It has been a long and strange year for us as a camp and retreat center without campers! However, we found ways, within changing parameters, to welcome people to Manidokan. We celebrate the number of families and small groups who came to camp this summer to enjoy hiking through our many trails while appreciating nature (like Carl the Bard Owl), finding joy in memories, and breathing in God’s peace in the beauty of creation. Often, we had 6-8 family groups per weekend! We celebrate adventures of churches who scheduled time to swim in the pool, zip through the treetops, and cook over a campfire in our outdoor space which provided a safe gathering for friends and families. We welcomed people to new adventures of Paw Paw Butter making in our Rustic Programming Village called Meadowview. (Look for similar 1-day workshop opportunities in spring 2021!)
In addition to adjusting program strategies to invite people to Manidokan, we spent time with the camp site itself, preparing it for the future by resurfacing the swimming pool, addressing camp-wide maintenance needs, building a hammock shelter for our new program area, and redesigning our program basement. Volunteers took part in preparing our retreat spaces with new couch cushions and in keeping our trails safe from potential tree-risks. We are thankful for incoming donations towards this all summer long. You can watch updates on these summer projects in our Facebook video archives.
Speaking of online videos, we are incredibly thankful for the many volunteers, including campers, counselors, parents, pastors, staff, and alumni from Manidokan and West River whose contributions and talents greatly enhanced what we could offer virtually this summer. To see more, Links to these devotions, creative series, and community conversations can be found on Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram. A favorite recording of our Manidokan community was certainly the one in which our Manidokan Assistant Director Steve shared the recipe and cooking demonstration for Manidokan Rolls!
In early fall, Director Kirstin and Assistant Director Steve trained and hiked in our own adventure … a 40-mile Appalachian Trail hike that raised over $2500 towards rustic programming and environmental stewardship for both summer campers and retreat guests. We gathered for outdoor trick-or-treating and jack-o-lantern lit night hikes for youth groups at Halloween. In September, the new camp director’s parsonage was also completed! With great joy, Kirstin’s family moved in and are happy to celebrate their first Christmas there!
We are making our way, though the path is still not entirely clear. We are grateful to have found gifts of courage, imagination, trust, and hope along the way. We are especially thankful for the Baltimore-Washington Conference, and the Council on Finance and Administration in particular, who have been an incredible support to us in 2020 and 2021. Their financial partnership has allowed us to retain our full-time staff, continue to improve facilities, and explore new ways to be in ministry in a season that has hit us all by surprise.
As the year ends, we are praying and planning for summer 2021. We will be able to welcome people to our Baltimore- Washington Conference Camps in one way or another. Should we be unable to host overnights, Manidokan will shift to day event alternatives. We will be sending a survey out in the early part of the year to ask for your input in some of our planning.
Much love from your Manidokan Staff and Our families!
Pastor Kirstin, Steve, Scott, and Amy