Pecometh 70th Anniversary Celebration

FriendsAndFamilyCampCelebrate 70 years of God-inspired, life-changing experiences at Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries in Centreville, MD on Saturday, July 30 from 9am to 9pm. There will be fun activities for campers of all ages, a celebration reception (complete with cake!), and Pecometh’s signature event, a Galilean worship service, held that evening.

This event will occur during their Friends & Family Weekend, which runs from July 29-31.

For details on cost and more, call 410-556-6900 or visit them online at http://www.pecometh.org/70th-anniversary.

Team Pecometh Seeks Support for Baltimore Running Festival

“Help support Team Pecometh’s 10 runners in this year’s Baltimore Running Festival on Saturday, October 18. You can donate online today, track their progress, or sponsor a runner. All money raised goes directly to supporting Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries.

Go to http://pecometh.org/team-pecometh/.

For more information, contact Executive Director Jack Shitama by phone, 410-556-6900 ext 101, or email,jack@pecometh.org.”

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Pecometh’s Sustainable Garden

For the past two years, something has been growing in the middle of Camp Pecometh, located in Centreville, Maryland: namely, a 1.5 acre sustainable garden. This all came about almost two years ago when new chef Chris Shultz proposed the idea to Pecometh management of starting a sustainable garden. He also suggested that his brother Matt, a horticulturalist who works in tech services for an agronomic products supplier, be allowed to contribute to the project. An agreement was made, and the rest, as they say, is history.

New Pecometh volunteer Michael H. McGrath, AICP, also contributed to the beginnings of the garden. From 1983 to June 2011, McGrath managed the work of the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation and the Planning Section in the Delaware Department of Agriculture, where he led the Department’s efforts in statewide land use planning and agricultural development. He used this knowledge when his daughter Joy approached him about starting a new student garden project at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware. The school has a strong history, going back to the 1930s, of involving students in producing food for the school. In 2003, Mike and his daughter revived the program with a small garden which grew over a two year period into two acres. Since his recent retirement, he has passed on his knowledge to the next generation of students through the Penn Farm project, a collaboration with students from William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware. Pecometh management knew that they needed Mike’s expertise when starting the sustainable garden, and the results have been well worth it.

Chris’ brother, Matt, was very beneficial to the project in adding insects to increase the ecological diversity of the garden. Three weeks ago, lace wing insects were released for generalist control of soft bodied insects. These insects are nicknamed Aphid Lions because they have two large mandibles (mouthparts) that they grab aphids (small sap-sucking insects) with and take out the inside portion. Also, three different types of parasitic wasps were released into the garden. These wasps attack aphids. Finally, Orius insects, those that feed on other pests like thrips, were introduced into the garden’s habitat. The beneficial insects were produced and donated by Syngenta Bio-Line, an international leader in this cutting-edge approach to eliminating the use of harmful chemicals. Matt also secured significant donations from his own employer, Harrell’s, Inc. Donations have included nutrients, fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides, all of which are certified for use in organic gardening.

The primary use of the garden’s bounty is to supply the dining operation for Pecometh’s Riverview Retreat Center (RRC). This means fresh, local produce for the buffet meals served to adult retreats, meetings and conferences at the RRC. In addition, a large amount of surplus produce has resulted from the hard work that has gone into the garden. Chef Chris has been donating the fruits and vegetables to local shelters and food banks, including an organization that helps down-and-out men in Elkton. Donations have also been made recently to Centreville United Methodist Church in Centreville, Maryland, and other establishments. Chris adds, “We’ve donated 10 cases of lettuce, and there’s 3 pounds to a case.” Chris is also excited about the crop this year, and how it helps others. “We’ve grown tomatoes, cucumbers, beans… this fall, we’ll plant pumpkins. The garden also helps to inspire our campers and guests to start gardens of their own.”

You can be a part of this effort by attending Pecometh’s 2nd annual Farm to Table Dinner where you’ll hear more from Chef Chris himself. The dinner will be held on Sunday July 27 at 4:30pm. Seating is limited so make sure to purchase your tickets early by calling Pecometh Camp and Retreat Ministries at 410-556-6900 or visiting them online at pecometh.org.

Pecometh Grows Oyster Babies

Pecometh Camp and Retreat Ministries, located in Centreville, Maryland, recently made an impact on the nearby environment, both with the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay and on the local oyster population.

oyster babies 2Last summer, an associate from the Chester River Association suggested that the camp might want to be involved with the Marylanders Grow Oysters program. Why oysters? They play a vital role in helping to strengthen the life of the Bay by feeding on plankton and filtering it out of the water. It’s just like a filtration system for the water that comes from your tap at home.

The Pecometh team jumped at the chance, and knew it could definitely be an opportunity they could share with guests, school groups and also the day campers that attend their “Schools Out, We’re In” program during the school year. Soon after, four cages of “spat on shell” (baby/larval oysters attached to recycled oyster shells) were “adopted”.

In October 2013, the day campers did experiments in which they observed turbidity (how cloudy the water was due to particles of dirt and other matter in the water). Megan Shitama, Retreat Programs Coordinator, with Pecometh commented that it was a great “hands-on thing to do with the kids.”

After nine long months, in May of this year, the spat, now growing oysters, were placed in a new home in Langford Bay, at the southern end of the Chester River. It will take about three years for them to grow to “market” size.

This recent effort shows us that we can all take time to improve the quality of our rivers and streams, and ultimately, the life of the Chesapeake Bay. The Pecometh team will also keep the public updated on the progress of the oysters as they continue to thrive in their new habitat. For more on what’s happening at Pecometh Camp and Retreat Ministries, call 410-410-556-6900 or visit them online at pecometh.org.

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