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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Help Casowasco overcome obstacle of damaging flood

    July 12, 2021 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    On Monday July 12 at 2:20 a.m., during heavy rain, David Weber, the Site Director at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center received a call from a neighbor alerting him that there will likely be severe flooding. At 6 a.m., David went around the site and noticed that there was extensive damage from the substantial rain.

    He said, “We have roof damage, flooding damage, vehicle damage, but praise God, no people damage.”

    Hundreds of rocks and boulders fell from atop the hill all through the camp site. Four parts of the road were completely washed away; Seven to 10 culverts were impacted or washed away; several vehicles were flooded; boats were damaged; and the swimming area shoreline eroded away. The Lakeview Chapel, Galilee Lodge, Bethany Lodge, The Emmaus Commons, and the office building were all flooded with 1-4 inches of water.

    This natural disaster took place during the first night of this week’s “Lakeside” overnight camp with dozens of 7-17-year-olds onsite.

    David said, “Every camper is safe; all camping activities (with the exception of swimming in the lake) is still happening and everyone is still having a great time.”

    David mentioned this as a group of children were fishing and another group was playing games, all smiles.

    Upper New York Conference Director of Connectional Ministries and Executive Assistant to the Bishop, Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, arrived at Casowasco in the morning to assess the damage.

    He said, “The good news is that nobody was hurt. The bad news is that there is a lot of damage. I was surprised by how bad the road was. There were huge rocks all over the place and large pieces of pavement were ripped out of the ground, so it was certainly a significant storm with a lot of force.”

    David added, “The dining facilities were not impacted so food service is still happening.”

    The staff has incredibly impressed David. He said, “The summer staff and year-round staff have amazingly come together as a strong, healthy team. The training we did earlier this summer has paid off. They are keeping the main thing the main thing…showing God’s love through everything we do.”

    Bill added, “I was happy to see the campers having a great time doing normal camping activities and was very impressed by the staff. Some were leading activities with the kids while others were shoveling up muck.”

    Casowasco is currently asking for prayer, financial help, and ERT-certified volunteers.

    All major roadways have been cleared so that volunteers can get there safely. The Upper New York Conference Director of Missional Engagement, Mike Block, is organizing the team of volunteers. He can be contacted on his cellphone at 315-491-0497 or via email at mikeblock@unyumc.org.

    Click here to help financially support the disaster relief efforts at Casowasco. Please be sure to type “Casowasco relief” in the note field. You can also send a check to the Upper New York Conference, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd., Liverpool, NY 13088. Be sure to write “Casowasco relief” in the memo line.”

    Any way that you can help the amazing ministry at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center will be greatly appreciated.

    Bill said, “This storm caused damage that will require a lot of work and will cost a lot to repair and these funds were not in the budget. There is nothing anyone could have done to prepare for such a storm. The Conference has always been very generous in crises like this so I am confident that we will be able to get through this.”

    David said, “We would love the Methodist family to come together in this time of need for this ministry that people love through prayer, financial donations, and volunteering.”

    David can be contacted at DavidWeber@casowasco.org.

    For video footage of the damage and a short message from David, click here


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."