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Camp Frederick: A Place to Connect with Christ, Others, and Creation

T
wenty miles south of Youngstown, Ohio, Camp Frederick is a scenic center for spiritual renewal in the forests of northeast Ohio. The camp is implementing a plan to connect camp participants and visitors with creation. 

 

The basic concept is “Camp Frederick, as a community, cares for creation because we love the Creator.” Camp Frederick pays close attention to, is watchful of and attends to God’s creation. The goal is to create a place where the seeds of love for creation and the Creator are nurtured and the idea of looking after nature is fostered. At Camp Frederick appreciation of creation is woven into all programs and presentations. 

 

“I am excited to be here at Camp Frederick during this season of growth. Even in the year since I have started I have seen many things take place that give me a sense of wonder at what God’s plan is for this camp. In this first year I have seen an archery program started, canoeing brought back, and connections made with Slippery Rock University’s Parks and Recreations department,” said Justin Landry, Camp Director.

 

Camp Frederick is developing a system of walkways, trails, “quiet place” benches, walk-in picnic/group activity areas, remote campsites, and accessible trail experiences for mobility challenged visitors.  The goal is to enhance the opportunity for all guests to actually experience creation.

 

“A most fundamental reality is that there is a connection between the one who cares and that which is being cared for,” said John Ferrante, Camp Frederick’s Natural Resource Advisor. 

 

Camp Frederick offers summer programs for children as young as six and as old as seventeen. Small groups can visit the camp to learn team-building skills on one of Frederick’s many high and low ropes elements. The camp is open year-round, with special programs for the community as well as youth and adult retreat programs.

 

At its core, Camp Frederick is involved in connections.

 

“We see that our mission is to connect people to the Love of Jesus Christ, to connect people to each other and to the Camp Frederick community, and to connect people to God’s creation. The hope is that these connections are real experiences,” Ferrante said.

 

Camp Frederick’s connection with Slippery Rock University’s Parks and Recreations department has been particularly rewarding.

 

“This connection has given us the opportunity to be blessed by an intern who worked on a Trail Guide for us and to have a whole class come down and have a trail building seminar at the camp. It continues to amaze me how God works in the hearts of those who care about this Camp and I am looking forward to seeing how He will use the Camp, its volunteers and me in the future,” said Landry.

 

Camp Frederick is a peaceful place of transformation. The original wilderness was settled, trees cleared, and the land grazed over and abandoned. For the past one hundred years, the area has been slowly reverting back to forest. It is now a one-hundred-acre natural treasure consisting of forests, streams, steep ridges and open meadows.

 

“We recognize the responsibility of ‘tending’ this land and making it accessible for all who come to see and to experience this wonderful transformation,” Ferrante said.

 

“Accessibility is an important key to connect-ability,” he added.

 

Camp Frederick also incorporates care for Creation with daily Earth-sustaining practices.

 

“Recycling has been an ongoing activity at Camp Frederick. We do our best to collect cardboard and paper products from the kitchen and office. From used printer cartages, used batteries, old motor oil, to used furnaces and scrap iron it is amazing how much stuff can be recycled,” said Ferrante.

 

“Our property team is in the process of performing a camp-wide energy audit specifically focusing on old water pumps, refrigerators and freezers, fans of all sorts, and lots and lots of fluorescent light fixtures. An electrician recently advised us on how to save a significant amount of electricity simply by switching out ballasts and tubes.  As we go forward, long-range energy cost savings will trump purchasing the ‘cheapest’ replacement item,” he added.

 

Camp Frederick serves as a model for how all camps and institutions of the church can steward land to connect people with God and community.

 

Camp Frederick Summer programs begin in June. For a complete schedule, or for more information, visit www.campfrederickohio.com.