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3300 River Road
Mount Bethel, PA 18343

(570) 897-6000

Christian retreat center for New Jersey and Pennsylvania marriage retreat, singles retreat, women's retreat and youth summer camp in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.

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Tales of Tuscarora

Would you be interested in submitting a piece for Tales of Tuscarora? We are always looking for stories to tell! Email lindsay@tuscarora.org

Renovations, Staff Transitions, and Updates!

Tuscarora

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As I write this letter, there is so much happening on our grounds it will be difficult to summarize it all! This spring, we welcomed volunteers from Work Week, Long Island Youth for Christ, and Builders for God who cleaned, mulched, and remodeled our grounds to get ready for this next season. We saw men, women, teens, and children experience true connection with God on retreats with their church groups and ministries. Our program guests enjoyed worship, teaching, and fellowship! Tuscarora has made improvements over the past year that we once only dreamed would be possible!

After unveiling the Brick House Apartment last year, we spent the past few months replicating this design in Inn Suites 41 and 42, and Riverview Suites 9 and 10. Being so well received, we decided to remodel a floor of Riverside Manor II. The furniture from that floor was moved to the Pines Campus Motel Units as part of the upgrade there. Guests are already enjoying these rooms!

We also made a few improvements our younger guests will be excited about! The Olsen Activity Center received a well-deserved makeover by removing the stage and installing a new athletic floor thanks to donated labor from Brian David Flooring. It’s great to hear reactions of, “it looks like a brand new building!” The Mountainview Dorms have also been remodeled to accommodate larger wooden bunk beds, and we are working on plans to refresh the lounge.

A season of transitions within our staff has continued and Bruce Petersen stepped down from his position as Food Service Manager after 23 years. He will remain here as part of the Maintenance team. Allen Svennevik, who has been a part of the Tuscarora family since he first served on summer staff in 1985, has transitioned into the role. He is excited to cook for you!

I ask for your prayers for the staff, for successful programs, for safety for all of our guests, and most importantly for the transformative work of Christ in the lives of people while they visit Tuscarora.

I hope you plan to visit us soon!

Brian Abrahamsen
Executive Director

I am a child of God - Sabrina Rodriguez

Tuscarora

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Sabrina Rodriguez

Children’s Ministry Coordinator, Hillside Lutheran Brethren Church

When I first came to Tuscarora, it was for winter weekend with the Hillside Lutheran Brethren youth group in the winter of my senior year of High School. I was teenager, struggling with the difficulties that come with that time in your life. What I thought would be a cool weekend away hanging out with my friends was the beginning of a journey discovering who I am as a child of God and what He had planned for me to do. The plans He already had in motion for my life in ministry not only at Tuscarora, but in my home church. 

That weekend spent at Tuscarora taught me a life-changing truth. The truth that we are all sinners, and that a very perfect man was sent down, to live a very perfect life, and die the ultimate death, for those very imperfect ones. A passion was started in me where I wanted to tell other people the same thing, but not just any people, a small, silly, rambunctious type of people. 

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I started volunteering as a youth leader at Hillside Church and those who believed in the ministry of Tuscarora encouraged me to be a Junior Week counselor. There are many things in this life that I am unsure of but something I am certain of is the love of God that is felt in the auditorium at Junior Week. Standing in the Senum Thompson Center listening to children sing, “I am a child of God,” is enough to take your breath away.

I spent five summers with Junior Week before I realized that Children’s Ministry will be a permanent part of my life. 

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Hindsight is a beautiful thing. The beauty of getting older is being able to see our past experiences and the effect it has made in our present lives. I never could have imagined the chain reaction that would occur after that first winter weekend experience. 

I was ministered to by 5 youth leaders at Hillside Youth Group. Out of those 5 youth leaders, 4 of them attended events at Tuscarora throughout their youth and upbringing. Out of those 4, 3 were also ministered by a counselor at Junior week. Continuing on, 2 of those individuals were also ministered to by a counselor. I was able to trace back 4 generations of individuals who dedicated and devoted their time to children that became adults, that poured into my life.

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Because of the counseling and ministry I received at Tuscarora, my life was touched. Now, I am the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Hillside Lutheran Brethren Church. I get the ability to minister to kids, and hopefully bring those kids to Tuscarora as well. I pray that one day those same children will choose to spread the gospel message in the future. Tuscarora is more that just a retreat, it is a place of rest, a place to be met right where you are, and a place where the work for the Kingdom is done. 


To register your child for Junior Week, click here. To support our scholarship fund and make camp possible for someone in need this summer, click here!

Hoop, Hoop, HOORAY!

Tuscarora

Here you can see the circus tent, with the crane in the background to construct the new building.

In the initial days of Tuscarora’s ministry nearly 50 years ago, the site where the gymnasium stands was very different. At the purchase of the grounds in 1971, there was no meeting location large enough to hold all of the guests together, and a circus tent was constructed temporarily on the site where the gymnasium sits today. It is hard to imagine the changes that would take place on this spot thanks to the incredible testimony of God’s providence and the faith of those who support this ministry.

