Camping opportunities abound for Mid-States Moravians

Justin at camp

The Mid-States youth programs are unique from the Eastern District and Western District camps and programs. The Mid-States program is made up of the Moravian churches in Ohio, Indiana, Lower Michigan and Illinois; three of those states are in the Western District, and one is in the Eastern District. Stuck in the middle, distance has separated us from going to the Moravian owned camps in Wisconsin and New Jersey.

We have found facilities to rent, but it requires a lot of extra effort and manpower to haul needed equipment to make these camps happen. In the middle of planning, packing and hauling, we may feel that it is a great burden, but we are also very blessed by our unique situation. For one, our camps are more affordable, since we provide all of our own staff and cook our own food. We also have many, many lay people who are able to work with the youth and influence the youth of our area, in ongoing relationships. While many pastors have come and gone through the Mid-States, many lay people continue to be a constant to so many youth over the years. We have no paid positions – counselors, directors, cooks, etc.; everyone who is not a pastor is volunteering their time.

My first experience with camp was at Tar Hollow in 1981 (see Anita’s story on page 25). Tar Hollow, which is currently for those who have completed 7th grade through age 21, is held at Tar Hollow State Park in Laurelville, Ohio. Mid-States also holds primary camps Bethany (for Michigan and Ohio campers in grades 2 – 6) and Illiana (for Indiana and Illinois campers in grades 2 – 6) (See information on page 18 for locations and schedules).

Making a difference

Many of our campers are “lifers”—that is, they have gone to our camps every year for as many years as possible. One of our lifelong campers, Dannielle Fields, passed away February 13. She went through our camping program from 2nd grade through age 21, with 2018 being her last year.

At her funeral, I was reminded by her aunt, Joy Lux, of just what camp meant to Dannielle (a non-verbal, wheelchair-bound camper). At a commitment service a few years back, the campers were sitting in prayer, contemplating their relationship with and commitment to Christ. Joy looked at Dannielle who had a tear running down her cheek. She understood the love that Jesus had for her.

Another year at a commitment service by the beach at Tar Hollow, the campers were asked to throw a rock in the lake symbolizing some weight that they were carrying. Physically, Dannielle was unable to get close enough to the lake to do this. Her moms, Amy Swinford and Nancy Beaty, were not able to carry her through the sand either. They were going to wait until everyone was done, and then try to help Dani.

Our compassionate campers realized that this task might be too difficult for Dannielle and her moms, so the campers picked up Dani’s wheelchair, and got her close enough to the lake so that she could also be involved.

The love of camp and the difference it made was also expressed to me recently by Tabitha McNeilly. “Camp Bethany was such a blessing to me! My home life was tough as a kid. Camp Bethany allowed me to develop and build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m so proud and blessed to be able to send my own children, who will be able to develop lifelong connections with new friends.”

More information about Mid-states camps and how to register can be found at

Mid-States Camps for 2019

Tar Hollow 2019
(for those who have completed grade 7 – age 21)
July 21 – 27, 2019
Program: “Why Jesus?” by the Revs. Garrett and Sanette Fleming
Director: Darryl Bell

Illiana 2019
(for those who have completed 2nd – 6th grades in Indiana and Illinois)
July 29 – August 2, 2019
Director: Kristine Hasewinkle

Bethany 2019
(for those who have completed 2nd – 6th grades in Michigan and Ohio)
August 5 – 9, 2019
Director: Scott Minor

Fall Retreat 2019
(for those currently in 6th grade – age 21)
November 1 – 3, 2019
Director: Dan Meikle