Time To Grow – A final push


Camping Changes Lives. That has been the central message of a five year campaign to revitalize existing facilities and build new spaces at each camp and retreat center across the Oregon-Idaho Conference.

It has been an upstream paddle for the campaign as the nation’s economy took a serious downturn just as the campaign began. But despite that, 346 households, 24 churches, and 4 foundations have stepped forward to declare their support for camp and retreat ministries. The participating donors have taken up the responsibility and share the joy as we prepare these sites to assist churches in reaching more people in more ways than ever before.
Making a difference

The impact can be seen! By recognizing that this really is a Time to Grow, contributors have impacted lives and created new opportunities for camp and retreat programs. One of the key efforts of the program was to be sure that facilities can meet the needs of current and new populations. That has meant increased attention to the needs of older adults (camping isn’t just for kids!) and families with young children. Both desire similar amenities in lodging.  Even to serve youth and children today requires updated bathroom, shower and changing facilities. Original beloved camp buildings hold many memories, but were in serious need of structural repair or replacement.

At Suttle Lake Camp a new shower house now provides year round comfort for everyone’s basic needs, improves accessibility, and is delighting both young and old. The new Nellie Watts Memorial building provides a focal meeting point and warm welcome for all entering the site. Two new activity pavilions expand the outdoor gathering possibilities to support multiple groups onsite at the same time.
Wallowa Lake Camp and Sawtooth Camp are also building new offices/welcome centers to better host multiple groups. Camp Latgawa is improving its two bathhouses and designing meeting space in a renovated historic Damascus Cabin.  Next up at Wallowa Lake is construction of a volunteer community center and chapel.  Shore HouseCamp Magruder has been able to make substantial upgrades to all its cabins and lodges, build a guest house, and rework Shorehouse to include 4 rooms for families or cabin groups along with a meeting space and bathrooms.  Alton L Collins Retreat Center awaits a new wing to expand capacity for overnight accommodations.

Has the goal been met?
“Caring for places of natural beauty where young and old can experience Christian community, discover God in new ways, and be forever changed is the goal of this ministry - assisting local churches with faith formation and leadership development. Now as ever, we must fund those places we wish to keep vital” says Lisa Jean Hoefner, Executive Director. “The financial dream goal was $5 million. Given the economic climate we are excited about what has been done with the $3 million raised so far.”

While the active campaign is drawing to a close, donations are still being accepted, and income from new multi-year pledges continues to be received.  If you want to help Time to Grow reach toward that $5 million dream, it’s not too late. Donate online .or contact Lisa Jean Hoefner at lisajean@umoi.org for more options. Remember many employers will match your charitable giving.