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Xenia News

the newsletter of Upper New York Annual Conference Camp & Retreat Ministries • The United Methodist Church xenia: Xenia is the Greek concept of hospitality - or generosity - and courtesy shown to those who are away from home. It is often translated as “guestfriendship” because the rituals of hospitality create and express a reciprocal relationship between guest and host.

Issue XiiI

Fall 2017

A Note From the Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries In today’s culture it is ever more critical that we, whether child or adult, retreat from our daily routines, and it is often while at camp or on retreat that we develop a relationship that changes all other relationships. The acknowledgment of, and a commitment to, a relationship with Christ is our primary goal. We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ. A recent article published in Campsight by author Lloyd Mattson offered a number of points as an explanation of the value of a camp experience. The following is a shortened version of those points. • Safety: Careful staff screening and training weed out people unfit to serve. Camps work constantly to assure physical, moral, and spiritual safety for campers with government regulations reinforcing the camp’s efforts. • Friendship: Friends are one of the most vital forces for shaping a child’s character, and camps create an environment where friendships form and grow. Kids share adventure with peers from diverse backgrounds over five or six days under spiritual guidance allowing friendships to mature. • Self-discovery: The overpowering sights and sounds of the digital world stifle personal reflection and creativity, while the camp’s natural setting and challenging programs create moments for self-awareness and creative thought. • Spiritual input: Christian camps present the gospel through chapel services, Bible study groups, counselor-led sharing times, and campfires, providing opportunities for campers to make spiritual choices and receive wise counsel. • Role models: The home church brings kids and leaders together for an hour or two of directed activity in a religious setting. At camp, kids and leaders interact constantly in worship, play, adventure, discovery, and meals. In this setting, the friendship of older Christians makes a great impact. • Creation: Our world of wire and concrete dulls the spirit to the wonders of nature. Camps feature the natural setting. Campfire worship, nature hikes, outpost overnights and week-long outdoor trips bring campers close to creation. • Change of pace: Within the camp’s full schedule are pockets of leisure that provide the camper with breathing room allowing new life perspectives to be embraced. God’s Spirit always deals with hearts one on one, and camp often provides the stillness that is mandated in Scripture: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). • Leadership growth: The camp, more than any other Christian agency provides openings for entry-level leadership experience. A significant percentage of Christian leaders first tasted leadership in a camp and trace their sense of calling to a camp experience. • Fair price: Remembering their camp years, parents may wonder at today’s camp fees. The answer lies in the cost of today’s homes, cars, professional sporting events tickets and dinners out. Considering the benefits one week at camp offers kids, the fee represents an overwhelming value. Whether you are looking for a place to take a group on retreat or you are the guardian or parent of a potential camper we invite you to come experience one of our centers in the coming year. We look forward to being in community with you. In Christ,

Michael D. Huber Executive Director

Aldersgate Brantingham, NY 315-348-8833




sky lake

skye farm






Silver Lake, NY

Moravia, NY

Clymer, NY

Windsor, NY

Warrensburg, NY

Staff Updates We extend a warm welcome to Betsy Schuessler who has been hired as Administrative Assistant to the director of Camp & Retreat Ministries. Betsy grew up as a camper at Aldersgate and served on summer staff ultimately filling the role of interim director from the fall of 2006 through the spring of 2009. She has continued to serve in a volunteer role for CRM many times throughout the year and is a regular participant at Family Life Weekend. “It has been a joy to work with Betsy over the years” said Mike Huber, director of CRM. “I am pleased to have her as an official member of the team once again and know that she brings gifts and talents that will be a great asset to this ministry.” Betsy has settled in quickly to her new position stating “I’m so glad to have the opportunity to be part of the CRM team and am excited to support the ministry that has been integral in my faith journey and the transformation of so many lives over the years!”

