2015 was an incredible year for Camp Henry. So incredible that we're taking a minute to look back on all the amazing adventures, exciting events, ridiculous records, mind numbing numbers, superb staff, and fantastic new facilities. If you only have 30 seconds to read, check out the 2015 at a glance infographic below. If you have more than 30 seconds, get comfy and lay back in a mental hammock as we take a trip back through all the fun events of 2015.
Like was mentioned above, we enjoyed a multitude of exciting events in 2015, including exciting Camp Henry LIVE! Events. There was ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, a night of jumping at SkyZone, a plethora of activities at 3 Mile Project, and an afternoon at the ballpark for a Whitecaps game.
Join us in 2016 as we head to Rosa Parks Circle again on January 17th, 2016 from 2-4pm. Or get your louge on at Muskegon Winter Sportsplex in the evening on February 5th, 2016. And we already know we are headed back to 3 Mile Project on March 13th, 2016!
In April, we brought back the Spring Break Trip by heading out west to Winter Park, Colorado for a week of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, hiking, and copious amounts of camp shenanigans. Join us this year for our 2016 Spring Break Trip.
Also in April, we revealed our summer 2015 theme, THRIVE. We were so excited when we landed on this idea and we were able to began creating the material to support it during the summer. We wanted the campers to come to camp and learn that they didn't have to just get by or barely survive life. We wanted them leave knowing that they have the ability to be the best version of themselves through positive attitudes, hard work, and trust in God's love for them. We were made to thrive. And not just at camp, but in all aspects of our lives.
Daily chapel messages helped the campers learn to understand what thriving means, how to recognize and overcome barriers to thriving, what thriving looks like and also what it looks like to not be thriving. One parent shared with us in October that the idea of Thrive has become a core part of their family home life and that it has helped their child excel in many areas since leaving camp this summer.
Year round retreats and school groups blessed the shores with their presence throughout the year and left refreshed, fulfilled, and equipped to tackle new challenges together. In addition to enjoying all of the new facilities projects and high adventure elements, many groups had a blast competing in the Camp Henry Amazing Race, learning about wild edible plants, trying their hand at the Photo Scavenger Hunt, and bringing out their inner engineer in Paper Brigades.
We had no shortage of construction to help boost year round bed space and improve our high adventure activities. The B-field recieved an upgrade with two standard soccer goals for soccer camp during the summer and sports teams during the school year. Through the support of many generous donations and supporters, we built three new cabins, one in Boys' Village and two in Girls' Village. This also meant that sadly we said our goodbyes to the last three cinder block cabins in Girls' Village. Behind the two new Girls' Village cabins, two apartments were built to help house special guests, group leaders and more. We were able to renovate the inside of Millar Lodge and add a spacious deck overlooking Lake Kimball. We also continued laying down durable pathways throughout camp to make it more accessible for those with mobility challenges. And the main entrance recieved a face lift with addition of ranch style entrance built using the old climbing tower poles.
2015 Assistant Counselor Aiden "Beans" Wysocki chose Camp Henry to be the focus of his Eagle Scout Project and made several adirondack benches for us! They saw much use through the spring, summer, and fall.
Our high adventure program recieved a face lift with a new high ropes course being built in November in the same location as the old course. There are 14 new elements to try up in the trees! A new exit was added with the thrilling QuickJump, a 53 foot drop out of the course. The Cargo Net recieved an additional zip line parallel to the existing zip line. And we added the Leap of Faith and the Giant Swing in November, which has already been enjoyed by many in the late fall.
Year Round Events hosted by Camp Henry were a big hit as always! From Dad & Me Weekend, Family Camp, and Fall Festival to Mom & Me and New Year's Eve Camp, we celebrated lots of new and returning campers and families. If you haven't been to Camp during the year for one of these events, you should seriously consider coming this year. In 2016 we are looking forward to bringing back all the favorites again! New to 2015 was the Camp Henry 5K Trail Run in May (Don't miss it this year, it's set for May 7th, 2016!) and The Last Supper in November to celebrate the last meal in the Dining Hall before the $1.1 million dollar renovation began. Keep your eyes open for updates on the construction progress!
