We have ourselves a fixer-upper! After 50 years of doing ministry in the Kibbons Conference Center with thousands of youth and adults singing songs, playing games and worshipping together, it could use an upgrade. As our work and needs of ministry have shifted over the last several years, it’s time to make some changes so that our space reflects the important work we do here.
Last year, we knocked out the walls separating the rooms on both floors. With the addition of moveable walls, this will make the uses of that building more flexible for big camps and retreats. It has already helped solve part of our dining room seating problem.
This fall, the work continues.
A fresh paint job, new rocking chairs, and an outdoor sound system will grace the front of the building. The aging decking and ramp will be replaced and upgraded with additional seating.
We are remodeling the dining hall, bathrooms and office. The office will become an open hospitality room, complete with a coffee area, ice machine, and device charging station.
Approximately 15% of our campers require financial assistance, and we believe every kid who wants to attend camp should have the opportunity. Each year, we raise over $100,000 to make sure each camper gets the same chance to experience life, love and the God of grace.
Why does a new coat of paint and room upgrades matter to our ministry? We want everyone who sets foot on these grounds to have a great experience. Having hospitable facilities that are welcoming to our guests helps make it possible for life-changing ministry moments for people like Will.
An interesting thing happened in Will’s life last semester. He felt a calling to serve on summer staff at Lakeshore. Before this year, Will hadn’t spent a lot of time at camp. His brother grew up as a camper here, but camp wasn’t Will’s thing. Still, he followed the call. Being new to counseling didn’t slow him down. He jumped right in, created long-lasting friendships, developed a love for counseling and felt a pull to pursue camping ministry.
When asked about the most important things that happened this summer, he told us that he made so many intentional relationships and was able to develop leadership skills he didn’t even know how had! Will told us he had a “spiritual reawakening leading to a reaffirmation of faith and dedication to Christ.” He’s not alone. In the last two camp seasons, Rev. Gary “Papa G” Lawson, has performed ten baptisms and confessions of faith and five formal reaffirmations of faith. It has been amazing to watch this reawakening. Summer staff, friends and family come join in the celebration of one of Christ’s own claiming his or her place in the Family.
We don’t always know the next chapter of the story of those who leave here more dedicated to God. In Will’s case, he has changed his major to follow his calling to “help kids not only grow in their faith but also to provide them a safe community where they can be who they want to be and know that they have a community of Christlike followers on their side at all times.” We have been honored to watch Will change over the course of the summer to become a more mature man of faith with a deeper relationship with God.
That’s what we do here. We offer ways for all to encounter life, love, and the God of Grace. God changes lives here, and sometimes, we get the joy of sharing in that experience with them.
Can we count on you to help us offer the best possible experiences? We are raising $100,000 this fall to help with conference center upgrades and the campership fund, and we hope to have you on our team.