September 2015 Newsletter

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 1025
Smithville, TX 78957

Physical address:
1320 Park Road 1C
Smithville, TX 78957



Praise God for a safe and meaningful summer camp season with over 220 campers!

Recovery at Wilderness Ridge

Four years ago (Labor Day weekend 2011), the Bastrop Complex Fire raged across more than 34,000 acres of the Lost Pines forest, taking two lives and destroying over 1,600 homes. Camp Wilderness Ridge was not spared the flames, and we lost 24 of 26 buildings and most of our beautiful, tall pines, as well as the homes and personal belongings of the Executive Director, Ron, and the camp's Kitchen Manager, Cathy. Since that day, we have seen restoration in many areas, and we have been blessed in countless ways by God's goodness. I and Board of Directors are grateful that God allowed Camp Wilderness Ridge to continue to provide low-cost Christian camping in the Lost Pines of Central Texas.

God provided paths to recovery of the camp's activities through many channels. Among the first of many acts of kindness and generosity, the SPJST (Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas) fraternal organization offered the use of their facilities, Cooper Farm campground in Ledbetter, TX, for our scheduled retreats through the spring of 2012.

Knowing that Cooper Farm was a temporary answer to our facility needs, we immediately began searching in the Lost Pines for a property that would meet our longer term needs. We connected with the owner of a facility known as Woodside Trails. The property was only two miles from the original CWR property, but survived the fires. It had many of the features we needed, was sized appropriately, and available on terms that matched our available resources. Many of you labored with us as we quickly set to work, completing out the needed cabins, bathrooms, and other structures - many built with lumber milled from the dead pine trees by ministries that came to Bastrop County to serve those in need. These new structures, built by volunteers, added to the existing commercial kitchen, dining hall, and other facilities. This combination of old and new adequately serves our needs for summer camps and retreats today, and we have use of this location through the end of July 2022.

We currently conduct high ropes, fishing, canoeing, and field game activities on the original property, and we recently completed a pavilion overlooking the lake, complete with serving kitchen and bathrooms. It serves as a replacement for the chapel that stood there. Thanks to all who contributed to the completion of this facility—It has already greatly enhanced our ability to use our original property. We are also seeing an amazing recovery to the pine forest. The loblolly pines which sprouted from the fire-opened cones are abundant and many have grown to over 12 feet tall in the four years since the fire! This summer we used the story of God’s provision and the visual of the healthy pines as an analogy to the spiritual renewal that God offers us through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Praise God that He uses all situations and circumstances for His glory!

Please join us in praying for God's continued blessings on Wilderness Ridge and its' staff, volunteers and guests.

Update on Ron Hunt

Friends of Wilderness Ridge

Both full-time and summer staff at Camp Wilderness Ridge work as support-raising employees. Each staff member raises support to cover their salaries, benefits and expenses. The camp has a board-managed fund—Friends of Wilderness Ridge—that is used to augment individually raised support when needed. It is available for special circumstances such as unexpected medical expenses or personal vehicle repairs.

Additionally, the board can use the funds to supplement the fund-raising done by individuals as they have turnover in support partners. Please consider making a donation to the Friends fund. You can designate giving to that fund by adding "Friends Fund" to your check's memo line or by selecting Friends of Wilderness Ridge Fund when you give online at

Service Projects

Do you lead a youth group, community group, or other organization that would like to spend a service day helping CWR? We would love to host your group in an effort to bless both the workers and the ministry of the camp. Please contact us to discuss the many options for a day of service in the Lost Pines that provides growth and long-term impact. Contact Neil Kenagy at or (512) 672-9999.

Please pray with us for Camp Wilderness Ridge (CWR), as follows:

  1. Rain
  2. CWR Staff:
    1. Ron & Sandy Hunt – pray for relief during ongoing medical issues
    2. Bryan & Claire Turner’s baby Becca Riley is 9 months old and healthy
    3. Healing of lingering health issue for Bryan
    4. Jeremy & Lindsey Thomasson baby Jackson Lee was born on July 30th and is healthy
    5. Newlyweds Cody & Rebekah Benge
    6. Ministry partners for each CWR staff (CWR is Faith-based ministry)
  3. Full calendar of retreats for the fall and spring and volunteers to help us.

Fall ‘15 Retreats, Campouts, & Events

We still have fall weekends available for small groups, Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Men’s, or Family weekend retreats up to 100. A team-building event? We can work with you to tailor your activities to the needs of your group, while providing a competitively priced retreat experience.

Please contact Retreat Director Jeremy Thomasson at or (214) 718-2618.


A REAL Camp:  “Camp Wilderness Ridge exists to change the world through the leadership of REAL men.”

Be sure to “Like” our Facebook page ( Wilderness Ridge) and “follow” us on Twitter and Instagram (both @CampWR) to help us spread the word about what God is doing at CWR!

Neil "Chainsaw" Kenagy,
Executive Director

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