It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that last night, October 31st 2018, Jim Burke died due to a heart attack he had on Sunday evening. Jim was a member of our Board of Directors and a lifelong advocate for Holmes Camp. He will be greatly missed.  His funeral and memorial service will take place on: Saturday November 17th, at 11:00 AM at the Setauket Presbyterian Church In lieu of flowers, Jim’s Family asks that you make any donations to: Holmes Presbyterian Camp & Conference Center, 60 Denton Lake Road, Holmes, NY 12531 or you may donate online.  Please go to Click “one time donation” and choose “In Memory of Jim Burke” from the dropdown menu.

Does the snow and cold weather have you dreaming about summer?  Us too!

Registration for this summer – overnight camps, day camps, and Family – is now open!  You can secure your spot at Holmes today!

New this year:

Family Camp: Holmes has a history of Family Camp that we’re excited to revive  this summer! You can choose to come for 5 days, or 3 days and live either in Agape or South Unit cabins.  We’ll provide great meals, fun activities and Bible study for all ages.  Gather the whole family – children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, everyone!  – and celebrate July 4th at Holmes!

Farming, Foraging, Fellowship: Middle and High school campers will be able to spend time everyday at Yarrow Hollow Farm with our farmer Sarah, exploring the connections between our faith, our connection with God’s creation, social justice and environmental ethics.

Makers: Campers will be able to explore the ways physics and engineering are all around us as they investigate, create and build! They’ll present their findings and creations to the whole camp during our Saturday Closing Program.


You can find our full summer camp schedule here, or explore the options for each age using the links to the right.


If you have any questions about our schedule, how to register or what camp at Holmes is like, you can contact Natasha Taylor, Summer Camp and Youth Programs Director, at or 845-878-6383.


Long time Hudson River Presbytery member, Reverend Ariel Verdesi, quietly joined the Church Triumphant and Eternal Saturday afternoon July 8th. He was the beloved and faithful pastor at the Congers Presbyterian Church for over 40 years and had been very active on the Holmes Board during his ministry, having served more than one term as the President. There will be a Service of Witness to the Resurrection at the Congers Presbyterian Church at 1:30 pm on Sunday July 16, 2017.  Congers Presbyterian Church, 17 Highway Ave, Congers, New York  10920.
Please keep his children, Paul Verdesi and Lora Mattiaccio, and their families, in your prayers as well as the entire Congers church family.
In life and in death and in all our circumstances, we belong to God and each other. Thanks be to God.
Ariel Verdesi had early camp experiences at Camp Sharparoon in Dover, NY.  He was ordained into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in 1955.  He served the New Hempstead Presbyterian Church in New City, NY, as a chaplain at the Rockland Psychiatric Center and the Congers Presbyterian Church.  He was moderator of Hudson River Presbytery in 1998-99.
Note from Hudson River Presbytery colleague Rev. Peggy Howland:
I guess I go further back with Ariel than anyone else in Hudson River.  We knew each other in Palisades Presbytery in the early 60’s.  His wife had a surprise 25th ordination anniversary for him quite a few years ago, and she had me speak about those early years as a friend and colleague.
And I was first a counselor at Holmes in 1959, so that connection has been around a long time, too.
Wish I could be there for the memorial at Congers, but it won’t be possible at this time.
Peggy Howland


Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center announces that Rev. Peter Surgenor, Executive Director will retire on August 31, 2017.

Peter has led and developed the camp ministry and activities at Holmes since January 2000.  During this time summer camper numbers and program quality have grown with added programs including (night owl, archery, culinary and horseback). Facilities have seen improvements including Scudder Pavilion, renovations at Denton Dining Hall, Don’s Diner, Nunemaker and Westminster Lodge as well as continuing planning for an expanded Agape facility. During his tenure 71 acres of neighboring land have been added to bring the Holmes Camp land resource to 540 acres.  Peter has been a resource person to all three of our supporting Presbyteries (Hudson River, Long Island and New York City) and has built relationships with many committed Presbyterians and others.

In addition to summer camp, ministry partners have included Auburn Seminary’s Face to Face/Faith to Faith program for 11 years, Family retreats from First Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Accion Hispania and Rural and Migrant Ministry.  Hudson River Presbytery began a habit of meeting at Holmes and for the last three years New York City Presbytery has traveled to Holmes for a fall meeting.

During his tenure at Holmes, Peter twice served on the Board of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association including a term as President (2001-2004) in addition he served two terms on Board of the American Camp Association including a term as President (2008-2011).  He has been active on church development and grants committees of the Synod of the Northeast.  Peter is currently the Moderator of Hudson River Presbytery.

Peter is a graduate of Hamilton College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with additional graduate work at Slippery Rock University and Pittsburgh Seminary.  For ten years Peter was one of the faculty members of the American Camp Association Camp Director Institute (a master camp director seminar)

The Board of Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center has been planning for this transition and will be announcing a search process shortly.  Interested persons or your suggestion of potential candidates should be emailed to

During his time at Holmes, Peter met and married Rev. Cathryn T. Surgenor.  They have five daughters, four sons in law and five grandchildren spread from Helena, MT to Foxborough, MA.  Peter and Cathy will be moving to Newburgh, NY and look forward to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Newburgh, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Accompaniment in Colombia and other activities.

