Programming 2022

by Lynn Grainger

As I write this, there are just 60 days until camp opens on June 24th.  I’m so excited to get back to Kingswood. 

The program directorship this summer will be shared between Valerie Minton, Amanda Snook-Barnes and me.    

For crafts we will be recycling plastic and glass bottles into instruments or decorative glassware using collage with tissue paper on Tuesdays.  On Saturday mornings we will make candles.  There are so many different kinds of candles that can be made, including turning the glass project from Tuesday into a candle.  The cupcake candle and sand candles will be our main projects.  

The nature study on Tuesdays will be birds and their adaptations. We will look specifically at owls’ adaptations, habitats and food web. 

Supplies Needed 

Changes for 2022 

This summer we will have a sign up for the Monday morning program On Site Insight.  We want to be sure we have enough food ready for the group. Since many families are coming in on Sunday night and that first night can be a little rough, we’re moving that program to 10:30.  If you’re running a little late, please still come to learn some interesting cooking strategies and recipes.  The program director will be there until 11:00 as long as someone has signed up.  You’ll be done by 1:00 to be ready to go swimming. 

We will be adding pre-cut parchment paper squares for the pie irons and liners for the Dutch Oven to the camp store. A couple of recipes will be included in your purchase.  You can try out what you learn in On Site Insight right away. 

On Friday night we are having just one program, Vespers.  People are welcome to gather in the barn before the wagon ride up to Stone Ministry. The store will be open for 45 minutes before the ride leaves for Vespers. The program director will be available in the barn to answer your questions and to loan equipment. 

Rocks to Paint  

Kingswood Rocks continues on as a favorite, but sadly people are using the rocks from the foundation of the craft area.  We are seeking volunteers to gather rocks for this independent art project that so many campers enjoy. If you have a source for river rocks or other smooth rocks, consider collecting some and bringing them to camp.  A table will be set aside under the craft area pavilion specifically for rock painting. A kit will be in the cupboard that will have all you need to create inspirational rocks throughout your stay 

Camper Spotlight: Sollin Family

The Sollin family has been coming to Kingswood for the past 7 years.  Charles started camping at Kingswood in the 90’s as a third grader.  He loved it as a kid, and he wanted his children to have the same experiences as he and his siblings Chris, Kelli, and Cynthia had.  Charles wished he had started younger, so he brought his family to Kingswood when his kids were preschoolers. 

Their first trip was challenging with two-year-old Emilie and four-year-old Charles and the rain.  The kids got dirty so quickly, and Carrie kept changing them into clean dry clothes.  Before the first day was done, the kids had worn all the clothes they brought for the weekend. Carrie was in tears. The van was stuck in the mud. They called AAA to have someone pull them out when the Kingswood tractor couldn’t. The weekend went by quickly once the rain stopped.

Charles was quite surprised that after that experience Carrie agreed to a weeklong stay at Kingswood the following summer.  It has been part of their summer plans since. Carrie loves pulling into the site and breathing the fresh air. It’s so different from their Long Island home. The scene at Kingswood is breathtaking.   Charlie loves watching his family have so much fun.

Emilie, now 10, loves fishing, swimming, catching newts, hiking and cooking. Charles, 12, also loves the fishing and swimming. Family bonfires and boating also rate high for him. Both children love Stone Ministry and homemade ice cream on Tuesday nights. Gunner, the puppy, loved having space to zoom around last summer and will probably like swimming this summer as much as their other dog did. The family’s favorite program is Onsite Insight on Monday mornings. 

Charles and Charlie are both interested in the Trail Blazing weekend this June.  As a family they are willing to mentor a family just beginning to camp at Kingswood this summer through our new mentoring program.  

The Milky Way and beyond … 

…a message from Kingswood’s chaplain, Maria Pia Seirup

Have you ever seen the Milky Way?  No, not the Milky Way candy bar, but that huge collection of stars, dust and gas that sometimes decorates the night sky?  

A quick search on Google reveals that the best places to see the Milky Way in the U.S. are in the National Parks in Utah, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and Hawaii.  But guess what!?! You don’t have to go so far away to see the Milky Way.  On clear nights, you will find the Milky Way showing up at right above our beloved Camp Kingswood!    

July and August are perfect viewing months when the Milky Way will be high in the night sky. At Kingswood, Eagle field, the Farmhouse front yard, the beach, and the Stone Ministry are excellent places to go star gazing in addition to your own campsite if there aren’t trees in the way.    

I find the sight of the Milky Way softly glowing behind the bright stars to be humbling, awe-inspiring, and deeply spiritual.  The beauty of our galaxy reminds me of the love God showers upon us from on high.   

Last summer I created a Vespers service at the Stone Ministry to encourage campers to gather together to experience God’s presence among us after dark. Often the stars and the moon, and sometimes even the Milky Way, join us.  

Vespers is an ancient tradition of gathering for prayer at sunset.  At Kingswood, we gather just after the sun has set at the Stone Ministry.  A hush falls over the participants as the fireplace glows with dancing flames and candles illuminate the stones that have been lovingly placed in the structure by the campers over many years.  The 20 minute Vespers service opens with soft music, prayer, a scripture reading, and then we sit in silence for a time following God’s command to “Be still and know that I am God.”  God knows we all need time to power down and rest. The Vespers service closes with a few favorite songs and then we quietly walk away filled with awe and wonder.  

All ages are welcome at the Vespers service. (Esther, my snowy owl puppet, often makes an appearance to help wiggly little ones settle in.)  For those with limited mobility, there is an all-wheel drive car shuttle right into the Stone Ministry site.  For those seeking an added delightful, but bumpy, adventure, the Hey! Wagon, decked out with twinkling lights, provides shuttle service with stops at the Barn and the Oasis.  The starting time for the Vespers service shifts according to the time of sunset.  Start times are posted in the Barn.  

Gathering with others to experience the grandness of God’s creation can be a profound experience that brings us into closer relationship with family members as well as with new and old friends and creates bonds that can last a lifetime.  Camp Kingswood is an outstanding venue where these opportunities abound. 

