In 1956, the headline on page three of the November 15th edition of the Ashland Herald Progress newspaper read “Hanover Church Camp Is Becoming Reality.”
The Rev. John Ensign, Camp Hanover’s first Director, had just spoke at the Presbyterian Women’s family supper at Ashland Presbyterian Church. The paper reported on John’s update on the construction progress of East Hanover Presbytery’s experiment in the woods on the outskirts of Mechanicsville.
In a few short months following that supper, the first summer campers arrived on the 176-acre property. When they arrived at Camp Hanover, the dining hall and kitchen were still under construction. The first bathhouse was nearly complete. The water was on and the water heaters were working. The only thing lacking? A roof.
Those pioneer campers and camp staff cooked over a campfire, and slept under tarp-covered hogans. They were the first to experience the small group, Christ-centered community living and experiential Christian education that has become a hallmark of Camp Hanover’s ministry. That first summer in 1957 marked the start of an amazing journey.