The name “Aldersgate” has it has an important place in the tradition of the Methodist Church — it is the name of the place in London where, in 1738, John Wesley had a faith-transforming experience that led to his development of the Methodist tradition.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALDERSGATE CAMP & RETREAT CENTER
1944 – The land Aldersgate sits on was purchased from the Grace Episcopal Church in Providence, RI.
1945 – First camp season kicked off!
1947 – Campers chose the name ALDERSGATE. Prior to summer 1947, Aldersgate was just called “Methodist Camp.”
1951 – Junior and Senior High camps only
1952 – Elementary camp added
1953 – Retreat Center dedicated
1957 – “Warm” showers were proposed but determined to be too expensive and campers continued to take cold showers!
1960s – 22 acres purchased from the adjacent Cook Property.
1964 – Original farmhouse destroyed in a fire.
1968 – The 1953 Retreat Center renovated to become a conference-style, year-round facility. New sleeping and cooking areas were added and programs could be held at Aldersgate during the winter as well.
1972 – First part-time Resident Director, Rev. Ken Stiegler, received half-time appointment to Camp Aldersgate.
1973 – Rev. Ken Stiegler became Aldersgate’s first full time Director.
1976 – Gary & Jean Meddaugh became Aldersgate’s Co-Directors.
1976 – Living Arts started by Jean Meddaugh & Rev. Sam Johnson. (This camp still runs today!)
1983 – Solar bathhouse constructed.
1983 – Sandra Kelley became Aldersgate’s Director.
1984 – Sandra Kelley became the Treasurer of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and Rev. Jefferey Thomas is name Aldersgate’s new Executive Director.
1985 – Group initiatives, low ropes, and high ropes courses are added to the camp programming to enhance team building, communication, and problem-solving skills.
1986 – Camp Hope, for children with cancer and their siblings, begins. Camp Hope will be enormously successful serving children in partnership with the American Cancer Society for over 25 years.
1987 – The Dining Hall was renovated, expanded and upgraded. Les & Lois Langhans became the volunteer contractors, designing changes, ordering materials, supervising the carpenter, and working on the project.
1988 – Basketball court erected.
1990s – Numerous site improvements were made including new platforms for the Hogans, new shelters constructed in the Volunteer Village area, Waterfront Bathhouse renovated, and Staff Bathhouse renovated.
1999 – Camp Celiac, a camping experience for children and youth with Celiac Disease began as a completely gluten-free
environment, where campers could enjoy camp without concern for their safety. This was the second gluten-free camp in the country.
2001 – Deck donated to Camp Hope/Camp Aldersgate and constructed outside the Great Hall in the Retreat Center.
2006 – Jenn Becker Carpenter becomes Executive Director and Lee Carpenter becomes the Associate Director.
2007 – LifeMime begins. Jenn Carpenter writes this dramatic presentation annually, reflecting the life of Christ and contemporary issues through music and mime.
2009 – GaGa Court built during Alumni Weekend. Labyrinth built by Living Arts campers, volunteers, and staff near Uncle Don’s Chapel.
2010 – New 200-seat amphitheater built across from the Health Lodge, by Living Arts campers, volunteers, and staff.
2013 – Global Village program introduced focusing on our how diversity should be explored and celebrated as well as education about global issues and how we can address them individually and in our communities.
2015 – All campers experienced new Social Justice curriculum. Campers experienced different scenarios in a “justice walk” including discrimination in Roman times, the Civil Rights movement, Black Lives Matter, and making peace non-violently.
2017 – Adopt-An-Acre Campaign kicks off to fund the purchase of the Cook Property.
2017 – John Michael Spelman named Interim Executive Director.