Letters From Camp

Clifton Eshbach

The Rev. Clifton D. Eshbach has been named the interim Director of Camp Nawakwa. A native of Berks County, PA, Pastor Eshbach embarked on a diverse professional journey before answering his call to ordained ministry. After graduating from Conrad Weiser High School in 1973, he pursued an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Penn State University’s Capital Campus, Middletown, PA. He worked as a radio broadcaster and later as a television news journalist for WLYH-TV from 1974 to 1991. Transitioning to the nonprofit sector, he served as Campaign/Communications Director for the United Way of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, from 1991 to 1996. In 2000, he graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and was ordained by Bishop Guy Edmiston, beginning his pastoral ministry at Flohr’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, McKnightstown. He also served at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, both in Lancaster, and as an assistant to Bishop B. Penrose Hoover.

Alongside his pastoral duties, Pastor Eshbach has been deeply involved in Lutheran outdoor ministries, serving on the board of directors of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania and directing Camp Nawakwa during his seminary years. He has also been active in global outreach, particularly in the Konde Diocese in Tanzania. In his personal life, Pastor Eshbach finds relaxation and enjoyment in outdoor activities, reading, music, gardening, and spending time with his family. He has been married to Barbara Ellen (Maloney) Eshbach since 2003, and together they have four adult sons and two granddaughters.

Welcome back Cliff!

Lesli WilloughbyAt the end of February, Nawakwa will say goodbye to Lesli Willoughby as Director. Lesli has decided to pursue other career goals at this point in her life. We thank Lesli for her ministry leadership at Nawakwa. May God continue to bless Lesli in the future.

Campership Request

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A mother sent this note along with her daughter’s camper survey after her week at camp last summer.

“Jenny is already talking about going to camp next summer. I only hope and pray that Campership help will be available again to help us manage the cost of camp.”

Her comment caught my attention. I was thankful that Campership help was available so that Jenny was able to attend camp despite her family’s financial hardship. I was also struck by her mother’s sincere and hopeful statement about Jenny attending camp this summer. Finally, I was confident her mother’s hopes would be realized again thanks to generous Campership donors. I’m pleased to report that, yes, Jenny will be attending camp again this summer thanks to again receiving the needed Campership help.

Jenny is one of many of children each summer who are able to come to camp thanks to our Campership program. They experience a week of Christ-centered camp because of the generosity of caring donors who faithfully give Campership gifts to support the ministries at Kirchenwald and Nawakwa.

We are now receiving registrations at Kirchenwald and Nawakwa for this summer, some coming with requests for financial help. Some parents and pastors call to see if they should even bother to send the registration because they’re uncertain if assistance will be available. When I get those calls, I am pleased to tell them, “Yes, send in the registration with the request for Campership assistance,” trusting that the generosity of folks like you will provide the gifts needed.

Last year more than $23,000 in Camperships were provided. I expect that we may need more than that to meet this year’s requests.

Please consider a making Campership gift now, as the start of camp nears. A gift of $495 will pay for a full week for a child, a gift of $275 covers half a week, and a gift of $82 pays for one full day. Of course, any amount you send will help if you send it soon so that I can continue to be confident in responding to every request.

I’m looking forward to summer and to your Campership donation so that every child who wants to come to camp will be able to, thanks to many generous gifts.

Michael Youse
Executive Director

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Youse Honored by Seminary

Celebrating Pastor Conrad B. Youse’s Lifetime Ministry Award are Mike Youse, his son and current Executive Director of LCC; Sister Marianne Brock, former director of Camp Nawakwa; Chad Hershberger, Executive Director of Camp Mount Luther; Rev. Conrad B. Youse; Rev. Cliff Eshbach, who nominated Youse and is a former Nawakwa director; Winnie Youse, wife of Conrad; and grandchildren Jon Youse and Kirsten Youse Hyatt.

On Wednesday April 26, at a reception which closed the annual Spring Convocation at the Gettysburg Campus of United Lutheran Seminary, the seminary Alumni Association honored The Rev. Conrad B. Youse, retired Administrator of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania, with the association award for Celebrated Lifetime Ministry.

Pastor Youse was honored for his career as a leader and innovator in outdoor ministry, for the campers, staff and volunteers he influenced and for his example of service in the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament.