A recognition of Peter’s ministry at Holmes is being planned by the Holmes Board  for September 16th at Holmes.  In addition, New York City Presbytery will recognize this milestone at its Annual Meeting on May 16, 2017 and Hudson River Presbytery will recognize Peter’s retirement at its meeting on Sept 19,2017.

Are you ready for a life changing experience?

Holmes is looking for some great young adults to be camp counselors, waterfront staff, program specialists and food service staff.

You will be a positive influence on a community of campers, learn about children growing up and discover hidden talents in yourself.

Holmes provides  a week of training with an optional week of specialized training (lifeguarding, team building, archery) to prepare you for a summer

click this link to see positions and begin the application process.

We look forward to speaking with you about being part of our excellent staff for 2017.  Don’t tarry, positions are beginning to fill.

Call or email Natasha Taylor to discuss options further.  Call -845-878-6383 x210 or


Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center affords equal employment opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, handicap or disability, or any other category protected by law.  This policy covers all employment decisions such as those relating to recruitment, hiring, training, promotions, employee compensation and terminations.

Inspired by Creation
(entering 7th-9th grade)
Experience a week of discovery, fun, laughter and endless creativity. Three alumni counselors will connect the past with the future by sharing camp traditions, while passing on the love and joy of camp. By using nature as a creative resource, make 2D and 3D projects, draw, weave, create handmade paper, craft with nature, learn knot tying, fire building, outdoor skills and cooking, and as a group, build a teepee. Feel the spiritual interconnectedness between self and the environment through hands-on art projects and experiences, while being part of a group that will become family. Special Staff – Alice Pulliam, Tori Chisholm and Ken McGuire.

More info and registration click here.

(entering 5th-6th grade)
Are you curious how things work and want to try building your own creations?  Come explore how we use engineering and physics every day while you build and play at Holmes!  You’ll also get to enjoy Bible study, swimming, archery and other camp activities while you’re here! Special Staff – Victoria Kramer.


Please note – this camp is for those entering 5th and 6th grade in Sept 2017

More info and registration click here.


This year we are partnering with Bridges to Community to host two volunteer trips to Nicaragua this summer!  These unique experiences will allow you to meet incredible people, help a community in need achieve its goals and be forever changed.

The trips will be July 1-15 and August 5-12, and each will provide participants an opportunity to work on a sustainable development project while living and working with the community being served.  Groups will also be able to explore the rich cultural traditions and natural beauty of Nicaragua.

Each trip will be a group coed for up to 15 people, aged 15-18; parents are also welcome. Each youth will receive 30 hours of community service for the work they will complete while in Nicaragua.

Participants will need to have a current passport (issued at least six months prior to travel and not scheduled to expire less than six months after travel).  Travel with the group flight includes adult supervision during entry into Nicaragua and back to the USA.  If booking flights individually, an adult must accompany minor participants.

Bridges to Community provides a staff member with each group during the whole experience, a vehicle available for use by the group at all times, communication back to parents and families and medical insurance which covers emergency evacuation if required.

August 5-13 will be led by Holmes Alumni Staff member Sarah Burpee, a graduate of College of Wooster and Brooklyn School of Law and a former Bridges to Community Staff member in Nicaragua.  The trip will include a day of travel and welcome, a day of exploring the community to be served, 4 days working by hand to build a new earthquake proof home for a family, a day of saying goodbye and touring on the way to the airport.

Cost will be about $1,400 per participant plus portion of group airfare from LaGuardia Airport (about $800). Deposits are due by March 15, 2017 and full payment by May 15, 2017.

July 1-15 will be led by a pastor/youth leader from our Holmes Community and will include a day of travel and welcome, a day of exploring the community to be served, four days doing a house build in Nindiri, Nicaragua, and then be traveling up to Jinotega to build a bio-digester, visit chocolate farms, go to coffee plantations, go kayaking on a lake and hiking in the mountains, etc.  First week is a traditional build, second week is more recreational.

Cost will be about $1,995 per participant plus portion of group airfare from LaGuardia Airport ( about $800). Deposits are due by March 15, 2017 and full payment by May 15, 2017.
Registration and deposit is due March 15, 2017.

Click here for more information.

cover-1Online_Invitation_Singles_Page_01Holmes History Book –

Produced for the 70th Anniversary Celebration

You can have one also –
$25 + $5 shipping and handling       click here to order by making a $25 donation.  Or you can email and we will drop a book in the mail when you send a check.

Send us an email if you find your photo inside
or if you have a photo to contribute as we look
toward a 75th Anniversary publication.

One holiday event to put on your calendars for children and youth is the Holmes Christmas Camp.  December 27-30 will be the days when we decompress after the events leading up to Christmas Day.  We will explore the Christmas story from one of many perspectives in a relaxed atmosphere with lots of crafts, cooking and hiking.  Hot chocolate and marshmallows have been known to be ready during the whole event.  Cold weather will allow for a “walk on the lake” or sledding down the hill.  Watch for info.