Monthly Archives: March 2014

Asbury Hills Summer Camp FAQs

Asbury Hills staff members have been travelling around the state this winter and spring telling people all about Asbury Hills. Along the way, we have encountered some questions we get asked on a regular basis and thought we could clear some up for you.

What If My Camper Misses Home?
It is hard to tell who might miss home and who might not.  The younger the camper, usually the easier it is to engage them in activities, help them fit into a group, and forget they are missing home.  Older campers are far less prone to missing home, but their emotions tend to be more serious.  A general outline for how we handle the issue is: help them fit in, keep them incredibly engaged and having fun, listen to them, and treat them with respect.  If we see any concerns – we try to talk to you ahead of time, let you know what we are seeing, and see if you have any advice.

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Can My Camper Call Home?
Campers are not allowed to call home. Why?  Because if you take a perfectly happy summer camper and put them on the phone with the one they love the most – they will instantly miss you and home.  Yes, it is true even of those having the absolute time of their life.  If an emergency comes up, however, and it is important you speak with your child – we will make it happen.  Worried about your child? – give us a call or send us an e-mail and we’ll check in with them and get back to you.

Will my Camper Fit In? 
One of the greatest parts about summer camp at Asbury Hills is kids can recreate themselves into the positive person they want to be.  They are no longer stuck in the set of expectations their friends and school have for them, and they can reach out and grow in positive Christian fellowship.   Fitting in, making friends, and finding acceptance are some of our top priorities for our campers.

I see Asbury Hills is a Methodist camp.  What if my family isn’t Methodist?
Not a problem at all.  We certainly are a faithbased camp – but our Christian summer curriculum is open and welcoming to all.  Our summer camp is also so much fun that even if your child has yet to come to faith – they will have a blast.  We believe the personal exploration of faith is a vital part of our mission and in this area, you and your child can expect each session to have: energizing worship, daily themes that integrate into the day’s activities and messages, small group discussions, and evening devotions.  The rest of the week is filled with incredible camp activities and time to share fun times with friends.

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What If My Camper has Food Allergies or a Special Diet?
We can almost always accommodate special dietary needs. Our kitchen is peanut free during the summer, but if you have another concern, let us know! We typically have a few vegetarians/vegans each week and have several gluten-free needs throughout the summer. We work with all campers needing special food considerations to determine which foods we are serving during the week will already accommodate their need, which meals we can make adjustments to, and which meals the parent will need to bring food to supplement.

Are you ACA Accredited?
Yes we are accredited by the American Camp Association.  To learn more about what this means, please visit their website.

Can My Child and I Visit Camp Prior to the Summer?
If this will be your child’s first time at camp, please feel free to give us a call at 864.836.3711 to set up a tour. Let your child see the camp, explore the cabins they might stay in, and get excited about the experience. Take an imaginary hike from the campfire pit to the cabins, picture yourselves playing in the creek, and leave ready to come back soon! We are also having our Open House on Sunday, April 6 from 1-5 PM. Come check us out!

What Are the Cabins Like?
For many first time campers, it’s a comfort to have an idea of what to expect. All of our cabins are heated and air conditioned with bathrooms and showers attached. They can pick out their own bunk for the week and will share the cabin with a group of 14 boys or girls and 2 counselors. We want you to know that there will be times where everyone has to wake up and clean up the cabin, times when the whole cabin comes together for cabin devotions, and other times when it’s time for bed and everyone needs to settle in for quality rest time.

cabins

Can I Visit My Camper During Camp?
Each session’s schedule is packed full of activities, and we’ve found that mid-session camp visits disrupt the flow of camp and each camper’s experience. You are welcome to call in at any time to check on your camper, but please do not show up unannounced.

Can My Camper Bring a Friend?
Part of coming to camp is making new friends. At the same time, if your child wants to bring a friend with them to camp, or if they would like to be re-united in a cabin with a friend from a previous year, we will do our very best to honor up to 2 cabinmate requests. Requests should be campers of similar ages and in the same session. If you would like your child to be separate from another camper – these requests must be made in writing and sent two weeks prior.

