New England’s place of refuge, fellowship
RAYMOND, Maine — Mounted moose heads hang over the two-sided…
Linda King describes Gander Brook Christian Camp as a unifier of sorts for Churches of Christ in New England.
People from all over the region — and the U.S. — are part of “Gander Brook nation,” with some connection to the Raymond, Maine, camp at 27 Ganderbrook Lane that has helped mold young Christians since 1956.
But more than 60 years of summers have taken their toll on many of the camps facilities — particularly the dorm that houses summer staff, which predated the camp by another few decades. Now that dorm — the camp’s largest building — needs to be replaced.
King, who serves on the camp’s board of directors, said the camp has done its best to preserve what it considers to be historical buildings, but the current dorm has gone as far as it can. It will be the first facility to be rebuilt. Still, the camp is trying to keep the replacement dorm in a similar style to the original buildings.
Initial quotes for a new dorm last year came in around $535,000, which the camp has been able to raise in two phases of fundraising over the past year.
However, King told The Christian Chronicle that the town later determined the camp would need to hire a structural engineer to make plans that would meet local codes. Those additional requirements — a sprinkler-alarm system, for example — along with rising building costs have meant more recent quotes were substantially higher.
And while the camp is still taking bids from contractors, she said it appears the cost will end up around $680,000. The total amount raised was $612,000 as of Nov. 2, and in phase three of its fundraising campaign, the camp hopes to raise an additional $50,000.
King said that should put the camp in good shape to begin construction next fall.
In the meantime, she said the camp has been blessed to have been able to stay open the past two summers — only about a third of summer camps in Maine were able to do so last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gander Brook has been able to keep costs and the virus in check by limiting the number of campers and keeping tighter control on the food supply and other resources, King said.
But the camp was able to host more campers this year and hopes to allow even more back next year.
King called Gander Brook a blessing to the church in New England, one that serves as a valuable ministry tool and brings Christians together — all the more reason she wants to keep it safe and successful.
The camp has collected donations for the new dorm through GoFundMe in previous phases of its fundraising campaign and is in the process of launching another round through the service. It also accepts donations through PayPal and by mail.
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