A 100th anniversary celebration to be held at the Baron Lake camp this summer is being planned by the people who have continuously offered youth and family camps, retreats and other gatherings here for the past century.  Grand Mesa Christian Association invites former campers and those interested in the future of the camp to mark their calendars for Saturday, July 8 and prioritize being part of the festivities.

“The camp has provided a rustic and beautiful setting for thousands of families since 1917,” says Renee Talbott Miller of New Castle, a youth camper in the 1970s and 1980s who now has children and grandchildren who cherish spending time at the camp.  “I was married there, as were my parents and many of my siblings and cousins.  This is a special place for many people, and for many varying and very personal reasons.  We want to celebrate this incredible legacy, and also take the opportunity to cast a vision for the next 100 years of the camp.”

Baptist and United Methodist churches throughout the region are represented on the Christian Association, which provides for all programming and use of facilities at the Baron Lake camp.  “We’ve always leased the land from the U.S. Forest Service,” says Miller, “but the people who have used this camp throughout the years are the ones who have built and maintained the buildings and other improvements.  The 100th anniversary is an important time to acknowledge and thank those who’ve put much of their lives into making sure this camp is here for their children, their grandchildren and grandchildren’s children.”

Bev Chambers of Rifle says, “I was raised in Cedaredge and first went to camp – where my sisters had gone – in the 1940s as a high schooler.  I met people from all over – loved it, returned as a counselor while attending what was then Mesa Junior College, and have stayed involved through my church ever since.

“There are lots of other families like ours with similar experiences.  Yet, the camp doesn’t really have ‘reunions.’  As we plan for this once-in-a-lifetime gathering, we really hope anyone who attended the camp – and who can put us in touch with others who have attended – will want to spread the word and be here on July 8th.  It is an event not to be missed!”

Activities planned for July 8 include a 10 a.m. worship service and historical review/program, 12 noon hamburger cookout, and afternoon of traditional camp activities:  boating, volleyball and softball, crafts, singing of classic songs and enjoying a Hershey bar at the camp store.  “The day will have something for everyone, including little kids,” says Miller.  “We are really excited to connect past campers with their peers who can make it, but also to introduce the camp to new generations of people we hope will carry forth the long-time traditions of the camp.”

Information is available on the camp websites:  www.grandmesabaptistcamp.org or www.grandmesacamp.com. For additional details, to RSVP or to provide names and contact information for invitations, contact Betty Schanz in Grand Junction, 970-250-5102 or bkschanz329@msn.com, or Connie Pittenger in Montrose, 970-249-4308 or conpittenger@gmail.com.