By Allison Redmond
CLEVELAND—The end of the summer means also means the end of another successful few months of camp at Asbury Hills United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center.
Each summer, the camp works hard to uphold its mission: serving all people for Christian birth, growth and renewal.
This year, with the theme “Unleash,” was no different.
With the theme of Unleash came conversations on how campers can unleash their faith, breaking it down daily to unchain, be unafraid, uncover and unite in faith.
“It’s kind of a progression that we are always trying to build upon the week,” said Sarah Moseley, summer camp director. “Everything comes under the umbrella of our theme, but then there’s daily words and daily scriptures for our mornings and evenings.”
This summer was Asbury Hills’s second largest in their number of campers: 1,193 this year.
David Rouse, camp director, said this was the best summer he’s experienced in his time at Asbury Hills.
“I think overall we’ve had a staff that has been about our mission … they’ve really been bought into caring for these kids and really trying to minister to them,” he said. “So it’s been fun to see that all across the staff.”
But with an increasing number in campers that want to come to camp and increasing interest in retreats throughout the year, Asbury Hills has found itself seeking new and better ways to accommodate that interest. With aging and well-used facilities, the camp is making decisions now to set itself up for success in the future.
The camp now has plans to build a worship center building that will give the capability to comfortably seat more than 400 people. In addition, they are looking at building an aquatics complex with a swimming pool, sand volleyball and basketball courts.
“We’ve been looking at our needs, and then who is wanting to come here and the things they’re wanting,” Rouse said. “We’re trying to add those things so we can have that for those groups … we’re in a really great place where we’re just growing everywhere right now.”
Rouse said that the area of growth he has been most excited to see during his time at Asbury Hills is how they have become increasingly focused on their mission statement.
“I can see it in our summer staff, I can see it in our full time staff,” he said. “They want to see people know Jesus, they want to see people grow in relationship with Jesus, and it’s been so fun for me to see how we have grown in that. I think we’re having an even greater impact with the students that come on the property, and even the retreat guests.
Moseley first attended Asbury Hills as a camper, then became a summer staffer. Now as an adult working full-time at the camp, she is a testament to the work Asbury Hills has done and the growth it has experienced over the last several years.
“I started coming here when I was 6,” she said. “I don’t remember a lot of details. But when I look back at how this place was when I was 6 versus now, it is mind-blowing. Just for me personally, it’s overwhelming at times to think of how much impact this place has not only on my life, but on so many other lives.”
Moseley said that regardless of how she has seen the camp grow, it continues to be rooted in love.
“Asbury may not look like what it used to to some people, but what’s so cool is that the 6-year-old in me still sees that place that she fell in love with,” Moseley said. “And that’s just overwhelming and humbling and inspiring that that’s how God works.”