By Sharon Mager
MIDDLETOWN, Md. — Skycroft Conference Center, usually bustling with children and teens throughout the summer, had to cancel its annual summer camps due to the pandemic. But in late July and August, when restrictions lessened, groups of adults and youth returned to the mountain. Some churches which had to cancel mission trips due to COVID-19, such as Tri-County Baptist Church (TCBC) in Damascus, diverted their mission funds and time and helped with projects at Skycroft and also enjoyed some quality time playing and worshipping God together.
Members of Covenant Church in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, arrived for a time of team-building and planning; North Glen Community Church’s (NGCC) youth group in Glen Burnie visited for an overnight retreat. Several other non-Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware groups also utilized the facility in various ways.
In late August, Skycroft hosted a one-day mini-camp and welcomed six youth groups from Maryland churches: White Marsh Baptist Church in Perry Hall, Hope Baptist Church in Laurel, Bethany Church in Ellicott City; Trinity Baptist Church in Waldorf (TBCW); Elvaton Baptist Church (EBC) in Millersville; and First Baptist Church of Brunswick. The church groups gathered for a mini “taste of camp” called “Pursue.”
Youth and leaders met in the Nelson Center gymnasium, masked and in socially-distant groups. Musicians from Summit Trace Church in Frederick led music. Andrew Porter, the student pastor at First Baptist Church of Woodbridge, Virginia shared the message, based on Psalm 63. “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water” (Psalm 63:1).
Youth and adult leaders laughed over funny 2020 memes. Turning serious, Porter asked if anyone would have guessed that 2020 would turn out the way it has. “Even when things surprise us, they never surprise God. He knows exactly what He’s doing. We say, ‘what’s
happening?’ and God says, ‘I’ve got this. I know exactly what I’m doing,’” said Porter.
“You are not here by accident and no one here is an accident,” Porter emphasized. “There is a God and he has a purpose for your life.”
Porter challenged teens and asked, “Are you following the crowd or the cross?”
Following the worship time, the teens filed out and headed to various locations for their small group sessions, then lunch, games — including bazooka ball and life-size Battleship — pool time, dinner, and a campfire.
This was a big deal for Skycroft. It was invigorating and exciting to have church groups on the mountain, said Emily Reedy, director of Skycroft. The camp also gave teens who haven’t experienced camp a taste of the fun and provided a bit of satisfaction for those who missed it this year.
“The students were super pumped,” said Eve Rice, a youth leader at EBC who brought a group of over a dozen students. “It was jam-packed with fun and encouragement for the students and the leaders,” she said.
Reedy said, “One teen who graduated in May (this would be his last summer of camp) personally emailed us 3-4 separate times since the start of the pandemic to see if we would still be holding camp. He has attended since middle school and it was so fun to see him in August and to make sure he had a final camp experience between high school and college.”
As fall beauty arrives in the mountains, Skycroft is “open for business” with safety precautions in place. The staff is looking forward to hosting more groups and encourages churches to utilize the center. Email Reedy or call 800-536-6759 for more information.