Madeline Sharrock, vice president, board of directors
We Are Resilient TOGETHER
Camp Ma-He-Tu relies on an entirely volunteer Board of Directors, who come from many backgrounds and from across the tri-state area and beyond, to create the magic of camp during the summer months. Our board is primarily made up of former campers and staff members who have had Ma-He-Tu spirit seared into their hearts and souls for generations.
Since the last in-person Synod Assembly, Camp Ma-He-Tu has had full camp enrollments (although we limited our enrollment in 2021 to comply with COVID guidelines) and has provided a needed relief for campers to de-stress from the recent pandemic. Our board meets monthly to supervise the hiring of our summer staff. In the last year, we hired a new director, who is a former camper and staff member. Andria Wetsell brings tremendous energy with her and had the opportunity to work with our staff toward the end of the 2022 summer season. We are looking forward to a fun-filled, safe, and spiritual summer season under her leadership.
Meanwhile, the Board of Directors works year-round to secure funding, maintain our physical site, recruit campers, hire summer staff, ensure that we are meeting the requirements of accreditation with national, state, and park agencies, and works with insurance and food service companies. Our efforts are centered on our mission and purpose, setting the stage for an unforgettable summer of fun and growth. It has been our pleasure, over these many years, to watch our campers grow mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually.
After making the heart-wrenching decision to close the camp for the summer of 2020, due to the pandemic, the board celebrated the return of campers to our beloved hilltop we call Camp Ma-He-Tu, in the summers of 2021 and 2022, and we are looking forward to many more summers to come. Our campers came back to camp with enthusiasm and were grateful to experience the beauty of God's creation with their friends. Our staff worked diligently to ensure the safety and health of our campers, while providing a fun-filled social environment after months of isolation due to online schooling and limited activities. As the world bounces back from the pandemic, our campers will enjoy acting in skits, swimming in the lake, meaningful discussions with their fellow campers, and many creative activities that our staff can dream up!
Our Board of Directors continues to keep Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in mind as we plan on the training needs of our staff and our own cultural biases. The board strives to create a supportive environment for all involved in the magic of a Ma-He-Tu summer.
We Are Hopeful TOGETHER
In the 1930s, a group of ministers had a vision of creating and finding a site on which to build a camp that would provide a beautiful place to serve as an outdoor camping ministry for the girls of New York and New Jersey. That vision, from 1937, is still growing strong 86 years later as approximately 300 young women, ages 7-15, continue to gather at Camp-Ma-He-Tu each summer. Ma-He-Tu is located in beautiful Harriman State Park, 30 miles north of New York City, and provides a welcome relief from the daily pressures of life for our campers. Sharing the chance to live outdoors for one or more 2-week sessions and sleep in historic open-air cabins and beautiful platform tents with our young campers, is a vision we want to continue to share for many generations to come. Ma-He-Tu strives to bring our program to the attention of each congregation in the Metropolitan New York Synod. No value can be placed on the opportunity for a girl to live amid God's creation, grow in her faith, and make friends that will last a lifetime. That is the message Ma-He-Tu always wants to share with our church partners.
We Are Church Together — Living Like Christ in Our Communities!
Our little congregation of campers in the woods is wonderfully vibrant. It's hard to find a time during a day at camp when you can't hear laughter and singing. When we are gathered in the Chapel or Dining Hall, our enthusiasm can be downright deafening! We are a fun-loving, happy group. We love reaching out to share our Ma-He-Tu love with all the girls who wish to join us. We have been on our site since 1937, and we plan on sharing our joy for many years to come.
Our welcoming and inclusive message is shaped every summer by our staff. They are the people who, as campers, treasured the meaning of that message and how it affected their lives. They will go to all ends to pass it on to their campers, as it was passed on to them when they were younger. This is their home, and they take the responsibility for maintaining its integrity very seriously. They focus on building a community of respect, positivity, and tolerance. We have developed, and do our best to perpetuate, a culture within which character is what matters, not background.
The greater community can join with us together to help bring as many girls as possible into the Ma-He-Tu family. We would greatly appreciate an invitation to talk with your congregation and/or Sunday Schools about our program. We would also be grateful if you would direct your families to our website, www.mahetu.org.