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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Camp New Hope Vacation

What an incredible week we had! To learn more about Camp New Hope, see my previous blog post. To see our plethora of photos, feel free to visit our online album.

Day 1 - We arrived at Camp New Hope in the afternoon. The weather was beautiful and we basically spent the evening making dinner and getting settled in.

Day 2 - Michael and I got to take a ride up to the top of the Camp property and look at the view around us. This was the only place we could get cell phone service with our AT&T phones.  The boys got to spend fun time in the "shed" and the camp dogs, Mo and Nash, followed us around camp looking for a free handout.  The grandmas started on their week long project - a 1000 piece puzzle where all the pieces were about the same color.
Beautiful view from the top of the property. You can see one of the neighboring Christmas tree farms. We are convinced that  Jefferson, NC / Boone County is the Christmas Tree capital of the US. 

With Grandma K watching Rebekah at the lodge, Michael and I actually got to sneak away for a little time together (which doesn't happen often!).

Michael taking advantage of the cell phone service on top of the mountain to call into work.
Grandmas working on their puzzle.

The "Shed"... slightly bigger than most sheds. 

The Shed is filled with ping pong, pool, air hockey, video games, play area, and, what became Elijah and Grandpa's favorite feature, INTERNET! They could only get connected at the shed. I managed to stay offline all week.

Mo (white) and Nash (black) are the camp dogs. Mo likes hitching a ride on the Kabotas.

Day 3 -  This was a really busy, fun-filled day!  Michael, Grandma B, Elijah, and Jeremiah went fishing. No luck catching anything, but the other family at the camp this week caught like 90 fish over the course of the week! We took the grandparents for a Kabota ride and spent some downtime in the lodge. A park ranger came to the Shed and did a presentation for us on animals found in the NC mountains. We got to feel the pelts of many different animals and learn a little about NC nature. We also did a little tubing down the river. We ended the evening taking our whole crew to the local movie theater to see Madagascar 3. They provide free admission for the families staying at Camp New Hope!

Jeremiah and Grandma B fishing in the New River.

Kubota transportation to get around the camp!

Everyone loves to ride the Kubota!

Chillin' on the couch.

Relaxing in the sunroom.

A Park Ranger came and did a presentation for us about all the local SC animals. 

Family tubing time!

Day 4 - Day 4 started out with a nice mountain drive to a local family's homestead where we got to take a tractor ride around the property, go for carriage rides, and do a little horseback riding around the stable. The kids played a outside for a good part of the day, and we ended with gigantic marshmallow smores cooked in our personal lodge fire pit. I do not recommend the giant marshmallows, they make a big mess!
Fun on the lodge's playground area.

River playtime. Daddy strung up the boys as they went out over the rapids so they didn't accidentally get wisked down the river.  It was a pretty shallow river for the most part.

Helicopter riding.

Grandma and Grandpa K petting the horse.

Hi ho Silver, away!

Elijah riding...

Susan and Rebekah taking a ride.

Grandma B enjoying a carriage ride.

I think the boys enjoyed most the digger toys in the middle of the barn.

Boys will be boys!

Smores time!

Cooking smores over our firepit.

Don't ever use the gigantic marshmallows for smores. They are way too messy!

Day 5 - Michael started out the day taking his 84 year old mother on a short canoe ride. After lunch, we had a personal visit from Santa Claus! Michael, Elijah, Jeremiah, Josiah, and I took a 2 1/2 hour canoe ride 5 miles down the New River, then hauled the canoes back to camp on a trailer. We did pause for some yummy hand-dipped ice cream in waffle cones! Isaiah missed out on that, but he was spending the afternoon playing games with the grandmas. Since this was the last full day at camp, we had the boys spend lots of time playing games with grandparents while we started packing up all of our equipment and luggage, and Michael showed up just in time to help the Grandmas finish their tough puzzle before the end of the week!
Family canoe time.

Michael, Elijah and Josiah

Getting ready to canoe.

Despite being on vacation, we did make Rebekah do a little therapy. Grandma K had fun entertaining her.

Josiah and Josiah teaching Grandma K how to play the game Hissss.

Elijah, Jeremiah, and Grandma B playing Racko.

The Grandmas finished the puzzle before the end of the week! Michael showed up in time to try to put one of the last pieces in. :-)

Michael taking his mom for a canoe ride.

On their way for a canoe ride.

This is Santa Claus's summer transportation. The license plate even said North Pole.

Santa comes each week to visit the kids at the camp.

Rebekah thought his beard was interesting.

Day 6 - We got a special treat on this day. A photographer came and took our family up into the trails and took pictures of all of us. We will get edited, royal-free photos sent to us on a cd once they are done working on them!  We left camp and headed home after lunch.
Trying to get a picture taken in the woods. We were able to get Rebekah to smile the whole time, but Josiah was being a stinker!

Here is the photographer who donates her time and effort to take family photos for the Camp New Hope visitors.

This is Randy, the camp Director. She has been working full time at Camp New Hope without pay for several years. She has a heart of gold!

Needless to say, this was an incredible week! We hope we get the opportunity to go to Camp New Hope again, and we are so very grateful to the Adkin brothers, and to Randy, Steve, and all the other volunteers who work hard and sacrifice much time and money in order to provide a special experience for our special children.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Camp New Hope Intro

In the NC mountains of Ashe County, is a breathtaking160 acre property that sits on the edge of the New River.  There is a redesigned 4 bedroom hunting lodge that can sleep 10 people. There are 4 wheel drive utility vehicles (Kubotas) to ride the many trails through the mountainside, there is canoeing and tubing on the New River, there is fishing, volleyball & firepits, there is a fun play area in the "shed" with air hockey, pool, video games, and all kinds of toys and things to occupy the children. The best part is the kitchen comes stocked with food, and the Camp Director, Randy, cooks many of the suppers for the families attending the camp. This place of rest and renewal is called Camp New Hope, and we were blessed to spend last week enjoying it with my Mom and Dad, and Michael's Mom (his father passed away 5 years ago). This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for our family as we have never been on a vacation where we've had both parents there since mine are in PA and Michael's is in OH.

Camp New Hope is a privately owned, nonprofit, no-charge facility for families who have children with life-threatening medical conditions.  It is run by volunteers who dedicate much time and energy into making it a special week for our special children. It was created through a vision of two brothers, Mark and Will Adkins of Waterfront Group, who have selflessly used their property for the purpose of giving a gift of lifetime memories for families like ours.

Welcome to Camp New Hope - "A Special Place For Special People"

Beautiful scenery driving through the property.

One of the many lovely little garden areas to give you a spot for peace and tranquility.

Another view of the New River from the property.

"Rebekah Mtn" - Each time a child visits Camp New Hope, the camp names on of the 4-wheeling trails after a child. Then the signs hang in their "shed" until the next visit from that child.

Pure beauty!

Garden of Hope

Garden of Hope

Sun Room of the lodge, complete with a row of rocking chairs and a few tables for game playing so you can sit and watch the river below.

"Bob" is one of the lodge decorations. The lodge is a  renovated 1950's hunting  "lodge" that has been expanded and adapted.  It can hold 1 family - up to 10 people in 4 bedrooms.  It is filled with decorations like this bobcat.

Looking up the hill at the lodge from the road in.

Entrance and grilling area of the lodge.

Go to Camp New Hope's website to donate online or to download an application/physician form to apply for camp qualification.
Check out Camp New Hope's Blog which features the families that visit each each week.
On facebook? Like Camp New Hope's page!