TOWNSEND, Tenn. (May 22, 2017) – Camp Wesley Woods is kicking off the summer season with a new star to add to its list of attractions.
Nickle Lodge – the building that sleeps 50 and has a bathroom and meeting room – is renovated so it looks less like a camp and more like a log cabin on the inside, said Tony Lea, Wesley Woods director.
“It’s brighter, more open, and more comfortable,” said Lea. “We gutted it to the point where there was only framing and the outside walls. We didn’t change the floor plan, but there are new walls, ceilings, floors, lights, beds and tiled bathrooms.”
The $200,000 renovation on the 1982 lodge started in November 2016 with volunteer teams from Habitat for Humanity and St. Mark United Methodist Church (Clinton, Tenn.) Construction started in January and was completed in April.
The lodge also includes a bathroom with disability access and a kitchenette, Lea said.
Summer camp at Wesley Woods is a “very busy, very intense ministry” involving 900 to 1,000 campers over seven weeks, Lea said. The season begins June 4.
Throughout the rest of the year, Wesley Woods hosts school groups totaling 4,500 to 6,000 students for outdoor education. An additional 1,500 to 2,000 people come to Wesley Woods each year for retreats.
“Our retreat guests have a very different expectation of the accommodations,” he said. “Nickle Lodge is our bread and butter, our only self-contained building. We couldn’t be a vital ministry without Nickle Lodge.”
The first group to stay at the renovated lodge was from Westview Elementary in Knoxville. The lodge has been occupied weekly since reopening, and more campers will keep the beds filled over the summer. A Kiwanis Leadership group from Maryville is scheduled for a retreat at the lodge over Memorial Day weekend.
Most weekends this fall have already been booked by United Methodist groups, Lea said, but some openings exist.
“We look at this renovation as the next step in our camp upgrade, which will include new cabins,” Lea said. “We will put together a master planning project soon. We hope to complete another new building in spring 2018.”
The renovation was accomplished through generous gifts from individuals and churches, as well as fundraising projects and some reserve funds, Lea said. “We still have some fundraising to do.” See camp wish list.
While other camps close, how do Holston camps keep going? (The Call, 10/10/16)
960 kids expected at new community camp this summer (The Call, 3/20/17)
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.