In making the award, the alumni association noted that his many nomination references cited, “his passion for teaching younger generations about the beauty and the wonder of God’s great outdoors. While he certainly had visions for the outdoor ministry, he also encouraged others to develop and share their own visions for this important ministry of God’s church.”

Pastor Youse served as Administrator of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania from 1977 to his retirement in 2000. In his “retirement” from 2000 through January 2023 he served as the site and facilities maintenance manager for Camp Kirchenwald. He served as camp director at Camp Kirchenwald from 1969-1976 while also serving as pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Lebanon, PA and at Trinity Lutheran Church, Manheim, from 1963-1977.  2023 marks the 60th anniversary of his ordination. Conrad’s wife, Winnie, worked alongside him from 1969-2022 as Kirchenwald’s Craft Director and Summer Office Manager.

-Rev. Cliff Eshbach, former Nawakwa director

Lesli WilloughbyLesli Willoughby graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with associate degrees in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts. She has held various roles at WellSpan Health, including Dining Services Supervisor and Manager of Gift Shop Operations. She most recently worked as a policy holder services representative for Basile Insurance Agency, LLC.

Lesli is married to Lori and they have four children – Laura, Cody, Robert, and Sarah – as well as five grandchildren and three dogs named Quinn, Luna, and Nala. She resides in York, PA, and attends Advent Lutheran Church where she serves as the Sr High Youth Director.

Outside of work and church, Lesli enjoys hobbies such as bowling, hiking, camping, and spending time with her family. As a child, she attended Nawakwa from 3rd grade through 12th grade and also cooked for the Lutheran Youth Organization retreats for many years in the Nawakwa kitchen.

Shively FamilyAt the end of November, Nawakwa said goodbye to Mindy Shively as Director. Mindy has decided to pursue other career goals at this point in her life. May God continue to bless Mindy and the Shively family in the future.

Shively FamilyMindy’s experience at Nawakwa as a camper and as a staff member in the early 2000s were deeply formational for both her life and her faith. The foundation she built at camp developed into a decision to attend seminary, where a deep passion for outdoor ministry, environmental care, and community was strengthened. During seminary, Mindy did her internship at The Wittel Farm Growing Project, which gave her family the amazing opportunity to spend the entire summer at Kirchenwald. Mindy brings this deep love for outdoor ministry into her vision for the future of Nawakwa, as well as her recent experience as Christian Education Coordinator at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Abbottstown. Mindy met her husband Keith at camp, and they were married at Fischer Chapel. They now have three daughters: Norah (11), Rory (9), and Sybil (almost 8). Their two Irish Setters, Delilah and Sully, can’t wait to be full-time camp dogs. Mindy is honored to join the Lutheran Camping Corporation staff as the Director of Nawakwa, and is humbled at the opportunity to steward Nawakwa into the future so that the gift of camp can continue to be shared with others.


Charitable Giving Tax Break for DonorsFederal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act Includes Charitable Giving Tax Break for Donors
The CARES Act includes added financial incentive for community members who want to make donations in support of local efforts to combat the near- and long-term effects of the pandemic on our community. A universal tax break for charitable donations was included in the stimulus package and will go into effect for the 2020 tax year.

  • Donors who take the standard deduction may also take an “above-the-line” deduction for up to $300 in charitable donations given in 2020. This effectively allows a limited charitable deduction to taxpayers claiming the standard deduction. For example, if you take the standard deduction and give $300 to charity, you will get a $300 tax break in addition to the standard deduction.
  • For donors who itemize deductions, the limit on charitable deductions – generally 60% of modified adjusted gross income – doesn’t apply to qualifying cash contributions to public charities in 2020; instead the CARES Act allows taxpayers to claim a tax deduction of up to 100% of your Adjusted Gross Income for contributions to qualifying charities.
  • For corporate donors, the limitation on charitable deductions, which is generally 10% of modified taxable income, doesn’t apply to qualifying contributions made in 2020. The new law temporarily lifts the limit from 10% to 25% of modified taxable income for 2020 filings.
  • What about IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD)?  The CARES Act did not change the rules around the QCD, which allows individuals over 70½ years old to donate up to $100,000 in IRA assets directly to charity annually, without taking the distribution into taxable income. However, remember that under the CARES Act an individual can elect to deduct 100 percent of their AGI for cash charitable contributions. This effectively affords individuals over 59½ years old the benefits similar to a QCD; they can take a cash distribution from their IRA, contribute the cash to charity, and may completely offset tax attributable to the distribution by taking a charitable deduction in an amount up to 100 percent of their AGI for the tax year. If you’re planning a large donation in 2020, this may be a smart strategy as long as you are between the ages of 59½ and 70½ and are not dependent on existing retirement funds.

