Posts Tagged With: celebration

One Year of Blogging

It was almost one year ago today that Asbury Hills started this blog.  We wanted a better way to connect with you – to tell stories, share information, or even just share a quote and a picture.  We had no idea it would take off the way it has with 2,148 followers and thousands of monthly views.  The best part of blogging though is getting to hear from you!  We love seeing you share our stories around Facebook & Twitter and being able to read the emails you send us asking for more information or sharing your opinion.  So for the next year, we ask you to keep them coming!


And if you’ve missed out, here are our top 5 viewed blog posts from the past year.

1. 10 Questions with Asbury Hills Director David Rouse

2. Because I Went to Camp: Sarah’s Story

3. Happy Staff Equals Happy Campers

4. But Why? The Closed-Toe Shoe Rule

5. Asbury Hills – More Fun Than Disney World

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Creating the Perfect S’more

There isn’t anything more quintessentially camp than a s’more.  And it is usually around this time that I start going through s’more withdrawal after having them readily available each week during the summer.  Here’s how to make them at home.

Marshmallow (full-size)
Chocolate Bar
Graham Crackers


Step 1: Break graham crackers and chocolate bars in half.  They should fit together nicely.

Step 2: Roast marshmallows.  There is some debate on how to do this correctly.  I like mine evenly toasted and brown.  It takes some patience to get it right but is well worth the wait.  Others prefer theirs burnt to a crisp.  It’s really up to you at this point but make a campfire to roast the marshmallow.  It really adds to the experience and makes for an authentic taste.


In a pinch, you can microwave the marshmallows on High for 10-15 seconds.  Watch them closely however because they can go from warm, gooey, and delicious to completely burnt very quickly.

Step 3: Assemble the s’more.  Best order goes 1/2 graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow, 1/2 graham cracker and squish together.

Step 4: Enjoy!


Want even more s’more ideas this fall?  Check out these ideas.

Categories: Asbury Hills, Retreats, Summer Camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s a Love Gift?

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.

Paige 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. 

NikkiWho 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 have also had had blankets, stools, and bags with various landmarks and maps of camp. Jessica and JoshWe had a soapbox derby car made for one of the staff to race down the hill. Ed 2Ed

We even had a marriage proposal. (Don’t worry. He made the box, not the ring.) Clack Engagement 2 Clack EngagementSo 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.

closing ceremony

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Laughter, Joy, and Worship

“If there is no laughter, Jesus has gone somewhere else. If there is no joy and freedom, it is not a church: it is simply a crowd of melancholy people basking in a religious neurosis. If there is no celebration, there is no real worship.”
― Steve Brown, Approaching God: Accepting the Invitation to Stand in the Presence of God


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