Wow!!! I can't believe that this year has come and gone. This year I have learned so much about what it means to be a Camp Director here at Camp Ahistadi. This summer was so busy with things that I did not update y'all as I intended. So here is an update of this year and to the things to come. This year we saw over 200 people come through camp from church groups, scout groups, campus ministry groups, Adult VBS, and many others. The Laurel gorge was filled with laughter, fishing, hiking, music, food, worship, and people enjoying God's creation. One local resident walking the Laurel Creek trail said at one point "it looked like Dollywood with all the people buzzing about." We had people donate over 90 hours of volunteer work to the improvement of camp. Dead trees were cut, leaves were moved, plumbing was replaced, buildings were cleaned, gravel was spread, holes were dug, flowers were planted, trails were cleared, money was donated, and so much more. We could not have done it this year with out your help and dedication to Camp Ahistadi. We also had several baptisms held here and this fall the district conference was scheduled to be held at camp but had to move it to Damascus UMC due to weather. We had a great time sharing Camp Ahistadi with so many people this year. As summer moved into fall and fall moves into winter many people are settling in for the winter's slumber but for camp life we are gearing up for next season. We already have several returning groups scheduled to come back next year and also we are planning on having the Adult VBS camp in June again next year. We have several other camp and group opportunities in the works and we hopefully will be able to share them in January and February. We have several repairs that need to be finished before guest come next year. Cabin 1 is in need of extensive repairs to its foundation and joists to make it stable and safe. We are continuing to fundraise to help cover these repair costs and others. As with any camp there is always something to repair or work on to help make the facilities just a little bit better for the next group. While 2022 is coming to a close the future is bright here at Camp Ahistadi for 2023. As the northern hemisphere settles in for a long winter's slumber be praying for Camp Ahistadi and what is to come. Be praying for God to send the right people at the right time in all our endeavors over the next year. We look forward to all the ministry to come here between the mountains in the Laurel Gorge at Camp Ahistadi. Blessings, Creighton
This spring has been a busy time here at camp but also beautiful. I have watched Camp Ahistadi awaken from its winter slumber. The forest is filled with many wild flowers and each week something new is blooming. I have seen laurel blooms, Trilliums, Pink Lady Slippers, Crested Dwarf Iris, American Cancer Root, Jack in the Pulpit, and many others. It is amazing to see the beauty and splendor of God's creation as it awakens. I have also had the pleasure to see Camp Ahistadi through the work of volunteers and others start to come alive for this season. We have had several groups come out to help clean, paint, and fix things around camp. We have repaired and replaced a big portion of the floor in the kitchen, replaced all waterlines in Cabin 4, we have also created a new fire circle centrally located in the camp, expanded our availability to groups, installed dehumidifiers in the cabins and are working on offering different programs as the summer goes on. This is not an exhaustive list. All of these repairs have been made possible by people who have donated their time, their skills and their resources. It is amazing to see what can be done when people come together and work together. As spring turns into summer Camp Ahistadi is coming alive. If you would like to come and see what has been taking place at Camp Ahistadi, Join us for our Adult VBS from June 20-23 starting at 6pm. This will be a free event for ages 13 and up. Minors must accompany their guardians. Click this link -> Adult Vacation Bible School to learn more about the Adult VBS and to let us know that you will be joining us. If you have any questions please call us at 276-323-0563. As spring turns to summer, come join us at Camp Ahistadi where the river runs free, the nights are cool and the lightning bugs never disappoint. Come join us in the Mountains.
I find that each day I learn something new about being a camp director. Over the last two months I have learned about solid waste facilities (Trash disposal), water treatment facilities, land management, marketing, insurance, risk assessment, customer service, property management, fundraising, construction and so much more. I spent the better part of two days on the phone calling multiple people to make sure that changing the location of the solid waste facility (Trash Cans) at camp is ok (legal). I have had similar experiences when trying to set up a contractor, or calling the electric company. Now I know for some people all these things are normal daily occurrences but for a pastor and now a camp director, these are things I never really thought about on a more involved level.
Along with learning about these areas of camp, I also have this list of things I feel like I need to get done before we open camp for the season. As time ticks away, I start to worry if all these things will get done. I start to focus on the What if’s. It can be a little overwhelming. Also this list is still growing as I find new things to add to the list. Then like turning a flashlight on in a dark room God reminds me that he is in control and it is about his timing and not mine. Last weekend we had a work day at camp to clean the lodge and grounds. We had 10 people show up in all and some worked on the lodge and some worked on the grounds. The amount of work we were able to finish was truly amazing. I felt truly blessed that with the work of 5 people and a Kubota we could finish everything on my list except 2 things that pertained to the grounds of camp. When we finished, all I could do was stand back in awe. I could just see how God was showing me that if I just trust him and his timing, things will be ok. Ever since Saturday other things on the list have been working themselves out through people donating time, money, and skills. It is amazing how when we are faced with a challenge the first place we often go to is the negatives of a situation. What I have learned over and over again is that when we are faced with a challenge we should first go to the one that has the strength, peace and understanding to get through the challenge. God has been my strength and refuge in the midst of growing and learning how to be a camp director. I have also learned that I can't do this by myself. This is something that God teaches to me over and over again. So I am not shameful to say that if you have felt God pushing you or prompting you to help Camp Ahistadi in any way don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a list filled with things that will probably meet one of your gifted areas. From dry wall repair, to picking up sticks, to planting native flower gardens, to painting, to cleaning, to praying, to sponsoring repairs on cabins, to many other things. Like our local churches and our communities we are stronger together and when we work together using the gifts that God has given us, we can do so much good. There is so much to do and so much time with God, don’t waste it. Come see what God is doing in the mountains.
My name is Creighton and I am the new(ish) director here at Camp Ahistadi. I want to share with you the story of how this came to be. It all started a little while ago when all I could do was stay in my house because of a virus that was sweeping the world. Like many of you I was getting tired of being in the house and needed a place to go to clear my head and let God's creation calm my fears. I found Camp Ahistadi to be that place that I could go to get away from everything (even my cellphone). Covid-19 has affected so many areas of our lives and has left no stone unturned but at camp there was this peace that would melt everything away. Ever since April of 2020, Camp Ahistadi has been that place for me to go to get away. Unbeknownst to me while I was hiking on the trails, fishing in Laurel Creek and watching the mountains change with the seasons, God was moving me in a new direction. I thought to myself while walking around camp one day, "I wonder what it would be like to be the camp director here?" While that thought was fleeting, God was already in motion. A week later my district superintendent called me with the offer to be the camp director at Camp Ahistadi. I was in a state of disbelief but also excited. She shared with me that my proximity, experience with camping ministry and love of the outdoors made me a perfect fit for Camp Ahistadi. On January 1, I hit the ground running trying to catch up on what maintenance, finances, health codes, forestry codes, and many other things have to do with the running of a camp. I have learned so much about the administrative side of being a camp director but what excites me the most is hearing all the stories of how Camp Ahistadi has played a role in people's faith and their lives over the years. What has been even more amazing is how many people have donated their time, experience, resources, money, sweat, and tears to keep Camp Ahistadi alive. I am honored to be apart of that legacy and story and I look forward to all the amazing things that will happen this year at camp. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but what I do know is that there is this place stuck back in a laurel covered gorge where the cares of the world melt away. A place in the mountains filled with sunshine, stories, laughter, joy and peace. This place is called Camp Ahistadi and it is "the very best of all!" Come join us in the mountains!