Additional Info: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-the-cares-act-changes-deducting-charitable-contributions

Please consult your accountant or tax preparer for more information about these changes, and how they can help you help others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Devotions are an important part of our faith journeys and are practiced daily at camp. For this devotional, gather your family (outside, if possible). Read through the text while looking up at nearby tree branches. Close your time with the suggested prayer.

Fall LeavesBefore calendars, humans marked the passage of time by the cycles they observed in nature. The sun rises and sets. Temperatures grow colder, then warmer, then colder again. Around this time every year, trees shine with vibrant reds, oranges, and golds. We look forward to this beautiful fall foliage each autumn. At camp, we host a day for everyone to walk the grounds and marvel at God’s artistic handiwork.

Like many things in God’s creation that captivate us, the science behind our observations is equally fascinating. We talk about the leaves changing colors, but those words are misleading. You may recall learning that trees produce their own food through photosynthesis. Chlorophyll, an essential element to the photosynthesis process, is what gives leaves their green color. As photosynthesis slows in the fall, the chlorophyll breaks down and exits the leaves, taking the green pigmentation with it. It’s only after this departure that the red, orange and yellow colors are revealed. So it is not that leaves are at one time, fully green, and at another, fully red. In truth, for most of their time on the tree, the leaves are both green and red, as both pigments are present.

Martin Luther famously described Christians as simultaneously sinner and saint. Both elements are fully present in us at all times. We cannot escape our sin, and yet we are constantly being forgiven and made clean through God’s grace. As we journey through the fall foliage season, take time to reflect on those moments when one part of this duality in you shone more brightly than the other. Appreciate the beautiful gift that is God’s love, bringing balance to all His creation, including you.

Loving God, Your hands have created all that we know. The land, the oceans, and all the plants and creatures that inhabit the earth. You made the world and it was good. Yet we, Your children, are unable to fulfill Your perfect desire for us. Our sin has broken us. But You love us still. And through the grace of Jesus Christ, we are made new – continually healed and forgiven of our selfish ways. We give You thanks and ask for inspiration to see the majesty of Your creation in all the little miracles of the season. Amen.

Sister Marianne Brock

Sister Marianne Brock

In our spring newsletter, we shared a letter from Sister Marianne Brock announcing her resignation from her work at the LCC to begin a new role as the Regional Gift Planner for The ELCA Foundation in partnership with Lutheran agencies, organizations and the synods of Allegheny, Lower Susquehanna, and Upper Susquehanna. In this role, Marianne will have opportunities to work with the LCC in the areas of planned giving and development.

The motto of the ELCA Foundation is “Your Passion.  Your plan. Your gift to the future.”  Marianne knows that the call to perform God’s work has been faithfully heeded for many years by the campers, staff, and donors of the LCC.  She has been called to help direct financial giving that it may produce the most fruit for the kingdom of God and those ministries God has created.

It is estimated that only 30 percent of Lutherans have wills, and those who do, may not have had ample opportunity to consider a comprehensive approach to leaving a legacy which would include their congregation and/or ministries they love.  For both of those reasons, she is available, free of charge, to assist in estate planning. Do you want to make a current gift to the LCC but are unsure how much, which resources to use, or when is the best time to make the gift to benefit from tax breaks?  She will be able to help.

Sister Marianne is a rostered deacon in the ELCA and a member of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA, thus the title, “Sister.” She is a 2013 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and her undergraduate work was completed at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA.

Marianne has interests in PA Lutheran history, travel in the Holy Land, and collecting the stories of the people she encounters. She enjoys running and bicycling, dabbles in cooking and bread baking, and loves the opportunity to visit a winery or brewery. Marianne and her husband, The Rev. John Brock, reside in Mechanicsburg, PA. They have two adult sons, and two tremendous dogs.

It’s important to her that one’s legacy is a reflection of the love and priorities of one’s life.  If you want to know more, call 717-574-9066 or e-mail her at Marianne.Brock@elca.org.