The staff at Camp New Hope is encouraging locals to attend a special Christmas celebration to learn more about the camp’s services and how the community can play a role in helping to bring a smile to the face of a child who is facing a life threatening illness.
Festivities will be held at the camp on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The community is invited to enjoy hayrides, Bluegrass music, hot cider, roasted marsh mellows, and a live nativity scene celebrating the birth of Christ. Local volunteer Sam Simmons will also be on hand to play the role of ole Saint Nick. Guided tours of the camp will also be held to inform the community of the services that Camp New Hope provides.
The camp is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing a safe and relaxing environment for children with life threatening illnesses and their families. Children and their families are treated to weeklong stays at Camp New Hope throughout the year. The events that led to the creation of Camp New Hope began in 1994 when Mark and Will Adkins established the Waterfront Group, a land development group, and then purchased 160 acres of land overlooking the New River.
Instead of using the land for developmental purposes, the Adkins brothers decided to create a facility that could offer children with certain conditions and their family a place where they could enjoy a free week of fun and recreation.
Camp Director Randy Brown explained that Will and Mark Adkins started Camp New Hope to allow children to temporarily escape the hospital and doctor environment as well as to give these families a week of normalcy.
“These guys just have a huge heart,” Brown said. “They were blessed with good health and were able to play sports. They said when they were younger that their hearts always went out to the kids who had to stand at the sidelines and could not participate. They wanted to give them a place where they could come and do the things that every other child does.”
During their nearly weeklong stays, children can ride all-terrain-vehicles, play basketball, volleyball and badminton, or even enjoy a day out on the river canoeing. Each child is allowed to bring ten family members during their stay at Camp New Hope. The camp is stationed in a five-bedroom lodge that also comes with four additional bedrooms downstairs that can sleep eight people. The lodge retained its original hardwood floors and pine walls and it even offers visitors the chance to overlook the New River through the “glassed in” porch that comes with heating and air conditioning. Outside of the camp lodge, attendees can also visit the Chapel of Hope, which is a place for prayer and meditation, Brown said. On days of fair weather, visitors can also pack a picnic for a quiet afternoon lunch under a 15-foot cross located on top of the mountain. Outdoor enthusiasts can also take advantage of the camp’s extensive trail system, which offers seven miles of groomed trail way.
Brown said that the community is encouraged to take an active role in Camp New Hope through volunteering as well as donations.
“Camp New Hope is a ministry and it is something that we would love for the churches and families in the community to join in with us and become a part of. It can not be done by just one group of people,” Brown said.
Providing families with this type of retreat does not come cheap. Brown said it typically costs $600 to keep one family a week at Camp New Hope. A campaign entitled “Friends of Camp New Hope” has begun that allows people to pledge $50 a month for 12 months in order to sponsor a family for one week.
Brown went on to explain that the rewards of helping these children with life threatening illnesses enjoy life as a normal kid can be priceless.
“It is so rewarding to see those children whose lives will be cut short because of their conditions to be able to smile and laugh while at Camp New Hope. They come here for us to touch their lives but instead they touch ours. We would just like the community to be a part of this ministry and maybe feel some of the stuff we feel and be able to experience the faith that these families have,” Brown said.
For more information or to volunteer and donate, call 982-3797 or visit online at www.campnewhopenc.com. Directions: turn left onto Boggs Road off Hwy 163, cross the low water bridge and turn left onto Philmore Miller Rd. Follow the signs.