Sky Lake News Archive

Be A Donor 2018

Be A Donor 2018

What does it mean to be a donor?

It means actively engaging with the ministry of Sky Lake and Camp & Retreat Ministries of Upper New York and Susquehanna Annual Conferences. It means doing something more than just supporting this ministry with your voice and your prayers (both of which are immensely important.) It means actively underwriting the operational and program costs associated with offering a ministry that truly transforms lives.

Beginning with #GivingTuesday on November 27, 2018, and continuing through the remainder of this year, we invite you to Be A Donor to the Sky Lake Annual Fund.

Over the coming weeks, we invite you to stay tuned to our Facebook page to learn more about what your generous financial donation supports.

Whether you ultimately decide to give $5/week, $15/month, or a one-time gift of $5000, we thank you in advance for choosing to Be A Donor!

BE A DONOR!

This link will take you to the Upper New York Camp & Retreat Center’s donation portal. Please select “Sky Lake Annual Fund” from the drop-down menu at the top of that form if you would like your donation to be used specifically for Sky Lake. Donations to the “CRM Annual Fund” will be used where most needed at the end of the year.

Posted on November 22nd by Matthew Williams

Sky Lake Desktop Wallpaper Calendars 2018

Sky Lake Desktop Wallpaper Calendars 2018

We’ve created a monthly series of Harvey the Hippo desktop wallpaper calendars for 2018. Each month you’ll have a variety of sizes from which to choses. We update this page monthly, so you’ll want to check back often.

Clicking any of the image size links below will open the wallpaper in a new browser tab. From there, you can save the image to your computer or set it as your desktop background.

December 2018

December 2018 Calendar

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November 2018

November 2018 Calendar

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October 2018

October 2018 Calendar

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September 2018

September 2018 Calendar

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August 2018

August 2018 Calendar

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July 2018

July 2018 Calendar

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June 2018

June 2018 Calendar

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May 2018

May 2018 Calendar

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April 2018

April 2018 Calendar

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March 2018

March 2018 Calendar

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February 2018

February 2018 Calendar

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January 2018

January2018 Calendar

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Posted on October 29th by Matthew Williams

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing earlier today (July 3, 2018) of our Director Emeritus, Jim Krager. Jim shared over 45 years of his life with the Sky Lake Community as colleague, as boss, as friend, and—perhaps most importantly—as someone who modeled what it looks like to be a committed follower of Christ. We cherish the time Jim spent with us and hold his family in close prayer this day.

Update (5 July 2018):

Please join the family of Jim Krager for a service of celebration of his life on Saturday, July 7th at Founders’ Lodge here at Sky Lake.

Informal gathering at 1:00pm
Service at 2:00pm

In an ode to Jim, you are invited to dress casually (bonus points if you wear a green Sky Lake shirt!)

If you are able, please arrive early enough to park on the West Shore and walk the Jim Krager Nature Trail along the lake to the East Shore.

A full obituary appears here

Contributions to the Sky Lake Campership Fund in Jim’s memory may be made online (Please make a note that is in memory of Jim in the note field next to “Camp & Retreat Ministries on that page.)

Posted on July 3rd by Matthew Williams

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Sky Lake Campbassador?

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Sky Lake Campbassador?

Chances are that if you are reading this, you already possess the most important quality of a Sky Lake Campbassador: interest in Sky Lake. There are a few other qualities below, but basically a Sky Lake Campbassador is someone who is willing to receive an email from us one to four times per month and share the materials included in each email at church, online, and with friends.

Here are some necessary qualities of an excellent Campbassador:

+ Ability to receive email from us
+ Ability to follow directions
+ Ability to positively communicate with others by speaking, writing, signing, etc. (in person, in print, or online)

It’s also helpful (but not necessary) to be able to:

+ Speak of positive camp and/or retreat experiences at Sky Lake (either your own or someone close to you)
+ Print designated materials to be shared in bulletins, post on announcement boards, etc. (or get the electronic files to someone who can print the materials to share)
+ Know who to give camp and retreat announcements for inclusion in weekly bulletins and/or monthly newsletters at church
+ Post to social media (including how to tag Sky Lake in photos and use #hashtags)<

What is expected of Sky Lake Campbassadors:

+ Open emails
+ Read emails
+ Share materials found in emails (or recruit someone who can)
+ Like/follow @skylakecenter on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter
+ Like and/or share our posts on these social media platforms

Remuneration for Sky Lake Campbassadors:

+ First access to materials
+ Our eternal gratitude

Past Editions of the Sky Lake Campbassadors Email:

+ April 17
+ April 24
+ May 2

Click here to sign up to be a Sky Lake Campbassador! Donate Now!