I hope you will come be a part of the Kingswood cosmic experience this summer!   

Peace be with you, 

Pastor Maria-Pia  

P.S.  my name often confuses people.  Maria-Pia is my first name. I prefer to be called Maria-Pia or “MP.”  — [No, my husband, Peter, the Stone Ministry creator, is not Mr. Pia – we share the same last name,  Seirup, pronounced “sigh-rup”]   

Rev. Maria-Pia M. Seirup is an ordained United Methodist Deacon. She graduated from Yale Divinity School in 2015.  Over the past 20years, Pastor Maria-Pia served at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in various positions, including Children’s Ministry Director, Associate Pastor, and Director of Pastoral Care.   She also served several summers as Chaplain to the youth campers at Woodsmoke.  In the spring of 2020, Rev. Maria Pia founded PeaceWork, inc., a ministry seeking to stitch together peace through compassionate service grounded in contemplative prayer.  

peaceworkbymp@gmail.com      

Stone Ministry 18th Year

by Peter Seirup

Stone Ministry became part of the programming at Kingswood in the summer of 2005.  The vision was to provide campers a tangible way to permanently connect with our sacred space.    

Since then thousands of stones lovingly cemented into our evolving structure have become permanent anchors for countless campers and their friends. Each stone was inscribed with a special dedication, prayer or message before it became part of the community of stones. 

Every stone is a keystone because of its individuality, its special meaning and because without it the stone above it would not transfer weight to the stone below it. 

In a sense the building itself is a side effect of the program. Indeed there was a vision in the beginning of what the building might look like.  But that was subject to change as the Holy Spirit nudged with kernels of inspiration. 

From the beginning we built little alcoves and protruding shelves into the structure both for the purpose of someday supporting candles for candlelight worship. That day has finally come. 

Last summer Kingswood’s  Chaplin, pastor Maria Pia Seirup, instituted Friday night vespers at the Stone Ministry. This simple prayer service included a Bible verse, contemplative prayer, silence and some singing by the light of candles in the stone alcoves, and on the stone shelves, as campers sat in front of the fire in the Stone Ministry fireplace. 

Last year’s Friday night Vespers were well attended and we look forward to continuing this as a Kingswood program in the future. 

Besides campers adding hundreds of stones last summer to Stone Ministry’s evolving structure, the core group of Stone Ministry enthusiasts assembled another 9 feet of roof structure in October and then created another 1700 ft.² of sheathing lumber from six nearby hemlock trees in February.  

We look forward to another great summer season of campers adding to the community of stones one stone at a time.  But not all visits by campers are for cementing stones. Some just keep returning to gaze and taking the magic of what has happened, and is happening, in that corner of Kingswood’s sacred space. 

How cool is that? 

Kingswood RV Update 

by Peter Seirup 

This summer will mark 12 years since the first two RV sites at the top of the cornfield became occupied by Jack and Dotty Seirup and their son Andrew.  

The camp originally sought approval from the NYS department of health for 10 sites. The two sites that we built were a pilot program. They were site numbers six and seven in the master plan. 

But in order to get certificates of occupancy from the NYSDOH for those two sites we had to build a dumping station down at the bottom of the hill which, of course, we did at that time  

Over the years we built sites numbers three and four and later number five as the interest in RV camping at Kingswood began to slowly catch on. Last year was the first year we actually had to turn someone down because there wasn’t an open site for the particular weekend in question. 

And so that is why we intend to finish up site number one, at the bottom  of the hill, for availability this summer. 

RV sites are rented at the same price as equipped tent sites but are also available for $1600 for the entire season. The sites are beautifully situated and laid out.  They come with 30 amp 120 V electrical hook ups and water hook ups. The dumping station is available for the RVs, and,  of course all the wonderful programs and facilities at our camp are also available to RV campers. 

The investments into the RV campground have been paid off over the years by the rental fees  and RV camping remains a significant contributor to camp revenues. 

We are actively planning sites 8, 9, and 10 up on the hill further north overlooking the cornfield and the valley.  Those will be prime sites which are already being eyed by certain Kingswood people for seasonal use. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Interview with Rachel Bortin 

Rachel Bortin has been coming to Kingswood with her family since she can remember. The everyday activities of cooking, hanging out at the lake, walking in nature and connecting with friends and family, has sparked a lifelong interest in camping and in environmental stewardship. Growing up at Kingswood influenced Rachel’s decision to get an MA in Environmental and Outdoor Education, and she now works as Summer Camp Director at Primitive Pursuits in Ithaca, NY. There, she oversees summer programming.   

After coming to camp with her family for several years, Rachel fell in love with Kingswood as a 10-year-old Woodsmoke Camper. There, she learned the art of camp craft and collaborated on sustainable work projects. She didn’t think of the experience as ‘rustic’ or as ‘work,’ rather enjoyed the opportunity to engage with her peers and building community. In high school, Rachel worked with the crew that designed and created the playground. She is grateful to Project Manager Mike Weinlein, whose building skills are matched by his big heart and ability to mentor children and teens. At the end of the day, Rachel remembers feeling tired and proud, enjoying the experience of bonding with others by accomplishing something big together.  

Rachel first volunteered at Kingswood with her family when she was 12 or 13, participating in Set Up Weekend. A highlight was putting up the signs for the trails, campsites and amenities. She had never seen Kingswood ‘bare’ before and relished the feeling of welcoming in the summer season. A big perk was driving the golf cart, a coming-of-age ritual for many Kingswood kids! Rachel remembers getting stuck when they defied the rules and tried off-roading with the cart. 

In 9th grade Rachel was asked to complete a project: interview folks about a meaningful experience. She chose Kingswood regular Dustan Winship, then age 9, along with a couple of adult volunteers. Presenting her essay in class, Rachel felt that her school life and ‘real life’ had been connected.  

