Epworth Forest Chronology
1889 Organization of The Epworth League; gathered almost 10,000 youth
1916 North Indiana Methodist Conference first Institute at Oakwood Park
1921 Option taken on the John Kline Property on Lake Webster for $500
1922 Charter set forth for "The Epworth Forest League Institute of the North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church" (later called The Epworth Forest League Institute Foundation of The Methodist Episcopal Church")
1923 (May 1) Sale of lots at Epworth Forest
1923 (August 30) Full payment made to Mr. Kline for $24,000
1924 (April 9) First Institute Directors meeting at Epworth Forest at Ben Kendall's cottage ("Ken-dale")
1924 Construction and Dedication of Auditorium (1800 guest capacity in pews) and Hotel (300 guest capacity)
1924 First Senior Institute at Epworth Forest Conference Center held with 1.334 youth registered
1924 Dixie Boat begins landing regularly at Epworth Forest
Mid 1920's Formation of the Epworth Forest Lot Owners Association, later to become the Epworth Forest Improvement Association, The Property Owners' Association of Epworth Forest and finally to its current name, The Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association.
1927 First "Megaphone" published (daily youth publication for Institute)
1928 Administration Building and Chapel built
1928 Chief Edgar Moore began Boyville (ministry for junior high boys; Girlville to follow)
1932 Two Institutes
1932 Yo-Pe-Mi-Ca begun (teen mission camp)
1933 Campmeeting became Assembly
1933 New Constitution of Epworth Forest Foundation (Epworth League Institute Foundation of the North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church)
1936 Three Institutes
1939 Methodist Reunion; Epworth League became Methodist Youth Fellowship
1940 Varner Chance became music director for Institutes
1940 WSCS chartered
1941 Six Institutes
1941 Boyville and Girlville merged into Camp Adventure
1943 Pell Lodge built
1944 George Fenstermacher became Executive Secretary
1945 Annual Conference first granted financial support to Epworth Forest
1945 Pell lodge destroyed by fire
1946 Publicity for Camp Adventure concludes: "Special note : Bring one cup of sugar. (The hotel has been cut this year.)"
1947 E.P. Overmyer became Superintendent of Grounds
1947 Main roads turned over to County Highway Department
1948 New Pell Lodge built
1949 Silver Anniversary Celebration
1949 Revised Constitution adopted. Name changes to Epworth Forest Foundation, Inc. (from (Epworth League Institute Foundation of the North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church)
1950 Older Youth Weekend began by this date or earlier
1950 Older Adult Fellowship meetings begun
1950 Channel dug east of Moore Hall
1950 Epworth Forest Foundation donates $200 to a newly formed lake association
1951 Young Adult Weekend begun
1953 Study Committee organized which became the Master Plan Committee
1953 Construction of six two-story cottages begun
1954 New auditorium seats purchased
1954 Streets names assigned
1955 First Epworth Forest Choir School
1957 Master Plan proposals presented to Annual Conference
1957 Remainder of Kline Island purchased for Junior Camp
1957 Forrest Wells became first Associate Executive Secretary
1957 - 1958 new classrooms were attached to Pell Lodge
1958 Construction of six two-story cottages completed
1958 Annual Conference approved $1,000,000 Expansion Fund goal
1958 Road back of Hotel closed
1958 Epworth Hills purchased
1958 Street signs installed
1958 MYF Officer Training week begun
1959 Double View Cottage winterized, first on the grounds
1959 Epworth Forest Foundation Board expanded
1959 Architects employed for Expansion program
1959 Regular Sunday Worship begun at Epworth Forest
1961 Construction of six dorm lodges begun
1961 Sewers laid
1961 "Epworth Forest est 1924" entrance sign replaced by Chuck Hefley
1961 Epworth Heights purchased
1962 First Adventure Camps held at Epworth Heights
1962-63 Construction of Administration Building complex, Cokesbury, Amphitheater, and Pell Lodge Classrooms
1963 First special education camp
1964 Construction of six dorm lodges completed
1965 George Fensteracher retired; Robert Glass became Executive Secretary
1965 Assembly Divided; WSCS School of Christian Mission given a separate week
1966 Christ statue (reproduction of Thorwaldsen's Christ) donated by Mr. & Mrs. V.P. Caldwell of Huntington, IN.
- Swimming pool constructed at Epworth Heights
- Institute curriculum emphasis shifted
- Alfred Edyvean came as drama director
- Mr. and Mrs. George McDermott began service at special education camp
- Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) unite
- Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) reunion.
