Ocean Park: “I saw the true value of the ministry”

by Arielle Anderson, Ocean Park Donor

When I returned to Ocean Park in August for the 75th Anniversary celebration, it had been over a decade since I had been there as part of an event. Camp had been an integral part of my life growing up, the summer event that I looked forward to all year. After college I counseled a couple times, but life and work got busy and I wasn’t able to stay involved. I moved away and the connection became even more stretched.


Every so often an opportunity would arise to sponsor a kid to attend camp or donate a bit toward the upkeep of a cabin, but I didn’t think a lot about the big picture. I wanted the camp to be full and the cabins to exist mainly to preserve my own memories of the place. The dunes, the beach, the trees, the old buildings always made me feel at home and at peace, so preserving that piece of nature was also a goal. But in the grand scheme, it felt more like a pet project than a real calling.


When I came back for the anniversary celebration, however, I saw the true value of the ministry there. I have to admit that over the years my relationship with the church has been rocky, so the idea of ministry in the traditional sense was a difficult one for me to hold on to.


I was immediately pulled back in to the love and community that emanates from the place, but I struggled at first to know where I fit in and how I could best support the place that I loved. But that is the beauty of what is happening at OP right now!


No matter what moves you, there is good to be done there. Between the challenge course that teaches team building to both middle school kids and recovering alcoholics, the hot showers offered to the homeless in the winter, Camp Victory, summer camp, family camp, the new preschool, the list just goes on and on.


I think most people envision kids running around at summer camp when they think of Ocean Park, and that is certainly a wonderful part of the story, but the community outreach and the services provided to those in need are equally important.


There are tons of opportunities to volunteer your time, your money, your heart, whatever capacity you have to help.


I am extremely glad to be able to support the camp, and am very much looking forward to heading out next summer to see what new stuff they’ve been doing. If you haven’t been out there, I recommend a visit – they are truly walking the good path and can always use some company along the way!


To learn more about donating to our campership fund click the “Donate NOW” button below.  

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 Betsy (Wuitschick) Clayton (left), Arielle Anderson, Katy Hughes, and Tina Perry at Jr. High Camp in 1994

Betsy Clayton (left) and Arielle Anderson (right) at the 75th anniversary celebration 2016