Rachel became Kingswood’s youngest Program Director in 2019 and thoroughly enjoyed learning about how much goes on ‘behind the scenes,’ observing that “what seems simple to outsiders is built from a lot of work and thought.” She enjoyed staying in the Manger’s cabin, observing both the natural environment and Kingswood’s people grow and change over the summer season. Being Program Manager at Kingswood prepared Rachel for her next steps, enrolling in the Environment Education Masters Program at SUNY Cortland, which led to her current position with Primitive Pursuits in Ithaca. 

Rachel remains involved with her Kingswood family. While the Woodsmoke program was phased out before Covid, Rachel is now spearheading young people’s retreats at Kingswood, reaching out to a new generation of kids and families. The goal of this program is to help teens connect to the natural world and to each other. A Summer 2022 retreat is being planned now with youth activities that focus on skills: outdoor cooking,  naturalist knowledge, leadership, and confidence. 

 Rachel is excited to share and expand all that Kingswood has to offer. 

As a young adult, Rachel is still in touch with Kingswood friends of all generations. As she explains, “when you see people at Kingswood, even if you have not spoken to them in years, you reconnect as if no time has passed.”  

Update on Reservations 

by Lynn Grainger kwadmin@nyac.com

About 50% of the nights available in equipped sites throughout the season are booked. July is the most popular time to book this season.  Two weekends in July are completely booked for the equipped sites, though you can have an RV site or a Tent & Trailer site those weekends.  The beginning of our season has many sites open.  The Labor Day weekend has a few spots yet. For some of our most popular sites, there is availability in August.  Tent & Trailer and RV have sites available throughout the summer. 

Remember, when you’re booking, our equipped sites are listed as rental units on the booking program.  

This is our cancellation policy: 

Message from the Director

by Cheryl Winship

Kingswood – A beautiful natural setting that is an ideal place for new campers to try camping.

Advertising experts say that word of mouth from happy customers is the best form of advertising. Kingswood campers have been doing this for years. You tell friends and acquaintances, church members and neighbors about this place that you love to camp called Kingswood.  You invite friends to camp with you and show them how to cook over an open fire, take them to your favorite programs, lead them on hikes and show them places to see the stars or pick berries. They return to camp with you again or even graduate to camping on their own.  This legacy of campers mentoring “newbie” campers has been going on since the camp opened. 

Summer 2022 will see this happen as a formal program offered to all “newbies.”  We want to make camping accessible to all. All including those who do not view themselves as campers, those who have never been camping, those who know no one who camps but for some reason it interests them.  These folks will likely have fears, reservations and lots of questions.  Our experienced campers are being asked to offer to mentor a “newbie.”  If you are interested in sharing your enthusiasm for camping and love of Kingswood, please sign up to answer questions and help a new camper feel comfortable before ever arriving at Kingswood. Or sign-up to mentor a ‘newbie” while you are camping.  You can show them how to light a campfire, how to use the kitchen efficiently, give them a tour of camp, and make them feel welcome into the community.

MENTOR VOLUNTEER FORM

MENTOR REQUEST FORM

When I said our vision is that all who want to camp will be able to have the camping experience, I mean even those who cannot afford to buy equipment or pay for an equipped site.  We are offering financial assistance to encourage families to get the R&R, fresh air, and adventure that they need, especially after the last two years of isolation and limited experiences. If you know someone who you think would enjoy a stay at Kingswood, please talk to them and encourage them to apply for financial assistance. The Kingswood volunteers look forward to welcoming back all of our loyal campers, as well as the “newbies” who bravely try camping for the first time, and those who have camped elsewhere but are interested in trying this new place called Kingswood.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FORM

Want to help Kingswood welcome new campers? Here’s how you can help. 

Kingswood is Home

 

Why Kingswood?

Top 10 Reasons to Go to Kingswood

  1. Three affordable options – equippped site, rv site and tent site
  2. You get away from technology.
  3. Your food tastes better outdoors when you cook over the fire.
  4. You realize how little you can live with.
  5. When you look up at the sky at night you can ponder the magnitude of God’s creation
  6. You can be alone… or not.
  7. You can meet new people at the barn, at programs and at the beach.
  8. You can take a closer look at nature and the interconnectedness of the systems.
  9. You can deepen the relationships with the people you are camping with and have lots of fun.
  10. You can draw closer to God in whatever way you choose.

Pete & Terri Share their Love for Kingswood

Diana Loves Hathaway Pond

 

Kingswood 2022 Camping Sunday

Start Planning Your Family Summer Getaway

Thank you for visiting our Camping Sunday Page. The orange hyperlinks below will take you to the essentials about Kingswood on our website. If you have any questions, reach out to Lynn Grainger at kwadministrator@nyac.com or you can text or call ‪(607) 301-0640‬.

Camp with Us this Summer Three different Ways: Equipped Site, RV Site or Tent Site

You can come with just your food, clothing, and sleeping bags, or you can bring your own equipment.

Activities at Kingswood and the Surrounding Area

Programming, boat usage, and equipment loans are included in your site rental. To learn more about what we have for programming click here.
To learn more about activities in and around Hancock in the southern Catskills along the Delaware River, click here.

New to Camping? Campership and Mentoring Information Will be Posted Later this Spring.

We are fortunate enough to have a new program this summer that will help new families financially to camp at Kingswood. We also hope to have mentors in place as well to provide support while camping at Kingswood. Check back at our web around April 15th.

Volunteer Opportunities

Kingswood is an affordable option for a camping vacation because it is primarily run by volunteers. Click here to learn more about the volunteer opportunities.

Why Kingswood?

Click here for many different reasons to choose Kingswood for a trip this summer.

Make a Reservation

Reservations for a week or more are open now. Beginning March 15th reservations can be made for less than a week. Click here to start your adventure.

Read Our January Edition of Kingswords, our newsletter.

Farmhouse Rental

There are still dates available to rent the Farmhouse this winter and throughout the spring. Read more here. Contact Lynn Grainger for availability via phone or text at (607) 301-0640‬. You can also email her at kwadminstrator@nyac.com.