Posted on April 16th by Matthew Williams

2018 Summer Camp & Retreat Programs Registration Opens!

2018 Summer Camp & Retreat Programs Registration Opens!

Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries (CRM) is excited to announce that registration is now open for its 2018 Summer Camp & Retreat programs. Program details are available online and brochures will be mailed out in the coming weeks. Brochures will be sent to past participants and campers as well as all Upper New York Annual Conference churches.

“We are excited about the high quality and excellent variety of programs being offered this summer,” said Mike Huber, director of CRM. “The CRM team, in collaboration with hundreds of volunteers, has created programs specifically designed for spiritual growth, birth, and renewal.”

CRM offers programs and experiences for children, youth, families, and adults. Summer Camp programs/week(s) will be held at Aldersgate, Casowasco,  Sky Lake & Skye Farm. Retreat programs and events will be held at Asbury, and will include adult, family, and youth retreats.

Each of our centers offer online registration for most programs, making it easy to register for a favorite or to find a new one to attend. To view a searchable list of all of our 2018 programs, click HERE. If you know which program you’d like, and want to register directly, click the link for the corresponding site below:

ALDERSGATE
ASBURY
CASOWASCO
SKY LAKE
SKYE FARM

This year’s brochure is available here:

.

For more information, contact us via e-mail at registrar@campsandretreats.org or toll free (855) 414 - 6400 or 315-364-8756.

Posted on February 1st by Mike Huber

Summer 2018 Lineup

Summer 2018 Lineup

We’ve been hard at work on putting together another amazing summer line-up for 2018. As you might notice we’ve restructured our schedule a bit to bring together similar sessions of different ages under what we’re now referring to as “theme weeks”. We’re excited about this transition which we believe will help us better offer a clear line of progression to help campers grow as they mature.

Our summer brochure is still in creation mode, but there are only a little over 175 days* until the first week of camp at Sky Lake so we wanted to share the lineup with you now so you rearrange your calendar to fit in the perfect week of camp!

*Yes, we’re totally keeping track of the countdown to Summer 2018. You can too by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted on December 28th by Matthew Williams

Autumn 2017 Edition of Xenia is Available

Autumn 2017 Edition of Xenia is Available



The Fall edition of our newsletter, Xenia News, is now available online. Click here to read about what’s been going in the life of Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries.

Posted on November 20th by Matthew Williams

Grateful For Where We’re Going: Planning Our Church Visit Tour 2018

Grateful For Where We’re Going: Planning Our Church Visit Tour 2018

It’s not all that uncommon for us to be asked: “what do you do here the rest of the year?” Some might get upset when asked this sort of question, but we hear this as a genuine invitation to share more about our ministry here at Sky Lake. (Which is also why we’ve started sharing a glimpse behind the scenes in this column each month.)

Sure, we have some rather unglamorous tasks that we do on a routine basis during the retreat season—like paying the bills, emptying garbage bins, clearing leaves and snow away from buildings, refilling paper towel dispensers, answering calls from telemarketers, blah, blah, blah…. But these pale in comparison to some of the “bigger things” that we get to do, like welcoming back friends we haven’t seen in a year, lighting a fire in the fireplace in Founders’ Lodge for guests to relax in front of, and working on bigger projects that have a bunch of little “moving parts.”

During the autumn and winter we actually spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for…the next summer. One of the “moving parts” of this bigger project is setting up times for us to visit churches and organizations in the spring. We are always grateful for the churches who extend an invitation for us to come visit and we are equally grateful for those churches who respond affirmatively when we invite ourselves. Here’s what we look for when considering a visit:

· The trend of the congregation’s/group’s support of camping and retreat ministries — in other words, does the church have a history of “sending” campers or do they express a strong desire to start doing so? (Guess what…we like to visit both!)
· Average worship attendance compared to the overall membership of the church — this is a more helpful number for us rather than thinking of a church as big, medium, or small
· Potential for recruiting campers — full disclosure, while we love chatting with potential donors (it does take a fair amount of money to keep a ministry going after all) our spring tour is geared more toward recruiting campers. So we try to schedule visits where we’re apt to run into actual kids and youth! And to help us determine the potential of interacting with children and youth, we look at (1) the number of children and youth involved in Christian formation groups + (2) Sunday School attendance compared to worship attendance + (3) VBS attendance compared to Sunday School attendance. When considered together, we get a better idea of not only the life of a congregation but the community surrounding it.

