Sep 20, 2017

After a bustling summer camp season* at our Camp & Retreat Centers (CRCs), even as images and echoes of playful children fade into memory, the fall season has arrived, when retreats and other events fill the calendar. Meanwhile year-round fundraising efforts continue.

Pocono Plateau kicks off its 4th annual Hero Dash Festival this Saturday, Sept. 23, offering a 5K race and a One-Mile Fun Run in wonderful weather (sunny skies with a high of 77 degrees) amid the wonders of God’s creation. They’re even offering 30-, 40-, and 50-yard dashes for kids.  Prizes will go to the person who shows up in the best costume, and the one who raises the most money to benefit the camp and retreat ministry center.

“We’ve raised approximately $10,000 in total over the first three years,” says Nick Klein, race director.  “This year’s race proceeds will go towards building a new Team High Ropes Course. We had about 75 people last year and are hoping for in excess of 100 this year.”

For anyone needing an extra post-race challenge, they will open up the climbing tower. Meanwhile, the event includes savory, outdoor food, a campfire and a silent auction all morning long, offering gift cards, hotel stays at Pocono-area resort, homemade baskets and baked goods.

Lodging is available for anyone coming from out of town. You can stay on the property either in your own tent or in a rustic rented cabin. Cost is $10 per person, and a light breakfast will be provided. Call the office at 570-676-3665 to reserve a spot.

There’s still time to sign up and give your support. (Get more information). Registration forms will be available on race day for those unable to register online. Onsite registration opens at 9 AM. The Fun Run begins at 10 AM and the 5K begins at 10:05 AM.

In addition, Pocono Plateau will host its annual Adult Fall Retreat Oct. 3-6 and a Knitting Retreat Oct. 20-22. Through its Pathway to Our Future funding initiative, the camp is trying to pay off its current loan principle of $397,000 for its Springer Center, a beautiful, convenient gathering space for meals, a camp store and activities.

Innabah in Spring City will host its Fall Classic next Saturday, Oct. 7 (9 AM), a “hilly, trail romp around the beautiful hills and dales of one of PA’s oldest camps.” The five-mile run course “ranges from dirt trails, gravel roads and a few short paved sections, over rolling terrain above the beautiful French Creek in scenic Chester County.”

There is also a two-mile “fun walk” over a noncompetitive loop on grass trails and gravel roads. Registration—in advance or onsite at 8-8:45 AM—costs $35. Amenities include their “back by popular demand” pancake breakfast, a “sweet t-shirt” to all pre-registered runners, and awards for all age ranges.

All proceeds benefit summer camp programs and subsidized camperships there. Meanwhile, Innabah is promoting its Pennies for Our Playground fun-and-fund-raising effort.  “Our playground is old,” says their appeal. “We need something new. Can you help us out? With a penny or two.” The campaign is their first step towards reaching a goal to have a new, ADA (American Disabilities Act)-compliant by late spring 2018 so that it can be installed by next summer.

To date they have raised about $6,000 of the $20,000 needed. All donations are welcome; no donation is “too small.” If you want to help, contact Michael Hyde, Camp Director, or Kelly Nelson, Program Coordinator, or call the camp main office at 610-469-6111.

Gretna Glen launched a new season of Free Youth Nights last Sunday, Sept. 17. The next ones, always on Sundays from 4 PM to 6:30 PM, and always for free, will be Oct. 15 and Nov. 19. Middle & High School youth, in grades 6 to 12, can come with their local church youth group and enjoy a taste of the camp experience, including lively games, music, inspiring speakers, worship, and good ol’ camp fun.

Gretna Glen will also host its final 2017 UMC Confirmation Camp weekend Oct. 13-15 (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon). The theme is “Embrace Your Faith.” The weekend focuses on the five vows of membership affirmation: prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Each vow comes alive as confirmands participate in hands on activities, discussions and reflections that help draw connections from the act of confirmation as the start of a fulltime life of faith. Want to treat your youth to faith formation with fun and fellowship amid the beauty of God’s creation? Check out the brochure and register now.

In December Gretna Glen will host their Children’s Winter Blast Overnight, Dec. 1-2. Children in grades 1 to 6 can come for “a fun-filled 24 hours (7 PM to 7 PM) of all the camp fun we can fit!” says camp staff. “Wintery games, hot cocoa, a fun Christmas theme and more will fill out the overnight!  This is a great chance to experience camp, whether you’re looking for a first time overnight experience, or you’re a camp fun fanatic.  Register online.

At the other end of the age spectrum will be Gretna’s Autumn Leaves Senior Day on Tuesday Oct. 10, 9:30 AM to 3 PM. Autumn Leaves is planned just for adults, with fun activities and entertainment, laughter shared with friends, a hot lunch and snacks, and a chance to enjoy the colorful, changing seasons of life and nature together. Check the website to register.

But Gretna staff also have an urgent question for all supporters: “Can you help us finish the Bathhouse?” Check out the online brochure to learn about this “awesome project,” a long overdue improvement that will greatly enhance the camp and retreat experience for many children, youth and adults.

Carson Simpson Farm Christian Center, which turns 100 in 2019, held its annual Flea Market and Mum Sale, Sept. 16, one of several fundraising and giving opportunities. Now the center, located in Hatboro, just north of Philadelphia, will close its 2017 calendar with its annual Thanksgiving Pie Fundraiser. Orders are due by Nov. 1 and can be picked up at the camp office on Nov. 21 (1 to 6 PM). The pies, each costing $15, are from Solly Brother’s Farm, family owned and operated since 1920. Download Order Form.

*NOTE: Our four Camp & Retreat Centers hosted 2,918 summer campers from June to August. They were served by 139 summer staff and over 318 volunteers.

Pocono Plateau served 717 summer campers over seven weeks, with 27 paid summer staff and 136 volunteers. Innabah served over 500 campers for seven weeks, with 19 summer staff over 60 volunteers. Innabah also hosted a week of outside groups using its facilities for their summer camps.

Gretna Glen, with “Fearless Faith!” as its theme, served 1,070 “Faith-Based Summer Campers” over 7 weeks, plus 265 “Camp Can Do Summer Campers” over three weeks, thanks to 43 paid summer staff and 107 volunteers. The camp staff came from the U.S. and six other countries: Bolivia, New Zealand, Poland, Jamaica, Canada and Tanzania.

Carson Simpson Farm had 366 campers; but including those who came for multiple weeks, they totaled 1361 registrations. Fifty summer staff and 15 volunteers operated the camp for 10 weeks.

Thanks to our Camp & Retreat Center directors for this information and for great photos. Be sure to view—or review—many of those photos on our Flickr page in individual albums featuring each center.