FRUITLAND PARK -- Summer camp begins June 11, but you can enjoy a preview of the newly updated Barnett Lodge at Warren W. Willis Camp on Saturday June 2, as we join together to consecrate the newly renovated and expanded facility. The $4 million renovation and construction project has been the focus of the TOGETHER! For Kids and Camps campaign, which supports the shared Camps and Retreat Ministries of the Florida Annual Conference.
|New administrative offices for the Warren W. Willis Camp are part of the new construction at Barnett Lodge are set for consecration on Saturday, June 2.|
According to Camp Director Mike Standifer, festivities will begin at 10 a.m. with an open house and tours of the Barnett Lodge. Bishop Timothy Whitaker will officiate at a service of consecration beginning at 11:15 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Afterwards, all attendees are invited to stay for lunch in the new Lakeside and Roadside Dining Halls.
The enhanced facility, now enlarged by 7,131 square feet, is the central activities center for the camp, housing a fellowship hall, a modernized kitchen serving two expanded dining halls, new administrative offices, a welcome center with snack bar and two new meeting rooms with outdoor terraces overlooking Lake Griffin.
According to Standifer, Steve Edwards, whose company Edwards Construction is the project’s general contractor, has kept the project on track and even a bit ahead of schedule. “They have done an amazing job of bringing everything in the more than 60-year-old building up to modern standards,” he said. “The structural upgrades, as well as the cosmetic changes, will make this a facility a showcase for years to come.”
Standifer said that having the building completed in May means that the camping staff will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new Barnett Lodge before the actual camping sessions begin. “It’s like getting used to a new home or a new car,” he said, “but this one has more than 9,500 square feet and is the focal point for hundreds of guests at any given time of the year.” According to Standifer, Warren W. Willis Camp is open year round to serve churches and meeting groups. Approximately 10,000 guests visit the camping and retreat center every year.
To attend the consecration celebration, please RSVP to Ginny Wood at the Florida United Methodist Foundation, (866) 363-9673, extension 7101, or send an email to email@example.com. To donate to the Together! For Kids and Camps campaign, which continues to raise money for the Barnett Lodge renovation, please contact the Foundation or make an online pledge or donation at www.fumf.org/together.