SPENCER, WVa.—Spring Heights, a camping and retreat center located in Spencer, recently earned accreditation from the national American Camping Association (ACA), making it one of about two dozen camps in the state that meet the comprehensive ACA standards.
Amy Mullins, Spring Heights Camp Manager, said the rigorous two-year process reviewed all aspects of the camp, from the physical location to the programming, procedures, and policies used, ensuring that every effort is made to safeguard the well-being of the children, youth, and adults who visit and stay at the camp.
“We sent them a lot of information and had several meetings with them that led up to an on-site evaluation during 2018 summer camp program,” Mullins said. “They had a lot of great recommendations based on what they see at camps across the nation that were of benefit to Spring Heights.”
Recently marking 60 years of operation, Spring Heights offers 8 weeks of summer camp programs for students from 5 to 18 years old from June through the first week of August, and year-round retreat facilities. Although it is a ministry of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC), Spring Heights welcomes all campers and retreat groups and has hosted corporate groups at its scenic facility as well.
“Our primary focus is to connect people with God through nature,” Mullins said. “We have 950 acres of property and great amenities such as a swimming, horseback riding, and a ropes course. To have our facility also be ACA accredited is a great step that demonstrates we are not just looking out for the spiritual well-being of our campers and visitors, but also their health and safety by meeting national camp standards.”
Shea James, Director of Young Disciples and Outdoor Ministries for the West Virginia Conference of the UMC, said Spring Heights is a unique ministry. “We all have a need to get away and disconnect from our busy lives,” James said. “Spring Heights offers a ‘scared space’ where you can breathe and take in the beauty of creation and connect with God.”
The ACA, with headquarters in Martinsville, Indiana, in is a national organization that accredits more than 2,000 camps across the United States. They provide advocacy, education, and professional development to promote quality camp and outdoor experiences.