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Transforming Community
As an organization promoting faith, education and renewal in God's creation, we've been discerning ways to embody our 2019 theme of Transforming Community beyond Summer Camp. We are focusing on two primary initiatives: Sustainability and Reclaiming History. Learn more below:
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Sustainability Plan

As an organization promoting faith, education, and renewal in God's creation, we have been discerning how to make Caroline Furnace a more environmentally sustainable organization. It is our aim to continue seeking ways to better serve the Lord and our communities in ways that are feasible for our staff, meaningful to our retreat groups, and educational to our campers and students. 

Some of our current practices include waste reduction, property and facility improvements, and "unlittering." Goals for growth in 2019 include further waste reduction through composting and limiting single use plastics, group recycling and education in all of our facilities, more local sourcing of foods and camp store items, and improved energy efficiency. Our long range goals include incorporating pollinator gardens and foodscaping, as well as adding a large garden to the field by the Farmhouse.

Read our full Sustainability Plan:


We picked up a donated EnviroLoo commercial-sized composting toilet, to be installed in the Spring Field during Spring Work Weekend. 

Spring Work Weekend:

1. The EnviroLoo was installed

2. A patio was built by the Farmhouse and will include foodscaping and pollinator spaces upon completion

3. A cultivator attachment for the tractor was donated, which will be used to meet our long-term goal of adding a large      garden to the Main Field. 

4. The herb garden by the Lodge was cleaned out and prepped for planting.

We are continuing to transition to bulk containers of yogurt, cream cheese, butter, jams, and other condiments. Apples are being sourced locally from Winchester (canned for now, but fresh as available).

Planting time! We've added onions, tomatoes, and some additional herbs to our various raised beds.

We continue to take food scraps to a local Mennonite family for their chickens, since keeping our black bears away from compost is an ongoing challenge. We also gave them several styrofoam coolers to use in construction of a new icehouse - both donated and leftover from MMT100.

The graywater handwashing station has been set up by the EnviroLoo in the Spring Field. Water is sourced from Passage Creek, just a few yards away.

We've been sharing sustainability with our campers all summer! This includes Meatless Monday, saving non-animal-based food waste for our chicken friends, and turning off lights when not in use. We have also started using water bottles instead of cups at meals, which eliminates 8-10 dishwasher runs per day. (Don't worry, we sanitize everyone's bottle at Tuesday lunch to avoid funk.)

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Civil War Pig Iron Furnace Shenandoah Valley Massanutten Mountains Shenandoah River Harpers Ferry Tredegar Iron Works industrial history education
Reclaiming History

We recognize that the rich history and former lives of this place come with a price of settlement, violence, slavery, and hardship. As a privately owned iron furnace in the 1800s, the original Caroline Furnace operated on slave labor. Prior to that, this fertile land was colonized by Europeans and taken from the Native Americans who called it home.

Rather than hiding or ignoring the past, let's explore it and learn from it. We do this not to create division, but as a reminder that we all fall short of the glory of God. Santayana and Churchill claimed that history forgotten is history repeated; let's remember those who came before us and use their stories as a reminder to love one another as Jesus taught us. 

Some passionate individuals have helped us uncover parts of our story. We are working to piece together the story more thoroughly so we can share it. Our hope is to reclaim a historic 19th century cemetery on property and verify the families and slaves who are buried here. As part of this project, we'll be working closely with our local Ruritan Club and other volunteers to create a memorial path that includes the cemetery. 

Have a question, concern, suggestion, comment or request? We'd love to hear from you!

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