Camp & Retreat Ministries is pleased to announce the hiring of Naomi Hartnagel as Assistant Director of Asbury Camp & Retreat Center. Naomi is a graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College with a degree in Religion and Philosophy. She has had 2 ½ years program experience with Infuzion Team Ministry where she was a part of a team bringing a retreat weekend on the road to a number of different places. Naomi has also worked as a Ministry Assistant at Skye Farm Camp & Retreat Center serving as a Counselor Coordinator and assisting with Skye Farm’s American Camp Association accreditation. She comes from her home in Albany area. “Naomi’s heart for Camp and Retreat Ministry, for hospitality, and the spiritual life of others shines through in all she does,” said Sue Russell, director of Asbury. “Naomi brings her gifts of attentive listening, problem solving, and customer service to the ministry at Asbury.” Naomi is grateful for the opportunity to serve as part of the CRM team, stating “Becoming a part of the staff and ministry at Asbury is a blessing. I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve God in this role by using the gifts God has given me in order to honor Him and be a part of the continuation of His vision for Asbury.”


Site Updates Aldersgate - Updates to Aldersgate’s facilities continue with completion of the following projects: painting of the office, replacement of the roof on Hamer Lodge and new windows in the Health Center. These projects were accomplished in part thanks to a generous gift from the estate of Walter Stacy, former Service Manager of Aldersgate. Asbury - In the fall of 2016 we reported that many donations had been given to repair the main parking area near Koinonia Inn. We are pleased to report that the new area, sidewalk, and Manor parking have now all been sealed with two coats. To all the donors who gave funds and to Norb Sylor who headed up the fundraising effort to accomplish this project, THANK YOU! Casowasco –The addition of lightning rods installed this year will prevent future lightning strikes to the Proskine Welcome Center which houses Casowasco’s offices and allow for daily operations to continue uninterrupted. We are thankful to the Columbarium committee for recognizing the need and allocating funds to allow for the painting of Lakeview Chapel. Lastly, over 50 campers enjoyed living in the new Highlands Outpost Yurt Village during summer camp this year. Sky Lake - In the 2017 spring edition of Xenia, we shared that Sky Lake had received donations to install grab bars in all the guest room bathrooms in Underwood Lodge. We’re happy to report that those grab bars were installed and have been greatly appreciated by campers and guests alike -particularly by participants in Sky Lake’s Helping Hands program! Thank you to all the donors who made this possible in memory of Linda “Sammy” Bickford and in honor of Ginny Samuel Cetuk. Skye Farm – Skye Farm’s new basketball court was a hit with campers this summer thanks to a generous financial gift from the estate of “Grampa” Art Hagy. Kids were thrilled to have this new activity available and gave the new area a great initiation during summer camp.

Earlville UMC Leaves Financial Gift to Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center It is with deep gratitude that Camp & Retreat Ministries has received news from Rev. Abel Roy, Mohawk District Superintendent that Earlville UMC in closing its doors has chosen to bless Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center with a generous financial gift of $38,000. Richard Pancoe, Lay Leader, Lay Member to Annual Conference, and Chair of the Church Council at Earlville, confirmed that the financial gift is meant to be used to help the ministry at Aldersgate in whatever way best “serves God”. “We are deeply appreciative of this gift”, said Mike Huber, director of CRM, “and look forward to using it to increase capacity by renovating rooms, upgrading beds and completing some exterior painting.”



Aldersgate Hosts Camp Kesem Aldersgate was pleased to host Camp Kesem’s summer camp program in August. Camp Kesem, a program running multiple summer camps throughout the country and based locally at Syracuse University, was founded in 2012 and supports families in the greater Syracuse and Onondaga community by operating a free summer camp for children impacted by a parent’s cancer. Their mission is to support children through and beyond their parent’s cancer with innovative, funfilled programs that foster a lasting community. In 2017, Camp Kesem was run by 30 Syracuse University student volunteers and welcomed 40 campers ages 6-18. Site manager, Shari Mudge, shared how much she loved having this group on site and seeing the kids really being able to be kids, have fun, and enjoy exploring Aldersgate. One of the high points of the week was their final campfire, held at the Asbury Acres Yurt-site campfire circle. Aldersgate hopes to work with Camp Kesem again next summer.


