The Camp At Findley Open House Set For Next Weekend
Warm, fuzzy childhood memories are some of the best memories one can have. There are many adults in Chautauqua County, Erie County, Pennsylvania and beyond who get a warm, nostalgic feeling when Camp Findley is brought to mind. The camp, now known as The Camp at Findley, was founded by the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB) in 1936. It is located on property that was once a farm and became a United Methodist camp when the EUB and United Methodist Churches (UMC) merged. The old barn was converted into the tabernacle, which has since been removed from the property.
Six years ago, when the UMC started moving in another direction, Fit4Life Ministry approached them in an effort to purchase the property. At that time the Church was not ready to sell. Fit4Life, made up of people who had held the camp near and dear to them from having grown up camping there, working or volunteering there or being affiliated in some way, wanted to continue the ministry that had taken place on the holy ground for 76 years. The group waited patiently until a decision was made and placed the highest bid when the property was put on the market, taking possession two months ago.
The Camp at Findley is comprised of 160 acres, including 100 acres of wooded hiking trails, and 800 feet of waterfront. There are many buildings on the grounds, including three dormitories, two of which are winterized. The dining hall is the last of the large buildings. Five cottages and four cabins are available for families or small groups. The chapel with a beautiful prayer garden nearby, is available for small weddings and meetings. There are two picnic pavilions and several RV sites, some with full hook-ups and others with electric only.
A shower house and full kitchen are located on the top of the hill overlooking the camp. The Nature Center contains taxidermy, casts of animal footprints, maps, etc. A knowledgeable speaker will be provided when school groups use the facility. An archery range, playground and treehouse are fun additions found on the property.
Director of Outreach, Shawn Blakeslee, has fond memories of growing up in the house next door. The camp property was an extended yard since his father, Don Blakeslee, was the maintenance supervisor, later serving as the camp director and currently serving on the board.
“It was great growing up next to the camp. It was home to me. The tabernacle holds great memories, the bands, music and seeing the same families each year,” he says. “The friendships and connections I made there are still my good friends. My dad hired some of my friends to work there.”
The most important friendship he made was with a 16 year old female camper who eventually became his wife. Another good friend made at camp, Jeremy Schenk, is now married to his wife’s best friend, who also met at the camp and now serves as its treasurer.
According to outreach director, “Our region here in Western New York and Pennsylvania is among the highest in the country for depression, addiction, obesity, mental health and other lifestyle-based diseases. I believe we are placed in the perfect position to be a beacon of light to the community and to help people address these issues. We are centrally located between 3 major cities and just a half hour from Erie, Pennsylvania.”
“Studies show in order to address these issues and have lasting change, we need to take a wholistic approach to health and wellness.” he adds. “I truly believe that our purpose in life is intimacy with God, not simply to believe in Him. Not only obeying Him, but intimate fellowship with Him. In John 17:3 Jesus says that ‘eternal life is to know God,’ not know about God, but truly know God, as two people know each other. I would like the main goal of our vision to be showing people how to achieve that relationship and fellowship with Christ.”
Blakeslee believes this can be achieved by removing people from their daily routines and placing them in an environment that is surrounded by Christian love. By showing them how to attain that level of intimate fellowship with Christ a wholistic approach will be taken.
“We now know that our physical health influences our mental health, spiritual health and emotional health,” he goes on. “God wants all of us to live an abundant life that includes a vibrant faith, a vibrant body and a vibrant mind. However, too many people have made so many unhealthy choices that it has left them without the mental, physical or spiritual energy to embrace what God has called them to do.”
He believes the ministry has an exciting and unique opportunity to help people in one of the most affected areas in the entire country. He feels it can become a leader and pioneer in Christian wellness, not wellness in a sense of just working out and exercise, while that is part of it, but a wholistic approach. That approach focuses on family relationships and marriage, addiction, mental health, chronic lifestyle diseases and health and nutrition.
“It isn’t until people address these issues in their life that they will then be able to have that intimate relationship with Christ,” Blakeslee says.
