Flood damage won't delay summer at Camp Dickenson

Flood damage won't delay summer at Camp Dickenson

An April 29 flood caused damage at Camp Dickenson, complicating staff efforts to prepare for the summer season.

However, the flood did not affect construction on a new pool, and camp activities will not be delayed by the damage, according to Director Michael Snow.

Camp Dickenson is one of four Holston Conference camps, located on the banks of New River in Fries, Va.

A hard rain caused the stream that runs through the camp to overflow during the early evening hours, quickly washing out roads, swamping the camp lodge's bottom floor, and eroding the creek bank.

"Our property manager, Wayne Roberts, has been here for a long time, and he said he has never seen the stream overflow like that," said Snow, camp director since 2007.

The roads were quickly repaired by state crews, Snow said. However, mud and water damage will necessitate replacement of carpet, sink vanities, and some of the dry wall in the lodge. An insurance adjuster has visited the site and is expected to submit a report on May 8. Snow has already requested bids from several contractors.

Existing trees helped prevent some erosion of the creek bank, but in other places the lack of trees resulted in the most severe damage. Staff members will likely plant trees to reduce the possibility of future damage, Snow said.

"Thankfully, none of the roofs seem to have been damaged and the pool construction was not deterred," said the Rev. Charles Starks, Wytheville District superintendent. "The storm was a very hard one and does present some setbacks."

Camp Dickenson is in the midst of a $750,000 capital campaign that will finance the pool as well as two new cabins and a multi-purpose building. More than $452,000 has already been pledged or donated, Snow said.

"The pool was supposed to be a seven-week project," Snow said. "The rain has already delayed construction by a week, but the pool should be ready by the time our first campers arrive on June 1."

Damage to the lodge has already forced the re-scheduling of one group, and incoming staff may need to be re-routed to the camp farmhouse. Other arrangements will be made, and the extra responsibilities are "taking away" from the usual camp preparation, Snow said. But he doesn't expect Dickenson campers to have any less of an experience.

Snow requested prayers and said that donations would be appreciated, since he is unsure that insurance will cover the damage. (For donation information, contact Charles Maynard.)

Starks praised Snow as well as the Rev. Randy Pasqua, executive director of Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries.

"I am confident with Michael's and Randy's leadership we will be in good shape to start the summer season."