Included will be three lodges, a gymnasium and a chapel.
By Julie Patterson –
Salvation Army officers, staff and donors gathered to commemorate the ground breaking of a new project at Camp Del Oro in the Sierra Foothills, made possible by the late Stephen Ball, a Northern California native, who left The Salvation Army $7.2 million.
The project—expected to be finalized next summer—will cap a $20 million master plan 14 years in the making. Included will be three new lodges, a gymnasium and a chapel. Once complete, Camp Del Oro will be able to accommodate 278 individuals.
“In 2002, The Salvation Army purchased this camp,” said Ivan Wild, Del Oro Divisional Commander. “Ever since then, it’s been an ongoing dream to make the master plan come to life.”
In the summer of 2016, 1,000 children attended Camp del Oro. Nearly 600 of them gave or re-committed their hearts to Christ.
“It’s so important for young people across the Del Oro Division to have the experience of camp, because of the impact that camp can have,” said David Bentley, the Del Oro Division’s Director of Development. “Many children are less advantaged, and they need to have this opportunity to experience the great outdoors, form lifelong friendships, and for some of them, the opportunity to experience hope.”
But the new camp facilities aren’t just for kids.
“We can now rent the facility out to church groups, businesses and our own Army groups,” Bentley said. “It gives us enough beds to accommodate all of those groups. These rental groups will help offset the cost of running our summer camp program. So our hope and prayer is that we’ll have enough rental groups that will come through, that will help send more kids to camp.”
Andy Cassano, a planner with Nevada City Engineering and former City Planner for surrounding Nevada City, helped with the master plan and assisted The Salvation Army through the permit process with Nevada County.
“I wondered whether we would ever be here,” he said. “So many people are about to be influenced by this investment.”