As we prepared to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, my son, Thad, was given a school assignment to write a paragraph about the things for which he is thankful. Thad wrote:
“I am thankful for a lot of stuff. Here are some things. I am thankful for my family, my dog, a house, food, Camp Willow Run and Camp Willow Springs, a bed, an iPad, legos, friends, God, and Jesus. The thing I am most thankful for is God and Jesus because God made me and Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. Those are the things I am thankful for.” – Thad Harris, 4th grade
What a great and simple reminder from a 10 year old child of giving thanks. As I reflect on 2016, I am reminded of the many areas that we have to be thankful for at Camp Willow Run (CWR) and Camp Willow Springs (CWS). God has greatly blessed this ministry by allowing us the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with so many wonderful campers and their families. We have awesome, college-aged summer staff who faithfully serve with us each summer and help us to provide a safe, fun camp experience. I am also thankful for those who have partnered with us over the years. Each prayer partner and financial supporter has been a part of allowing us to make a difference in the lives of others.
Since the opening of CWS in 2014, we have seen wonderful growth in the number of campers and retreat guests we serve. In 2016, more than 2,600 campers attended our summer camp sessions at both CWR and CWS. Praise God! We currently have two new dormitories under construction at CWS that will be ready for use in summer 2017. These dormitories were made possible by the generous donations of two families and will increase the CWS capacity from 80 campers per session to 120 campers.
The next step in development is to continue to raise funds for the construction of the CWS Dining Hall. Currently, the CWS food service is prepared off-site. Meals are catered and served in our multi-purpose meeting room. This arrangement is working at our current capacity. As we grow, the need for a food service facility onsite will allow us to better serve our campers/guests. We recently received a gift of $200,000 towards the CWS Dining Hall. We would love to begin construction of this building in 2017 and will need more to partner with us to make this happen.
As you prayerfully consider your end of year giving, we ask that you consider a financial gift to this ministry. All donations are tax deductible and will be used to support and expand this ministry as we serve more children, youth, and adults through our summer and retreat ministries.
Thank you again for a great year and for your support. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing you in 2017!
Robbie Harris Director of Operations & Development