- Eddie Overmyer honored for 20 years as Executive Director.
- First full-time food service manager.
- New swimming pool at Epworth Forest Heights revolutionized Jr. High Camp Adventure.
- Four classrooms built near Moore Hall (old Boyville) at Epworth Forest.
- Additional classrooms added to Pell Lodge and Pell Lodge's open shelters were enclosed.
- Big improvements made at Kline Island.
- Craft Hall razed.
- Hospital moved and enlarged.
- Cafeteria (in hotel basement) wood paneled and new windows installed.
- Front of auditorium and stage remodeled to support more drama.
- Rev. Robert Glass was Executive Secretary, Board of Education.
- Rev. Chuck Johnson was Associate Executive Secretary, Board of Education.
- Yo-Pe-Mi-Ca becomes Youth in Mission.
- Ten Districts of new Conference involved in summer programming.
- Ad Hoc Committee on Camping plans 1969 summer program.
- Revised structure: Division on Christian Nuture's Section on Camps and Conferences operated 7 campgrounds including Epworth Forest and Epworth Heights.
- Staff realigned - Rev. Charles Johnson named Associate Director of Conference. Council on Ministries for education and camping.
- 1970 Conference approved study of program and facilities (called by the name of the consulting firm: Bone, Britten, and Wright Report).
- Comprehensive statement of philosophy, goals, and purposes requested by Conference.
- Conference approved purchase of 80 acres adjacent to Epworth Heights for $43,000.
- Approved a 10-page statement: "Philosophy for Christian Camps and Conferences for the North Indiana United Methodist Church" as 1970 Conference requested.
- Bone Britten and Wright Study presented to Annual Conference.
- 3,335 in Sr. High Institute was the largest attendance in United Methodism nationwide.
- 6,236 total camping participants 3rd largest in North Central Jurisdiction.
- Properties owned by Epworth Forest Foundation were transferred to the Conference.
- Annual Conference Commission on Camps and Conferences established to be responsible for both program and facilities.
- Institute Long Range Planning Task Force was inaugurated.
- Friends of Epworth Forest meets informally for the first time
- Epworth Forest 50th Anniversary
- Book "Epworth Forest: The First Fifty Years" is published, authored by W.B. Freeland and Orrin Manifold. Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest encouraged and authorized the book and the Epworth Forest Conference Center provided cooperation and support.
- Eddie Overmyer, Executive Director for 26 years, retires.
- "The Fence" went up around the beach area to maintain security and keep outsiders from troubling campers and programs.
- Friends of Epworth Forest founded. Name would later change to Epworth Forest Alumni Association, and finally to Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest.
- John Pruett named Director/Manager of Epworth Forest.
- Purchased 35 acres connecting Epworth Forest with Epworth Hills.
- Grandin Godley named General Camp Manager at $1 per year.
- 3% increased attendance after years of decline.
- Leadership Task Force developed guidelines for certifying counselors and directors.
- Boating moved from lakefront to lagoon.
- Full time employees granted Health Insurance and Pension privileges.
- Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Haynes retired as Camp Adventure Director/Manager after 7 years.
- Bone, Britten, and Wright Report Revised by Commission on Camps and Conferences.
- Cafeteria was remodeled.
- MADD Camp Began: Music, Art, Drama, and Interpretive Dance.
- Epworth Forest scheduled year-round, Epworth Heights from late spring to early fall.
- 15 counselors certified under newly adopted guidelines.
- Alumni and Property Owners began major tree planting to reforest Epworth Forest.
1979 Epworth Forest Choir School celebrates 25th Anniversary.
- Cross on hill behind Auditorium donated by singing group "Hands & Feet"
- Marina built at Epworth Forest.
- North Shore Public Utility connected to North Webster for sewage treatment.
- Camp Adventure new Director/Managers: Jan and Gerry Moser.
- 10 counselors certified; total now 37.
- Swimming pool lighted at Camp Adventure.
- Camp Re-Yo Ad doubled since 1970 beginning; Deaf Camp tripled since 1976 beginning.
