Celebrate! Campaign raises $905,943 for Holston camps

Celebrate! Campaign raises $905,943 for Holston camps

A camper at Wesley Woods this month shows off just one of his discoveries.

On April 30, 2020, the five camp directors and I sent a message to all of the people of Holston that the tough decision to close camp for the summer had been made. In the days and weeks after that message, our camp board members and hundreds of volunteers organized and developed a plan for how our camps would be able to close our gates to stop the spread of COVID-19 but be able to financially open again when it was safe to do so.

We knew that in order to keep our camps in the best shape we would have to focus all of our attention on conserving resources and fundraising.

On June 27, 2020 during Virtual Annual Conference, I announced we were launching an annual campaign titled “Together for Tomorrow” with a grand total goal of $899,000. Over the next 52 weeks, the world seemed to completely change. Yet, Holston Conference rallied around our Camp and Retreat Ministries as you have done for generations. We received encouraging words and donations from close to 1,000 persons and hundreds of Holston churches.

It was not lost on us that during the time we were closed and focused on ensuring our future ministry, many of our churches were having to make tough decisions. We watched so many of our colleagues as they lead church online. We viewed our favorite ministers-in-residences preach online from Virginia, East Tennessee, and Georgia. Our souls were fed by the messages delivered amidst the time so many were learning new technologies and teaching children from home. We are so grateful for our Holston clergy and lay leaders.

While our most common gift ranged $50 to $100, we had some significant gifts as well. We are thankful for the Holston Foundation choosing to give the largest donation in their history to Holston Camp and Retreat Ministries.The Holston Foundation challenge grant encouraged donors to commit to match and our camps were able to turn the Foundation’s gift of $150,000 into $300,000 in donations to our camps.

We were also fortunate to receive a gift of $50,000 from the Martha W. Gerrard mission fund which is invested at the Holston Foundation. All of these gifts were testaments to how the Holston Conference works together to create ministry opportunities. Even while we were practicing social distancing, we were coming together in ministry to show others the love of Christ.

We are thrilled to inform you all that with your support of Holston Camp and Retreat Ministries, we were able to raise $905,943.59 through our Together for Tomorrow Annual Campaign.

These funds have allowed us to take extra precautions to be able to safely host summer camp this year. These funds have allowed us to hire over 100 young adults to lead campers this summer. These funds have allowed us to provide exceptional programming, food, and shelter for our campers. These funds have made it possible for campers to return and for many to make a significant faith commitment.

Christ has been able to use these gifts to change lives. We are so thankful for your generosity, support, and trust in our ministry. Thank you!


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Mary Thompson

The Rev. Mary Thompson is executive director of Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries. The camps include Camp Bays Moutain (Kingsport, Tenn.), Camp Dickenson (Fries, Va.), Camp Lookout (Rising Fawn, Ga.), and Camp Wesley Woods (Townsend, ...

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