One of our earliest cheerleaders, the Rev. Edgar Singer, once referred to Sky Lake as the additional Sunday School classroom for each congregation. He wasn’t wrong. A local church is great at providing the “head knowledge”, while camps are really great at being the “learning labs” where these theories can be tested, prodded, and experienced in real time. When head knowledge is reinforced by affirming experiences it becomes heart knowledge. And believe “heart knowledge” is what leads to the transformation of the world! (Can we get an AMEN?!)

To help us share our vision with others is the reason we like to do our visit tour each spring. No two visits are alike and we enjoy working with leaders at the local level to personalize our visit. We are pretty flexible and equally comfortable doing a presentation for kids and youth during Sunday School, delivering a quick speech during a Mission Moment, giving the children’s message, bringing the goods to make s’mores for a covered-dish meal, or even leading an entire worship service. (We’ve done all this and more over the years.) Also, our unofficial mascot, Harvey the Hippo, usually tags along with us, so there’s that… And if there’s one thing Harvey has taught us over the years, it’s to play well with others. So we like to include some non-United Methodist Churches on our Spring Tour every year!

If you’re interested in setting up a visit or exploring the possibility of partnering with us a little closer, please don’t hesitate to connect with our site director, Matt Williams. We hope to see you on our tour this spring!

Posted on November 3rd by Matthew Williams

Grateful For Where We’ve Been: Ladies Of The Lake

Grateful For Where We’ve Been: Ladies Of The Lake

We here at Sky Lake are grateful to be able to spend time with so many awesome people throughout the year. While our summer camp ministry brings a certain level of intensity to the life of our team, we’re also kept on our toes extending radical Christian hospitality to retreat guests from the end of summer camp in August until June the following year. We provide hospitality support to a wide variety of church and non-profit groups any given week/weekend; in addition to these groups we also hold retreats and events for which we provide the programming.

One of those offerings is our Ladies of the Lake Retreat, which was held last month for the 9th consecutive year. When longtime friends of Sky Lake—Jean Grube and the Rev. Jan Clark—approached us years ago with the idea of a retreat for women that would combine elements of a spa experience with opportunities for spiritual growth, we were immediately sold on the idea. “While observing the autumn-kissed, lake waters from one of those boulders by the boathouse, I’m always reminded how thankful I am for these retreats. These times away at Sky Lake allow me to focus on the amazing gifts of the women gathered and our need for each other to build up the body of Christ” says Ladies of the Lake co-leader, Jean Grube.

“The friendships that are formed through worshiping together and the variety of activities offered each retreat is what keep women coming back,” says Jenna Amberge, Assistant Director of Sky Lake. In 2012 we increased the opportunity for women to build those meaningful relationships by expanding Ladies of the Lake to include Rejuvenate each spring (by the way, online registration for Rejuvenate 2018 is now open!)

“I am grateful for the chance to offer rest and renewal for body and soul at the picturesque setting of Sky Lake. Women grow in their friendship with each other and with God. It is a place that helps us find our center!” the Rev. Jan Clark, co-leader of Ladies of the Lake.

Posted on November 3rd by Matthew Williams

The Cairn We’ve Built: Hemlock Community Values

The Cairn We’ve Built: Hemlock Community Values

This past summer we made a concerted effort to better articulate and live out Sky Lake’s long-held core values of invitational Christian discipleship, connecting with God’s natural creation, and commitment to living in intentional community. To help campers better understand this last core value, we developed the Hemlock Community Values program.

The Eastern Hemlock is a sturdy coniferous tree which can be found in abundance at higher elevations in eastern North America. Hemlocks typically tolerate moist soil, ravines, steep hillsides, and lakeshores. They’re slow-growing and regarded as one of the most shade-tolerant species of all trees. There are plenty of other trees in a forest to use for building projects, but anyone who’s ever built a campfire at Sky Lake knows that there is no better source of kindling than the died-off, lower branches of a hemlock! But the most important aspect of why we decided to base our community values program upon the hemlock is this: while an individual of this species can survive on its own, the most mature hemlocks thrive in small stands.

