Camps and Conferences with Director Rob Watson

The full audio of Watson’s report on Camps and Conferences is below:

“The Word is very near indeed, and I bring good news from the Camps of West Texas,” said Rob Watson, executive director of Camps and Conferences.

“At camp we are constantly reminded that the Word is near – through our encounters with the natural world or listening to the rapturous singing of 200 campers and staff at a Camp Capers closing, we are drawn into conversations with God,” said Watson.

In June the Lillibridge Dining Hall at Camp Capers was dedicated in honor of Bishop Gary and Catherine Lillibridge. “It has exceeded all expectations, providing functional, gorgeous spaces for relaxing, eating, fellowship, and worship.”

All the new buildings have allowed Camp Capers to extend its mission to all ages of groups. “We’ve also begun to improve access to the 108-acre Brinsmade Sanctuary of Camp Capers by adding pedestrian gates and clearing dead tress.”

This spring, Camp Capers will break ground on a new girls’ cabin that will accommodate 16 people in two sides with common meeting and gathering space.

During 2017 at Duncan Park friends and professionals alike created sacred spaces at our home in the mountains, including a labyrinth built by Trinity by the Sea, Port Aransas. A series of stone steps were added, as well as private baths for summer staff.

Mustang Island Conference Center (MICC) hunkered down and withstood Hurricane Harvey with fortitude and grace. “The hurricane forced the center to close, but the staff battled mosquitoes, mounds of seaweed, debris, and trash, and unbearable humidity to bring it back to life quickly to accommodate guests and serve as a response center. It remains a resource by providing housing for Harvey volunteer groups,” said Watson.

“MICC desperately needs more bedrooms and meeting space,” he said. The new master plan is still in place, which calls for this and a beautiful chapel. “Stay tuned; soon the plan will be put into action.”

“One of the core principals of our camping ministry is to offer the opportunity of transformative experiences at all of our sites to everyone – regardless of their financial circumstances.

“In 2017, almost $300,000 was given to children and families. 432 children received full or partial scholarships, including 192 children from Good Samaritan Community Services, 20 from St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, and four children of Wounded Warriors,” said Watson.

Also, 39 families who attended Family Camp at MICC received scholarships; and 31 people who attended Duncan Park received scholarships, plus 27 Wounded Warriors, spouses, and their children who attended the Wounded Warrior Program Camp at Duncan Park.

Nineteen Wounded Warriors and their families or children were able to attend programs at all of our sites and MICC Family Camp welcomed four families from Magdalena House in San Antonio, at no cost to them.

Watson extended a gracious thank you to the churches that participated in Camp Sunday in 2017. “Camp Sunday is an important opp to raise money for the Camps Annual Fund,” said Watson. “Please prayerfully consider making a gift in 2018.”

Watson shared some stories and quotes from children and families who attended one or more of the three sites this past year. “Such a delightful time of renewal” said one family. A Wounded Warrior said, “This week at Duncan Park has allowed me to get out and not stay home. Three words to describe my experience: fabulous, humble and thankful.”