We realize that many of you have questions about Affirm Camp. In hopes of being as transparent as possible, here are some of the questions that we have been asked and our responses. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below and we will answer them as soon as we can. Happy Camping! -Nate
What about Templed Hills?
Great question. Great camp and an amazing sacred space. This was not lost on us and lies heavy on our hearts. However, we have been faced with the stark reality that we can truly only afford to run one camp, and in fact, last year the Ohio Conference was on the verge of shutting down the Outdoor Ministries program. We have been working to find solutions to protect our camping program and keep the doors open for one of the camps. We felt that we had to make a choice to back one of the camps to ensure that one would remain open.
WRA/EOA Association Minister Rev. Rita Root put together a vision plan for our associations last year that included the need for a retreat center. In speaking with her and looking at our own objectives and goals, we realized that we could work collaboratively with the WRA & EOA Associations to accomplish what we were both setting out to do.
We love Templed Hills also, but we could not find a way to make keeping that site feasible considering its current state. We felt we needed to concentrate on keeping Pilgrim Hills and the outdoor ministries alive, and to focus all of our efforts and resources in one place. Maybe the decision to only have one physical site should have been made long ago, but our conference predecessors were not able to make the decision, and unfortunately, it brought us to the position that we are in today.
We believe that Pilgrim Hills with it’s size, the number of year round facilities, the potential for new facilities, and the current dilapidated state of Templed Hills – makes the choice clear. We understand why our Conference leadership moved everything to one site, we were hemorrhaging money at that time and the Conference leadership wanted to see what it would look like to have all of our operations out of one site. A drastic decision needed to be made. Now it’s time to complete that move and focus on one site, remodeling and upgrading that site, developing and caring for that site and working together to have one outstanding outdoor ministries site.
Who is part of Affirm Camp?
Simply, we are a small grassroots advocacy group who cares about outdoor ministries in Ohio and the development and future of Pilgrim Hills. Currently, there are four of us who are actively working on this project; Robin Stanley, Seth Vaill, Rev. Rob Patton, and myself. We continue to seek ways to ensure that this valuable ministry will be available for our children and our children’s children into the future. If you would like to be a part of our team, please contact email@example.com for more information.
I signed the initial Affirm Camp petition, but I don’t agree with the decision to pursue saving Pilgrim Hills and not Templed Hills. What should I do?
We recognize that there is a number of you out there that are strong Templed Hills supporters and care deeply for that site. We have ties to Templed Hills as well. The petition we initially circulated in March of 2015 was an effort to showcase to our Conference leadership that there was still immense support for Outdoor Ministries in Ohio. We were able to make that point very clearly thanks to all of you who support Pilgrim Hills and Templed Hills.
We believe that most people agree that the only way forward for our outdoor ministries is to divest ourselves from one of our physical sites that we currently own. So we have shifted our focus to work to preserve the Pilgrim Hills site exclusively. We encourage those of you that are longtime Templed Hills supporters to please consider the reality of the situation and join in our efforts collaboratively to preserve Pilgrim Hills. We believe that over time we can find ways to make Pilgrim Hills sacred space for all of us, not matter what camp we have known and loved.
There may be other missions for which Templed Hills can be used, but we felt at this time our resources, time, and efforts, needed to be focused on the place that had the most potential and where our summer camping programs, retreats, and activities were currently being held.
As of today we have raised the $8,550 to contract with Kaleidoscope Inc. to do a feasibility study of Pilgrim Hills and provide us with a comprehensive business plan for the possibility of the EOA & WRA Associations acquiring this site. We are continuing to explore this as a possibility to ensure that we can continue to offer summer camping, retreats, and sacred spaces to the entire Ohio conference. Due to the instability of the Ohio Conference, we felt that we needed to explore all avenues to ensure the continuation of this ministry.
In February our Affirm Camp team will present this proposal to the EOA & WRA Councils for their approval. If they vote to move forward, the team from Kaleidoscope will begin their work.
In the meantime, it is our understanding that our Conference Minister has a team of individuals working as a Camp Sales Group to do the work to get both of the sites listed for sale. I received an update from Conference Minister, Rev. Phil Hart on Monday, January 11th that read in part “As for an update from the camp sales group. We have spent a pretty significant amount of time reviewing the laws and zoning for the different partials of land and since they are in several different counties and townships that has taken us a while. We needed to know things like square footage requirements for septic systems and things like that. Currently, the prices that were listed on the appraisal are being reviewed and we are determining the listing price for each partial and part of the land. I am waiting on that report but hoping it will come to me soon.” The reality is that these sites could be listed any day and begin to receive offers. We have asked the Kaleidoscope team to expedite their work due to the unknown amount of time we have to work with. Once they complete their work, our Association Councils will review their report and make decisions on how to move forward from that point.
What can I do to help?
First and foremost, go to camp. Schedule a retreat, take your family there for the weekend, and sign up to go to summer camp 2016. The more use of the facility only helps the overall case for Outdoor Ministries in Ohio. For more information on how to schedule a retreat or sign up for camp, please visit http://www.journeythehills.org. Secondly, encourage your local church to support the Affirm Camp work and the work of outdoor ministries. Consider a fundraiser or a donation to the Outdoor Ministries campership fund or to the Affirm Camp work. Thirdly and most importantly, please continue to pray for our leaders and for our outdoor ministries and for the future of this vital, life-changing ministry.
Do you have additional questions? Please comment below or email them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer them as soon as we possibly can.