Standing on a large farm on the side of Mt. Pocono on a gloomy February day in 1952, there was not much to see. A small group looked over the bleak, bare ground with a small pond in poor condition on the property. The buildings included a main house, two small cottages, and barn in need of repair. The group, composed of members from Philadelphia and New York, retreated from the rain to huddle in the car and ponder the possibilities.
Pioneer Girls had begun in the Philadelphia area in 1949 and grown rapidly. The group had come to this spot in the Poconos four years later to determine what God had in store for the program. Camping, a vital part of the overall program, was conducted on rented campsites in the Poconos and even as far away as Milton, CT. They prayed that this property might be secured to expand the program and give it a home. Before they drove away, they claimed the property in the name of Christ. On May 1st, 1952 Camp Cherith was born.
Mt. Gilead Camp
By 1965 Camp Cherith was so successful that ten full weeks of camp had a waiting list. Camp continued to develop through the 70’s and 80’s. The summer program and weekend usage grew larger. In 1982 Pioneer Girls changed to a co-ed ministry and the association with Pioneer Girls was discontinued. A new name was chosen and Mt. Gilead Camp and Conference Center continued to focus on a God-centered summer program just for girls. A decision was made to share the facilities with other Christian organizations, as a way to utilize the property and promote camp growth.
Over the last 20 years, a concentrated effort has been made to restore and improve the property. The necessary replacement of utility systems allowed the camp to continue its mission. Cabins were refurbished, and Martin’s Manor and the Dining Hall were renovated. The ever popular activity areas were updated, and a new high & low ropes course was added in addition to upgrading the equestrian corrals and archery range. The addition of a resident manager’s house and Lloyd’s Lodge enhance Mt. Gilead and allow for a year-round camping and retreat ministry.
Mt. Gilead now serves both national and international campers ages 6 – 17 for five weeks each summer. Mt. Gilead facilities are available August through June for group rentals when camp is not in session.
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