Volunteer Spotlight: Interview with Stephanie and Justin

From L to R Max, Stephanie and Justin

December 26, 2021 

Written by Sandi Stratton-Gonzalez 

If you want to get in touch with your spirit, and the Spirit, Kingswood is the place to go.” Stephanie Millien 

Stephanie Millien and her sons Justin and Max have been camping in Kingswood (KW) for over 12 years. Max, who just turned 13, has literally been coming his entire life. Justin, now in his early 20’s, was in 3rd grade when he and his mother Stephanie were introduced to the camp by Justin’s friend Mike Cavanaugh. Starting with their first visit to Cove, they have now stayed at every equipped site except Pines.  

Stephanie says that the family treats their annual Kingswood trip as a true vacation. They come up right after school ends, and Kingswood kicks off the summer season. Friendships have deepened at camp, and new friendships have been made. Now, they share the same camping week with an extended network of friends. The experience of the natural world combined with the deepening connection to others keeps the Millien’s coming back! 

Stephanie and Justin have many special memories of camp. Justin recalls the years of playing with Michael Cavanaugh and CJ Howard: three boys finding sticks on the ground and putting them in the fire, turning the sticks into magic wands as they became wizards. They channeled various movies and TV shows, and the Harry Potter books as a jumping off point to creating their own universe and adventures. 

Stephanie recalls all the drives up to camp from Long Island. “I have a whole car full of kids. It’s a good time to catch up.” The family would look at the houses on the way up and create stories: the zombie apocalypse or paranormal narratives inspired by the homes.  

Like many KW campers the family loves to go to the Penquin for the create-your-own-flavor ice cream. Several KW folks gave Stephanie directions, but being independent (she self-describes here as ‘stubborn’) she decided to use the GPS instead.  “Girl, they had me going into some backwood, deliverance type road, no signal.” Having followed the GPS directions once myself, I know that route: a 12-mile stretch along the reservoir so seldom travelled that wildlife stands in the middle of a road nearly reclaimed by the forest! 

Stephanie is very grateful that camping at Kingswood has built so many rich memories for her and her boys. Max, she recalls, pretty much grew up at Kingswood. She started camping here the year before he was born. Then, there are rituals the family participates in every year: building fires (no one can build a fire faster than Justin), roasting ‘smores with Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, baking a cake in the cast iron pot, laying in the hammock and of course, hiking. 

Like many long-time KW campers, Stephanie, Justin and Max have become volunteers. Stephanie recalls that Cheryl Winship reached out, inviting her to Set-Up Weekend. It sounded like fun, and an opportunity to get in a little extra Kingswood time. Justin shared that volunteering is a chance to give back to the community that has served him for so long. He loves the physical activity of being on the tent set up crew, and the good night’s rest after a work day. 

One of Stephanie’s best memories of volunteering at camp is also the deep sleep of a well-earned rest. “You work hard and also play hard ,and it feels good at the end of the day.” You also get to see the camp from a different point of view: from the kitchen, the farmhouse, behind some of those doors in the barn, the barn filled with summer season tents, furniture and equipment, and the barn empty. 

What keeps the Millien’s coming back? The natural beauty of KW, the community, and, as Stephanie says, “it’s just enough camping, the sweet spot between glamping and camping.” For Justin, it allows him “a release from everyday hustle and bustle and from (our) industrialized computerized society.” It is a time to draw, listen to nature, sit by a fire.  

A multi-talented individual, Stephanie Millien has been a teacher, flight attendant, and has worked in real estate and advertising. Recently, she started her own business, AJW Comfort Cake Company, making alcohol-infused cakes inspired by recipes passed down from her mother. Justin created the company logo and handles social media for the brand. 

Justin Millien recently started his own fashion and graphic design multi-media arts collective, Mobpenguin. The collective creates a unique product every month that includes a fashion line in conjunction with a music release. The Mobpenguin mission is to produce avant-garde art while showcasing and bringing recognition to visionary artists.  

A Millen family campfire to last until your next one at Kingswood.

From the Director

Volunteers Make Kingswood Run

by Cheryl Winship

As many of you know, but some may be learning, Kingswood is a nearly all volunteer run organization. One key group is the managers.

Managers

Managers are like campground hosts but with more responsibility.  If you have camped at Kingswood, they are the folks who register you when you arrive and drive Harry, the tractor that pulls the hayrides. Managers stay in the farmhouse and volunteer one or two weeks of their summer.  They are responsible for collecting garbage, mowing the grounds, making repairs, answering the phone, and helping to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. If you are new to Kingswood, please know that the managers during your week are a wealth of information -from local places to shop or visit, to knowing the history of the site, to solving camper disputes and helping with camper emergencies (like a local place to call when you lock your keys in your car). They are also the people (along with the PD and lifeguard) who enforce the rules that help make Kingswood a unique campground.  If you are loud past 10:00 pm, or certainly by 10:30, you will get a visit from your friendly managers reminding you of the 10:00 pm quiet hours.

So, this summer say hi to the managers, ask them questions, and know that you are not alone when you camp at Kingswood; your managers are there to help.  Look to see who will be managing during your week of camping.

Dates Managers Hometown 
June 24 – July 3  Jojo & Sandi Gonzalez Beacon 
July 3 – July 10 Swanson & Winship families New Hyde Park/Goshen 
July 10 – July 17 Phyllis & Dave Moore Red Hook 
July 17 – July 24 Hein Family Poughkeepsie 
July 24 – July 31 Weinlein Family Naples, FL 
July 31 – Aug. 7 Tim Shenk/Alicia Swords and Emma Ithaca 
Aug. 7 – Aug. 14 Swanson & Winship families New Hyde Park/Goshen 
Aug. 14 – Aug.21 Holly & Jim Moore Woodstock 
Aug. 21 – Aug. 28 JoJo & Sandi Gonzalez Beacon 
Aug. 28 – Sept. 5 Don Kirby & Holly/Jim Moore Riverdale/Woodstock 
Terri Hein, manager, with campers in the barn

What do volunteers do? 

