WILMINGTON - Dozens will gather at 704 Hardy Road next week for a century-old tradition welcoming people of all faiths.
The Wilmington Holiness Camp Meeting runs July 9-18, the latest realization of an annual event that's been held since 1905 when Deane and Maria Hardy donated land for its use.
"Through the depression and through the war, we never missed a year," said Jane Peck, who first attended as a young girl in the 1930s and continues to volunteer at the camp.
Seven generations later, the Wilmington Camp Meeting Association, which includes a few of the Hardy's descendants, operates this interdenominational retreat offering an uplifting experience for both adults and youth.
"It's always been interdenominational," said Judi Gould, one of the camp association members. "When they started it all those years ago, that was one of the stipulations. They wanted everybody to feel welcome."
Anywhere between 50 and 100 people from throughout the Adirondacks and beyond attend the camp's evening services, held 7 p.m. each night, many choosing to stay the night in one of the camp's several rustic cabins.
Sunday services, typically the biggest draw, are held 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., July 11 and 18.
"The message we have about being changed by God's presence in us is still relevant today," said Marty Bausman, camp association president and pastor at Wilmington Nazarene Church, noting how the camp provides an escape from everyday routines.
Marty's wife, Julie Bausman, offers a children's program for kids ages 4-11 during each evening service Monday through Saturday.
This year, the camp welcomes Pastor Harold Coomer from Huntsville, Ala., as its main speaker. A well-traveled evangelist, Coomer has spoken to crowds of as much as 40,000 people in countries such as Haiti and The Philippines.
"He just happened to be my roommate in college," said association member Dan Gould.
Music for the services will be led this year by Shane and Lynette Cherry of Pueblo, Colo. Lynette is a descendant of some of the camp's founders.
Tuesday, July 13 is scheduled specifically as a music and singing night.
The week also features a camp just for teens; a tradition at the camp for more than 50 years.
About 25 youth ages 12-18 participate in the week-long camp July 12-17 led by youth minister Jay Trainer and the Infuzion Team from Rochester. The group has helped lead the teen camp here for the past seven years.
Teens can still register for the camp, which features trips to AuSable Chasm and an off-camp hike. The cost of $100 covers food, lodging and activities for the week, and camp scholarships are available for teens in need of financial assistance. Contact Bausman at 946-2434 for more information.
Teens not wanting to commit to an entire week may want to stop by Wednesday, July 14 for a teens' free day where they can enjoy meals and activities at no cost.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served in the camp's dining hall each day at very reasonable costs; just $4 for dinner on weeknights.
"Lots of people like to come for dinner at 5:30 and stay for the evening service," said Judi.
Those wishing to stay the night in a cabin for $5 per night should contact Phyllis Mihill in advance by calling 523-1552 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Due in large part to donations and volunteer labor, much has been done to keep the campgrounds maintained in the past several years, including an updated kitchen, a new boys' dormitory, and renovations to the girls' dormitory. Camp Association members said the grounds are available for use by other groups holding weddings, religious retreats, and other functions.
For more information about the Wilmington Holiness Camp Meeting, visit www.wihcm.org or call 946-7708.