Asbury News Archive

Important Announcement Regarding UNY Summer Camp 2020

Important Announcement Regarding UNY Summer Camp 2020

The current context of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a very challenging decision for the Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries (UNY CRM) lead team. After consultation with the Upper New York Committee on Camp & Retreat Ministries and after several meetings with experts in the medical and camping fields, the UNY CRM lead team has decided to suspend all UNY-hosted summer programs at each of the CRM sites: Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm.

While this is disappointing news for campers, parents, volunteers, and staff (including the lead team), safety is our top priority.

The UNY CRM staff is trained to keep campers safe during normal circumstances, but the challenges posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented and many, including, but not limited to:

●  The need for heightened cleaning requirements
●  Providing PPE to campers and staff, including masks
●  Social distancing requirements, including strict occupancy limits
●  There would be difficulty in getting trained medical staff
●  Summer staff would likely need to remain onsite for the whole season
●  At this time, the health department recommends that those who are high risk not attend camp during the COVID-19 pandemic. This would go against UNY CRM’s inclusivity commitment.

The camping experience is one of the most powerful ways to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, so this decision was not made lightly. Trust that all UNY CRM sites will put forth their utmost effort to keep connected to their camping communities in the coming months. More information on what each site will be doing to stay connected will come soon.

Those who have already registered and made a payment toward a program will be contacted by their individual site by the end of next week to discuss their options going forward. The three options are:

●  Receive a full refund
●  Transfer the payment to credit for 2021
●  Generously donate part or all your registration/deposit to the site of your choice, helping to sustain UNY CRM through the summer.

While you cannot be at the camp sites physically, know that the UNY CRM lead team is here for you spiritually and emotionally at this time and very much look forward to when they can see you again.

If you have any questions about this news, please contact Betsy Schuessler, Executive Assistant for the UNY CRM team at

This announcement was written by Shannon Hodson of Upper New York Annual Conference Communications and first appeared at after families of registered 2020 participants and all 2019 participants received the following letter by email directly:

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
- Psalm 100:5

Dear Camp and Retreat Families,

We write to you today in the midst of one of the most challenging time our camping community has faced. Upper New York Camp and Retreat ministries has transformed the lives of campers, participants, guests, staff, and volunteers for over 75 years. Each generation of a camp and retreat community sees a blend of change, tradition, challenge, and celebration. Even now, God’s steadfast love extends to us as we adapt to the situation of our world.

After much prayer and careful consideration, the Camp and Retreat Ministries Staff with support from the Committee have made the challenging decision to suspend our summer programs at all UNY sites—Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm for the 2020 season. This includes traditional summer camp, Express Mini programs, and Special Needs Programs.

This decision is difficult and unprecedented.  We truly believe that camp provides a unique opportunity for people to experience the transforming love of God in the context of Christian community, and it saddens us greatly to lose that opportunity this summer.  Fundamental to our camp and retreat communities, however, is a devoted commitment to the safety of all who set foot on our sites.  A safe environment allows for social, emotional, and spiritual growth as campers choose to take on challenges.

As we have considered guidelines from the American Camp Association, the CDC, and the New York State Department of Health that begin to lay out what social distancing, PPE, sanitization, and quarantine protocols would need to be in place in order for summer programs to run. We have come to understand that these measures would force new challenges on campers and staff and would not allow for the kind of nurturing environment on which our programs rely. Members of our communities who have a higher health risk would not be able to enter our environment at all. 

Even with these new protocols in place, health and safety is not something we can confidently provide this summer in the context of the pandemic.  While our staff are trained and have the experience to keep our community safe during normal camp activities, we are not all are trained medical professionals.  Even with our best efforts, the risk to our communities is too great.  The decision to suspend summer programs was made to protect not only our campers and staff, but every guest, volunteer, parent, sibling, and grandparent who is connected to our larger community.

Those who have already registered and made a payment toward a program will be contacted by their individual site by the end of next week to discuss their options going forward. The three options are:
◻  Receive a full refund,
◻  Transfer the payment to credit for 2021,
◻  Generously donate part or all your registration/deposit to the site of your choice, helping to sustain us through this summer.

While UNY summer program will not be running this year, this won’t be the last you’ll hear from us!  All our sites are diligently working on plans for the summer, taking into consideration new updates on low-risk outdoor recreation opportunities from New York State, regional re-opening guidelines, and the ways in which our facilities and staff can continue to serve our communities. Updates from each site will continue to be shared both by email and on social media.

