LAMAR - Summer camps are popular during the hottest months when children are out of school and looking for something to do. One regional summer camp allows kids, youth and adults to learn more about God, while raising money to improve the camp.
Lamar Lighthouse Camp began in the early 1940s when the land was bought in 1945. An original 10 acres were bought on the land, but the space later grew to 20 acres of woods, right off the state Route 44 South highway, said Programming Director Lynette Trick.
The land was owned by the Free Methodist Church in Lamar and designated as a district camp when it was started.
Celebrants enter the tabernacle at the Lamar Lighthouse Camp, where weekly concerts are held in the summer.
"When they first took over, it was nothing but brush and overgrown," Trick said. "Five men crawled in on hands and knees to get to a clearing and started from there."
From the beginning, it started as a camp where families could go for a week to learn more about the Bible and how to become better Christians.
"It was designed to be a Christian camp," Trick said. "Trying to minister to families. ... It hasn't changed its focus and its ministry."
July 9-10 - The Rev. Dr. Larry Freed
Freed is the senior pastor at the Christian Church at Cogan Station. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in engineering science. In the U.S. Army, he served in Vietnam and South Korea. Larry then had God's calling into ministry. He has served as a pastor for 27 years and as director of the former Family Life Institute of Tressler Lutheran Services for nine years, where he was both a family life educator and marriage and family therapist. Freed has been a part of the Williamsport/Lycoming County area for 29 years. He and his wife, Sharon, have been married for 42 years. They have four children and six grandchildren.
July 11-15 - Mike Holland
Holland grew up until he was 12 years old in Zimbabwe and Zambia where his parents served in leadership training with the Brethren in Christ World Missions. Mike met his future wife, Sherry, while doing volunteer service in the Bronx. Both studied at Messiah College and were married in 1983. Mike has served for 17 years in church planting in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2004, he started a Spanish-speaking church in York Springs, where he continues to pastor.
Music Ministry: Tom and Jane Seaman
Tom and Jane are the lead pastoral couple for River of Life Worship Center in Lock Haven. They have 30-plus years experience in ministry and leading worship at churches, camps, retreats and worship seminars. Their focus is on leading people into the presence of God. The worship emphasis for this year will be revival. In addition to the Seamans leading worship and a live worship band, area talents will be providing special music.
Youth Ministry: Matt McDermit
In his first year as the youth ministry leader at Lamar Camp, McDermit graduated from Lock Haven University in 2005 and has taught math for six years at Bellefonte High School. He and his wife, Meisha, have been married for nine years and have served together numerous times in youth ministry. They have two children. Matt also is active in the Tri-County Youth Network as a speaker and counselor.
The youth program includes overnight lodging. For youth ministry information and registration, call Rev. Lynton Perry at 323-1114.
Children's Ministry: Lydia Heiser
Now in her fourth year as director of children's ministries at Lamar Lighthouse Camp, Heiser is an English second language teacher in the Williamsport Area School District and has been a special education teacher. She has been in education for 20 years and has directed numerous VBS programs using her administrative, teaching and musical giftings.
The Kids Camp runs from July 9-14. For information, call 660-6008.
Summer concert schedule
Sunday - The Jacobs Brothers
July 8 - Clowns for Christ
July 15 - Next 2 Nothing
July 22 - The Sky Family
July 29 - Chiz Rider
Aug. 12 - Keystone State Quartet
Aug. 19 - The Stevens Family
Aug. 26 - New Season Gospel Trio
Sept. 2 - Leroy Wion
Sept. 9 - The Baptones
NOTE: Concerts begin at 7 p.m.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids, youth and adults have separate programming targeted to their age group. This year, the camp runs from July 9 to 15.
In the kids' camp, children ages 5 to fifth graders learn about the Bible and sing songs in an atmosphere similar to what is done in Vacation Bible School. In the afternoon, they do activities such as playing on the playground or hearing speakers, said Pastor Janice Heiser, who is on the camp's board of directors.
The youth camp ranges from sixth graders to seniors and they are allowed to stay overnight in the dormitories, which allows for round-the-clock teaching and activities. The youth have their own curriculum with Bible studies and worship songs, but they also participate in a campfire in the evenings.
The adult program allows daytime Bible study with optional afternoon activities, such as making homemade crafts.
A 7 p.m. evangelical worship service is open for everyone, Heiser said.
When not in use, other churches can call to use the space for retreats or regional community-type camp churches, Trick said.
"We're open to requests," she said.
To keep the camp going, summer projects are developed yearly, paid for by free-will offerings during summer concerts from June to September, featuring different religious groups.
Last year, money raised replaced 17 windows in the dining hall. The windows were installed this month.
More than 100 people have been attending the concerts this year, which features different styles of gospel music.
The 2012 summer project is the tabernacle roof, which is in desperate need of replacement, Heiser said.
"We do whatever seems to be the most appropriate and urgent need for the year," she said.
The camp was able to replace one-fourth of the roof last fall. This year's goal is to raise enough money to finish the entire roof.
Once it is replaced, the rest of the tabernacle can be restored and replaced.
The tabernacle was brought to the Lamar camp in pieces from Indian Park in Montoursville in 1946 and assembled on-site.
The purpose of the Lamar Lighthouse Camp is to enhance the work of the local church as it ministers to everyone by providing a facility and opportunities for dynamic worship, wholesome fellowship, discipleship training and physical and spiritual renewal, Heiser said.