- Total of certified counselors = 46, plus 4 camp directors certified.
- Epworth Forest deficit balance: $102,759 in 1976, reduced to $28,651 by 1980, and reduced to $12,105 by 1981.
- Commission on Camps and Conferences reorganized into new Sections and made Interim Report on camping to the 1981 Conference.
- Conference adopted revised philosophy of camping reflecting the "development of Christian faith and discipleship" of the General Goad of Discipleship, Division of Education.
- 6 counselors certified.
- 253 camperships awarded.
- Office built at Camp Adventure, new well dug, and plumbing expanded.
- Final report of Camp Study Task Force completed and adopted by Conference.
- Change name from Special Education Camp to Camp Re-Yo-Ad.
- Summer Sunday Worship averaged 208, summer total of 2,711.
- Epworth Forest trash dump is closed; too much received to maintain it.
- Rev. Chuck Johnson appointed from COM Associate Director to Logansport District Superintendent after serving camp staff for 17 years.
- Attendance figures showed increase.
- Beginning in 1984 all camp programs but Re-Yo-Ad to operate on registration fees.
- Total camp property valued at $5,000,000.
- Emergency noted: need new roofs on 21 buildings at Camp Adventure.
- As of January 1, 1984 all CCC employees became North Indiana Conference employees.
- "The Fence" around the beach is taken down; few lamented its removal.
- George and Martha McDermott retired after leading Re-Yo-Ad 17 years. It had grown from 20 in 1967 to 197 campers in 1983.
- Grandin Godley resigned as General Manager of Camps.
- Epworth Forest Alumni Association changes name to Friends of Epworth Forest.
- 7 counselors certified and 1 camp director. Total now 56 counselors, 7 camp directors.
- Kathy Trotter named 1st Director of Outdoor Ministries, position newly defined and recommended by Camp Study TF.
- Over 1,700 at Institutes and Bible Conference.
- Scope of site managers' work was enlarged to include programming. One result was Jan and Gerry Moser resign from Epworth Forest; Dave Marty named new manager.
- Worship Caravan initiated: 4 days training at Epworth Forest followed by 1 week touring of churches.
- Jeff Pensinger named Director/Manager at Camp Adventure; 1984 deficit $14,170
- 5 certified as counselors.
- Work began on the Development Project Team of the Capital Funding Committee, a "very exhaustive study."
- Bible Conference (124 youth, 21 staff) held at Epworth Forest.
- Finalized and received Master Plan for Camps, Conferences, and Retreats Development Project Team. Presented Master Site Plan to Conference Capital Funds Committee.
- Revised Constitution of Epworth Forest Conference Center approved by Conference.
- Kathy Trotter, Director of Outdoor Ministries, resigned.
- Steve Anderson named new Director of Outdoor Ministries.
- Conference approved "Step into the Future" Capital Funds drive for $6,300,000 for five camps. $3,487,000 targeted for Epworth Forest and Camp Adventure.
- Continued work on Conference-adopted Master Site Plan.
- New soft water system installed at Epworth Forest.
- Brian Scott new Director/Manager at Camp Adventure.
- Grace Nunery and Joyce Smith honored for many years service in deaf camping.
- Mike Bennett named new director of Re-Yo-Ad.
- Fire destroyed Lookout Lodge at Camp Adventure.
- New "Lookout Lodge" and Manager's House under construction at Camp Adventure.
- Elkhart Distinct Work Camp is primary builder of the new Manager's House.
- New "Lookout Lodge" at Camp Adventure dedicated January 12.
- Dave Marty resigns after 7 good years, and in April Keith Vencil becomes new Director of Conference Centers for both Epworth Forest and Oakwood.
- Board of Camps and Conferences restructured: Epworth Forest Board, Oakwood Center Board, and the former sections of Operations & Development and Publicity gathered a new Operations Division of the Board of Camps and Conferences.
- Eddie Overmyer, Executive Director of Epworth Forest for 26 years, died. In his honor the central office building was named "Overmyer Hall."
- "Blue Ribbon Committee" named to consider best models for future Institutes.
- 5 certified as counselors
- First Boat in Worship
- New Board of Camps and Conferences structure is diagrammed in report to Conference.
- "Step Into the Future" Capital Funds money being used for construction projects.