Asbury’s Summer Use on the Rise Usage continues to increase at Asbury during the summer months with a variety of organizations using the site for full week programs. Retreats designed and hosted by Asbury staff have also proven popular as evidenced by a busy summer 2017 season. The Silver Lake Experience, a cooperative event of Asbury and the Silver Lake Institute, hosted 217 participants over three beautiful weather days. Participants explored the grounds of Asbury and the Silver Lake Institute while attending 80 workshop offerings. Lodging at both the Manor and Willmott was full. Evening performances exploded with the addition of local participants who filled Epworth Hall for the Jen Chapin Trio, RPO Brass Quintet, and Dan Saunders and Friends. The Silver Lake Experience Committee has already begun work on the 2019 event which will be held August 8 – 11. Those attending Asbury’s Women’s Retreat filled the Manor and expanded to Willmott Lodge. Participants working in small groups discussed how to apply Paul’s fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. Candle making, jam and tart making, and scrapbooking offered hands-on fun. One participant shared, “I have learned where I can apply a little of all of the fruits (of the Spirit) to my life. This was perfect timing!”


Power, Power, Wonder Working Power A long-time item on Casowasco’s wish list has recently been completed thanks to generous gifts from a few churches and faithful supporters. With the closing of their church imminent, the remaining members of Watkins Glen UMC chose Casowasco as one of the ministries to which they wanted to gift a portion of the church’s assets for the purpose of helping to fund a new roof on the kitchen and a main-site back-up generator. When we learned that their gift was not quite enough to purchase and install the generator, Rev. John Aukema, who prior to his retirement was pastor at New Hope Midlakes and Scott UMC’s, took an interest in raising funds to fill the gap. Pastor John and the people of these wonderful congregations collected enough money to make completion of this project a reality. Guests will benefit from no loss of power in the midst of a storm whether ice, snow or lightning and the food service staff no longer worries about the loss of a significant amount of food inventory. Praise God for the gifts and the givers!


sky lake

Sky Lake Adds Fleet of 10 Corcls Thanks to a generous donation, Sky Lake was able to add a fleet of ten Corcls to the waterfronts this past summer. The Corcl™ is a modern adaptation of the coracle - a round boat traditionally used on rivers ranging from the British Isles to Vietnam. Needless to say, these unique boats were a big hit with campers and staff. “From the moment I first saw them, I had a feeling they’d fit right in on the waterfronts at Sky Lake. Not only are they fun to use, but they also provide an opportunity for campers to experience independence in a safe environment”, said Matt Williams, Site Director. Part of the draw of the Corcl is its wide range of possible uses - going for a leisurely boat ride, playing a variety of aquatic games, enjoying a floating breakfast or for the advanced swimmer, using it as a standup paddleboard. Williams further explains, “When the lifeguards took the newly arrived Corcls out for a test paddle, I wasn’t sure they were ever going to come back to land! They fell in love with them and helped develop the procedures put in place to ensure the safety of the campers. This meant that some campers weren’t quite ready to go Corcling this summer, but our guards did a tremendous job helping campers understand the progression of boat usage and encouraging them to keep working on their swimming skills to be able to use the Corcls as soon as next summer.”

