Posts Tagged With: summer

Get Ready – 2016 Summer Camp Calendar

2015 was an incredible summer, but we aren’t slowing down.  Mark your calendars because here is your 2015 summer camp calendar.  We’ve also listened and tried to include more of what you are asking for including Drenched, camps for all ages every week, and another Jr. High Expedition week.  We look forward to seeing you next summer!

Calendar Web

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Thin Places

Last night marked the [almost] end to staff training with worship, communion, and staff commissioning.  It was a great night for many reasons, one of which being the reminder of the thin places.

1-DSC_4368thin place: those rare locals where the distance between heaven and earth collapses

Moses received the ten commandments on the top of the mountain. Jesus frequently went to the top of the mountain to pray.  Ancient churches were frequently built as high a possible on a hill or mountain.  Thin places.

paigerailey-42-3There is something about being in nature, particularly on a mountain, that allows you to feel God’s presence.  Are you physically closer to heaven? Probably not.  But thin places require struggle.  Thin places mean giving up control.  Thin places mean surrendering ourselves so that we may more fully experience God.

1-DSC_3991 I believe Asbury Hills is one of those places.  One of those places where God seems just a little bit more available. personable. present.

paigerailey-46-3We are on pace for 1100 campers to gather at Asbury Hills this summer.  Welcome.  Be ready to meet God.

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Join the Summer Staff

Monday marks the start of staff hiring, and we are so excited to see who God has to join our ministry.  Want to know more about the Asbury Hills summer staff experience?  Read Paige’s reflections:

DSC_0844 copyMy contract reads, “Photographer and Videographer” but there is so much more to what I do as a summer staffer at Asbury Hills. So much goes into making the week the best week of each individual camper’s life. Some weeks there are only 50 campers but some weeks we break 150 campers, easy. If my job title in my contract read exactly what I do, it would sound something more like, “DVD making, name tag creating, sometimes mail delivering, stand in camp store working, dining hall music DJing, mural painting, white truck driving, s’more assisting, sometimes counselor, alpine tower belaying, band aid getting, golf cart driving, fire building, laundry doing, energizer leading, table setting, creek hiking, cascade jumping, home in the woods visiting, smile making, hug giving, coffee delivering, rocking chair rocking, Bible reading, praising and signing, life time friend making, photographer and videographer.” In my eyes, I have the best job because I get to walk around a beautiful camp and capture the moments of each camper’s experience. The campers, however, are only the half of it. I most definitely work at Asbury Hills to change camper’s lives but I also am surrounded by some of the greatest people. I often say that camp friends are the best friends and I mean it one hundred percent. Some of my closest friends are people I met at camp. The bonds that we build in our own little community are unbreakable. I find myself not even worrying about what is going on in the “real world” because why worry? I have my closest friends right there with me. Trying to explain this bond to non camp friends is the hardest but also the funniest because they will never understand. I could relate basically anything to camp and my real world friends hate me for it. Personally, I think it is out of jealously because I work at the greatest place ever but I could be slightly bias. I once looked up the definition of what a summer camp was and what gave me was this, “a camp, especially one for children during the summer, providing facilities for sleeping and eating, and usually for handicrafts, sports, etc.”   No offense to the people who wrote that but they left out all the good stuff!! After working two summers at Asbury Hills, I think that the definition should read something more like this, “a camp, especially for children who want to have the time of their lives, providing high energy, smiling staff members doing everything they possibly can to make that summer memorable for the children, and usually for trying new things, growing spiritually, and making lifelong friends.” I think I am pretty spot on, but, again, I may be bias.

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Where Do Asbury Hills Campers Come From?

We are getting excited about Summer Camp 2015 at Asbury Hills, but you may be surprised to learn that campers travel to Asbury Hills from further away than you think.

Where AH Come From

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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?


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.


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.

Asbury LS Chapel copy

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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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!


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.)


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:

platform 1

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Summer Camp 2015!

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!

2015 Summer Calendar Web

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Reflections on an Unlikely Summer

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.

_dsc0366Campers 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.

_dsc0560All 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.


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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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