Each year the Asbury United Methodist Church hosts a summer camp for kids around the Lincoln County area, and 2019 marked the 42nd year that Asbury has hosted the camp. The camp offers young campers an opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of friends their age, and to become better versed in Biblical teaching.
The camp is hosted at the Cuivre River State Park at Camp Derricotte and this year was held June 23-28. Jessica Gillespe has been the director of Asbury Bible Camp for the past five years.
“We work to really introduce our campers to the teachings of Christ and the basics of who God is and what he does,” Gillespe said. She was a camper herself, attending the camp every summer. Once she was old enough, she became a counselor and eventually landed the position as director. Asbury Bible Camp is a camp for kids to be kids and enjoy the outdoors as well. The camp offers traditional recreational such as sports, field games, nature walks, woodworking and crafts.
“One thing that we as a camp really pride ourselves on is having the best camp food around,” Gillespe said. Each day the campers are provided three home-cooked meals that are prepared by the staff of volunteers. The camp staff includes counselors, cooks, nurses and anyone that is willing to donate their time to the camp. With the team of volunteers and the support of the church and community the camp allows anyone to attend the camp.
“We believe that every child should have the opportunity to go to camp no matter the circumstances. This is only possible by the grace of God and the support of both the church and the generosity of its members,” Gillespe said. Each day of the camp starts with the raising of the flag and ends with worship time at the end of the night. At the end of each night, the camp gathers for minute-to-win-it challenges and team building exercises hosted by the counselors. Some nights feature a guest speaker or a skit put on by the staff that connect to the theme of the camp; for 2019, the theme was “Harvest.”
“What really makes the week of endless bugs and no air conditioning worth it are those moments under the tent at night during worship where I can sit back and watch the kids enjoy learning about the Bible’s teachings,” Gillespe said. The camp is always looking for volunteers that would be willing to dedicate their time to the camp, from counselors to daily helpers.