By Cynthia A. Lovely
Do you ever feel the need to get away from it all? You chose a location, make extensive and often expensive plans but return home still weary and unfulfilled. Something is missing.
It’s time to check out Camp-of-the-Woods in the beautiful southern Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. This hidden jewel is a Christian Resort and Conference Center situated on Lake Pleasant in the village of Speculator. Yes, how can you NOT have a good time at a place called Lake Pleasant.
It is the perfect vacation spot, with plenty to offer for family festivities, sports and games but also with the added promise of spiritual renewal and fellowship. This is the part that may be missing from regular vacations.
Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, there are many choices for enjoyment and entertainment at Camp of the Woods. The camp is owned and operated by Gospel Volunteers Inc. of NYS. COTW presents ten week-long summer programs with daily chapel services, a special schedule for children and teens, weekend concerts, Jazz on the Beach and Sunday Praise and Worship nights. There are plenty of opportunities to strengthen your spiritual walk along with many other activities including: hiking, canoe trips, whitewater rafting, cliff-jumping, rock climbing, mini-golf, tennis, shuffleboard, pickle ball, volleyball, basketball, and water sports.
Age appropriate programs are offered and A Kids Klub is held during morning chapel times for children to enjoy songs, story time, scripture memorization and the playground. Teens gather in small group sessions for games and lessons geared to their level. Adults may enjoy listening to inspirational speakers and participating in Bible Study seminars or they may choose to relax and have their own personal retreat.
The Summer 2018 schedule has an impressive list of chapel speakers for morning services. The season starts mid-June and the first five weeks include the following: Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC; Dr. Bryan Wilkerson, Sr. Pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA; Dr. Charles Zimmerman, Pastor at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA; Dr. Bryan Carter, Pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, TX; Dr. Jeff Warren, Pastor of Park Cities Baptist in Dallas, TX and Dr. Lon Solomon, Senior Pastor Emeritus of McLean Bible Church in McLean, VA and also the Board Chairman of the Executive Committee of Jews for Jesus.
The last five weeks of chapel speakers are: Dr. Crawford Loritts, Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA; Dr. Rex Keener, Pastor of Grace Fellowship in Latham, NY; Rev. Garrett Kell, Pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA; Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor Emeritus of Moody Church, Chicago, IL; and Dr. Knute Larson, Pastor, Coach and Teacher from Sawyer, MI.
Dr. Rex Keener of Grace Fellowship in the NYS Capital District area is pleased to be on the teaching schedule for an August session. Dr. Keener first visited Camp-of-the-Woods around 1997 and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of the campground. “I am amazed that a place like this exists so close to the Capital District,” he said. “The setting is pristine with the beautiful mountains, lovely lake, and sandy beach. The facilities are state of the art, food is amazing, and the spiritual atmosphere is refreshing.”
Keener is preparing his notes for the camp meeting and hopes to teach on a series titled, “Life Songs from the Book of Psalms.” He believes certain songs and hymns “sing to our soul and make our soul sing as well.” Many of us remember special songs through specific time periods in our lives. Keener plans on relating those songs to the beauty and wisdom found in the book of Psalms. This topic should appeal to all ages since most people have an appreciation for music. Keener states, “There are certain Life Songs that speak to us as a believer. They touch us deeply, meeting a need in our soul.”
The seminar speakers also offer a solid line up of gifted speakers, authors and professors. Popular author, Lucinda Secrest McDowell, of Wethersfield, CT is a returning speaker to Camp-of-the-Woods. She will be teaching a five part series on “Unwrapping God’s Gifts!” with a portion of the material from her newest book, Ordinary Graces. The study centers around the many gifts God offers to His people: grace, mercy, compassion, courage, strength, guidance, and peace. She will explore ways we can offer these gifts to a hurting world.
McDowell is another fan of COTW. “Camp of the Woods is simply the most amazing Family Camp ever,” she said.
“The setting is a sanctuary of God’s creative beauty and wonder; the staff are committed and fun and each has such a servant’s spirit; and the opportunities for both recreation and growth for every age seem endless. And there’s always the option of enjoying a peaceful sojourn sitting by Lake Pleasant and hearing God’s whisper.”
She has been attending COTW for 26 years and all four of her children have many fond memories of the camp. “Where else can you bring family members from babies to great-grandparents and know that each one will feel loved and secure and have a whole array of opportunities for spiritual growth, Biblical truths, worship, entertainment, recreation and renewal?”
McDowell’s statement backs up the Mission of Camp-of-the-Woods, outlined on their website: to present the Biblical truths of Jesus, to develop Christian leaders, to strengthen the faith of individuals and families and to promote global evangelism.
Camp-of-the-Woods is not just a summer vacation spot. The facility is also open from September to June as a full service conference center, hosting various church and ministry groups for youth and adults. The camp offers, “great food, upscale lodging, spacious meeting rooms and fantastic amenities for relaxation and spiritual growth.” There are meeting rooms designed for 12 to 750 guests and each group plans their own schedule and programs.
Lodging at COTW varies from longhouses on the beach, lakeside and hillside cabins, economy “rentals” and cabins or traditional hotel style rooms at the Purdy Center. A new addition to 2018 is the Larsen Lodge, built in honor of Ralph Larsen, a Gospel Volunteer board member and friend of the Camp. The Lodge has premium accommodations with six lovely suites on the second floor, featuring a king bed, private bath, mini fridge and a porch overlooking the lake.
Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, New York has all the major needs covered to promise an excellent vacation: beautiful setting, spiritual and scriptural foundation, quality facilities & food choices, endless recreational options and always good, solid Christian fellowship.
Visit at http://www.camp-of-the-woods.org.