In 1975 Olav B. Olsen began construction of a multipurpose Chapel/Gymnasium that would eventually carry his name. At the time of its dedication Olsen wished for all the recognition to go to God, refusing to be recognized for his contribution in building the facility. The word’s “To God be the Glory” were painted above the main entrance where they remain today.

 
 

During the next 30 years this building hosted Christmas and summer concerts, conventions, retreat meetings, and sports facilities. Since the Senum Thompson Center was built in 2002, the Olsen Activity Center has found a second life as a gymnasium.

As the years went on and a future was being decided for this special place, the building began to show its age. With an original cement floor that needed more than another coat of paint, a dark color scheme on the walls and ceiling, peeling sound insulation, and an unused stage the time had come for some significant improvements.

 
 

After being repainted for the last time in 2017, work began to grant this building the makeover it had waited for. First, the back wall that had previously been covered in carpet-like insulation was stripped. When new plywood walls were hung, they were painted in brighter neutral greys. New backboards and a professional cleaning got the gym ready for the summer of 2018, but, it was still far from its final state.

 
 

Despite all the improvements, it soon became obvious that all of the hard work didn’t look very impressive because the cement floor remained. But the cost for a new athletic floor was daunting. As Tuscarora was ready to decide to lay another coat of paint and hope for the best, several loyal donors banded together to cover the cost of the materials for a brand new athletic floor! The still impossible price tag was made possible by a final gift from Brian Garnier of Brian David Flooring who donated his team for a full week to install the material.

When this gift was given, the project moved forward quickly. The stage was removed making room for ping pong tables and fellowship areas. Then, the concrete was prepped for the new flooring and the materials were installed. Brand new hoops were ordered and delivered just days ago for full court basketball and lines were painted to complete the look of the gym.

 
 

Whether this spot held a circus tent, an auditorium, or a gymnasium God’s work here was supported through volunteers and donors. Each time Tuscarora wondered where the resources would come from to continue our ministry, God provided a gift. Without servants who volunteer their time and the loyal donors who support Tuscarora this would not have been possible.

This building has been the location for so many special moments, the home of tournament celebrations and bonding snack breaks, and even at times a quiet place to hear the voice of God. Throughout the last week many staff members and guests have exclaimed, “It looks like a totally new building!” The great news is that it’s still the same wonderful building, with all the same memories and roots, but now it’s ready for the years to come.

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To make more projects like this possible, support the ministry of Tuscarora by making a gift here.

New Facilities, New Programs, New Initiatives

Tuscarora

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What a wonderful time to be at Tuscarora! I truly hope you’ve been able to join us over the last year as we enjoyed a variety of programs, groups new and old, and guests ranging from children, to teens, to families, and everyone in between.

For the past 30 years on staff, whether I was washing dishes in the kitchen as a teenager or serving from the desk of Executive Director, the mission of Tuscarora has remained the same. We strive to provide a place for guests to experience true connection with God without distraction. We are blessed to hear story after story of life changing experiences that have taken place on these grounds and within these buildings.

However, much has changed over those years as well. As Tuscarora continuously strives to meet the needs of each guest you will see new things when you are here - new facilities, new programs, and new initiatives.

As guests are enjoying the Brick House apartment and its beautiful views, we have moved to working on the Brick House itself. Additionally, we have renovated the Inn Rooms into two suites – now the stunning river views can be enjoyed from the incredible interior of the room during the colder months! We continue to work hard to restore the existing buildings to provide the highest quality hospitality.

Entering the second year of two new Tuscarora programs, TUNDRA and a revamped Young Adults Retreat, we are invigorated to see the excitement of returning guests bringing new friends. There are a few projects I can’t share about just yet, but you’ll hear about in the months to come!

Join us for this exciting year ahead. Come away from the distractions of life and grow closer to God. Come and be reminded of why you love Tuscarora, and become excited about where the future will take us.

See you soon!

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#GivingTUSCday - November 27, 2018

Tuscarora

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Did you know that November 27th was a great day for Tuscarora? Yes, it was Giving Tuesday, but on our grounds it was Giving TUSCday. It was a day for the Tuscarora family to come together and achieve two very lofty goals.

With two matching gifts from a generous donor we challenged our supporters to raise $15,000 from 150 people. Little did we know that by the end of the day we would have far surpassed those goals!

We received $24,199 from 187 donors. With our matching gifts that totals $54,199.

Because of your overwhelming support, lives will continue to be touched through rest, relaxation, and refreshment. Guests will continue to step away from the distractions of life to experience true connection with God.

Because of you, work will continue to be done on our facilities to ensure we can provide a second home to every heart that needs it. Because of you, this summer students who can't afford Junior Week and Teen Week will get to experience hearing the gospel - many for the first time!

Because of you, the future of Tuscarora is being built today.

Below, watch the stories of Herb Jacobsen, Sabrina Rodriguez, and Paul and Rachel DiQuattro who believe in Tuscarora.


If you missed Giving Tuesday and want to support Tuscarora we can still use your help! Visit tuscarora.org/giving to learn more!