Posts Tagged With: retreats

Fall Festival – 2015

Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center held their annual fall festival October 24 on a perfect fall day. Around 300 people enjoyed a fall day in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Traditional activities were enjoyed such as face painting, climbing the Alpine Tower, shooting at the archery range, and taking a family hayride. Over 200 plates of BBQ were eaten, and the homemade apple butter Asbury Hills has become known for was served over hot biscuits.

West End String Band2015 marked a year when Asbury Hills had even more up their sleeves to make this fall festival even better. The West End String Band entertained crowds with bluegrass favorites. They also stepped up their food offerings with funnel cakes covered in powdered sugar, apple cider freshly pressed on site, and a whole hog roast. “It was sooooo fun!!!” said Kassie.

DSC_0074 copyDonations were also accepted to help send kids to summer camp, and $1,114 was raised towards the annually needed $20,000 to support the Asbury Hills scholarship program.  If you missed out on the fall festival this year, Asbury Hills would love to welcome you for a tour or a hike.  Call 864.836.3711 for more information.DSC_0060 copy

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Christian Birth, Growth, & Renewal

We are in full planning mode at Asbury Hills. The 2015 budget has been finalized. The site is humming each weekend with retreat groups worshiping, fellowshipping, and having a blast! Details for Summer Camp 2015 are coming together and on-line registration is being set up. Part of planning for us is refocusing on our mission. What is the purpose of Asbury Hills?

Our mission is to serve all people for Christian birth, growth, and renewal. But what exactly does this mean?

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Christian Birth:
Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. –Romans 10:9

We desire for people to know Jesus Christ. Admittedly, most of our summer campers and retreat guests come from a church background. They do know Jesus Christ. But many do not. We want anyone who steps onto the property of Asbury Hills – whether it be a retreat guest, summer camper, hiker, person making a delivery, or simply someone who got lost in the mountains – to be able to encounter the living God.

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Christian Growth:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. –John 15:5

We desire for people to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. As mentioned before, most of our guests do know Jesus Christ. But we also believe that faith is a journey, and part of this journey is to become more and more like Jesus. The staff at Asbury Hills seeks to provide an atmosphere that enables people to abide in Jesus Christ. This may be intentionally through a summer camp worship service or staff led devotion. It may also be something as small as trail maintenance to allow guests to hike and experience God through nature. We are always seeking to remove barriers and distractions so that guests can be focused on what God wants to do in their lives while on site with us.

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Christian Renewal:
Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so you can figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature. –Romans 12:2

We desire for people to be renewed in Jesus Christ. The world is full of distractions. Maybe our guests and campers have hit a plateau in their faith. Maybe they have started to fall away from faith all together. Asbury Hills seeks to create an environment that reflects Christian fellowship and community. We want to create an environment where it is easier to be a Christian. Unfortunately, we understand that people cannot stay at Asbury Hills forever. Hikers, campers, and retreats guests will have to return to their normal lives – complete with all the distractions they left behind. But our goal is that by creating the atmosphere of Christian community and temporarily removing the distractions, we have allowed time for our guests to be renewed in Christ and ready to take on the world again.

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Climb the Alpine Tower

The staff here at Asbury Hills are having a blast planning for Summer Camp 2015 and getting to serve tons of retreat groups.  One of our favorite activities for both campers and retreat guests is the Alpine Tower.  Now, we understand that some of you reading this are too far away to travel to Asbury Hills for our annual Fall Festival on November 1st to try it for yourself.  We also understand that some of you are terrified of heights and simply putting on the harness is pushing you outside your comfort zone.  So whether you have already climbed the Alpine Tower, wish to climb, or can’t imagine climbing it – here is your opportunity to virtually climb the tower.

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Get Hooked on Nature

At Asbury Hills, we believe in the importance of kids spending time outdoors.

“As kids now spend more time with entertainment media, they’re getting less and less time outdoors, despite the mental and physical health benefits. Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood, a 255-acre outdoor learning center, proposes a free and natural remedy to the physical problems kids face: the Great Outdoors. ” -from TEDxRainier

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Platforms Coming to Home in the Woods

Home in the woods is a long-standing tradition at Asbury Hills. But it is also one of the activities on parent and camper reviews that people seem to either love or hate. We get it! It is designed to be an activity to challenge groups to work together and push campers out of their comfort zones. We understand that family camping, especially primitive camping, is not as common as it once was. Because of this, for many of our campers, home in the woods is their first experience camping out ever!

