November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!


The Fall season here has been wonderful! We’ve had some color change in our trees this year because of a brief stint of cold weather, but for the most part it’s been nice and sunny! It makes for great weather for working outside, which has been very fortunate, as I’ve spent a large portion of my time this past month working on our trails and outside for our Lumberjack weekend and our 5k trail run.

We had a great time this year at our Lumberjack weekend! There was a good bit of time for everyone to just relax by the fire and get to know each other, but we also had a great time with some of the activities I planned. For the first time in a couple years, we did a “Lumberjack” competition, which involved a pancake toss and a log flip, amongst a few other activities. I had my reservations at first, since this was the first time we had done this kind of competition in a few years, but it seems like everything went over really well! The winner had their name written on a wooden hatchet, which is mounted on the side of the Trading Post so that there is a record for future lumberjacks. We also had some time for everyone to go enjoy some activities across the road, like our zip-line, rifle range, and to try out our newest addition of slingshots.

Like I said earlier, I’ve also been working hard on our trails for the 5k. Every year I’m optimistic about how easy it will be to get the trails ready for the race, and so far, I’ve always been wrong. It seems like there’s always going to be some things that need to be added or things that we can improve from last year. This year, I added a new trail using a section of our property that we hadn’t used before that had previously been part of an old dirt race track. This of course meant that there were still some things left over on the track, even after more than 20 years. Me and Rob, our maintenance director, had to remove three full 50 gallon drums of old anti-freeze mixed with water that had been left. Not too fun, let me tell you. We still have a bit more clearing up before we can use that section for other activities, but it was great for the race. The rest of trail has been slowly improving over the years too. A few more roots taken out here, another bridge or two there, a couple more trees removed and it shapes up nicely. Also for the first time in 3 years, it didn’t rain during our 5k, which only served to make a great day even better. If you haven’t been before, I would definitely consider coming next year. Most people that come walk the course instead of running it, but if you are so inclined to run it, we have prizes for the best times for all age groups. We also have raffles for anyone who attends and have some activities open after the race. It’s a great time, so next year I’ll try to put my letters out a little earlier in case anyone is interested in attending.

More recently, we just finished our Young Adult weekend, which is our last major event for the year. It’s always a great time, since it’s more relaxed and many of staff from the summer come back together to catch up. This year we had a volleyball tournament, caramel apple making, and a few canoe trips planned, which went over really well. Overall, it was a great event to end the season, and a great chance to reflect on the year. That weekend, basically, marked the end of my first year as Program Director here at Hickory Cove, because we only have one or two small events left. I just feel so blessed and glad that the year has gone so well. Pretty much across the board, all the things that I’ve worked on this year or activities that I’ve planned have been received well. While I do try my best to plan things, think ahead, and stay fairly organized, I don’t think that I’m really that great at my job. I don’t have a formal education related to what I’m doing, and what I do know, most of it has been learned while I was here. So really, looking at this year’s success, I can only say that it must be because God is working here at camp and causing us to grow as we try to share His love with more people. I’m just glad that I’m apart of it.

I sincerely appreciate all the support you all have shown me while I’m here at camp. Whether it’s the financial contributions, care packages, or prayers, it’s been very, very encouraging to me.  I love it when I hear about people that have been asking about how I’ve been or what I’ve been doing. After this letter, I’m going to send out one more before Christmas that wraps up the year and summaries overall what’s been happening here. Also, I’d like to get back to Charlotte on a weekend or two, but it’s gotten a little more difficult, as I’ve started working with some of the sound equipment at the church I’m attending. Aside from me, there’s maybe one other person that has experience working with that kind of thing, so it can make it difficult to be away on Sundays. I’m working on getting more people involved though, so hopefully that will change in the future. I will be in town for Thanksgiving, so I look forward to seeing some of you then!

Joe Hansen