It may be the end of August 2014, but the Asbury Hills staff is already hard at work planning for the summer of 2015! There are many things that are in the works that we are excited to tell you about in the coming weeks and months. We have gone through parent, staff, and camper surveys to compile lists of what you said you wanted. One of these wants we’ve been hearing for the past couple years is holding a two-week camp, and Asbury Hills is excited to announce it is happening for 2015! Our Junior and Senior High campers will have the opportunity to worship, fellowship, and have fun for two weeks next summer at our Expedition sessions. If your camper is not quite ready for a two-week camp yet, that is alright! Here is the full schedule for summer 2015. Hope to see you there!
Monthly Archives: August 2014
By Frances Hulme
What an awesome summer we’ve had here at Asbury Hills! I started as a camper at Asbury Hills over 20 years ago and even with all of the changes and growth we have seen over the years, it is so powerful to see that Asbury Hills (at its roots) is still the same loving, challenging, and spiritually grounded place that it was for me as a camper, CIT, and summer staffer. Spending this summer as the Interim Camp Director wasn’t easy, but so good for my soul. I’ve seen camp from several different perspectives. But from this perspective, I could see so much growth not only in the campers that came through each week but also in the staff that helped mold those campers’ experiences. And summer camp is nothing if not an awesome growth opportunity.
Campers got the chance to try out a couple of new activities this summer including 9-Square and Human Foosball, but the ever popular Gaga Pit was still the place to be. We had several groups who got the opportunity to go off-site on fun adventures. From touring high places to tubing at Lake Jocassee and even white water rafting down the Chattooga River, the excitement continued even past the gates of Asbury Hills. “Home in the woods” nights served as an opportunity for campers to get outside of their comfort zones and experience God in nature without any distractions. Our Camp Pastor, Kenny, taught the campers that even though the world may see you as “unlikely”, God chooses us to do amazing things in His name.
All in all Hobos and s’mores were devoured, campers faced their fears and tackled challenges before them, motions and dances abounded during worship, messages and devotions opened eyes and ears to new scripture and thoughts about their walk with God, and new lifelong friendships were formed. I very much appreciate the trust that parents put in our staff to not only take care of their children, but to also have allowed their children to be challenged and grow in their experiences here at Asbury Hills. Yes, from this perspective camp was a beautiful sight to behold. From this perspective, I saw God move in ways I never had before; especially through me.
By Sarah Kelley
It’s the last week of summer camp, which means that the closing summer staff dinner party and love gifts are just around the corner. What is a love gift you ask? Well, it’s one of those things that really needs to be experienced to fully understand, but I will do the best I can.
Probably the best analogy for love gifts is Secret Santa, but that doesn’t cover the scope of it. During staff training, we focus a lot on unity and teamwork. Summer staff really comes together by the end of training to form a family. Inside jokes will be formed, and people will celebrate and vent to each other about the weeks they had. What does this have to do with love gifts you ask? Well, as a part of staff training, each staff member draws the name of another staff member. The goal is to really focus on getting to know that person so, by the end of the summer, you can hand-make them a gift that fits them best.
The Saturday following the end of summer camp is a staff workday. This is the day where we try to put everything back where it came from, let the site recover from summer camp, and get Asbury Hills all ready for fall retreats. By mid-afternoon, chores are done and staff clean up for the closing dinner. This is always a themed event. Recent themes include derby days, Olympics, luaus, and blue & white. This year’s theme will be superheroes. Following the dinner, and with much anticipation, is the love gifts ceremony. One person will go first, present their love gift to their person, then the person who just received the gift will present, and so-on.
Who you have for love gifts is supposed to a secret. There is the usual scoping out best friends and boyfriends/girlfriends for the inside scoop, but it is typically a complete surprise for the staff member receiving the love gift as to who has them. For example, the summer of 2007, one of my closest camp friends had me for love gifts. She made the paper and wrote a book detailing my experiences at camp. She had observed everything – the highs and lows of my weeks, favorite moments and hard struggles. She then wrote them all down and gave it to me as my love gift. I. WAS. SHOCKED.
We even had a marriage proposal. (Don’t worry. He made the box, not the ring.) So while it is always sad to see another summer go by and the staff head back to school, there will always be a love gift to help remember the summer by.