Alaska builds for future at King’s Lake Camp
SHELBY McMASTERS AND Ashley Brackenbury (l-r) renew their friendship at summer camp.
BY JENNI RAGLAND –
The Alaska Division always dreamed of having its own camp. In December 1996 the dream became a reality as ownership of King’s Lake Camp, built in the 1930s, was transferred to The Salvation Army.
Although many of the facilities were rustic and in need of repair, the basic buildings were in place. Following renovation of the kitchen and other minor repairs, the Army’s King’s Lake Camp officially welcomed its first campers in June 1999.
The 226-acre camp includes 23 cabins, chapel, dining facility, multi-purpose building, band shell, covered picnic area, and playground equipment, with beautiful views of the lake and mountains all around.
The Army’s challenge and vision was to re-establish the camp as a place that allows for positive change in the hearts and lives of campers, both children and adults.
In order to achieve this vision, the camp advisory council and staff are working to develop a master plan that will address short and long-term facility and program needs that will continue to better serve people involved in our local ministries and the community.
Since 1999, the number of camps offered during the summer has doubled and the number of campers has tripled. This year, a teen camp was held for the first time. Last year, less than 20 campers attended community service camp; this year there were close to 50 children. Interest from community groups has also increased, resulting in the camp being rented out most weekends from spring through fall.
The advisory council, under the leadership of Janet Kincaid, has been instrumental in securing donations of materials and labor to stretch our limited funds.
Renovations to the camp facilities include a new bathhouse, electricity and heat to cabins, remodeling the craft house, dining room and kitchen, building a new boathouse, installing a new dock, installing thermal pane windows in the recreation/fellowship hall and landscaping. The territorial mission team helped with renovations last spring.
Donations from the Rasmuson Foundation, Sierra Del Mar, Southwest and Golden State divisions were instrumental to the completion of this project.
Plans for the future include increased number of summer camp programs, increased community awareness of the camp ministry, developing creative programs (wilderness camp), building a recreation field, conference center, and staff and guest cabins, and developing a solid staff recruitment and training plan.
“The camp has changed so much, even in just this past year,” said Divisional Youth & Candidates’ Secretary Captain John Brackenbury. “But even more important than the physical changes we are making to improve the facilities is the opportunity to positively impact future generations of Alaskans through this ministry.”