History of Camp Haluwasa
By its very name, Haluwasa praises the Lord for who He is and all He's done! By its very nature, Haluwasa celebrates the Lord's beautiful creation! For more than forty years, Haluwasa has been the home to thousands of staff, campers and visitors who have been confronted and changed by the saving love and grace of Jesus Christ. Throughout these many years of ministry, through the struggles and triumphs, the Lord has blessed Haluwasa in a mighty way.
In the early 1950's Rev. Charles W. Ashmen, a native of southern New Jersey, was a missionary to the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. While in Park County, Colorado, Rev. Ashmen served as the only pastor in the area while he and his family resided at Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je. During a missionary deputation trip to New Jersey, the Lord showed him the need for a boy's and girl's camp similar to Id-Ra-Ha-Je. Rev. Ashmen returned to New Jersey permanently, and with God's help he organized an independent board and set up a non-profit corporation. In 1955 the corporation purchased a 114 acre plot of land that once served as a cranberry bog in Winslow Township.
A small, full-time missionary staff and many volunteers began cleaning the thick underbrush. Trees were cut and cleared to create roads and spaces for buildings and playing fields. Dams were built to transform the stream that fed the cranberry bog into lakes in which future campers would swim and play. The necessary buildings were constructed to provide lodging for campers, and areas where they would eat and worship. God provided the people and supplies as they were most needed.
After the first season of summer camp in 1958, outside interest and public demand in the ministry soon made obvious the need to expand the few camping facilities which existed. As the interested churches and individuals volunteered and lent physical and financial support, the camp's ministry soon included every Friday evening. Haluwasa also had a volunteer Gospel music choir and orchestra which performed and promoted the camp's activities on Sunday evenings at various churches throughout the Mid-Atlantic area.
As times and trends change, ministry needs do as well. As an independent, non-denominational corporation, Camp Haluwasa has become Haluwasa Christian Camp and Outdoor Center. God continues to use the 188 acres that form Haluwasa to minister to girls and boys ages 6-16 through five summer camp programs, but He is expanding the ministry. Throughout the year thousands of people of all ages come to Haluwasa for training events, camper retreats, C.O.D.E. (Christian Outdoor Education) classes, seasonal banquets, and youth activities such as the Who-Dun-It and Freedom USA. Haluwasa has the opportunity to serve many churches and Christian organizations by providing the location and facilities for retreats, meetings, and other activities.
When it was merely an abandoned cranberry bog, God had a plan for Haluwasa. Today this plan has a clear purpose - to evangelize and disciple believers to maturity through the instruction and demonstration of Biblical principles and values. With God's help and by His leading, Haluwasa will continue to serve God by ministering to families in many new ways in the years to come. From cranberries to Christ - Hallelujah, What a Savior!