Camp Cale in Hertford, N.C., celebrated the dedication of its first year-round housing facility on Nov. 30. The evening dinner event that was promoted as a fund raiser received a $51,000 boost for the ministry. About 180 supporters attended the gathering.
BR photo by K. Allan Blume
The camp recently dedicated its first year-round housing facility.
James Harrington, missions strategist for the Chowan Baptist Association, told supporters North Carolina is the home to the only Southern Baptist Convention conference center, LifeWay’s Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. He added that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina owns three camps in the state but, “We’re the only association in the state that owns their own camp. That’s challenging and is an amazing opportunity to reach people in ways that other associations do not have the opportunity to do. We are so blessed to have this amazing, amazing facility.”
Chowan Baptist Association is a fellowship 65 churches in a 10-county area of northeastern N.C.
Leading the prayer of dedication for the new bunkhouse, Harrington gave thanks for the children, teenagers and adults whose lives have been changed through Camp Cale’s 55-year ministry.
“We thank you, God, for this ministry at this time and this place,” he said. “We place this [new] facility in Your hands. Take it and use it in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.”
Matt Thomas, director of Camp Cale, told the Biblical Recorder the Chowan association had an interest in establishing a retreat center in 1961. The Cale family initially gave the association 50 acres of wooded land where the Perquimans River empties into the Albemarle Sound. The family later donated another 26 acres. In 1963 the first youth and children’s summer camp program began.
Today Cale holds six sessions of summer camps – five are children’s camps, one is a youth week for teenagers. The new bunkhouse accommodates 48 guests, allowing 80 to 100 children to attend each week. The summer of 2018 was a record-breaking season with 459 campers and 111 first time decisions for Christ, according to Thomas.
“Most of our campers are local,” he said. “But, not all of them are from our association and not all of our summer kids are church kids, so it’s a great mission field. One of the neat things in this work is that we get to see the children walk down the aisles and being baptized.”
In the last six years, new ministry standards and fresh vision have propelled the ministries at Camp Cale to a new level. Facilities have been brought up to code and other needed improvements are now complete, Thomas explained.
In 2013 Cale completed their first year-round facility, a large conference center that accommodates 240 guests around tables or 400 seated in an assembly layout. “The conference center elevated the ministry significantly,” he said. “Combined with the new bunkhouse that makes us more year-round.”
The goal is to build a twin bunkhouse as soon as funds are available.
Owned by the Chowan Baptist Association, Cale is operated by a management team. “Everything we do runs through our association. There is no Camp Cale without the Chowan Baptist Association,” said Thomas.
Camp Cale is located at 377 Camp Cale Rd, Hertford, NC 27944. Visit CampCale.com or call (252) 264-2513.