind the gate until we begin registration and open the gate.  Greeters will be there to welcome you to camp.

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Station 2: Card Table

This station is down the hill after you enter the gate.  These staff members will greet you at your car and ask for name(s) of your camper(s).  Each camper will have a Green Card that you will get from this station. Green Cards are very important! These cards tell our staff which camp your camper is registered for, which cabin they will be staying in, if they have a balance, if they are missing forms, if they have medications, etc.  There are also last minute questions on the back that our staff will ask to see if any information has changed since you submitted your forms.  At this station, our staff will be sure to run through the registration process and clarify any questions.

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Station 3: Rock Pile

This station is a holding station.  In order to avoid cars getting backed up and causing excessive traffic, you will wait at this station until a runner is available.

 

Station 4: Card Tent

This station is in the grass across the road from the Office.  The staff at this tent will be checking your Green Card(s).  If you answered yes to any of the last minute questions on the back of your Green Card, a red card will be placed on your windshield.  If you are missing any forms, or need to drop off medications, a red card will also be placed on your windshield. If you have a balance or want to add money to your camper’s camp store account, you will take care of that at this station.

If you answered no to the last minute questions, you aren’t missing any paperwork, you don’t have a balance, you don’t have any medications to drop off and you don’t want to add any more to your camper’s camp store account, a staff member will sign the bottom of your Green Card.

If you are leaving the Card Tent with a signed Green Card, you will be directed by the traffic attendant to head to your cabin or lodge.  If you are leaving the Card Tent with a red card on your windshield, the traffic attendant will direct you to the MASH Unit.

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Station 5: MASH Unit

If you have a red card on your windshield, the traffic attendant will direct you to the MASH Unit.  At the MASH Unit, a staff member will greet you and ask to see your Green Card.  The Green Card will tell the staff member exactly why you have the red card on your windshield and they will be able to get everything squared away.  Please be sure to have any missing forms completed and ready to hand to our staff members.  If your campers have medications, please make sure they are out and ready to give to the nurse.  Medications should be in the original containers and clearly labeled with your camper’s name.

Once everything is taken care of at the MASH Unit, a staff member will sign the bottom of your Green Card and direct you to a traffic attendant.  The traffic attendant will direct you to your camper’s cabin or lodge.

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Station 6: Traffic Attendant

There will be a traffic attendant who will be able to direct you towards your camper’s cabin or lodge.  From here, you will drive to your camper’s cabin or lodge.  We have two pods of cabins and Rice Lodge where campers stay during the week. There will be traffic attendants and staff members to direct you on where to park and assist with unloading your camper’s belongings.

Moving in campers

Remember to have your Green Card handy–your camper’s counselor will be asking for it.  This is a final check to make sure we have everything we need to ensure your camper will have a fun and safe week with us!  You will have the chance to meet your camper’s counselor and see their cabin.  Feel free to help your camper set up their bed space.  Once your camper is moved in and set up, you are free to head home and let us enjoy spending the week with your camper!

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As you head out, there will be staff members to show you the way out and answer any last minute questions.

 

We are looking forward to this summer! See you in a few weeks!

 

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Introducing Camp Pastor Sidney

So far, you’ve met Camp Pastor Ben who will be at Asbury Hills for week 1 (June 4-9).  You have also met Camp Pastor Shawna who will be with us for week2 (June 11-16).  Did you miss those posts? No worries! Simply click their name (it is linked) and it will take you right to their introduction!

We are so excited to have Sidney Attaway with us for Eclipse week! That’s right! Sidney will be the camp pastor for week 4 (June 25-30)!

Sidney comes to us from Greenville, South Carolina.  He is the Youth Director for St. Matthew United Methodist Church.  You may recognize his last name because his brother, Noah, was on staff last summer & Noah will be joining us again this summer!

What is Sidney’s camp experience? Does he have a connection to Asbury Hills? What is he most excited for this summer? Click the photo below to watch the video introducing Sidney.

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We are looking forward to Eclipse week with Sidney!

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Introducing Camp Pastor Shawna

We are pleased to introduce you to the Camp Pastor for Week 2 (June 11-16)! Shawna Darnall will be joining us for the week to pour into campers and get the chance to experience camp again.  Check out this video to learn more about Shawna and exactly what she is excited for this summer.

What is Shawna’s connection to Asbury Hills? What is her favorite activity? What is the one food she could eat for the rest of her life? Watch the video below to find out!

dscn2234Click the lake to meet Shawna!

We are excited to have you, Shawna!

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Breaking the Noise: Sarah

Breaking the Noise is something that has been on our hearts many months before Summer 2017 will even start. Sarah took some time to share her thoughts.  You don’t want to miss this read.