Fit4Life Ministries can now proceed with plans for a new metal roof on Showers Hall, renovations of Gregory Lodge, including expanding and redoing bathrooms and replacing carpet with vinyl laminate flooring and a complete remodel of one of the cottages, as well as many smaller projects around the property.
Even though no organized traditional camps are planned for this year, the camp is up and running and ready for groups and churches to use the facilities to run their own retreats and programs. The Camp at Findley is prepared to provide meals for any event. Groups of 5 to over 150 can be accommodated.
A Fit4Life Women’s Weekend will be held June 22-24. The weekend of spiritual and physical wellness and rejuvenation will include devotions, yoga, water aerobics, healthy cooking demonstrations and other activities.
A Father and Son Fit4Life Weekend, held August 10-12, will be held for fathers and sons who are at least 15 years old. It will be a retreat where men can be men. Each father and son will be stretched physically, mentally and spiritually with the goal of deepening their relationship with each other and Christ. Hiking, wilderness survival, canoeing and axe-throwing are some of the activities that will be offered. A guest speaker and daily devotions will be provided.
The 80th annual Family Bible Camp will take place July 22-28. The week-long family camp consists of two morning sessions and an evening session with afternoons open each day. There is plenty of free time for fun activities. Reservations can be made online at firstname.lastname@example.org for lodging, campsites and meals. Walk-ins and day visits are welcome.
Findley Lake UMC is hosting Alpha classes, an introduction to the Christian faith, at the camp on Tuesdays through June 26 at 6 p.m. Dinner is included.
Consider taking a scenic 36-mile drive from downtown Jamestown to Findley Lake for a visit to The Camp at Findley’s open house from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. Many fun and educational activities for the entire family will take place and a complimentary lunch will be served.
OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE
Lawn Games: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Music/DJ: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Camp Fire/S’mores: 11a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bounce House/Slide: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bake Sale: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Krasa’s Ice Cream: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Crafts: noon-5 p.m.
Canoe/Kayak: noon-4:30 p.m.
Pontoon Boat Rides: noon-4:30 p.m.
Food: 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Guided Hikes: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Nature Talks: 1 and 3 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: 5 p.m.
The Camp at Findley is located at 2334 Sunnyside Road, Clymer. Inquiries and reservations can be made by calling 769-7146 or online at www.campatfindley.com.
The remaining board members are Gordon Post-executive director, David Cooke, David Calvert, Shenley Schenk and Roger Brumagin.
The following recipes are some of the camp favorites that have been offered over its 82 year history.
TACO IN A BAG
Ground Beef that has been browned and seasoned with taco seasoning
Snack size bags Doritos corn chips
Open bags. Crush corn chips. Spoon seasoned beef over chips. Top with favorite toppings. Mix.
Pretzel-shaped rolls, sliced
Sliced sandwich meat
Place meat and cheese on bottom section of roll. Wrap in foil. Heat in oven until cheese is melted.
MAPLE OVEN PANCAKE
1 1/2 c buttermilk biscuit mix
1 1/2 T Sugar
1 1/4 c milk
1/2 c maple syrup
2 1/2 c cheddar cheese, divided
4 pieces bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
Additional maple syrup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Mix dry ingredients by hand. Add eggs, milk and syrup. Blend, leaving a few lumps. Add 3/4 cup cheese. Bake uncovered about 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon. Bake uncovered for 3-5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.
4 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa
1 c butter
1 c milk
6 c quick-cooking oatmeal, not instant
1 c peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Boil for 1 minute. Add peanut butter. Stir until melted. Add vanilla and oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Refrigerate until set.
2 bunches broccoli
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 c raisins
1 c walnuts or pecans, broken into small pieces
1 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sugar
2 T vinegar
Break broccoli into small pieces. Add bacon, onions, raisins, cheddar cheese and nuts. Toss. Combine mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over broccoli mixture. Toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
10 oz bag broccoli, chopped
1 c onion, chopped
1 c cooked ha.m., cubed
5 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/4 c buttermilk biscuit mix
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Place broccoli, onion, ha.m. and 3 1/2 cups cheese in baking pan. Beat milk, eggs, biscuit mix, salt and pepper until smooth. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Top with remaining cheese.