Camps Across the Connection

By WV UMC Admin

What Spring Heights Means to Me
By Steven May

I first became a camper at Spring Heights when I was seven years old. I returned to camp for the next twelve years. Then, in 2014, I became a staff member at Spring Heights. I had to miss this past summer to work elsewhere, and missing just one summer validated what I already knew: I can’t imagine my life without Spring Heights.

Camp changes you. When I’m not at camp, I can be bad at socializing and I am very quiet and introverted. But when I’m at camp, I feel like I am a whole different person. Camp gives me a sense of belonging. Camp brings out the best in me. I’ve learned so much in my many years at camp. I’ve learned new things about myself, my faith, and what I want to do with my life. I love getting to know all the kids, and helping them learn more about who they are, their faith, and who they want to be. Helping kids overcome obstacles they’re facing in their life is important to me. I feel I am able to do that at camp, especially at the challenge course when I can relate challenges on the course to challenges in campers’ lives. I hope that I am able to make a difference in at least one kid’s life, just like my counselors did for me when I was as a camper.

Spring Heights is Calling, and I Must Go 
By Megan DiLorenzo

I have typed and retyped this trying to put together the perfect words to describe my love, appreciation, and passion for Spring Heights. There isn’t a day that goes by that the words “Spring Heights” do not come out of my mouth, so you wouldn’t expect this to be hard for me. However, it is hard to put together the perfect words when there are so many things I could say. I realize there is a feeling I get when I’m at camp. When I’m standing in the field with the sun hitting me and staring out at the cross, I only need one word to describe it: home.

Right now, I’m sitting in my dorm room at Marshall University, which I have decorated with my Spring Heights bandana, my counselor name tag hanging from the door, pictures from the past 6 summers at camp, and plenty of friendship bracelets (43 to be exact). Why is it decorated like this?? The Resident Advisors here at Marshall advise us to “make our dorm rooms feel like home,” and Spring Heights is my home. Before I went to Spring Heights, I called it ‘camp’. After a week of being a camper, I called it my ‘home away from home’. Now, as a summer staff member, heading into my 7th summer, Spring Heights is where I am happiest. Camp has given me the best memories I will ever have, and I look forward to continuing to make more memories as the years go by.  No matter where I end up in life, no matter what I am doing, and no matter how far I may roam across this Earth, when Spring Heights calls me, I will come home.

Asbury Woods
By Gayla Van Horn

Camp is in my blood – it flows through every part of who I am. It has nurtured me in my walk with God, given me a sense of purpose, and built the closest relationships in my life. Pulling on to the gravel road that leads to camp gives me more peace than walking through my own front door.

Every summer (and a few long weekends a year), I am given the opportunity to serve at Asbury Woods. Spending time away from the busyness of everyday life, in the beauty of His handiwork, surrounded by campers and staff who are on fire for God has become a spiritual reset for me. It is on camp’s grounds that I am most connected to the Lord and I always leave fulfilled and renewed.

Everyone has a purpose that can be used to glorify God; I found mine at camp. I genuinely enjoy serving the WVUMC at this level. Taking part in shaping our youth has given me more fulfillment than anything else I’ve experienced. Seeing our numbers grow over the years has been a great reminder that we are doing good work.
My best friends are people I met through camp. We are all grown now, married, most have kids, and we still maintain an incredibly strong friendship. I married a man that I met at camp when I was twelve. I want to help other kids find that. I want them to grow up and have a group of people that they can text with a prayer request and know that God will be hearing all about them right at that minute from a bunch of people. I want young people to have a solid support group that never questions their faith or belittles them for it. I want them to see that God has a community for them. Camp facilitates those relationships.

There isn’t any area of my life that camp has not had an impact on. Asbury Woods has made me who I am today. Each time I leave, I come home a better, more fulfilled person. Camp changed me; I hope you let it change you, too.

What does Asbury Woods Mean to me?

I started attending Asbury Woods as a young child. I loved meeting new people, I loved games, and I loved God; so, camp was the perfect place for me! I went every single year, building friendships and making memories that would last a life time. I can still hear the encouragement of my teammates, hysterical laughter at ridiculous skits, and the sacred sound of quietness during the last campfire.

The older I became, the deeper the impact Asbury Woods had on me. I was thrilled when I finally became a counselor, which was an amazing experience. I really got see God work, it was utterly majestic. I remember not being able to attend camp my senior year. We had already put down a deposit a trip to Colorado so I wouldn’t be able to make it to camp that summer. I cried because I was devastated and heartbroken to be missing out on such an important opportunity.

I went through some hard times during my first couple years of college. I was in an abusive relationship. I started to become someone who was shut off from the world. My old youth leaders were moving and volunteering at camp one last time, they asked me to serve as a counselor. I knew I was not in the right state to volunteer at church camp, but I still loved Asbury Woods, so I said yes. After a worship service, I pulled one of my youth workers aside. I began telling them I shouldn’t be here and that they didn’t realize who I really was on the inside. I was so broken. He looked at me and said, “You are exactly where you need to be, and you are going to do some amazing things. I just know it. We know who you really are and we love you.” I was lost, but Asbury Woods helped find me. When I was tormenting myself, Asbury Woods gave me a safe place and showed me where I belonged.
Asbury Woods is more than a camp. It is family that you can confide in, an unbreakable bond. And here I am, 8 years later trying to offer campers the love, acceptance, and hope that the camp still gives me today.

Check out these fun photos of “then and now” Asbury Woods!

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