Each day at camp we focused on a different, specific characteristic of living in community: on Sundays it was the value of learning; on Mondays, interdependence; on Tuesdays, compassion; on Wednesdays, faithfulness; on Thursdays, wholesafety; and we rounded the week out on Fridays with a focus on gratitude. As we were developing this program, we considered a large variety of characteristics of a healthy community, but these six really stood out to us. Why? Because they were the ones most woven into the fabric of Sky Lake already!

This summer we also chose to rename our weekly get-together of the Sky Lake community to “Hemlock Community Gathering” and added something new to the mix: the presentation of a Hemlock Community Values plaque to one member of the community who exemplified these characteristics throughout that particular week.

We always had an idea that Sky Lakers were amazing, but this summer proved it! Hands down the most challenging task the core group of staff responsible for overseeing this program had was not developing the program itself, but rather limiting awarding the plaque to just one member of the community each week. What made it even more challenging was that there were so many top-notch nominees from which to have to select. In the end, the priceless look of genuine humility on the face of each recipient was worth it.

The Hemlock Community Values program is definitely a “cairn” that we’re glad we started to build here at Sky Lake this summer for we strongly believe that these very characteristics are something from which the entire world can benefit.

Over the coming months we plan to share a little more about each of the individual characteristics. Be sure to stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter, Around the Campfire!

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Posted on October 4th by Matthew Williams

Resource of the Week: Homesick and Happy

Resource of the Week: Homesick and Happy

Michael Thompson, PhD, draws upon his experiences as a father, school psychologist, and years of camping to write about something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives: homesickness.

In Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow, Thompson helps parents and camp professionals see the value in helping individuals not only survive this common ailment, but to actually thrive from it. In short, to see homesickness in the bigger picture.

However, don’t let the title fool you—this book is about way more than homesickness. Rather Thompson carefully lays out the benefits of the camp experience for both campers and the parents that remain behind at home.

Look for it at your favorite book shop.
ISBN-13: 978-0-345-52492-8

Posted on May 24th by Matthew Williams

The Power of Letting Go

The Power of Letting Go

We’re currently in that time of year when schools and churches are starting to wind down for summer. But for those of us in the camping ministry, this is when we start to gear up for another awesome season of impacting the lives of young and old, neurotypical and differently abled individuals, first-timers and those who have been coming to camp longer than I’ve been alive! It doesn’t take much arm twisting for me to admit that this is my second-favorite time of year (summer camp season proper is my favorite, of course!)

As we focus on all our preparations, I like to keep one question in the forefront: Why?

At our core, we here at Sky Lake are intentional about providing a safe time and place for individuals to encounter community and God in a magnificent setting because we want to transform the world. Camp ministries have the amazing ability to teach individuals the valuable life skills of independence AND interdependence—not from a textbook but through experience. It still amazes me how much a simple activity like making ice cream from scratch can teach all of us: from coming to a consensus on what flavor to make; to keeping track of who’s next in line to crank; and finally, deciding how much of the finished product each one takes to ensure there’s enough for everyone. (It can also lead to some great discussions on how we ourselves are transformed through Christ.)

Recently when the proverbial “why?” was brought up in planning, we thought: “let’s ask some moms why they send their children to camp.” So a few weeks ago, we posted a link on our Facebook page inviting moms to participate in a quick survey. In that survey, we asked moms* three questions:
1) As a mom, what has been (or what do you anticipate will be) the hardest part about sending your child(ren) to camp for a week?
2) What ultimately helped you to make the decision to send your child(ren) to camp (or not)?
3) What’s one thing we here at Sky Lake can do to help alleviate some of your worries about sending your child(ren) to camp?

We received some great responses from some awesome moms (and I’m not just saying that because my own mom participated!) Reading through the responses the first time may or may not have brought a tear to my eye. Okay, I was moved by the responses of these thoughtful women. It’s always nice when others confirm your own beliefs—particularly when it comes to the power of camp.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be delving deeper into each of these three topics, but for now I wanted to share one specific response an anonymous mom gave to question #2:

“{I send my child to Sky Lake} to learn independence, make friends, and have fun.”

We raise a toasted marshmallow to that!

*Almost all studies of the camping industry conclude that moms ultimately make the decision as to whether a child attends camp or not. Some studies peg this at 85%, while others think it’s actually closer to 95%. So this is why we intentionally sought out moms for this survey.

Posted on May 24th by Matthew Williams