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Many of you know, our staff spends many meetings each fall and spring reviewing the results of summer evaluations and planning to make the next summer even better than the last. Because feedback is typically split on home in the woods, it is something that we discuss each year. The answer we come up with is always a resounding YES. Home in the woods is still worth it for our campers because it offers individual skills and aids in group formation in ways we cannot replicate with a different activity. (For a former staff’s perspective on home in the woods, click here.)

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However, we are sensitive to our campers’ experiences and expectations. We expect home in the woods to be a challenging activity for some, but we want it to be a great one by the end! This is why we are excited to announce, for the summer of 2015, there will be platforms built at the home in the woods sites. These platforms will allow our groups to have the same opportunity to experience nature first hand and for campers to learn camping and cooking skills while providing a little more comfortable of an experience. Campers will still be sleeping in nature without having to sleep directly on the group. This will also limit the amount of tarp flooding that can happen when rain moves in on home in the woods nights.

Eagle scouts and other volunteer groups will be working various weekends this fall and spring to outfit our campsites with platforms. We are excited to be able to offer them to campers this summer!

Examples of a platform type:

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Throwback Thursday: Dreams Becoming Reality On Methodist Mountain Camp-Site

Below is an article originally published in the February 21, 1963 edition of the Advocate. Today, we are thankful that 50+ years ago many worked towards and dreamed of the place that would become Asbury Hills Camp & Retreat Center.

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Next Sunday is Camp Development Day in the Methodist Churches of South Carolina.

Behind it are the hopes, dreams, and mountain-top visions, on the part of many people through long years of youth-work in the Methodist churches of South Carolina, which are now becoming a reality.

In the mountains, between Travelers’ Rest and Caesar’s Head, Cleveland, SC, the Methodist Camp is taking physical form.

Ten cabins have been finished, of which seven are for Juniors, and three for Senior Youth.

Being built are the Health Center, Staff Lodge, and Dining Hall. Just completed is the Bath House. Previous to this, a water system was install, roads built, a dam built and water impounded for the lake, and a home constructed for Camp Superintendent Wesley Voigt and his family.

There are 565 acres in the site.

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Camping has been an important part of the program of Christian Education conducted by the Boards of Education of the form Upper South Carolina and the South Carolina conference. With the merging of the two conferences in 1949, the program has been statewide in nature.

Working under the direction of the conference executive secretary of the Board of Education in this program have been Directors of Youth Work, who have borne a major part of the responsibility through the years.

With state-wide responsibility, and coming into contact with hundreds of young people from the nearly 800 Methodist churches throughout the state, the post is a vital one in the life of the church. At times served by volunteer leaders of the Conferences, and at other times by full-time persons, all have found camping a valued part of the church’s work.

Each summer, for many years past, the camping program has been carried on at State Parks, rented for limited periods of time in the summer, and in such other facilities as have been available.

Under such circumstances, limitations of time and facilities have limited the number of youth who could be accommodated in the summer camping program. It has also meant that no opportunity was available for junior-age children to camp. Yet, year-by-year it was demonstrated again and again that the camping experience under church sponsorship opened the way to joy and happiness and increased spiritual growth…

Now the work is under way.

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With the earlier contributions, and the memorial cabins already built and the work that has already been done, the present construction will make it possible to use the Camp in the summer of 1963.

Beginning the third week in June, there will be four weeks of camping for Junior girls and boys.

Senior youth, age 15 and above, will have a two-weeks Work Camp, beginning the first week in July. At that time they will help to develop some phase of camp life. Last year, 20 young people in such a camp built two bridges over streams in the camp.

The Work Camp this year will be limited to 22 persons. Applications should be made to the Youth Director….

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10 Questions with Asbury Hills Director David Rouse

After being on the job for a full week, we decided it was time for you to get to know the new Asbury Hills director a little better. David comes to Asbury Hills from a camp and conference center in Kentucky with his wife, Susan, and children, Scott and Kassidy. He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Here are 10 Questions with David:

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Have you played any sports?
Soccer as a forward and basketball if you can believe that.

What are your hobbies?
Spending time with family especially throwing a football with Scott and Kassidy. We love to go hiking and are looking forward to being able to do it more now that we are in this area. We also love going to theme parks and the beach.

Favorite Movie?
Back to the Future

Favorite Vacation Spot?
Disney World (FYI for reasons why Asbury Hills is better than Disney World, click here.)

