Monthly Archives: December 2013


It’s New Years Eve: the time of year where people reflect on the year gone by and look forward to what the new year has in store.  It is also the time of the infamous New Years Resolutions.  We make them every year.  Popular ones are to spend more time with family, get out of debt, eat healthier, exercise more, volunteer, learn something new, etc.  Do you remember what your resolution was from last year?


Asbury Hills makes the same resolution year after year.  We promise to never turn a child away from attending a week of camp because of an inability to pay, and we are able to achieve this goal because of generous donors to our camper scholarship program.  Here are some facts you may not know about the Asbury Hills scholarship program.

  • Asbury Hills provides matching scholarships.  We believe that summer camp is an investment in a child’s future so we will match funds provided by a church, organization, family, and/or sponsor.
  • In 2013, 81 campers came to camp on an Asbury Hills scholarship.  This amounted to over $16,000 awarded to campers who would have otherwise been unable to attend.
  • The scholarship program is 100% funded by donations.
  • The demand for camper scholarships has increased by 35% from 2010-2013. If this trend continues, Asbury Hills will need to raise $22,140 in 2017 to keep our resolution.

ImageIf you are interested in learning more about how you can help us keep our resolution, please visit the scholarship page of our website.

Happy New Year everyone!

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Merry Christmas

Luke 2:1-20
Jesus’ birth

2 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Announcement to shepherds

Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.


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Because I Went to Camp: Sarah’s Story

Summer Camp 2014 registration officially went live this morning, and we are beyond excited about what next summer has in store.  Now there is a massive amount of research showing what makes a child a successful adult, and I could certainly overwhelm you with statistics about how summer camp helps contribute to this.  I could also tell you my story.

I grew up going to Asbury Hills as a camper.  I looked forward to packing my bags, seeing my camp friends, meeting my counselor, and trying new activities every summer since I was seven.  As soon as I was old enough, I packed my trunk and worked through several summers at Asbury Hills as a lifeguard, counselor, and eventually leadership staff.  I was then blessed with an internship opportunity that turned into a full-time career.  Now, I understand this is not the typical path campers take.  We have 1000 summer campers, 50+ summer staff, and 5 full time employees.  Not every camper will find their career or a even summer job in camping ministry, but the lessons I’ve learned in my 20 summers of camping have set me up for success wherever life takes me.  Here are the top 3 things Asbury Hills has given me:

  1. Confidence
    As a camper, I was given the opportunity to try activities I did not get to do at home.  As a staff member, I was entrusted with a small group of campers and later other staff members – all looking to me as their leader.  Succeeding at the activities as a child and meeting the camper and staff needs as a young adult, has given me the confidence to try new things and take charge of my responsibilities as an adult.
  2. Working with Others
    I have been surrounded by people who are very similar to me and extremely different both as a camper and staff member.  Some of these people I got along with exceptionally well.  Others…not so much.  It didn’t matter though.  As a camper, my cabin group became family who worshiped, camped, hiked, canoed, and completed team building together.  As a staff member, I gave the same effort and camp experience to my campers regardless of who I was working with that week.  It’s the same in life.  No one likes their co-workers or classmates 100% of the time, but you are expected to work together and value each other. Camp taught me how to do this more than any group project in college ever could.
  3. Resilience
    As a camper, I experience dropping pack-out lunches into a creek and having to hike back into camp to make new ones.  I experienced a rainy home-in-the-woods where our tarps almost flooded.  As a staff member, I experienced thunderstorms in the middle of pool Olympics, homesick campers, and working 40 minutes to build a fire with wet wood only to have it go out before dinner was cooked.  These things all taught me that life rarely goes according to plan, but that is ok.  It gave me the resources to deal with a staff member’s car that breaks down 2 hours away from their scheduled church visit.  And even taught me that if it is frustrating in the moment, it will probably become one of my favorite memories.

You don’t have to take my word for it though.  Here are some other, more famous faces, sharing what they gained from summer camp.

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Buddy the Camper Elf

I have to admit, even though it has nothing to do with Jesus, I LOVE the movie Elf.  It reminds me about the child-like innocence of Christmas, and we could all use a laugh at some point of another during the holiday season.  I also love it because Buddy the Elf would make a great camper.  Here are five reasons why:


1.    The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Buddy the Elf did not have a great singing voice, and there were people around him who could sing much better than he could.  That didn’t stop him one bit.  It’s the same at summer camp.  Whether they have a great voice or have never sang on pitch in their lives, our campers know one of the best ways to give glory to God is singing loud for all to hear.


2.    You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody! It’s great to be here.

Buddy knows that even the small things should be celebrated.  My guess is he would show the same enthusiasm for a camper who climbed to the top of the Alpine Tower and the camper who was terrified of heights but put on a harness and climbed to the top of the ladder.  That makes Buddy a great camper.

alpine tower

3.    Buddy: Actually, I’m a human, but I was raised by elves.
       Carolyn: I’m a human… raised by humans.
       Buddy: Cool.

All people are different.  Chances are, campers in a cabin together do not all know each other, go to the same school, like the same teams, or have the same fears.  It’s all cool.  They’ll still become friends, and Buddy would be right there with them.

cabin friends

4.    Fruit spray? Sure.

Back story to this quote for those who haven’t seen the movie – fruit spray is actually a scented perfume.  Buddy sprays it several times in him mouth and reacts predictably disgusted.  But the point is Buddy is not afraid to try new things.  In fact, he is very enthusiastic about new experiences…he might just want to wait for counselor instructions before trying these new things.

new things

5.    I just like smiling; smiling’s my favorite.

And last, but not least, because who doesn’t like smiling at camp?


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Advent: The Season of Preparing

The world grows darker and colder.  And quiet.  The church, in response, lights candles, shares in the warmth of the season, and sings joyful songs to prepare hearts for the coming of Christ.  To prepare hearts for Christmas.  O Come. O Come Emmanuel.

advent wreath

In many ways, Asbury Hills mirrors the life of the church during this season.  We’re lighting fires to share the warmth with retreat groups.


Sharing in joyful worship.


And we are already preparing for campers to come.  We began accepting summer staff applications this week and are actively scheduling college recruiting fairs to find the best staff members out there.


The summer brochure is designed, a team is assembled, and we are looking forward to speaking to churches and sharing the ministry this spring.  We are also excitedly dreaming and planning for the summer of 2014 and how we can make it the best summer ever.

It may be getting colder and darker.  Christmas carols may be playing on the radio.  We may even have a couple snows between now and June.  But we are preparing ourselves for summer 2014…and we can’t wait for you to see it!

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