In 2004, the pool at Lakeshore Camp and Retreat was rusty and outdated and in serious need of a face lift. After much deliberation, and a decision that it was important not only to replace but improve, the Board stepped out on faith and started work on an $895,000 water park. Complete with a water slide, lazy river, playground, grilling area and meeting space, this new part of camp’s ministry was top of the line and has been a blessing for many years.
You might wonder how a pool can be a place of ministry. Fourteen summers of campers have built relationships through underwater tea parties, games of categories, water polo, and “real talk” in the lazy river. Kids have learned to swim here, have overcome a fear of the deep end here and have developed trust that their counselor really will catch them at the end of the slide. There have been splash prayers before Water Olympics and worships pool side. On days when pop up storms cut pool time short, campers wrapped in big beach towels sing songs like “King Jesus is All” and “If You Love Jesus” in the nearby meeting room to pass the time and keep up the fun, pool or not.
Each year we have seen the dividends of the investment we made back in 2004, so the payments we have been making every month since we count as joy – joy that we have continually been blessed by the support of others helping to pay the cost of growing and expanding our ministry twelve years ago. In fact, not one penny of this loan was paid from apportioned funding or fee income. All was paid for through the generosity of Lakeshore’s friends and supporters, and for that we are grateful.
This month, we have something else to be grateful about. We made our final payment on the water park thanks to a very generous charitable remainder trust from Wayne and Janie Hall. Ten years ago, Wayne Hall, Jr. set aside money in this trust for Lakeshore as a way to honor his father, Wayne Hall, Sr. Lakeshore was extremely important to Mr. Hall, and Wayne, Jr. thought it would be the perfect way to honor him, and we are honored to be the beneficiaries of such generosity.
This final payment means big things for Lakeshore! It gives us the chance to move forward with projects we only dreamed about when all our focus was on the water park, like cabin remodels and hammock shelters. It means the opportunity to dream up what the next big thing will be. We’ve got some ideas, but we want to know what your Lakeshore dream is. Leave us a Facebook comment, and we will dream together.
**Article courtesy of Lakeshore UMA, http://www.lakeshoreuma.com