After an extreme weather event closed the camp in early July, Pilgrim Pines Camp and Retreat Center in Swanzey, New Hampshire, has made a partial recovery and has resumed many of their normal activities. Executive director Jim Condap says it’s been hard, but progress has been happening.
“We closed our youth camp for a couple of weeks, and were able to reopen it, as that campus received minimal damage from the storm,” says Condap. “Our main campus, our family camp, had to shut down. We lost about four weeks of summer ministry but were able to open for the last two weeks of family camp. It was a modified effort with those last couple of weeks, but it’s been really good to be back.”
The reopening of the family camp was restorative for the community. “It brought a lot of people hope, there were lots of tears, lots of hugs, lots of gratitude,” Condap says. Nearly all of the staff was able to return. “It helped them to finish the summer strong and gave them some closure to a tricky season.”
Unfortunately, some areas are still a long way from re-opening.
“Our camping area sustained the most damage, and unfortunately we were unable to reopen that. It will take the most time, effort, and financial resources to rebuild. The infrastructure, electrical, water lines, roads that were washed away…that will be an offseason campaign for us.”
Still, Condap is upbeat. “Our main campus and youth camp will be hosting plenty of fall events. There’s still some work to do on the grounds to get some of those facilities ready, but we anticipate a full retreat schedule.”
Along with a deep sense of gratitude that things are beginning to return to normal, Condap feels the weight of responsibility to steward a process of restoration for the camp because it means so much to so many. “I don’t take for granted how many people count on this place… how important it has been and continues to be, for people young and old. For families who’ve been for here for generations or people who’ve just come for the last few years, it’s important for us to keep improving and keep pushing this ministry forward.”
He adds, “Now is the time for us to turn this challenge for us into an opportunity to make it better for the next generation.”