Some spend Memorial Day weekend setting up equipment or the weekend after Labor Day taking down equipment. This requires no skills, just a love for being outdoors or in the kitchen and enjoying working with others. Not all volunteers are extraverts; some take on independent projects like quarterly water samples, trail work, eradicating invasive species, social media posts, program planning, graphic design, photography, and annual appeal, to name a few.  Other volunteers fill skilled roles like carpentry, excavating, and website design. Many volunteers have created a niche for themselves. Some volunteers take on leadership roles as managers or directors. If you want to get to know many of the volunteers, sign up to help out Memorial Day Weekend. If you have a skill to offer or an idea for a niche that could use filling, please let Lynn know.  

Why be a volunteer? 

The year round administrator is a ¼ time paid position; the summer Program Director and Lifeguard are paid. Other than that, we are all volunteers. The site director, myself, is a volunteer role, as is the treasurer. All supplies are ordered by volunteers; all construction is done by volunteers; the maintenance of all the fields, trails, boat and swim areas, and campsites -yes that’s done by volunteers. too.  If you are getting the idea that the volunteer group, all 200 of them, are proud of what they accomplish, you are right. Their efforts are what continue to make Kingswood affordable. In a world where the wealthy have great access to nature while others have less, Kingswood provides opportunity for all. If you book an equipped site. you do not have to own gear which is expensive and bulky to store. Where else can you stay outdoors, with shelter over your head and your own outdoor kitchen, plus have access to a clean bathhouse, access to indoor spaces for rainy days (the barn), activities, rowboats, kayaks, canoes, and a wonderful community of people – all for one inclusive price?  

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

EventDatesDescription
Set Up WeekendMay 27-30tents go up; all signs are hung
Trailblazing WeekendJune 10-12for adults and teens to work on trail maintenance
Senior/Volunteer WeekJune 21-23get camp ready to open
Senior/Volunteer WeekSeptember 6-8chuck boxes and program materials are brought in
Take Down WeekendSeptember 9-11tents go down; everything is packed up
Contact Lynn Grainger for more information.

Interested in Managing?

To be a manager you have to volunteer for a few years and take part in the set-up and take down events to learn how the equipment works and where it is stored. Then you spend a week shadowing a managing team. Finally, the next summer you take on the role of manager with an experienced manager on site as your mentor. The third summer you are on your own, but there is a wealth of knowledge in fellow volunteers who are just a phone call away. Last step is for you to develop a managing team. This could be two people, a family or some friends. A managing team must have at least two people,  but most teams invite a friend or family member to join them to make the weekends easier. Many hands make light work. 

Learn More

If you are interested in managing or volunteeringplease contact the Kingswood Administrator, Lynn Grainger, at kwadministrator@nyac.com or at ‪(607) 301-0640‬.  

Summer Programming Plans

It’s planning time for summer programs.  There are a few things we will need to provide campers with creative opportunities.  Please see what you can contribute. You can bring the items on SetUp Weekend or early in the camping season.  If you have any questions, reach out to Lynn Grainger at (607) 301-0640‬.

Supplies Needed

Changes for 2022

Next summer we ill have a sign up for the Monday morning program On Site Insight.  We want to be sure we have enough food ready for the group. Since many families are coming in on Sunday night and that first night can be tough, we’re moving that program to 10:30.  If you’re running a little late, please still come to learn some interesting cooking strategies and recipes.  The program director will be there until 11:00 as long as someone has signed up.  You’ll be done by 1:00 to be ready to go swimming.

We will be adding pre-cut parchment paper squares for the pie irons and liners for the Dutch Oven to the camp store. A couple of recipes will be included in your purchase.  You can try out what you learn in On Site Insight right away.

On Friday night we are having just one program, vespers.  People are welcome to gather in the barn before the hayride up to Stone Ministry. The store will be open for 45 minutes before the hayride leaves for vespers. The program director will be available in the barn to answer your questions and to loan equipment.

Rocks to Paint 

Kingswood Rocks continues on, but unfortunately people are using the rocks from the foundation of the craft area.  We are seeking volunteers to gather rocks for this independent art project that so many campers enjoy. If you have a source for river rocks or other smooth rocks, consider collecting some and bringing them to camp. Contact Lynn Grainger if you’re planning on bringing some rocks. A table will be set aside under the craft area pavilion specifically for rock painting. A kit will be in the cupboard that will have all you need to create inspirational rocks throughout your stay

Art Materials

If there is a certain art material you’ve used during your time at Kingswood, please let me know.  We want to have all that your creativity needs to express yourself.

Keep in touch with us to learn the details of the 2022 programs in the next Kingsword and on our social media pages beginning on the first day of spring.

Youth Retreat 2022

Kingswood invites youth ages 12-16 to the 2022 Winter Youth Retreat from February 25-27, 2022.

The weekend will be a time of connecting with peers, with oneself, and with God utilizing Kingswood as the backdrop. During these hectic and uncertain times it is important to take time to reflect in a safe and supporting atmosphere and this is the perfect event to do so.

The youth group will have the entire Kingswood property to themselves, including the warm and cozy farmhouse. When we are not out and about exploring, sledding, or playing winter inspired games we will be spending time cooking, laughing, and sharing together around the warm wood burning stove.

There is some uncertainty of whether or not this event will take place due to the ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic, but we are doing all we can in order to make it happen. This includes following all CDC and New York State Health guidelines for overnight camps. All participants and staff will have to show proof of vaccination or provide a negative PCR or rapid test 3-5 days prior to the event. Masks will also be worn in all indoor areas except when eating, sleeping, and showering.

Registration is currently open, click the link to find out more: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YCQLYZ5

We hope to see you there!

Booking a Campsite

The easiest way to book a site is to go to https://kingswoodcampsite.org/.  There is a video at the end of this post that you might find helpful..