Camp Henry had the opportunity to serve almost 1,600 summer campers and over 4,300 year round guests in 2015. This lead to an epic amount of smiling faces, zany antics, life changing experiences, and many boat loads of fun. One of the most vital pieces to serving so many, is having a phenomenal staff. Without the staff, there'd be no one to love up on the campers and guests, no one to prepare the food, run the activities, share in the memories, add to the wonderful organized chaos, or plan the craziest of all camp games. Let's give our 2015 staff three cheers!
As our reflection on 2015 comes to a close, we hope you are as excited as we are for everything that happened and even more energized for what 2016 and beyond will bring, including more Lake Kimball sunsets like this one. We hope to see you all in 2016!
Elizabeth Ray, one of our program specialists, reflects back on Fall Festival and the New Year's Eve Camp that rang in 2013! She dishes on all the fun that was had and is to be had at Camp Henry! Check out our New Year's Eve Camp video too!
"Hey all you camp lovers out there,
I don't have to tell you all how great summer camp is because most of you have experienced it firsthand for yourself. There is something so special about leaving your everyday world behind for a week and coming to a place dedicated to creating a unique experience of love, laughter, nature, and faith.
Recently we decided summer isn't the only time of year to have summer camp fun, so we have created events during the year to allow campers to come back to camp to enjoy even more of that summer camp experience. Coming back to this place during the school year allows campers to recharge and remember the things they learned during the summer, to renew friendships, to be challenged, and to be reminded how much God loves them. It also allows people who have never been to Camp Henry before to get a small taste of what the summer is like here.
Last winter, we brought in the 2013 by having our first ever New Year's Eve Camp for campers and staff to come back, reunite, and have a blast! If you happened to be at camp last year for New Year's you will probably remember the awesome time we had playing broomball, decorating cookies, the big reveal of human-hungry hippos, and the many dance parties that took place. It was a wonderful time to rekindle relationships with one another.
Then, just a few short weeks ago we had our 1st annual Fall Festival, #CHfallfest. At Fall Festival, we had some of the classic camp activities such as climbing the cargo net, outdoor cooking, campfires, chapel, and skit night just to name a few things. We also had a big focus on fall themed activities. We had a great pumpkin scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, leaf animal art, and a fabulous costume contest. In fact, summer staff member, Molly Peterson's favorite part of Fall Festival was "watching everyone perform skits in their Halloween costumes. Who could forget Penelope the hedgehog's costume or how extremely realistic (and terrifying) Maverick was dressed up as an ape?"
Fellow summer staff member, Rachel Szczytko, recounts her favorite leaf driven memory from Fall Fest. "One of my favorite parts of fall festival was catching leaves before Saturday's dinner. The wind really picked up and everyone jumped around on the deck attempting to get as many as they could- classic camp ingenuity and tons of fun!"
One of the chapels during Fall Festival, Ashleigh talked about the changing colors of season and how trees lose their leaves each year, only to be renewed in the spring time. It was a reminder to us that while things in our life may change or parts of us may get shed off at different times, our roots are constant. And if our roots are in God, we know His love for us will create new things in us, just like spring weather brings new leaves to the trees. This chapel was a great connection back to the 2013 summer camp theme of being Rooted.
Even with the turning leaves, the weather during Fall Festival was absolutely gorgeous and it allowed us to spend lots of time outdoors including some of our last moments out on the lake canoeing, sailing, and kayaking. A few who were daring enough even went swimming!
We are now just under 8 weeks out from our 2nd annual New Year's Eve Camp. And we are so thrilled about this event, we have been planning for it since last New Year's Eve Camp! You can expect to see many familiar summer staff faces as well as the return of the Kimball Cup Broomball Tournament! While you are getting excited for this event, feel free to use #CHNYEVE so we can all share in the excitement and anticipation! We will have some of our classic camp activities mixed with a focus on winter and New Year's Eve themed activities, like sledding shenanigans and Camp Henry's very own, unique countdown celebration. It will be a great time to hang out, have a ton of fun, and to look forward to what God has in store for each of us in the New Year.
Come help us ring in 2014 Camp Henry style at New Year's Eve Camp! Bring a friend or two along, bundle up for cold weather fun and sign up for #CHNYEVE! If you attended last year, post a picture or two on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CHNYEVE, we would love to share in your memories!"