HOPE.  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the word “hope.”  It’s a beautiful word.  As the camp director of the Mt. Hope Bible Camp, the word hope has often been a part of my vocabulary.  In fact, it has been kind of a standing joke with some of our staff about how I begin each of our automated phone calls or my opening lines of the videos we have created: “This is Brett Wilson, camp missionary at Mt. Hope Bible Camp.”  Unfortunately, far too many times, I have spoken the word without really considering the weight of its’ meaning.  Well, I guess, until recently.  The word “hope” is all about looking forward or being expectant, which is where we have found ourselves lately.

ANTICIPATION.  As the weeks have passed since we first heard the news reports surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic, hope has been the word we have held to tightly.  As schools moved to distant learning, all of us have been waiting with anticipation for the moment our children will safely be able to return to school.  Some more so than others, I’m sure.  When restaurants and businesses closed their doors due to the shelter in place and social distancing guidelines, we have been waiting with anxious anticipation for the moment we will sit down across the table with some friends and enjoy a meal.  And for us at camp, we, too, have been anticipating how we would move ahead with our summer.  

CONSIDERATION.  With all of the unknowns looming and restrictions in mind, we knew the decision about summer camp was on the horizon.  The weeks leading up to today’s announcement have been difficult.  The days have been spent online with our board of directors and planning team researching the projected logistics of moving forward with a modified camp program and seeking advice and counsel from community members, church leaders and other camp directors.  The pros and cons of the “what ifs” have been weighed against each other and plans A, B, C & D have all been considered.

TEAM.  Now before I go any further, let me first say how blessed I am to serve as the camp director at Mt. Hope Bible Camp.  With every decision, I have been reminded of how God has orchestrated our leadership team and board of directors.  The passion of our planning team and the wisdom of our board of directors is unmatched, I think in part, because each member of our team has experienced the impact of camp firsthand.  And if that wasn’t enough, last weekend, we were overwhelmed by the community support as we raised over $32,000 for our #mthopesunday online giving campaign.  Our history is strong, but so is our future.
GRACE AND LOVE.  Knowing this has made this decision that much harder.  While we acknowledge that this decision will impact a large number of people, including our hundreds of campers, their families and our large number of selfless summer volunteers, we know it will be received with grace and love.  And for that, we are thankful.

THE PLAN.  Because of the current restrictions, there is no foreseeable way to move forward with camp this summer.  For the sake of our testimony and the message of the Gospel, we have chosen to abide by the guidelines our local and state officials have set in place.  We know this will be disappointing news, but we believe the right thing to do is to cancel all of our summer camps, including our scheduled rental groups.  We are heartbroken and so, so very sorry.  Our planning team and board of directors support this decision.  The decision was made with the health, safety and well-being of our campers and staff in mind.

GRADUATES.  Specifically, we knew this news would be especially difficult for graduating seniors, knowing that their last week as a camper at Mt. Hope was cancelled.  With that in mind, our board of directors voted unanimously to allow graduating seniors, who were expecting this to be their last year as a camper at Mt. Hope, the opportunity to return next year as a camper.  

REFUNDS.  We had asked in late March, knowing this may be a real possibility, for you to hold off sending in pre-registration forms and deposits.  We want to thank you for helping us in that regard.  While a few of you sent in payments before we made that announcement, processing refunds will be a manageable task for us in the days ahead.  If you were one of the few that sent your deposit early, we will be contacting you within the next few weeks to discuss your refund.

MAINTENANCE.  So in light of cancelling our summer camps, our plan moving forward includes a season of much needed maintenance and grounds work.  As we shared during our #mthopesunday campaign, many of our upcoming projects will include carpentry, painting, repairs and grounds maintenance.  

SCORE MISSION TEAMS.  To help us with these projects, we are inviting mission teams through SCORE International and/or local families and churches to partner with us to help us accomplish these projects this summer.  If your family or church would be interested in participating, please send us an email at and we will be sure to communicate the details.  

EVENTS.  Our planning team and board of directors are considering potential events and activities in late summer, if restrictions are lifted.  More details will be forthcoming.

REMAINING HOPEFUL.  The verse that has repeatedly come to mind during this season of unknowns has been Romans 15:13, which says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”  In spite of this difficult news, there is hope here at camp.  Hope that looks forward to how God will use this season to enhance the ministry of Mt. Hope for years to come.  Hope that looks forward to how God will open up doors of opportunities.  Hope that looks forward to a camp grounds that “shines,” as Garry Rucker would always say.  Simply put, it is a hope that looks forward.  He is the God who gives HOPE.  And because of that, we are choosing to “REMAIN HOPEFUL” a phrase I have turned to a lot during this time.  Please continue to pray with us for wisdom in our next steps.    

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace!

Brett & Sara Wilson
Camp Directors, Mt. Hope Bible Camp