To all our friends in the Presbytery of West Virginia,

As many of you could have guessed, we had to make the hard choice to cancel summer camp this year. We had many meetings over Zoom to try to figure out a way to do camp the way we always have, but it was just not a reality that could happen due to COVID-19.

Everything has been turned upside down in the last three months, and camp is included in the craziness. Kids had to move from school in the classroom to school on the computer, church moved out of the sanctuary and into our living rooms, and now Bluestone must find a new way to reach the youth in our Presbytery and beyond.

Two of the ways we want to reach out this summer are by building a kid-friendly summer camp website and increasing our presence on social media. If your church is like mine, we’ve realized we need to have a hybrid church once we go back into our sanctuaries so that both the people in the pews and the people at home can befit from a worship service. Bluestone is no different.

We want to use this summer to really learn how to use audio-visual equipment, social media platforms, and new ways of communicating, so we can reach campers of every generation. We are pretty good at the in-person side of camp, but we need to get a lot better at the “virtual” side of camp.

Looking into the future, we would like past staff, future campers, and parents to be able to share in some of our summer camp activities from the comfort of their own home. We want to be able to share Bible study, song times, campfires, and the beauty of Bluestone with anyone who wants to be involved.

The problem with this dream is that it costs money, which is something we do not have a lot of right now. This year, we had to cancel the Guys Weekend, the Spring Retreat, a church retreat, and summer camp, and the future is shaky, to say the least.

We are reaching out to ask for help. Our goal is to raise at least $10,000 to get our virtual camp initiative started. We will use the money to buy quality equipment, hire a Marshall University student who is majoring in advertising with an emphasis on social media and video game development to teach us the tools and tricks of the trade, and hire a few staff to come on site to help film the content we want to put out on social media.

If you or your church is able to donate to our cause, we would be more than thankful. If you feel called to help, you can mail a check with a notation that it is a donation to Bluestone Camp & Conference Center, 520 Second Ave., South Charleston, WV 25503, or make a donation through PayPal on our website.

As always, we thank you for your prayers and continued support of camp. Hopefully, we will be able to see everyone face-to-face next year but for now, look for us on Facebook and Instagram, and keep an eye out for announcements, videos, and other fun things coming your way.

Sarah Specht
Program Director