Mar 05, 2024 | John W. Coleman

“Come many, come all” is the modified clarion call of the Eastern PA Conference’s Camp and Retreat Ministries, as it eagerly invites participants—from EPA, Greater New Jersey and beyond—to its four centers for life- and faith-enriching events and activities this spring and summer amid the wonders of God’s creation.

Winter Blasts and Winter Jamborees drew plenty of children and youth in February, and the start of spring in March will usher in more seasonal events. Meanwhile, families are registering for what is expected to be another historic summer camp season. And more New Jersey families should be among those registrants, since GNJ is investing in its children’s and youth’s future by offering scholarships to help them attend EPA’s summer camps.

GNJ will cover at least $150 per student for one week of camp. And more financial support is available through the camps’ need-based scholarships. “This financial commitment supports our mission to disciple our children and youth in transformational ways,” said Connectional Ministries Director Eric Drew.

But until then, enjoy exciting spring retreats and events at three, year-round camp and retreat sites.

Pocono Plateau will host an Easter Family Retreat March 22-24, featuring the stations of the cross, an Easter egg hunt, crafts, games and Palm Sunday worship, all in the peace and sacredness of the camp’s mountaintop. A Spring Day Camp will follow March 28 and April 1, and the fascinating, fearless annual Father & Son Dangerous Retreat will happen April 26-28.

Gretna Glen will host a 24-hour Children’s Spring Blast retreat March 22-23, offering music, games, food, Christian nurture and memorable experiences for children of God. 

And Innabah’s 10th annual Spring Challenge Trail 5k race happens April 6, a perfect time to run, walk, romp and hike around its scenic, rolling hills and dales, alongside French Creek. Start the day with the popular pancake and bacon breakfast and the race. Then stay to enjoy the free Spring Fest, including an Easter egg hunt, games, wagon rides, camp tours and more.

Confirmation Retreats coming in April

Both Gretna Glen and Pocono Plateau are preparing to welcome youth confirmands and their counselors for two Confirmation Retreats in April. Gretna Glen will host theirs April 12-14. Confirmands will explore the compelling question, “Are you Ready to Embrace Your Faith?” as membership vows are enlivened through activities, mission experiences and thoughtful discussions about confirmation and lives guided by actionable faith. Teambuilding exercises, like the trust trail, and evening worship around a campfire will also highlight the agenda.

Pocono Plateau will host their Confirmation Retreat April 19–21, with the theme “My Methodist Identity.” Confirmands will explore how to embody a life-changing commitment to their baptismal and membership covenant vows. They will join with youth from other congregations to jointly explore their identity and purpose as Christians in the Methodist faith.

“Thousands of youth going through their confirmation have enjoyed this religious retreat experience as a part of their Christian journey,” said Gretna Glen director Apryl Miller. “There is no better environment in which young people can have this experience of learning Christian faith, values and relationships together.”

And there is no better environment than summer camp for young people to experience and enjoy a fuller, more fun-filled immersion into their Christian faith, while learning many ways to love Christ and love one another.

In May and June, all four camps, including Carson-Simpson Farm Christian Center, will welcome everyone to their annual Open Houses, where visitors can get a peek at their preparations for the summer enjoyment and enrichment experiences soon to come.

But slots are filling up. So, EPA and GNJ families should register for summer camp soon to offer their young people inspiring memories that will last a lifetime. Visit the four centers’ informative websites to learn more.