2023 brought lots of new and exciting changes to the West River Center!

In 2023 we doubled our day camp capacity to 80 campers per week. This meant we needed another activity rotation to add into the camper’s weekly schedule. Thanks to a United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries grant, we were able to purchase a bungee trampoline system, which was the perfect addition. The tranpolines are a huge hit with campers and staff. It was especailly popular with our Deaf-Blind Camps of Maryland campers who really enjoyed the sensation of jumping and being suspended.

West River Summer Camp programs continued to rebound from the impact of the pandemic and this past summer we saw a 45.5% increase in overnight campers and a 59.8% increase in day campers! This resulted in our second largest summer since 2006 and almost 1,000 campers!

This spring we had quite the saga with the giant swing at the beginning of school field trip season. Our annual inspection revealed a deep woodpecker hole that rendered the swing inoperable and in need of replacement. With half the Calvert County 5th grade trips to go, we scrambled to find a new pole and get it in place as quickly as possible. We ended up being able to get one by the start of summer camp and are all set to thrill campers for years to come!  We also opened the swing for a Saturday in July for Calvert County students who missed out on their chance in the spring.

This summer West River was excited to partner with a new program – the TraRon Center out of Washington, DC. TraRon is a non-profit founded to support children and families who have been affected by gun violence. They provide art therapy, parent resources, and community building and education opportunities. They brought 15 middle and high school aged campers who participated in West River activities as well as having their own TraRon time throughout the day. The campers loved it and the staff plan to bring another group back in 2024!


We’ve also been working on updates for places you often wouldn’t think about for camp- security, wi-fi, and our website. This fall we completed installation of fiberoptics and a wi-fi network that allows internet access throughout the camp including the pool, nature center, all lodging areas and even Baker and Kahlert Houses (much to the excitement of our summer staff). The wi-fi also helps power security cameras on the outside of buildings to make camp safer for all guests and staff. You wouldn’t have noticed our website update yet because we’ve just started the process, but those results should hopefully be visible in a couple of months!

Last year for Giving Tuesday, we raised $4,078 to upgrade our outdoor games area. As a result. our maintenance staff built a new Gaga ball pit and Human foosball area in the spring. This year, we raised money to give our teambuilding course a boost. A couple new low ropes elements will be installed in the spring and ready for camp!

We also continue to see the benefits of the living shoreline project installed in 2021 and incorporate it into our environmental education.  The Department of Natural Resources stopped by in the fall to do training on living shorelines for other landscape and environmental professionals. The three-day event was held at West River and highlighted our Living Shoreline as one of their preliminary grant recipient projects!  In 2024 new interpretive signs for the shoreline will be added.

Thank you for your support in 2023 and we are looking forward to many more stories, projects, and life transforming experiences in 2024!