 

It is officially one month until summer camp begins and my desk is a mess.  You know the kind right?  Stacks of papers in not so neat piles, at least three half completed “to-do” lists covered with bright multi-colored highlighters, obnoxious sticky notes posted all around to grab my attention, and of course, pieces of yesterday’s granola bar sprinkled throughout the chaos.  On top of my messy granola filled desk, my brain has officially hit “oh my goodness summer is right around the corner” mode.  Which consist of a million different questions and things to remember to do flying through my head faster than my pen can write.  I’m not going to lie, it’s overwhelming.

So overwhelming in fact, I had to step away.  That’s how I ended up at the creek.  Yep, that’s right, while I’m writing this post you’re reading I’m sitting on a rock with my toes in the creek.  Why am I at the creek freezing my toes off instead of getting the day old granola off my most recent to do list?  I’ll tell you.

About a week ago I was in the middle of a busy day where it took everything out of me just to keep up.  After a long morning and early afternoon of summer preparations I was meeting with one of our camp pastor’s for this summer about our theme, Noise.  While we were meeting and discussing Noise we talked about how Jesus often left the crowds that followed Him and “withdrew to lonely places to pray”.  In the midst of His ministry, sharing the good news of His father, Jesus would press pause, break away, and go spend time with God in prayer away from everything.

This time that Jesus withdrew was crucial to His ministry.  Think about it, Jesus’s “to-do list” probably made my granola filled desk look like a joke.  He had thousands following him every day.  I wonder if he ever got tired of hearing his name or felt like he couldn’t keep up with the questions being thrown his way.  If he ever felt like he didn’t have enough time to accomplish everything he knew he needed to do.

That’s when it hit me.  If Jesus had to step away from it all, break the noise surrounding him, to retreat to pray, then I most certainly need to do the same.  That brings me to today and the creek.

I grew up attending this camp and playing in Matthew’s Creek.  I have so many amazing memories by this stream of water, as I’m sure anyone who has spent any time at Asbury Hills has. I love sticking my toes in the water, regardless the season and feeling the cool water embrace me.  Best part of coming to the creek?  It’s quiet.  The only noise is that of nature.  God’s creation in its purest, simplest form.  The creek is my quiet place to withdraw from the to-do list, email notifications, ringing phones, and to connect with Jesus, tell Him thank you and pray.

I needed to break the noise today and come to the creek to pray. Just as God came to Elijah on the mountain in the still quiet, I find him in the cold calm water of the creek.  Gently whispering that He is in this place and has His hand on summer and on my life.  And if I will just be still, listen, and be willing to let my toes get a little cold, He will provide.

Maybe your life is loud right now.  Between school, work, social events, sporting events, kids’ schedules, meetings, and just trying to have a social life, it all can get overwhelming.  In the world we live in it can be easy to become caught up in everyday life.  I hope you take some time today to find your creek and break the noise.

 

–SARAH MOSELEY, Summer Camp Director

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Introducing Camp Pastor Ben

With week one of Summer 2017 just a few short weeks away, it is time to introduce our first camp pastor! Ben Sloan will be serving as the Camp Pastor at Asbury Hills for the week of June 4-June 9. Continue reading to get to know him! We are excited to have you, Ben!

Ben comes to us from Albemarle, North Carolina where he has been the Pastor at Bethany UMC for almost two years. Ben worked as a counselor for two summers and then helped out when he could for a third.

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We asked Ben what he is looking forward to most for his week at camp and here is what he told us:

“I am really looking forward to seeing how things have changed.  I love getting to know the campers and counselors. I also am looking forward to the beauty of the mountains.  I can’t wait to share Asbury Hills with my daughter.  I can’t pick from all of those!”

Ben tells us that his time as a counselor at Asbury Hills made a huge difference in his life.  He is looking forward to to coming back to place that holds such great memories.  He’s also excited to give back and help the Asbury Hills ministry.

We asked Ben to share an embarrassing story with us so he shared one that actually happened at Asbury Hills!

“One week I was on support staff and we got a call from Caesar’s Head that a group of hikers got lost near us.  They asked if we could go out and help them.  Only thing was that it was tacky day at camp so I had my clothes on inside out with nothing matching, and there wasn’t really time to go back and change.  I was the one to find the group and I had to lead them back to Caesar’s Head dressed like that.  I wonder what was going through their heads as they saw me come running up looking ridiculous.”

Ben told us that his favorite superhero is Daredevil.  He didn’t go into why but I can assure you it it would be worth asking him about!  If he had to eat one food item for the rest of his life, Ben would eat pizza.  Why you ask? He had some great reasons:

  1.  It tastes great.
  2. You can mix it up so much.
  3. He heard about a guy in Maryland who has only eaten pizza for the last 30 years and he is doing just fine.

We asked Ben if there was anything he’d like to tell campers and his response was simple yet so important!

“You’re going to have a great time! Soak up every minute of it!”

A week at Asbury Hills seems like a long time but when you’re there, it flies by! We hope that each and every camper coming this summer really takes the time to enjoy everything about camp!

Sloan Family 2

We are looking forward to having Ben Sloan as our pastor for week one (June 4-9).  Make sure you are registered; you won’t want to miss out!

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