Teen Esther Campbell collects cans to sponsor church camp fees

By Ciara Conley


Campbell sits beside some of the cans she recycled in hopes of sending kids to Mt. Hope Bible Camp.

By Ciara Conley


Fifteen year old Esther Campbell is collecting cans in hopes of sending 16 children to Mt. Hope Bible Camp this summer.

Mt. Hope Bible Camp began with just 33 acres of land on Crabtree Cemetery Road donated by Reverend Souter Hooper to the Ohio Bible Conference in 1969. Under the direction of Missionaries Dale and Belva Beery, the site was developed into a campground for Christian summer camps.

In 1991, the Beery’s retired from their work at Mt. Hope and passed the torch to Jody Stevens. Stevens married Beth Richardson that same summer and together they served as the camp missionaries for 21 years. In 2011, the Stevens’ retired from their work, and Brett and Sara Wilson have served as the directors since that time. Today, the camp serves over 500 children each summer.

Campbell has been attending the camp for four years and has worked at the camp for the past three summers. Her first year, she worked in the kitchen and now serves as a Junior cabin leader.

Campbell said she felt drawn to assist with the ministry after attending and enjoying camp for all these years. She hopes to sponsor 16 campers’ registration fees since she will turn 16 this July.

“God had just kind of laid it on my heart to do this, with turning 16, I wanted to sponsor 16 campers. I started this project with cans and I realized that cans don’t bring that much money per pound, but throughout this whole project I’ve just thought, ‘God has this, he can make this possible,’” said Campbell.

Campbell said that while the collecting has gone well, there’s still a ways to go until she reaches her goal. As of now, she has only collected $20 worth but she has a 14-foot trailer stacked with recycling waiting to be taken in. The collecting has even turned into a family affair, Campbell and her mother go to pick up the cans once they’re contacted, while her father helps by taking the cans to be turned in.

“I still have faith that we can reach our goal; it’s certainly possible,” Campbell explained. Each registration fee costs $60. To reach her goal, Campbell will have to raise $960.

“Esther and her mom brought the project up to me at during our weekend camp. To me, someone her age taking the initiative to make sure other kids can come to camp is huge. She is willing to do all the work, collecting the cans, recycle them, again, to me, that’s amazing,” said Director Brett Wilson. “I think this stems from her experience at camp and loving camp and wanting others to experience it. We hope that others follow this same pattern, that their life is changed so much that they want to make sure others experience the same thing. This is what we hope every camper leaves with this, this heart and love for other people.”

Campbell has a Facebook page, “Esther’s Recycling Project,” where members of the community can reach out to her and message the page if they have cans that need to be collected. Campbell will be collecting until the first week of June.

The first group of campers, ages 15 through graduating seniors, will attend from June 19-24. The next group, ages 13-14, will attend June 26- July 1, while ages 11-12 head to camp July 3-8. Ages 6-7 can attend July 11-13, followed by those ages 8-9 on July 17-22. The last group, which range from ages 10-11, will attend July 24-29. If you or someone you know has a child who would like to attend camp, online registration forms can be found by visiting www.mthopebiblecamp.com.

According to Campbell, monetary donations are also acceptable and checks can be mailed to Mt. Hope Bible Camp, 3162 Mt. Hope Rd, Otway, OH, 45657. If you would like to donate just write, “Esther’s Recycling Project” in the memo line so the donation can be counted towards the goal.

“If I could change one thing, it would be going to Mt. Hope sooner,” said Campbell. “I didn’t go until I was 11 or 12. I love it there. It’s full of other kids who want to worship God along with the cabin leaders. It’s a great atmosphere. I love how it’s family oriented. If you want to talk to someone about something, there’s always someone there. I love the whole program; they have activities and lots of different things to do, and it’s just an awesome experience that I would totally recommend to anyone.”

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Mt. Hope Bible Camp, you can find them on Facebook by searching, “Mt. Hope Bible Camp,” by visiting their website, www.mthopebiblecamp.com or by calling 740-372-6422.

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.