25: OCF Conference Centers
IN THIS CHAPTER
OCF owns two conference centers (Spring Canyon in Colorado and White Sulphur Springs in Pennsylvania) for the purpose of bringing the military community of singles, families, and friends together for mutual growth, edification, rest, and refreshment. Guests should leave the conference centers ready to re-enter the mission field where they live. These conference centers function as home base for many military families, the one place the family visits year after year from pre-commissioning years all the way through post-service years, coming back with children and grandchildren. The centers provide OCF members a depot for spiritual maintenance, a crossroads environment to meet members of the larger family of Christ, and a place where vision is developed to serve for the rest of life.
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EQUIPPING TO SERVE
Thousands of OCF members have enjoyed the thrill of outdoor settings, of deep Christian fellowship around blazing fires, of quiet moments with hot drinks in their hands, and of solid teaching from Scripture—all while attending programs, conferences, and retreats at OCF’s conference centers. Once you have attended an OCF conference center, you will understand why they both have become a “home away from home” for many. These are the places we want to return to again and again. Each visit is essentially a Christ-family reunion, even for those who have not previously met! When the OCF family gets together it is great to hug, visit with, and get to know brothers and sisters who are in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Space Force. The OCF family is always “Joint.”
Local Leaders of OCF fellowships are the front-line advocates for bringing singles, couples, and families to join them at a conference center. The best invitation comes by saying, “Join me at White Sulphur Springs/Spring Canyon!” Both centers exist to teach, encourage, refresh, heal, and send out military members for the purpose of making the gospel of Jesus Christ visible and transformative in the lives of those they serve among. They provide speakers, teachers, mentors, guides, staff, and volunteers to serve the guests. The centers were established near cadet and midshipman populations, but they are much more than high-adventure locations for single young men and women—they run programs to impact and serve the entire age spectrum from infants to youth to adults.
NURTURING THE FAMILY
Our conference centers offer activities for children and for adults, providing age-appropriate programs for children while the adults are in separate sessions. Throughout the year we have weekend or week-long programs to develop parent-child relationships in special settings. Take a look at these opportunities—as well as the other programs that the conference centers provide—for ways to connect with and bless your family. In the summer, your high school-aged children can apply to become volunteers for service at either conference center. This gives youth an opportunity to serve on conference center staff while enjoying the larger military family.
Both conference centers offer one-year intern programs (for 18- to 24-year-olds) that combine academics and spiritual growth with the opportunity to gain vocational experience as a staff member. The WSS EXSEL Discipleship Program partners with Liberty University for college credits. EXSEL exists to provide a Christ-centered discipleship experience integrating spiritual growth, vocational experience, and educational opportunities for those who desire to pursue God through lives of servant leadership in their future vocational callings. Spring Canyon PEAK Interns assist in accomplishing the Spring Canyon mission while honing life skills and participating in academic discussions designed to promote ownership of beliefs, decisions, and actions.
Guests often comment on how a visit to one of the conference centers was instrumental in sustaining or rebuilding relationships. Many say that their favorite part of waking up at a center was knowing that they did not have to cook or clean all day! Come join us at a conference center and bring a friend/family along with you.
SPRING CANYON CONFERENCE CENTER
26000 County Rd 344, Buena Vista, CO 81211
springcanyon.org | (719) 395-2328 or (888) 663-1417
Spring Canyon is OCF’s Colorado conference center, located amid the Collegiate Peaks, two hours west of Colorado Springs. This location provides a convenient retreat and conference location for United States Air Force Academy and ROTC cadets/midshipmen, as well as for service members stationed near the Rocky Mountains. Guests experience a log cabin conference center that has one large meeting room, classrooms for children, and a state-of-the-art kitchen for serving guests in a spacious dining room. Lodging at Spring Canyon varies from small cabins to larger chalets and even larger lodges. Our newest lodges have central fellowship areas and private rooms with bunk beds and either a queen- or king-bed in every room.
Spring Canyon activities gather singles, couples, and children together to hear Scripture taught by a guest speaker, to share fellowship and encouragement around meals and extra activities, and to have plenty of quiet and rest in a majestic setting. Every year there are week-long Summer Celebrations, multi-day Winter Sports Retreats, a fall Aspentime Retreat, individual OCF group retreats, and multiple ROTC and USAF Academy retreats. There are special programs to connect parents with children (Father Teen Adventure, Climb Together), while other programs focus on topics such as homeschooling, women’s ministry, or transitions out of the military. OCF members can contact the Spring Canyon office at any time to inquire about individual getaways.
Finally, Spring Canyon hosts Rocky Mountain High (RMH), a junior officer and officer candidate high adventure outdoor program. RMH helps develop the future leaders of OCF and the military by connecting junior officers, cadets, and midshipmen with senior mentors. Mentors help campers wrestle with how to live an integrated Christian life within the military and for the rest of their lives. Program elements of RMH include whitewater rafting, rappelling, rock climbing, and a multi-day backpacking trek.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS CONFERENCE CENTER
4500 Milligans Cove Rd, Manns Choice, PA 15550
whitesulphursprings.org | (814) 623-5583
White Sulphur Springs is OCF’s Pennsylvania based facility providing teaching, refreshment, and encouragement to OCF members, families, and friends. Cadets, Midshipmen, and military members stationed east of the Mississippi River can drive to this beautiful property. Our modern hotel, Heritage House, and our historic 1884 hotel, Harrison House, are nestled among the hills and trees of the Allegheny Mountains, complemented by 1,100 acres for hiking, horse facilities, high and low ropes courses, several ponds for swimming, canoeing, or skating, a disc golf course, zip line, and more. The White Sulphur Springs triathlon requires no training, since guests who participate simply complete the “race’s three legs”: rocking on the porches, eating amazing meals, and then enjoying rejuvenating sleep in a bed away from the stress and responsibilities of daily life.
Several generations of youth have graduated from the week-long Allegheny Outback! (AO! is for high school) and Camp Caleb (3rd-8th grade) summer camp programs. These programs are so popular that capacity has been increased through the years to try and shorten waiting lists and be able to welcome more children and families to WSS. During the fall and spring there are parent-child connection Adventure Weekends with specific adventure themes such as Horse, Canoe, and Rappel Adventures. Because WSS is close to the National Capital Region, many members make weekend trips to WSS, and churches with military connections use the property for retreats and getaways.
The annual White Sulphur Springs conference rhythm includes multiple Summer R&R sessions, as well as Winter Retreats over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Singles, couples, and families experience great speakers, kid’s programs, and refreshing times with the Lord and with one another. Other recurring ministry events include a Valentines Getaway marriage retreat, a Resurrection Retreat, workshops for members transitioning out of the military, a uniformed women retreat, and several ROTC and academy retreat weekends. There are always volunteer opportunities for those who love to put their hands to various maintenance and cleaning tasks. WSS welcomes guests to come individually or with friends whenever there is room for them to have a B&B-style hotel stay, to enjoy camping or the use of a rustic cabin, or to show off the property that God has blessed us with.