If you had to live off one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cereal, specifically Cocoa Krispies

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Flying (very helpful for getting around Asbury Hills)

What is your favorite superhero?
Iron Man

David Ironman

Favorite book/TV show?
Intimacy with the Almighty by Chuck Swindoll and MacGuiver

Favorite thing so far about Asbury Hills?
I’ve really enjoyed the relational aspect. Asbury Hills has a very close and friendly staff.  It is also a beautiful property.

What are you most looking forward to about the next year?
I’m really looking forward growing together as a team here. I see Asbury Hills as poised for growth, and I’m very excited about expanding the ministry and seeing what new things Asbury Hills can offer.

David Cheerwine

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Three Strand Cord

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. 10 If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? 12 Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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What to Pack?

The first week of staff training begins this week with band rehearsals, leadership training, summer prep, ropes training, and lifeguard training. Next week, all of our staff will arrive to start two weeks of full staff training. This means that summer camp is only three weeks away!   Many families are starting to gather together the essentials. Some campers are already packed and ready to come to camp. Others are just trying to make it through the end of the school year and haven’t even thought about what they will bring to camp. Regardless of where you are, here are some commonly asked questions with answers about what to bring to camp.

What kinds of clothes should I bring?
As a general rule, we recommend bringing any clothes that you don’t mind if they don’t make it home in the same condition they came in or don’t come home at all. We work hard to keep the cabins orderly, campers clean, and all belonging with their original owner. However, it is camp and sometimes stuff gets misplaced or really dirty.

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What are water shoes?
We have many water activities at camp including canoeing, creek hiking, and the Cascades waterfall. All these activities require shoes, and these shoes will get wet. Water shoes are really just having an extra pair of shoes so campers have dry shoes to change into and prevent blisters. These can be an old pair of tennis shoes, Keens or something similar work great, or any other sturdy, closed toe shoes. (For reasons as to why closed toe shoes are important, click here.)

creek

How should I bring medication?
If you child takes a medication on a regular basis, bring it to camp. We need for prescription medications to be in the prescribed bottle with the dosing instructions. If you bring meds in a plastic bag or pill sorter without the prescription information, we cannot give the medication. If it is over the counter, like a Zyrtec, bring it in its original bottle.

We don’t want you to bring over the counter medications that your camper may need. We have medications for all kind of camper aliments (for a full list please refer to the camper health form). It makes it much easier on our nurse to give medications from our supply should a camper need them instead of keeping up with bottles brought from home.

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What can my camper not bring?
For the full list, please refer to the link below, but in general, we don’t want your camper to bring anything that distract from his/her experience at camp. Food and drinks invite bugs and other critters to make their home in your camper’s cabin. No one wants that. Cell phones, music players, and video games distract from the beautiful natural setting Asbury Hills is located in, but more importantly, hinder the formation of relationships. I’m sure all of you have seen a group of youth sitting together, but all looking down at their cell phone or video game. We want our campers to form real relationships with each other, and we have found removing technology greatly helps this process.

cabin friends

For the full list of what to bring and what not to bring, click on the camper information kit here.

 

 

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Meet the Camp Pastor

Guest post by Kenny Maple

I’ve really been anticipating this summer – my fifth at Asbury Hills. They’ve not been consecutive; I last worked at camp the summer of 2006. My summers at camp mostly consisted of maintenance work. I was proud to serve the camp through the cutting of grass, the cleaning of bathrooms, the removal of garbage from the premises, and also the coveted job of assisting in the maintenance of the waste water treatment plant. I enjoyed this work immensely. Seriously, I did.

This summer is different. I’ll be serving in the capacity of camp pastor, and I’m beyond excited.

I spent the last year and a half serving as a missionary in Sofia, Bulgaria. There I was involved in a number of efforts like discipleship, small group ministry, and sports ministry. These projects had me working with gypsies and orphans and refugees and children. I loved it. God blessed me with those opportunities.

Previously, I served as the director of youth ministry at Fairview Presbyterian church in Fountain Inn, SC.  I also spent time as a missionary in Poland.  (To learn more about this, check out Kenny’s book.) I have a Master of Arts in practical ministry from Erskine Theological Seminary and a Bachelors of Arts in English from Lander University. I’m passionate about missions and making disciples. I also really love sports, music, writing, and this camp.

Kenny Maple
Zephaniah 3:9

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