On September 17th, the Board of Directors and Camp Director, Ron Hunt, inspected the camp property and remaining facilities. While the fate of some areas of the “Lost Pines Forest” remains uncertain, the damage to the majority of the property on Park Road 1C is such that it will be several years before it will be suitable for sustained camp activity. Therefore we will focus on a short-term plan to continue the ministry of retreats and camps as scheduled at other nearby facilities while protecting and rehabilitating the 855 Park Road 1C property. We will develop a mid- and long-term plan to rebuild and increase facilities for the ministry.
Short-term PlanWe have already begun executing our short-term plan to host scheduled Fall 2011 retreats at facilities provided by other camps in the region. We are working with the leaders of those retreats to ensure their programs will continue as scheduled and planned. Among other opportunities, a campground approximately 40 miles east of the current location has made its’ facilities and grounds available to Camp Wilderness Ridge to continue our programs and hosted activities. Ron and staff will be working with each individual group to ensure their specific needs are met and our staff will facilitate the retreats to ensure it matches the expectations of the sponsor organization.
Meanwhile, we plan to direct an effort to ensure the 855 Park Road 1C property is protected and rehabilitated. We will be working over the next several weeks and months to secure the property lines, mitigate erosion issues, preserve the lake environment, and remove dead trees or branches which present a hazard to visitors to the camp. We are already working to repair the connections at the RV parking area to provide a place for volunteers to stay as the forest is restored and camp facilities are re-established. We will be working with the local utility companies to quickly restore power and water to the property. As soon as safety issues are addressed and the Bastrop Complex Fire is declared completely contained (at 90% on 9/18/2011), we will send out a call for volunteers to help in cleaning up and restoring the camp.
Mid- and Long-term PlanAs camp staff takes the short-term plans to action, the board is shifting to focus on mid- and long-term planning. We are prayerfully considering how to continue carrying out our mission of low-cost, Christ-centered camping for men and boys in the region accessible to Houston and Austin. We are now working to find a suitable long-term location near the current camp for our hosted retreats and programmed summer camps. Our first target is within the Lost Pines forest, followed by the area immediately to the east of our current location. We hope to find a location we can purchase or lease, then quickly set up the facilities needed for the camping and activities we use in our programs. Please be in prayer that God’s abundance will be found in our search.
Staff and Camp NeedsAlso, continue to lift Ron, Sandy, Cathy and Alex in prayer, along with their families, as they deal with the loss of their homes and personal belongings. Their short-term needs to continue to be met and long-term plans and accommodations are being planned.
Camp staff is developing a list of specific items and services which are needed and will publish the list to the web-site soon. Additionally, our operating fund and staff support funds do need to be sustained through this difficult period and your financial support of the camp is greatly appreciated. You can continue to direct contributions to the camp address on Park Road 1C, or can donate on the website at http://wildernessridge.com/donations/.
As we continue to hear from campers and volunteers who recall the impact Wilderness Ridge had on their lives we feel renewed and strengthened in our purpose. We are confident that great things will come from this experience and that our God is honored by the ministry of the camp.
In Psalm 37:23-24[NIV], David shares,
“The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”
Our prayer is that the fire damage and the interruption it brings is but a momentary stumble in the ministry of Camp Wilderness Ridge and that the LORD will sustain the camp through this period – as we continue to seek His will, God will lift this ministry up to serve others and bring Him glory.
Many thanks for your ongoing support, please stay in touch as we continue to make progress in restoring the campground and the ministry of Camp Wilderness Ridge.
Ron Hunt and the Board of Directors
Camp Wilderness Ridge
PS: One of the best ways to keep informed about what’s going to happen and how you can help is to subscribe to Camp Wilderness Ridge email updates.