We know this is disappointing news and we share in your disappointment. This summer will look like no summer any of our sites has ever seen before, and the loss of summer program for this year has already begun to cause our hearts to grieve.  But God’s steadfast love and faithfulness extends to our communities just as it has to all generations before us, and just as it will to the generations of happy campers for years to come.  We draw now on God’s strength as we make the choice to keep our communities as safe as possible, and we pray every day for the health and wellbeing of every member of our wide network of Upper New York families.  We are so grateful for the love and support we receive from you and will do all we can to love and support you in whatever ways we can during this time.  We can’t wait to see you all again: safe, happy, and healthy.

In Christ,

The Camp & Retreat Ministries Staff and Committee

Posted on May 13th by Matthew Williams



We are grateful for all those who have joined us for #GivingTuesday over the past few years. In just a few short days— on Tuesday, May 5th—we invite you to join us for a very special #GivingTuesdayNow. This is a new global day of giving and unity to help support beloved organizations experiencing unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

If you are in a position to do so, we would be grateful for your financial gifts to the Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministry General Fund. This particular fund helps support the day-to-day ministry of all five our camp and retreat centers (Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm) and will be used where needed most this year.

If you are a regular giver and are able to do so, please consider giving an additional gift as part of #GivingTuesdayNow.

We also understand that finances are tight for many right now. Fortunately, your voice can be a powerful show of support too! Please consider supporting us by sharing this opportunity with others; posting a photo of your favorite retreat or camp moment; or sharing a written reflection on how camp and retreat ministries have impacted your life! If you share a post on Facebook, be sure to tag @campsandretreats.

BE A #GivingTuesdayNow DONOR!

Posted on May 1st by Matthew Williams

Peace Be Still: An Update on Summer Preparations in Upper New York

Peace Be Still: An Update on Summer Preparations in Upper New York

Like many of you, we are finding social distancing to be rather challenging. We are camp and retreat people after all and bringing people together is core to what we do. As we continue to pray for you and all those impacted by COVID-19, we remain hopeful and excited for our 2020 Summer Camp Season.

Last week we announced an update to our cancellation policy to allow for cancellations up to two (2) calendar days before the start of a given session for health and safety reasons related to COVID-19. Full refunds will be issued in this case, however, our standard cancellation policy for other reasons remains in effect.

Today we are extending our early-bird discount deadlines. Registrations received by May 1st will automatically receive a $25 discount, while registrations received by June 1st will automatically receive a $10 discount.

Our refer-a-friend and sibling discounts remain the same.

We are also working diligently to secure additional funding for camperships to ensure that our programming remains accessible to all. Please do not hesitate to apply for a campership.

May the joy and hope of the summer camp experience continue to sustain you during these uncertain times.

In Christ’s Service,
The Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries Leadership Team

Posted on March 25th by David Wood

March 18th Update from UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Leadership

March 18th Update from UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Leadership

Update on 3/31/2020: Our sites will continue to remain closed to retreat guests until Wednesday, April 30th.

The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, is often attributed as having said, “Proceed with much prayer and your way will be made plain.”

After prayerful consideration, Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries will close our sites to retreat guests effective immediately until Monday, April 13th. As we continue to monitor the current situation closely, this date could be extended. However, we believe by implementing these precautions at this time, our actions will contribute to flattening the curve and allow us to continue serving the guests we love.

We continue to work diligently to prepare for this upcoming summer season. In order to best support our camper families and to help them make summer plans, we have amended our refund policy and health and safety procedures to the following:

⚬ A full refund for cancellations for health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 will be granted until two calendar days before the start of the session. Our standard cancellation policy for other reasons remains in effect.

⚬ A member of the site staff will contact the parent/caregiver of the camper to complete a verbal pre-camp health screening at least 48 hours prior to arrival. This will be in addition to the screening already a part of our check-in procedures

At this time, we continue to accept registrations and applications for the summer season as well as guest-group bookings for the remainder of 2020 and 2021. We also continue to accept applications for open positions on our summer/seasonal staff teams.

While our sites are closed to retreat guests, our year-round staff teams will be working remotely or practicing safe social distancing as we deep clean our facilities and work on those “rainy day” projects that will enhance your next visit!

We continue to pray for our local and global communities as we forge ahead through uncharted waters. We also pray for your continued good health and look forward to serving you when we are all safely able to be together again!

The Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries Leadership

Posted on March 18th by Matthew Williams

UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak

UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak

Dear Valued Guests, Campers, Participants & Families,

We strive to provide a time and place in which all who attend our camp and retreat centers in Upper New York, can get away from the hectic pace of the world and just be… with God, with Creation, and with one another. One of the things we do to ensure that this sort of experience can safely continue is to keep an eye on what’s going on in our region, our country, and our world.

Like many of you, we’ve been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the past few months. As you likely already know, all of our centers operate under American Camp Association standards. In addition to setting the standards for the camping industry, the ACA also provides its members with some incredible resources—most recently on COVID-19. We are also fortunate to have a great working relationship with our County and New York State Departments of Health, which also continue to provide us with valuable resources. We are focused on staying informed and taking proper precautions during the current climate, while continuing to host our spring guest groups and prepare for our awesome upcoming summer season!

