Nowadays, passers-by pull over to take a closer look at the lake that sits in the center of Camp Hawthorne. It’s no surprise, though. With the recent upgrades to the lake and to the grounds, it’s really hard to miss. Drivers on Highway 20 are almost blinded by the sunbeams bouncing off the sparkling waters in the lake. And, if that doesn’t get their attention, the fountain spouting up into the air in the center of the lake will do it easily.
Gregory Mack, president of Southeastern Conference (SEC), stated, “We will continue to develop our campground so that it is a sought after destination for ministry events, but also a more enjoyable place for the entire Southeastern family to be refreshed and renewed.” Camp Hawthorne has been the primary site of Southeastern ministry events for more than 40 years. Recently, it received a long list of upgrades to ready it for future ministry to the next generations.
In 2017 the campground’s main pavilion received nearly $1 million dollars worth of renovations, and, to date, the upgrades across the campus total nearly $2 million dollars. Besides the sparkling lake and the new fountain, campers will be pleased to see the return of the beach to the center lake, which is fully equipped with showers and beach chairs. Also, a floating dock has been installed where campers can board one of several paddle boats and water tricycles. There have been extensive upgrades to the cabins, with bathroom upgrades in the near future.
Camp Hawthorne is also high-tech. Fiber optic cable is running throughout the campus, and the buildings are currently being wired for Wi-Fi throughout the entire campground.
The young athletes and thrill seekers will want to visit the brand new 400-foot zip line and obstacle course. Close by, campers can gather for outdoor Vespers around the bonfire. What’s great is that these are only partial upgrades, and campers will have to stay tuned for the extensive list of upgrades in store for the near future.
With all of the upgrades, the Southeastern administration is seeking to make Camp Hawthorne a prime destination for ministry and local community events. Recently, the North American Division chose Camp Hawthorne as the host site for the Division Finals of the 2018 season of the Pathfinder Bible Experience. Conference administrators are also working with local community leaders to ensure they recognize Camp Hawthorne as a destination for community events, and a place where the community can be served. With a recent accreditation designation from the American Camp Association, it is evident that Camp Hawthorne truly is becoming a destination for quality events — large and small.
It is one more place where mission-driven initiatives can be advanced, and people can retreat and recharge. There is no doubt that Camp Hawthorne will continue to be a place where Southeastern will share hope and restore wholeness.
Southeastern | August 2018