  1. Click on the box 2022 Rates and Reservations
  2. There is a large black button.  Click on it.
  3. Book Your Site opens in a new window.
  4. Read the statement in the pop-up.   Click the blue box to accept these policies.
  5. The site descriptions and prices of the units are below the map.
  6. Use the Stay Rangein the upper left to click on your dates arriving and leaving.
  7. In the same box, select the type of unit you want.  Equipped Sites are listed as rental unit.
  8. Click on the site you want on the map using the map key showing availability.  You can go back to our page to read more about the sites and to view pictures.
  9. Follow the rest of the instructions for payment.
Type of SiteFor More Information
Equipped Site a.k.a. Rental Unithttps://kingswoodcampsite.org/camping/campsites/
RV Sitehttps://kingswoodcampsite.org/camping/camping-rv/
Tent and Trailer Sitehttps://kingswoodcampsite.org/camping/tent-and-trailer/

This video will guide you through making a reservation.

Meet the Administrative Team

Fall 2021 began with a new administrative model for Kingswood.  The job behind the scenes to keep Kingswood moving forward for the next season is massive. It is now shared among four people. 

Lynn Grainger is the administrative director. The website, getting the reservation system up and running for the upcoming season, answering general questions, booking the farmhouse and keeping everyone who needs to know in the loop of communication are some of Lynn’s responsibilities.. 

From Lynn, “I began coming to Kingswood during the summer of 2015 for welding camp, the first summer I had an empty nest. Since then I have enjoyed camping in my RV and in equipped sites.  Little by little my family and some friends have come along and enjoyed Kingswood with me. Last summer I was the program director for 4 weeks, and I am planning on sharing that job again next summer.  It was so much fun working with families on different projects and meeting new people. I just retired this past June after 38 years of teaching elementary school. I enjoy traveling, but Kingswood is where I go to relax and recharge. Even when I’m working there, I find a quiet place to just be.”

Nelvie Howard is the person behind the increased presence of Kingswood on social media. Nelvie is providing information, inspiration and humor daily.  Give Nelvie a shout out by liking her post on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to click on the daily stories for inspiration, information and maybe a a chuckle or two.

“In 2009 my son was invited by a family friend to Kingswood. Since our boys are best friends, we thought it would be a good experience for them. After the first night, we decided to take a drive up just to make sure he was fine. We were impressed by how friendly everyone was and by the overall beauty of Kingswood. We have returned every year since. Some of our favorite things to do at Kingswood are volunteering at Stone Ministry, hiking, attending Sunday service and relaxing by the lake. Our boys are now young men (20 & 21) and they still enjoy camping at Kingswood every year. I am now excited to be part of the Kingswood team and to tell our story though our social media platforms.”

The person in charge of reservations for 2022 is Dale Meck. Dale is in the process of learning more about the online reservation system, so she can answer your question and make changes ​​as needed to reservations. Dale is looking forward to joining the admin team and connecting with other Kingswood friends, both old and new!  

From Dale, “My family and I first started camping at Kingswood about 25 years ago when our children were young. As our family needs changed, so did our camping style.  We went from a tent, to a pop-up, to an RV, to an equipped site. We have camped with the family dogs, brought along aging friends, and one summer we brought our 2 French exchange students to share the joys and adventures of camping with us. 

A few years ago, I had the privilege of helping to design the labyrinth at Kingswood.  I have walked it during various seasons of my life, and am always moved to experience the presence of God in a new way.  I especially enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the lake, and most afternoons you can find me swimming out to the dock, or sitting on the beach just taking it all in. I also enjoy an evening stroll along the water‘s edge in hopes of catching a beaver munching his dinner nearby.  Most recently, after experiencing several losses in my life, I went to Kingswood for a few days to find peace and healing and serenity.  As I had hoped, God met me there.” 

Rachel Bortin takes on projects as assigned to support the camp.  She updated all of our databases this fall. Most importantly Rachel is  in charge of youth programming. Look for information in this newsletter for more about the upcoming youth retreat she is leading in February.

From Rachel, “I have been going to Kingswood my entire life. I started going as a baby with my family and later attended the Woodsmoke program. Woodsmoke was a one/two week sleep away camp for youth grades 5th-12th. Through that program I built a variety of things at Kingswood that you see today including the playground and The Pines kitchen shelter! I later worked at Woodsmoke as a counselor and then went on to work as Program Director for Kingswood. Kingswood holds a very special place in my heart and I have met my closet friends there. It has had a huge influence on my personal, spiritual, and professional life. Due to the impact Kingswood has had on me, I attained a Master’s degree in outdoor and environmental education. I am honored and excited to bring back youth programming to Kingswood!

 

Reservations for 2022 Opening January 3rd!

By Lynn Grainger

If you’re like my family, you’ve already started discussing what dates you want to camp for the 2022 Season.   Here are the 2022 Season Opening Dates so your family can plan as well:

We have moved our reservation process to a new system last year, and all reservations including Tent & Trailer and RV will go through that system.

As always, we’ll be here to help you.  You can call the farmhouse directly at 607.637.5407 during the season. Off season you can text or call me (Lynn Grainger, the Kingswood Administrator) with questions at 607.301.0640.  You can also email me at kwadministrator@nyac.com.  I will work on getting back to everyone as quick as possible!

 

Volunteer Spotlight – Hayley Winship

“I am grateful to Kingswood for the freedom, friendships and lessons it has given me. I am blessed to have such a place of love and joy to call my Home Away from Home “

Hayley Winship is a Junior at Oneonta College and a lifelong Kingswood volunteer! An October baby, Hayley has spent time every summer of her life here at Kingswood. She calls it her “grounding element” and says she was literally raised here by the Kingswood ‘village’. 

In middle school, when she had to log volunteer hours for Girl Scouts and the National Honor Society, Hayley realized she had been volunteering her entire life! Haley’s first Kingswood memories, at 4 or 5 years old, are picking up sticks at the tent sites and clearing the ground with the other children during set up. By age 11 she was given a key, the one that opens the store and the ice cream freezer. She relished the responsibility as she showed campers around the store and sold ice cream. Hayley especially enjoyed stacking wood; driving the loaded golf cart from the woodshed to the wood stand in the parking lot!

Like most teens, Hayley didn’t want her parents always telling her what to do and in middle school began volunteering to work on crews separate from them.  And she began to bring friends to camp to volunteer with her. The bond with friends who showed interest in and enjoyment of Kingswood became stronger, and it was hard to overlook it if a friend did not appreciate camp.