While we monitor the news, we are even more conscientious about continuing to do the things we always do, like disinfecting surfaces in between retreat groups, staying home if we’re not feeling well, and washing our hands a lot! We are adding sensible precautionary measures as well, including a daily sanitization of high traffic surfaces while guests are on site, increased guest and staff education around CDC recommendations for effective handwashing and safe sneezing/coughing, an increased availability of hand sanitizer/hand washing stations in our buildings, and heightened staff awareness to our personal and communal health. We are also currently reviewing our summer procedures, including check in, and will let you know if/when we make any updates to those.

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation closely as it evolves and follow any and all applicable recommendations put out by the CDC, ACA, and New York State Department of Health. We commit to keeping all our guests, campers, participants and families informed throughout the coming weeks of any further steps taken in response to this concern. The continued health, safety, and well-being of all our guests is our top priority, and we look forward to serving you both through and beyond this current situation. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any concerns further, you are welcome to call or email us at any time, we’d be happy to talk with you!

Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries Leadership

Posted on March 14th by David Wood

Summer Camp 2020 Registration Now Open

Summer Camp 2020 Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for our exciting slate of 2020 summer programs at Aldersgate, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm! Additionally, Asbury Retreat Center will continue to offer exciting retreat opportunities for children, youth, and adults throughout the summer season. Information on program opportunities at Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center will be available in the coming weeks.

We are also excited to announce some changes to our available discounts for 2020!**

summer camp discounts

Early Bird Discount:
-Register by March 1st and get $50 off!
-Register by April 1st and get $25 off!
-Register by May 1st and get $10 off!

Refer-a-Friend Discount:
-Refer 1 new camper and receive a YETI water bottle!
-Refer 2 new campers and receive a free gift AND $50 off!
-Refer 3 new campers and receive a free gift AND $100 off!

Sibling Discount:
-Each sibling who attends camp receives $40 off, this is applicable across all Upper New York Conference camps.

**Please note that, NEW THIS YEAR, discounts are already built into ALL ALDERSGATE programs, so no additional discounts/incentives will apply.

Also new for 2020 is a decentralization of our registration process for summer programs. Each site will be handling their own registrations, which means all registration forms, paperwork, and payments should be sent to the local site. Contact information for each site and the link to register is listed below:

Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
3343 St Rt 38
Moravia, NY 13118
315-364-8756 (phone)
315-364-7636 (fax)

Asbury Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
PO Box 218
Silver Lake, NY 14549
585-237-5262 (phone)
585-237-6863 (fax)

Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
158 Casowasco Drive
Moravia, NY 13118
315-364-8756 (phone)
315-364-7636 (fax)

Sky Lake Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
501 William Law Road
Windsor, NY 13865
607-467-2750 (phone)
607-467-4612 (fax)

Skye Farm Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
1884 East Schroon River Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885
518-494-7170 (phone)
800-627-0052 (fax)

Posted on January 15th by David Wood

Spring 2019 Edition of Xenia is Available

Spring 2019 Edition of Xenia is Available

The Spring 2019 edition of our newsletter, Xenia News, is now available online. Click here to read about what’s been going in the life of Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries.

Posted on April 2nd by Matthew Williams

Committee on & Director of CRM Publish Letter In Response to Special Session of General Conference

Committee on & Director of CRM Publish Letter In Response to Special Session of General Conference

Click here to view a full screen version for easier reading


Posted on March 18th by Mike Huber

Be A Donor 2018

Be A Donor 2018

What does it mean to be a donor?

It means actively engaging with the ministry of Asbury and Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries. It means doing something more than just supporting this ministry with your voice and your prayers (both of which are immensely important.) It means actively underwriting the operational and program costs associated with offering a ministry that truly transforms lives.

Beginning with #GivingTuesday on November 27, 2018, and continuing through the remainder of this year, we invite you to Be A Donor to the Asbury Annual Fund.

Over the coming weeks, we invite you to stay tuned to our Facebook page to learn more about what your generous financial donation supports.

Whether you ultimately decide to give $5/week, $15/month, or a one-time gift of $5000, we thank you in advance for choosing to Be A Donor!


This link will take you to the Upper New York Camp & Retreat Center’s donation portal. Please select “Asbury Annual Fund” from the drop-down menu at the top of that form if you would like your donation to be used specifically for Asbury. Donations to the “CRM Annual Fund” will be used where most needed at the end of the year.

Posted on November 22nd by Matthew Williams

Autumn 2017 Edition of Xenia is Available

Autumn 2017 Edition of Xenia is Available

The Fall edition of our newsletter, Xenia News, is now available online. Click here to read about what’s been going in the life of Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries.

