Richard Nations/contributing writer
CHILLICOTHE – Grand Oaks Baptist Assembly dedicated a new swimming pool just in time for the summer camp season.
The pool dedication was held May 27 as the St. Joseph Baptist Association convened their week of camp at the Grand Oaks facility. The group thanked God for the pool and reminded the youth about the work of God which went into the establishment of the camp and the pool. Eight north Missouri Baptist associations share in the ownership and management of the camp, which was founded in 1946.
The 29-year-old pool it replaced was designed for a 20-25 year life and the camp made it stretch for 29 seasons. But plumbing problems under the concrete deck and bulging walls hinted it might not last much longer. Camp officials feared it would become unusable and recommended its replacement.
Last year the eight associations affiliated with Grand Oaks were asked by the camp board to raise funds for a new pool. They embarked on a campaign called “Strong Roots – New Branches” and raised a little over a quarter million dollars toward the project. The costs for construction and a few additional features was almost $264,000. To date all bills have been paid and the pool was built debt-free.
The pool has two water slides as well as some other fun features such as a climbing wall, basketball goals and a volleyball net.
Continental Pools of Gardner, Kan., embarked on the construction during the past winter and spring working in sometimes subzero temperatures. A few months later it is finished and is now in use almost daily by campers and other guests of the facility cooling down during the hot, humid days.
Don Boyer, camp manager, said the weather was hard on the builders, but they didn’t slow down too much even though laying concrete during the harsh, cold winter was a challenge. He said the pool company was great to work with on the project.
According to the Grand Oaks board member, Clyde Elder, who is director of missions for the St. Joseph Baptist Association, the board plans to implement a second phase of the capital fund-raising effort in the fall to begin raising funds for a multi-purpose recreation building in the center of the campus.
Elder said, “The Grand Oaks trustees have worked tirelessly to design the pool and they are now working to design a recreation building which is badly needed. Our prayer is that the people connected to Grand Oaks will experience the call of God to help us through financing as they did with the pool.”
“Grand Oaks is an exciting place for ministry and the addition of the rec building will help us in rainy weather, as well, and give us another large building for ministry. It is also great to see Baptists from all over north Missouri come together for such a good cause,” he added.
Boyer said the pool is a definite plus in the facility features line-up. “It enhances the Christian camping experience. Not many kids don’t like being in a pool. On a hot day it’s good to cool down.”
He and his wife, Jolette, have spent much of their adult lives and careers at Grand Oaks managing the facilities.
“It’s been a great life’s work. We’ve been able to use the skills God gave us. It was a good place to raise a family. Lots of people have come through this place and been touched by the Lord.”
Last year the Grand Oaks facility served 1,341 campers, and there were 109 professions of faith recorded, with 58 rededications to Christ.
Elder echoed that sentiment as he said, “We are also indebted to Don and Jolette Boyer for their service and vision for many years as camp manager. They have matured the camp into a top notch facility while keeping a few rustic roots to remind us we are at camp.
“(The campaign name), ‘Strong Roots – New Branches,’ has a special meaning when you consider the number of ‘strong-roots’ people who have given of themselves and their finances over the years and look to the ‘new-branches’ people for their continued spiritual strength, growth, and stability.” ν