While continuing to volunteer every set up and take down weekend, Hayley became a staff person as the summer lifeguard in 2018. She enjoyed getting to know how vast and diverse the campers are and how deeply Kingswood impacts them, providing space for a deeper connection to each other and to nature.  Kingswood lifeguards live at camp and the job includes buildings and grounds work: cleaning the bath house and lawn mowing. The experience of working and living on her own and having responsibility was difficult the first year. But Hayley notes that “the experience has pushed me throughout the rest of my life, I’m not scared to start up a new job. I can make it anywhere.”

Hayley has missed the camaraderie and conversation of set up and take down weekends during this year of Covid. However, she did experience joining a socially distanced group of young adults on a set up weekend and realized they had all grown from the children picking up sticks to becoming an independent work crew!

Hayley has enjoyed camp in all seasons, and encourages us to experience a Kingswood Winter. Staying in the farmhouse, sitting by the fire, long days in the snow and cross-country skiing provide a different kind of Kingswood encounter. She recommends the red trail during or after a snow, describing it as a winter wonderland and the frozen lake as a spark of magic!

For Hayley, Kingswood is that place that is consistent in a crazy life, providing time to hang out with family and family and deepen connections. And while she knows that in the next 5 or 10-years she will be exploring many new opportunities, she is certain she will always come back!

 

Kingswood 2021: A Note from Our Director

By: Cheryl Winship

How relevant will a camping experience be in the post-pandemic world?  Will families continue to value unscheduled days, walking, paddling and swimming,  star gazing, conversation, team problem solving and trying new things? The media has been highlighting the importance of physical activity, feeling connected, and being present.  If these are what is needed, then camping will remain relevant long into the future and that is what current trends are showing.

Camping got a big boost in popularity over the course of 2020, and it’s not about to stop in 2021. According to Kampgrounds of America’s annual North American Camping Report, 10.1 million people camped for the first time in 2020, over a third of whom cited COVID-19 as a key driver.  Though camping popularity was already growing before COVID-19, it experienced a major upward surge since the outbreak of the pandemic. In particular, RV camping has become exceptionally popular as people came to view RV camping as a safe way to travel and avoid crowds. The number of households that own RVs has grown from 7 million to 9.6 million since 2019.

Whether you bring an RV, use our cabin tents with equipped kitchens or bring your own tent, a camping trip to Kingswood involves no schedule  – simply being, no internet (unless you go to the barn), just conversation, and never the need to rush anywhere (except perhaps out of the rain). When you first arrive, the kids might say there is nothing to do. No video games, scheduled entertainment, sports events to attend, or bright-colored bouncy houses. The natural environment surrounds them: trees, grass, trails, water, and “nothing“ to do. But, within hours, kids (and more slowly adults) adjust; our senses focus, imagination and curiosity crawl out from their suppressed place in our brain. Opportunities become apparent. As our eyes adjust, we realize there is much to see: life within the pond, the trees within the forest, and the tiniest flowers in the field.  It seems so quiet, yet our ears become aware of hundreds of sounds.  The imagination sees the downed log as a fort, the field a place to run free, arms spread like a bird, the fire a source of magical stories. Curiosity pulls us to try new skills: kayaking, fire-starting, swimming in a lake, fishing, walking on a log, or making a meal. Creativity follows and you find yourself making up games on the badminton court, painting at the craft area, trying a Dutch oven recipe, and collaborating in storytelling by the fire. 

After a stressful year with much time spent at home, nature can be just the medicine that is needed. It offers a nice blend of independent opportunity and family team building. Arguing siblings can spread out and try different things, tired adults can rest at the beach as the kids swim, folks feeling socially isolated can converse with fellow campers in the open air. If you are not sure how relevant camping is for your family, give it a try. We are happy to welcome new as well as lifelong campers to Kingswood’s comfortable camping experience.

Don Kirby

By: Sandi Stratton-Gonzalez

“I have managed the last week of summer for over 50 years. It seems like a lot but if you are having fun it goes quickly.” Don Kirby

Don Kirby first came to Kingswood about 60 years ago. Already a long-term volunteer at Sessions Wood, he was invited by the New York Conference Camping Executive to Kingswood. Both were rustic camps. At the time Kingswood was a youth camp with volunteer counselors and four sites, the two Orchards and the two Coves. 

Don came to Kingswood for a season and stayed for sixty years! Kingswood provided him the opportunity to work in the outdoors and build community with others. In fact, Don sees the Kingswood tents as symbolic of community, and the teepees as symbolic of the work that we do. He enjoys sleeping outside under canvas, and still does so routinely, unless he is managing and then he stays in the farmhouse.

Soon after Don came to Kingswood the conference run program for youth was discontinued and Kingswood pivoted to become a family camp. Don worked alongside other veteran volunteers David and Karen Taylor and Judy and Bud Swanson in realizing the family camping vision.

From the mid 90-s to 2015 Don was involved with Woodsmoke, the next iteration of Kingswood youth camp. Don volunteered first as photographer, then as “Mr. Foods” responsible for collecting youth-prepared menus, organizing items for purchase and delivering the requested food back to the campsites and then as a staff cook responsible for the meals of non-counseling staff.

An accountant by trade, Don has enjoyed doing the physical work at Kingswood, including years working on the water line, which has always a big challenge. He describes himself as “not a skilled workman but a jack of all trades,” enjoying the learning experience and the constant influx of new people over the years. When I asked Don what keeps him coming back year after year, he said “a feeling that what we do is worthwhile not only in preparing the camp but also in the community that we have up there.”

Don has noticed many positive changes. “In the beginning we didn’t have money to put into stuff,” he said, but now we are getting money coming in supporting stone ministry, folks contributing equipment and skills, restoring the Farm House and keeping the camp in good shape. There is such a wealth of talent among Kingswood volunteers, and management (especially David Taylor and Cheryl Winship) seems to know just how to use the talent for the benefit of the camp community. 

