Monthly Archives: July 2015

Camp with Kim – An Asbury Hills Story: The Conclusion

Catch up! Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 here.

As we concluded reading the letters, our quiet, tranquil sounds of creek were interrupted as a group of campers creek hiked through. Honestly, the timing could not have been more perfect. “You got it!” Kim exclaimed to a camper near the rear of the group. “You see Sarah,” she leaned in to tell me, “it’s like we’re back in 1969. That girl could be me. She could be me – same haircut and everything.”

creek

Regardless of what season Asbury Hills is in – whether we are able to listen to the quiet water flowing or are enjoying 170 plus singing praise, there is something deeply holy about time spent here. To borrow Kim’s words, it’s a returning place for so many. A place where a person is able to re-center. Re-focus. It’s that place that you know every time you return, God is right there with you. Asbury Hills has always been that returning place. And regardless what buildings and activities have been built over the fifty plus years of summer camp at Asbury Hills. And regardless of what the future holds – that is something that time simply can’t touch.

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I found God today. Drove up to Asbury Hills United Methodist Camp, new JT CD cranked up. As always, the turn into Asbury Hills, I anxiously await the first glimpse of the mountains. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, and again I think, my help comes from the Lord… Over and over again I have seen God’s face, hands, and feet in this place. I have felt His grace, love, and mercy. Here I know that faith is like the wind. I can’t see it, but I can feel it in God’s gentle breeze, hear His voice in the music of the creek, and see His face in His creation. And so I found God today, ever present here in this place, Asbury Hills, for me, God’s most splendid creation.

-Kim Welborn

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Camp with Kim – An Asbury Hills Story: Part 5

Catch up!  Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 here.

Through her letters, Kim and I traveled from her camper days to the late 70’s and early 80’s when she returned to work as a counselor. Again, I was reminded of the essence of Asbury Hills. Almost thirty years separate Kim’s counseling days from my own, and almost forty separate her from our current staff. However, even though the cabins are much nicer now, (praise for attached bathrooms and air conditioning!) many of the joys and challenges are the same. Her letters shared of dealing with a week where the rain never seemed to let up, homesick campers, and illness. Another shared of plans made with fellow staff members (who would become life-long friends) to go out to dinner, hang out by the river, and attend church together. A couple letters vented over co-counselor pairings and learning to work with someone who wasn’t her favorite person on staff. Another shared of struggles working in the kitchen, dealing with a wasp sting, and keeping her feet firmly planted to the group while hiking during her assigned work crew week. Letters also shared of joys of good groups, endless camper questions, and deep friendships made.

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July 1979

Dear Mother and Daddy,

I was so excited to get mail from home yesterday. I was about to give up hope completely. I sure was glad to hear Papa Louie was doing better. I got a real sweet letter from Aunt Elise yesterday. She sent me those pictures, and they were real good. This week has started out with a bang and forty million billion gallons of water. I have another one of those co’s who Wes has entrusted me with giving some training lessons. So far everything’s going well. Our group is absolutely perfect. We have thirteen kids. It’s like leading a mile long chain around. The weather has been terrible. It hasn’t stopped raining since I got back. Everything these kids own is already soaked. It did stop raining this afternoon, and the sun came out so we’re hoping for better weather. It’s really very difficult with eight girls who have never been away from home. They love camp, but last night I was woke up at twelve o’clock by a crying girl who just had to have a bunk. She was scared to death. Woke me up just squalling so I had to get up and help her change places with the girl underneath. If that wasn’t enough, I had another wake me up at 1:30 sick as a dog. It was a very long night. Today we went hiking and swimming in the pouring rain. You see, we really don’t stop for anything.

It looks like I may be coming home again Saturday afternoon because our washer is on permanent breakdown. This time, it means a new washer. We’re thinking about going out to eat Chinese Saturday night so I’ll probably come back. At any rate, I’ll come by the cabin Saturday afternoon to see you. I’ve got to go. It’s late, and these girls have gone absolutely wild. I’ve got to get them calmed down. Take care. I’ll see you soon.

Love,
Kim

Categories: Asbury Hills, Retreats, Summer Camp | 3 Comments

Camp with Kim – An Asbury Hills Story: Part 4

Catch up!  Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here.

I do have to admit, as we were going through all these letters, it made me a little nostalgic. I grew up going to Asbury Hills as a camper myself in the 90’s. Even though 30 years separate our time as campers, much of our story was the same. I remember being so excited to meet my counselors and get to know my group. I went canoeing on the same lake, wrote letters home during rest period, and was excited to hike up to mountain chapel to worship. And while I would like to think the food has improved in the years since Kim sent her letter home, I also remember not always being thrilled with what ended up on my plate at mealtime. It also made me a little sad at the changing culture and passage of time. I certainly didn’t write home in the perfect cursive handwriting of Kim’s letters. And I’m guessing the art of letter writing had also already started to disappear because I’m pretty sure my counselor didn’t write a letter home to my parents following my week at camp. But Kim’s counselor did.Camp Letters

July 26, 1969

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Welborn,

I certainly did enjoy having Kim in my cabin this past week at camp. Kim is unique. She kept us happy always and was a blessing to me. I noticed she made several interesting comments in our discussion (Lord only knows what I said) that showed good religious training at home and individual thinking too. We could count on Kim to help us out with discussion and devotion. Thank you for sending her.

Our group had seven girls and five boys and two counselors. We did all our activities together such as hiking, swimming, boating, cooking out, and worshiping. We tried to provide an atmosphere in which our campers could live in Christian fellowship.

Once more, I’d like to thank you for the gift. Though I couldn’t accept it, the thought is what counts, so thanks. I hope Kim will want to return next year.

Sincerely,
Carol Patton

1969

Categories: Asbury Hills, Retreats, Summer Camp | 2 Comments

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