skye farm

Skye Farm Celebrates 75 Years of Ministry Celebrating 75 years of ministry is a theme Skye Farm has embraced throughout 2017 with a number of events taking place. Family Camp held May 26-29th saw a number of alumni return to take part in a tradition that has played an important role in their lives over the years connecting families with each other and deepening their faith in God. Many folks from the Adirondack and Albany districts took part in festivities at Skye Farm on July 8th followed by an Open House/Day at Camp for new and returning families touring the site, taking part in a variety of fun activities and registering their children for summer camp. An Alumni Reunion held September 1-4 included a memorial service where the names of saints who have gone on to glory and the footprints they left at Skye Farm were shared. Some of these individuals were among those who had the initial vision for the camp and were hands-on volunteers instrumental in helping construct the facilities. An Alumni Banquet was held on November 4th where the vision for Skye Farm was shared with those in attendance. This event was hosted at the Saratoga Springs UMC with meals provided by long-time volunteer Joan Butler. All in all over 200 people have turned out for these events, some reconnecting with friends they met for the first time when they attended camp at Skye Farm so many years ago. If you are a Skye Farm alum and would like to reconnect with the site and with others for whom Skye Farm has played an important role, send an email to info@skyefarmcamps.org and let us know of your interest.

RETREAT WITH US THIS WINTER & SPRING See listing of events on back cover


Update on Findley Camp & Retreat Center Camp and Retreat Ministries was pleased to host Family Bible Camp and Royal Family Kids Camp at Findley this summer and is now in the process of winterizing and securing the property. The Conference Trustees have a signed agreement with a group for the purchase of the property. The new owners plan to keep it a ministry focusing on Christian Hospitality with the hope of running summer camp again in the future. Details will be shared as they become available. Please keep all involved in this process in your prayers.

Sky Lake and Skye Farm Pass American Camp Association Accreditation We are pleased to announce that Sky Lake and Skye Farm both received word from the ACA National office that they have passed their accreditation once again. ACA sets the highest standards for professional camping internationally and involves a thorough process of documentation, education and visitation. We are proud of the hard-working staff and volunteers that serve to offer high quality, safe programs.

NOMADS continue to be a blessing to Camp & Retreat Ministries Asbury was blessed in late August to have the United Methodist NOMADS (Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service) use their gifts to spruce up facilities. The retired group of seven pressure washed buildings, replaced boards and painted picnic tables, cleaned gutters, painted and stained, and fully remodeled the downstairs bathroom in the brown house by the pool currently serving as home for Asbury’s assistant director. Casowasco was also blessed to have NOMADS on site this year where they cleaned all 300 chairs in Emmaus Commons, stained lots of decks, cleaned lots of carpets, repaired walls and painted in Galilee Lodge, Wesley Lodge & Emmaus Commons and helped pretty up the grounds with some landscaping. Our Camp & Retreat Centers have been popular places for NOMADS to “land” and we are so grateful for their expertise, commitment and hard work. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Sky Lake Hosts General Board of Global Ministries and NE Jurisdiction This fall Sky Lake was privileged to host The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries (GMGM) Mission Volunteer Training as Una Jones, Director of Mission Volunteers, and other leadership from Atlanta and across the country gathered for times of training, in-depth learning, fellowship, and building relationships. GBGM Mission Volunteers serve across the US and the world with length of service from two months to two years in such positions as case managers for refugees, teachers, pastors, children and youth assistants, and health care administrators and practitioners. Sky Lake also hosted The United Methodist Church’s Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Board Retreat. This board is made up of dedicated and mission passionate individuals from throughout the Northeast from Maine to Washington, DC to West Virginia. VIM exists to promote, encourage, and enable Christians to exemplify “Christian Love in Action” through short-term mission service locally, nationally and internationally. Sky Lake has been pleased to welcome these ministry teams and support them in their times of learning, rest, fellowship, and fun!


Upper New York Finance Team Visits Sky Lake by Erica Wentworth

Recently the UNYAC Finance Team had a Team Building day at Sky Lake. The day was skillfully facilitated by Jenna Amberge, Assistant Director of Sky Lake, who welcomed the team and gave a quick tour around the grounds. She planned three team building exercises that helped us take a step back and really look at everyone’s abilities and the gifts that different members bring to the team. In the afternoon the Finance Team was joined by the CRM directors and some members of the CRM staff. A wonderful lunch was provided by Morgan Dewey. Both teams had the opportunity to take part in two Icebreaker exercises. Afterwards we all participated in making home-made, hand-cranked ice cream and relaxed by the fire. The Finance Team had a wonderful time. We’d like to truly thank everyone who helped make our experience fun and successful.