Among the challenges Don observes is the loss of the clergy involvement and lack of support for Chapel services. A lifelong Methodist who currently worships at The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew in Manhattan, Don would love to see a more intentional worship experience restored at Kingswood, including during volunteer events. The other challenge he feels that Kingswood faces is its absence of racial diversity, particularly among the large number of volunteers.  Noting that Conference leadership and staff and the Camping Committee include many persons of color, Black, Latinx, and Asians as well as Whites, Don believes that we should work toward a more inclusive volunteer and family camping presence.

On behalf of everyone at Kingswood, volunteers and campers, I raise a glass of profound thanks to you Don Kirby! You have been integral to Kingswood’s success over many decades. In turn Don extends thanks to “all the folks who are at Kingswood, who are a blessing to each other and to our camping population.”

 

Stone Ministry Fall 2020

In spite of the pandemic Stone Ministry remained a one-of-a-kind program for Kingswood campers throughout the summer of 2020.  We just had to modify the way we did certain things to make sure all participants were protected.

We no longer had tractor rides, but campers found their way to Stone Ministry on their own. Of course, we wore masks and tried to stay distanced. We used watering cans to wash stones individually rather than dunking scrub brushes into common buckets. Finally, the mason’s gloves we always wore to do the cementing were worn throughout the process.

Thanks to diligence on the part of camp staff and campers, Kingswood had a very full and vibrant summer without anyone getting the disease.  

The core Stone Ministry enthusiasts were disappointed to have to cancel their April weekend working on the slate roof but did have a September weekend doing just that. That slate roof is just magnificent!.

Stone Ministry just completed its 16th year of giving campers the spiritual experience of  befriending  rejected stones, inscribing them with personal messages and cementing them into our “timeless evolving structure.“  This “wonderfully impractical“ program is well along at creating a temple of diversity where every stone is a keystone.

The core Stone Ministry enthusiasts are looking forward to doing some more slate roofing one weekend next spring and then starting to erect the next phase of the heavy timber roof structure during  a weekend in the fall.

 

Happy Anniversary to Our RV Sites

2020 is the 10th anniversary of Kingswood’s RV camping area.

In 2010 Jack and Dotty Seirup and Andrew Seirup started occupying RV sites numbers 6 and 7.  These were the only two sites built at the time. The Site Committee had decided to build just two sites at first as a pilot program.

The RV camping area however was designed for 10 sites total which is what we got approval for from the New York State Department of Health.  That required installation of a dumping station that would be satisfactory for the 10 sites if ever built. Also, the entrance road was built to accommodate site numbers 1 through 7.

Three years later, in 2013, the Site Committee decided to build sites 2, 3. and  4, then followed soon after with site number 5. 

The cost of developing the first five sites was made affordable by most the labor being provided by Kingswood volunteers. Nevertheless, the investment was significant.

Besides the cost of installing the road, grading sites, creating the dumping station and putting in new waterlines, the RV campground required a nearly thousand foot long buried high-voltage electrical service with full-size transformer and overhead wires on poles.

But even with the sites less than half rented over the last 10 years, that initial investment has been more than paid off.  The RV campsites are both a wonderful way to enjoy Kingswood and are also profitable for the camp itself.

Indeed, RV camping at Kingswood is a wonderful experience. These campsites are 80 feet from each other and nestled in the woods, while fronting a picturesque field with views of the mountains and sunsets. Campers get to enjoy all the benefits of our wonderful camp and also have advantages of enclosed RV camping.

Our camp is wonderfully located near the legendary Delaware Rver fishing which makes the RV sites attractive to fisherman.

 2020 was the busiest year yet at the RV campground. The Kingswood Directors have decided to build RV site number 1, bringing us up to seven out of the ten eventual sites.  Site number 1 should be ready to rent by the end of next summer.

Now there is even some thought about when we might build sites 8, 9 and 10.

 

Kingswood Chickens and Wings of Refuge

By: Sandy Andrews, Program Director

Chickens! What was the first thing campers saw when arriving at Kingswood in 2020? Chickens! What a happy sight after months of sheltering in place due to the pandemic. The story behind Kingswood’s newest addition is three-pronged with:

Quite simply: 

With this in mind, bringing a bit of farm life back to Kingswood seemed only natural. We built and installed a sturdy predator-resistant coop near the parking lot. The addition of deterrents, including electric fencing and blinking laser lights, seemed to keep predators away. From opening day on June 26 to the last day on September 7, my 10 hens were the first to greet campers as they arrived and the last to bid them farewell as they departed. Everyone from toddlers to seniors was excited to meet the Kingswood hens. Campers got to participate in morning and evening chores, letting them out in the morning, feeding and replenishing water for them, and (maybe best of all!) gathering eggs to take back to their sites for breakfast. If a camper was there on the right day, the attached mini garden offered up summer squash or peppery nasturtiums. It was fun watching the hens jump up to peck at a dangling apple and chase after the re-purposed gum container that held their treat of chicken scratch. They learned to kick the container around and peck at the drilled holes to get morsels of cracked corn, oats, and other grain seeds. Campers enjoyed holding the hens and discovering how soft they were. Little Dominique was the most accommodating volunteer for this task.

While the campers learned some interesting facts about chickens, I was surprised to learn how many of our visitors had their own chickens, even in their suburban backyards, or had experienced chickens in other settings, such as the brothers who recounted visiting their grandfather who had chickens – in the Philippines. I was touched by the teen who cooked eggs for his girlfriend the next day from eggs they hand-picked from the nest box. I appreciated my helpers for the week, who faithfully showed up to assist with chores. Even the extra precautions needed to make Kingswood safe for all seeking a respite from the pandemic brought a bit of fun – people enjoyed using the battery-operated sprayer to wash their hands.

I hope that all of the 2020 campers felt the figurative open arms of Kingswood welcoming them as they sought refuge, respite, and relaxation from society’s turmoil. May the memories of visiting the Kingswood hens remind you of the image of a protective mother hen gathering her young under her wings, keeping them safe and secure. And if you were not at Kingswood this past summer, I invite you to come next summer, as the hens and quiet refuge of Kingswood will be there again.