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How Well You Bounce

guest post by Ryan Culby, Asbury Hills Director

Our mission at Asbury Hills is to serve all people for Christian birth, growth, and renewal.  We engage campers in awesome worship, fun and challenging activities, and create endless opportunities to make and grow friendships.  As camping professionals, we’re also learning that parents are looking to give their kids opportunities to develop character traits that are linked to success later in life.  Lately those character values have been termed “grit” and “resilience.”  Someone who has “grit” shares some of these attributes: social / emotional intelligence, empathy, ability to overcome fear, personal insight, ability to communicate, flexibility, intentionality, and morality.

So how might one develop this grit?  Funny you should ask.  Send them to camp of course!  But not just any camp.  There has to be more than just activities and fun.  Campers need to be able to take challenges and place meaning on them.  What better way is there than to talk about activities and the hand that God played in them than the small group camping offered at Asbury Hills?

Resilience is only developed though experience.  Can you remember your first night away from home?  What helped?  What tools did you have?  Have you ever pushed yourself in an activity and found you could do more than you thought?  Where did your drive come from?  Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and made a new friend from it?  We’d like to think that everything we do helps create opportunities for kids to grow- grow in their faith, grow friendships, and grow in their own self-worth.  We also firmly believe growth and choice are firmly tied together.  If you force someone – they aren’t growing.  However with positive encouragement and a little grit, kids can really do some amazing things.

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Beautiful Things

On my way up to Asbury Hills, a song came on the radio – Beautiful Things by Gungor.  I’ve heard the song numerous times but for some reason, this song struck a chord with me that morning.  Maybe it was the way the sun was coming through the trees.

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Or the way a retreat group was enjoying fellowship following their meal.

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Or the thought that the creek that runs through Asbury Hills continues to flow whether we notice it or not, but when we do pay attention, we realize how wonderful Matthew’s Creek really is.

creek

Whatever it was, I realized that this is what Asbury Hills is all about.  Whether you are a hiker, camper, staff member, retreat guest, or someone who got lost on their way to Caesar’s Head and stopped to ask for directions – Asbury Hills is a place where God continues the work of making beautiful things out of us, AND we are able to be still enough to notice.

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Faith in Action: Hands and Feet Weekend

James 2:17 says “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” This was certainly not the case this weekend as Asbury Hills saw 132 youth and adult volunteers become the Hands and Feet of Christ.  The tone for the weekend was set Friday evening with worship and goal setting by the groups.  When Saturday morning rolled around, everyone was excited to get started.  Here is what 792 volunteer hours can accomplish:

trail blazetrails were maintained and re-blazed

adopt a highwayadopt-a-highway was completed

stainingcabin deck railings were stained

poolthe pool deck was cleaned off and the pool cover removed

staff parking lotthe summer staff parking lot was expanded

ditcha ditch was dug and wire was buried to a re-located staff building

giant swingstairs were built to the giant swing and the bus was washed

DSCN3090a peanut butter pit was built

9 squarelandscaping around the dining hall was maintained and 9 square in the air was installed!

Even with all that work, there was still time for fun.  9 square in the air had to be tested out, new Gaga champions were crowned, and groups joined together Saturday evening for a little contra dancing.  Sunday morning during the final songs of worship at the Lakeside Chapel, our staff couldn’t help getting chills as voices rose over the lake praising God.  We are so grateful for all the groups who came together this weekend to accomplish more than we could ever do on our own to help us get ready for summer.  This weekend, we truly saw the Hands and Feet at work.

 

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Mountain Top Experiences

In the Christian calendar, this is the week where we move from Transfiguration Sunday into Lent.  This is the week where we come down from the mountain.  Amazing things happen on the mountain.  God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on the top of the mountain.  God spoke to Elijah on the mountain.  Jesus regularly retreated to the mountains and was transfigured on a mountain.  Lives are changed every week on retreats and at summer camp on a mountain at Asbury Hills.

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Mountain top experiences are named that for a reason.  We feel incredibly close to God and ready to take on anything – and many times these experiences happen on a mountain.  We want to stay there.  Even Peter in Matthew 17:4 had this desire to stay. “Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’”  But Peter had to come down from the mountain, and so do we.  By Sunday afternoon, retreat groups have packed up and left for home.  Friday afternoons in the summer are left for staff debriefings because campers are headed down the mountain.  We cannot stay forever, but there are five things we can do to stay as high on the mountain as possible as we journey back into the world.

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  1. Start every morning with praise and worship.
  2. End everyday with devotion and reflection.
  3. Look for God in the small, everyday moments.
  4. Surround yourself with a Christian community.
  5. Find a Christian mentor who can help guide you in your journey.

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