Aim High Campers at Home at Aldersgate

by Aim High Running Camp Directors Dave and Jennifer Patruno An Aim High camper wrote to us, “Each and every one of us has been blessed by God in the most amazing way with you being brought into our lives.” Although we believe our programming and camp culture is among the best, other similar comments from campers and parents are not possible without the partnership we have built with Aldersgate over the past 15 years. We feel so at home from the moment we arrive. We are greeted by the friendly staff with enthusiasm and caring attitudes. The facility is ideal for anyone whether you are a group of 10, 20, 30 or 300 like Aim High Running Camp. Our junior high and high school age campers love the open fields where they don’t just run but also play soccer, Gaga, basketball, volleyball or baseball. The swimming and boating on Pleasant Lake allows our campers to cool off after a nice run and create wonderful memories with friends. The neighboring Adirondack trails are ideal for hiking, biking or jogging. It’s simply beautiful at Aldersgate. We look forward to the great food in the dining hall that is met with smiling faces from the Aldersgate staff with a genuine word of, “Welcome!” Camp fires at night after our large group sessions in Fellowship Hall are a camp tradition. It seems as if the magic and special bonds between campers and staff made at the Section A campfire will last forever. The campers love the cabins and request their favorite one each year because it has become their home away from home. The hospitality is sincere and the smiling faces are so welcoming at Aldersgate. It’s a second home for us and for our campers who return each year, to experience the magic of Aim High Running Camp at such a beautiful place called Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center. Aldersgate’s website says “lives transformed” and it really is like that for our campers and staff.


Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage

Camp & Retreat Ministries

7481 Henry Clay Boulevard Liverpool, NY 13088

PAID Rochester, N.Y. Permit No. 944


Brantingham, NY


Silver Lake, NY

Casowasco Moravia, NY


Clymer, NY

Sky Lake Windsor, NY

Skye Farm

Warrensburg, NY


Upper New York Annual Conference Camp & Retreat Ministries

December 6-8 December 30 - January 1, 2018 January 4-6 January 5-7 January 6 January 12-15 January 26-28 February 16-19 March 2-4 March 24 April 6-8 April 19-22 April 20-22 April 28 May 5 & May 19 May 5 May 12 & June 9 May 13 May 20 May 25-28 May 26 May 26-28 June 10 June 16 July 1 July 13-15

Transforming lives


Be Still {a silent retreat} - Adults Camp Echo - Youth Special Needs Winter Retreat - Adults Youth Winter Weekend S’more Time Gathering for Youth Family Winter Weekend I SOLID Youth Retreat Family Winter Weekend II Taste and See: Women’s Chocolate Getaway S’more Time Gathering for Youth Church Family Getaway Quilt By Faith: Spring - Women Rejuvenate: A Spring Ladies of the Lake Retreat Spring Cleaning Day Spring Work Days Volunteer Work Day Spring Cleaning Days Mother’s Day Brunch Open House/5K Trail Run & Walk Spring Fling Family Weekend Open House/Day at Camp Family Camp Open House/Day at Camp Open House/Day at Camp Open House Family Life Weekend

Casowasco Casowasco Sky Lake Asbury Sky Lake Sky Lake Casowasco Sky Lake Casowasco Sky Lake Sky Lake Casowasco Sky Lake Skye Farm Aldersgate Sky Lake Skye Farm Casowasco Sky Lake Sky Lake Skye Farm Skye Farm Casowasco Aldersgate Asbury Aldersgate

Profile for Upper New York Conference

2017 Camp & Retreat Ministries Fall Newsletter  

2017 Camp & Retreat Ministries Fall Newsletter