Posted on November 20th by Matthew Williams

CRM Fall/Winter 2015 Newsletter Released

To view the complete newsletter click HERE.

“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.” - Abraham Lincoln

There are numerous references in the Bible addressing the Christian’s commitment in various aspects of
life: to our families, neighbors, employers, the church, our health, and in all things we do and say (Acts 2:42;
Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 31). But the Bible also teaches that the chief commitment of our lives is to
God. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

Paul followed the Lord’s example of commitment in sacrifice and service. Paul said, “I have been crucified with
Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

One of my favorite things to do is read camper evaluations. This is where we learn about favorite foods,
activities, and what the campers would like us to add or subtract from our programs. This is also where we
offer the campers the opportunity to disclose how the experience at camp helped them in their commitment
to follow God. The entire reason camp and retreat centers were established was to assist the local church with
the evangelic work of renewing or creating a transformed life for Christ. All the fun activities and meaningful
learning help to create the environment where one can meet the creator and come to walk side by side in a
relationship that changes all other relationships.

Our centers are incredible places where participants on retreat or engaged in one of our summer camp
programs learn about the act of commitment. Whether it’s serving table mates, community cabin/lodge clean
up, or taking turns on a given activity, guests learn that there is a God, God loves them, and God wants a
relationship with them. We encourage campers to commit to forming genuine community, to each other, and
to creation around us. Each and every week campers are invited to make a commitment: to renew an existing
relationship with God, or to prayerfully consider making a first time commitment to follow Jesus and live as a
transformed light in the world.

Many people over the years have made sacrificial commitments to serve our centers with their time, talents,
and financial resources. Even just this summer thousands of hours were donated as service to God and
these beautiful places. Nancy prepared over 30 hand made custom stoles for Director’s Invitational and has
for many years. Jennie and John gave 47 full days and drove an hour each way over the summer months to
serve at Aldersgate as an act of commitment to God. Each and every Thursday a group of men sacrifice their
‘to do’ list at home and commit to traveling and serving at Skye Farm as volunteers. Numerous churches and
individuals commit to give to our annual funds, designated projects, or where needed most. We appreciate
you committing your prayers, your talents, and your financial resources. Our commitment to you is that we
will continue to honor the gift and the giver as critical to this sacred work for Christ that we do together.

May God continue to bless these places where Lives are Transformed.

Mike Huber
Director Camp & Retreat Ministries

To view the complete newsletter click HERE.

Posted on November 30th by Mike Huber

CRM Announces Staff Transitions

This summer, thousands of children, youth, and adults have enjoyed a summer camp program, a family camp program, or a retreat program at one of the Upper New York Conference’s six camp and retreat centers.

Even as the summer season winds down, CRM has begun welcoming guests to many of its facilities and is preparing for a busy fall season of hosting guests at the six sites. The season is full of changes: soon the leaves and temperature, and then back to school for many seasonal staff and campers. With that, there are also transitions within UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries for three of its staff.

Jim Daly, Director at the Skye Farm Camp & Retreat Center in Warrensburg, will retire Sept. 12. He has just completed his third summer at Skye Farm. Daly will retire after 36 years of full-time service in Camp & Retreat Ministries, having previously served in the Central Pennsylvania and Detroit conferences in addition to serving as the Director at the Asbury Camp & Retreat Center in Silver Lake.

Aliechia Post, Director at the Findley Camp & Retreat Center in Clymer, will return to full-time teaching, having accepted a position in North Carolina. Post has served as director for the past five years and, prior to that, as the seasonal program director and summer staff member at Findley.

Demetrio Beach, Director of Program & Outreach for Camp & Retreat Ministries, has accepted a position at Trinity First United Methodist Church in El Paso, Texas, where he will serve as the Associate Lay Pastor of Discipleship Ministries. Beach has served the past two years as CRM’s Director of program and outreach.

Post, Daly, and Beach have worked tirelessly to support the vision and mission of Upper New York.

“Aliechia, Jim, and Demetrio have been critical in developing programs, maintaining and upgrading facilities, and working with our volunteers and staff in ensuring quality experiences for all our campers, guests and staff,” said Mike Huber, Director of UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries.

“I have known Jim for many years; his deep knowledge and appreciation for facility management and care of our beautiful natural settings has been a rich blessing that will be missed. Aliechia has guided Findley through a significant time period and has learned a great deal and has offered herself fully to the demands of the position. Demetrio has helped develop and create new programs and outreach opportunities for our camp and retreat centers, connecting churches and families to all that we have to offer. It is sad to see Jim, Aliechia, and Demetrio go. I wish them all the best in the next phase of their journey.”

A transition plan is in place for the fall season with support from the Camp & Retreat Ministries Staff Leadership Team.

Posted on August 19th by Mike Huber