Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Growing Hope at Moore County's Camp Duncan

An exciting event is quietly preparing to take place in a serene, secluded setting outside of Aberdeen, here in Moore County. Due to the foresight and generosity of the late Haskell Duncan and his wife Gay, Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina is preparing to open its newest home in a matter of months. Below is the entrance to the former Duncan estate, now leased to BCH for a dollar a year.
The existing home and other structures already on the 576 acre property make it virtually ready-made for the Girls Camp envisioned here. The fine house below can temporarily provide office space and a dining area. March 19, the day I was invited to an open house there, it was the scene of a vibrant reception, tour, and sharing session.
This is the "Mystery Picture" that I have featured on this blog for the past few weeks, and it stimulated some inquiries and curiosity as I hoped it would. This gorgeous spring-fed lake is at the center of Camp Duncan. It's the bluest water I've seen since I was at Camp Cherokee on beautiful blue Lake Burton in north Georgia. The main house is on the shore.
Paul Daley, who has been inolved in "Theraputic Camping" his entire adult life and has led the enormously successful Cameron Boys Camp since 1980, has agreed to become director of the new girls camp. For years, I have enjoyed reading Jack Tales and Grandfather tales to boys at the Cameron Camp, so this day I presented copies of both books to Paul as he embarks on this new venture.Beautiful stone fireplaces and hearths help create a homey setting indoors. This is nice, but the girls will be living outdoors most of the time!
Paul's temporary office demonstrates that he's an inveterate collector, like me. (He's just not out of control yet.) In this office Paul had time to share a couple of amazing inspirational stories with me about God's clear guidance in his life over the years.

After some get-acquainted time, guests were told about the short-term needs and long-range plans for this camp. Extensive planning has been underway for years. Volunteers from across the state are already at work daily making this dream become reality. Some of those present have already invested heavily financially or through the valuable gifts of their prayers and their time.

In the words of BCH materials, "Camp Duncan will provide a year round wilderness camping experience designed to provide girls and their families an opportunity to work out problems through a highly structured alternative service. Here girls can grow socially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, and academically. A team approach builds relationships between the camp staff, the family, and the camper--relationships through which deep hurts are healed and lives are changed." "Growing Hope" is a very appropriate title for the brochure we were given.

Piling into several vehicles, we followed woodland roads to the campsite where the camp's first group of 10 girls will establish their wilderness home. The group will have three counselors, called "Chiefs." With the help of their peers and their Chiefs, campers learn discipline, positive behavior patterns and self worth.
Paul leads the guests across the new plank bridge. At this site the girls will build their own living shelters, cut wood, cook their own meals in their campsite two days a week, do laundry, maintain trails, plan trips, and have fun.
It always thrills me to hear Paul and other staff tell of the spiritual emphasis at camp. "Everything is done with a spirit of rightness and of serving Jesus Christ. Through this attitude and spirit, girls experience a sense of peace and rightness in their own lives, drawing them to a right relationship with Jesus Christ and with others."

At the Cameron Boys Camp, Paul and his co-workers have shown consistently over the years that Christian Theraputic Camping has a life-changing and lasting impact. Rarely do the campers revert to prior behaviors or negative attitudes once they return to their home and school settings.

Following our tour, we returned to the main house where a fine meal had been prepared by camp's two chefs. They, too, will be an integral part of the camp's mission as they interact daily with the girls and show God's love in their own way.

When a director brought out cake and asked if anyone had a birthday today, I couldn't lie. I admitted it was my birthday and I was treated to the most rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" I've ever had. The love this band of folks have for children was evident in their spirited singing. The camp brochure mentions that singing plays a large role at Camp: "Singing helps melt the hearts of many girls as they learn to harmonize their voices and their lives with others." I wish I'd thought of that. I certainly found that to be true in my "former life" as a teacher. And I see the magic of music touching people's inner spirits whether I'm in a pre-school or a local rest home. There's no doubt God planted music within the human heart as a way to commune with Him and with each other.

I hope to have chances to lead singalongs or share Jack Tales with both the Cameron Boys Camp and the new Camp Duncan in the future. Please keep both of these fine facilities and their staffs in your prayers as they fulfill vital needs for young people. If you have a desire to volunteer in any way at all, you can contact Camp Duncan at 944-3077 for information and directions. There is a bustle of activity almost every day, with tasks from menial to highly skilled. I was pleased that the maintenance supervisor said there is a need for prayer-walking on the property, too. Willingness is the main qualification. All will be much appreciated and reap great rewards for our children in the days ahead. If you want to know even more--I couldn't tell it all-- please contact me by e-mail or phone. I'd love to share more.

1 comment:

My Wish said...

"Once you choose Hope, anything is possible."

Remember to always..."DREAM BIG!!!"