In the past 67 years, more than 100,000 campers have come through the gates of New Life Camp in North Raleigh.
New Life is a nonprofit that offers summer camp programs and programs throughout the year for youngsters, athletes, home-school students and churches.
“New Life camp exists to love and accept kids right where they are and walk with them towards God’s best for their lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Aaron Miller, New Life’s director of programs.
Since the beginning, New Life Camp has been located on 72 wooded acres off of Falls of Neuse Road. It’s time to update the aging facilities, so New Life has launched its first capital fundraising campaign, “Camp On.”
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The goal of the first phase of the campaign is to raise $3 million by the end of the summer to pay for 10 new cabins and a worship outreach center. The ambitious long-term plan is to eventually raise almost $8 million for more cabins, a new dining hall and two new program buildings.
“We have some buildings that are 100 years old,” said Greg Burton, New Life’s executive director. “Some cabins have to be replaced because they were built at a time when there weren’t even building codes. We can’t build onto them or fix them, so that is the challenge we are in.”
The camp is committed to remaining in its location that looks very different from more than a half-century ago.
“This is a multimillion-dollar piece of property, but the bottom line is we can see 5,000 kids-plus a year on this property,” Burton said. “If we are two hours away from the city we are not going to have the same opportunities to minister to the same amount of kids on a multicultural, multifaith basis that we do now.”
Administrators say the campaign has already raised $850,000, and much of that came from families with generations of campers.
“My mom came here and she made sure all her kids came here because it changed the trajectory of her life. It changed the trajectory of my life. I am going to want my kids here,” Miller said. “There are third-generation campers coming here doing the same things their grandparents did and they can walk in their shoes and share those experiences with their grandparents who were here 50 or 60 years ago.”
During nine busy summer weeks and throughout the year, faith is intertwined with activities.
“It’s something that has to be woven into everything we do,” Burton said. “There’s a faith component, so either the Bible is open or somebody is sharing a testimony about how Christ has changed their life. It is pre-eminent and it is the reason we do what we do. We are a faith-based organization, but everybody is welcome. We have kids of all faiths and backgrounds in all our programs.”
New Life is engaging campers from years gone by with a new alumni group and an alumni appreciation event at 6 p.m. May 13 with barbecue and fellowship. It’s not a fundraiser, and organizers say it is just an opportunity for campers from the past to return to the site of happy memories.
To learn more about supporting New Life Camp’s capital campaign, go to newlifecamp.com/campon.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will host its Coffeehouse on Friday, April 28. Bingo is on the menu, complete with prizes.
Coffeehouse, a monthly fellowship event for adults of all abilities, is celebrating its 20th year as a ministry outreach. It takes place in the church fellowship hall at 7000 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. For information, go to gslchurch.org.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at email@example.com.