- Steve Anderson resigns as Director of Outdoor Ministries this spring. In summer, Dave Arnold, a former leader in the Board of Camps and Conferences, became the new Director.
- New 1992 structure implemented and refined.
- Fiscal 1992 ended with a small surplus after two years of deficits.
- North Star lodge remodeled
- New sidewalks were built and a restroom was created in two major lodges for the handicapped.
- New Maintenance building built
- Fiscal 1993 ended with small program and operating surplus.
- Racial Equality Action Plan received emphasis.
- 2-3% increase in attendance overall.
- Friends of Epworth Forest changes name to Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest (originally known as Epworth Forest Alumni Association)
- Fiscal 1994 ended with small program and operating surplus.
- Board of Camps and Conferences recommends Capital Funds Building Campaign continue one more year.
- 9% decrease in overall attendance.
- Freeland House Hotel renovations begun through help and support of Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest (FALEF)
- Final report of Capital Funds Campaign showed $40,000 allocated for remodeling Freeland House, Epworth Forest Hotel.
- September 24, 1996 Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest (FALEF) hold campaign dinner at the Fort Wayne Country Club to seek pledges for the renovation of Historic Freeland House Hotel at Epworth Forest.
- Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest (FALEF) undertook major rebuilding of Freeland House. Phase One: a ground-floor addition to the dinning hall plus restrooms.
- At Camp Adventure Lookout Lodge's heating system modified to burn both gas and wood. Air conditioning being installed.
- Two Pell Lodge classrooms insulated.
- Small increase in attendance reported, 2%.
- Board of Camps and Conferences sponsored two listening sessions on racial equality planning in camping.
- Camper data base initiated by the Board of Camps and Conferences to enable tracking of each individual camper.
- Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest built new addition to North end of existing dinning room at Freeland House.
- First Epworth Forest Leadership Group retreat held. Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest brought together members of several groups to examine leadership issues related to Epworth Forest. Those in attendance included members of the Board of Camps and Conference Staff (CBCC), Epworth Forest Conference Center staff (EFCC), Epworth Forest Property Owners Association (EFPOA), Friends/Alumni of Epworth Forest board members (FALEF), North Indiana Conference Trustees (NIC), and the Pier Committee.
- Two more Epworth Forest Leadership Group retreats held.
- Huntington Trinity Cottage rebuilt -- Trinity United Methodist Church, Huntington, IN demolished and rebuilt their church cottage on the same site next to the Cokesbury beach house.
- Summer attendance up 14.66% -- 406 more campers.
- $19,220 awarded in camp scholarships, thanks to Bishop's Christmas offering.
- Brian Scott resigned as Director/Manager at Camp Adventure.
- T. Scott Greene named Director of Marketing and Publicity.
- Vision Task Force to evaluate Board of Camps and Conferences ministries and prepare for the new century.
- www.extremecamp.org became the website address for Board of Camps and Conferences camping program.
- Keith Vencil resigned in November as Epworth Forest Manager.
- New dinning addition to Freeland House used during summer.
- West side of Freeland House, both floors, totally reconstructed: new interior walls, new windows, restroom & shower in every room, new electric service, new plumbing, sprinkler system. Handicapped accessible.
- T. Scott Greene named Director/Manager of Camp Adventure.
- Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association begin strategic planning process.
- Epworth Forest 75th Anniversary
- Summer attendance up over 33% over past two years: 1,000 new campers. Jr. High camping up 45%; Sr. High Institute up 11%; Bible Conference up 44%.
- Shane Hartman named interim manager at Epworth Forest.
- $16,400 awarded in camp scholarships.
- Ethnic participation in camping rises to 3.3% of campers.
- Freeland House Hotel expanded and remodeled; state of the art facilities meet all modern codes for safety and reliability (East side of Freeland House, both floors, being totally restructured: new interior walls, new windows, restroom & shower in every room, new electric service, new plumbing, sprinkler system, and new roof. Reconstructed lobby at entrance deck. Entire building handicapped accessible).
- Board of Camps and Conferences received from Conference permission to solicit funds from churches, individuals, and agencies of the North Indiana Conference for its Camps Maintenance and Improvements from July 1, 1999, until December 31, 2002.
- Book "A Forest Aflame: Seventy-Five Years at Epworth Forest is published, co-authored by John and Joyce Elliott. Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest encouraged and authorized the book and the Epworth Forest Conference Center provided cooperation and support.
- Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest begin strategic planning process.
- North Indiana Conference Trustees convene task force with representatives of Trustees, Board and Camps and Conferences (CBCC), Epworth Forest Property Owner's Association (EFPOA), and the Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest (FALEF) to "develop a common understanding of the current and future use of the Epworth Forest site." Ongoing advisory forum (stakeholder roundtable) established "for conversation and cooperation between CBCC, NIC Trustees, Property Owners, and FALEF."
- Nick Yarde assumes position as Associate Director of Outdoor Ministries for Board of Camps and Conferences
- Freeland House dedication and remodeling celebration -- August 25th.
- Tornado hits North Webster and Epworth Forest
- "Epworth Forest est 1924" sign replaced at main entrance by Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association.
- First Epworth Forest Advisory Leadership Forum held. Stakeholders meet at a roundtable to share information, resolve concerns, and design and implement collaborative leadership strategies which positively impact Epworth Forest.
- First "Boat-In Movie" night sponsored by the Epworth Forest Property Owner's Association with help of the Epworth Forest Conference Center.
- First "Africa, America, the Kingdom of God and Church Renewal" church leader's workshop lead by Rev. John Enright and sponsored by Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest.
- All four camp sites under the Board of Camps and Conferences put together under one ministry named Impact 2818. Administration for all four camps moved to Epworth Forest Conference Center.
- First Spring Clean Up Day sponsored by Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest
- Road signs replaced by the Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association.
- Main entrance pillars repaired and landscaping installed by Epworth Forest Property Owner's Association with help of the Epworth Forest Conference Center.
- Epworth Forest Community (news) Board installed in front of Cokesbury by Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest and the Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association in cooperation with the Epworth Forest Conference Center.
- "Welcome to Epworth Forest - Main Entrance Ahead" sign installed at Epworth Forest's West boundary at Epworth Forest Road and 1st Trail sponsored by the Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association and the Friends and Alumni of Epworth Forest.
- Website launched by Friends and Alumni and Epworth Forest Property Owners' Association of Epworth Forest at epworthforest.com
- Epworth Forest Choir School celebrates 50th Anniversary.
- Community wide fire protection program instituted to add signs to existing fire lanes and install dry fire hydrants. The Tippecanoe Township Fire Department of North Webster worked in conjunction with Epworth Forest Stakeholders on the this project -- Epworth Forest Conference Center (EFCC), Epworth Forest Property Owners Association (EFPOA), Friends/Alumni of Epworth Forest board members (FALEF), and the North Indiana Conference Trustees (NIC).
- October 4, 2008 North Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church (NIC) and South Indiana Conference of the United Methodist (SIC) merge into Indiana Conference of Indiana Conference of the United Methodist (IC)
- June 1, 2009 Cokesbury remodeled and renamed "The Beach House"
- June 28, 2009 That Thing conference event began in place of Institute with an outward, missional program focus for high school students
- September 1, 2009 NIC Camps (Impact 2818) and SIC Camps (Outdoor Ministries) merged into Impact 2818 Outdoor Ministries and became one camping ministry of the INUMC with 7 camp sites throughout the state of Indiana
- September 20, 2009 Groundbreaking ceremony for The Right Future Campaign
- October 1, 2010 Duecker Lodge construction began
- April 1, 2011 Fenstermacher Lodge construction began
- June 4, 2011 Duecker Lodge dedication ceremony
- October 23, 2011 Fenstermacher Lodge dedication ceremony
- March 1, 2012 Rain Garden construction began
- April 1, 2012 New entrance construction began
- May 15, 2012 Rain Garden construction completed
- August 1, 2012 New entrance road bed completed
- New entrance for Epworth Forest Conference Center dedicated and opens
- Epworth Forest Administration Committee (EFAC) established to manage residential piers
- A new bronze Christ statue, similar in style to the original statue, was commissioned and replaced the crumbling marble statue
- Dedication of Bishop Mike & Marsha Coyner Discipleship Center (auditorium)
- Sunday, June 3, 2018 First Prayer Summit at Epworth Forest Conference Center
- Sunday, November 11, 2018 Dedication of Buck Lodge, rededication of Parkview Lodge and Jubilee Lodge, new master plan presented, dinner for friends and supporters