Frequently Asked Questions about the sale of Camp Grow
Why did ABC MetroChicago decide to put Camp Grow up for sale?
We are selling the camp in order to expand and enhance the camping and outdoor ministries we are able to offer our churches. That may seem contradictory. But we have become convinced that owning our own camp is both unsustainable and limits the suitability and variety of camping and outdoor ministries we are able to provide. Twenty years ago we entered a partnership with the Green Lake Conference Center in which they took on a significant role in managing and operating Camp Grow because ABCMC did not have the financial or human resources to do it by ourselves. Green Lake Conference Center has withdrawn from that partnership because the camp became a drain on their resources. Our capacity to run a camp has not increased over the past 20 years. No one in the region has stepped forward to say "We'll do the work. We'll give the money." We are simply unable to own and run a camp by ourselves, especially one that is 3 to 4 hours away from our churches. Also, over the last 20 years fewer and fewer children and youth from ABCMC churches have attended Camp Grow. Its location and program is no longer meeting our needs.
How was the decision made to put Camp Grow on market?
The vote was taken at the Annual Business Meeting of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago on May 20, 2017. Following a lively, thorough, and respectful discussion the voting delegates (one pastor and one lay representative from each church plus Cabinet members) voted 29 to 15 in favor of putting the camp up for sale.
Will there be camp for ABCMC children this summer (2018)?
Region leaders have made arrangements with the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin for our children and youth to attend their Camp Tamarack this summer. They have excellent facilities and programs that seem well-suited to the diverse children of our region. Camp Tamarack is located 30 minutes further north of Camp Grow. This camping opportunity will be publicized throughout ABCMC churches. Scholarship assistance from the region will be made available to children from ABCMC churches as it has been in the past. Bus transportation will be provided from Chicago to the camp in Wisconsin as it has been in recent years. Please go to the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin website for a schedule of their 2018 camping season.
How is the sale being handled?
The Finance and Property Committee is making arrangement for the sale. Upon their recommendation, the ABCMC Cabinet approved the choice of a realtor. The proposal approved at Annual Meeting specified that the ABCMC Family Council (one pastor and one lay representative from each church plus Cabinet members) must vote on any specific sale agreement. The Finance and Property Committee is doing the work of seeking buyers and evaluating offers, but no actual sale can be made without a specific vote by the Family Council.
What types of buyers might be interested in our Camp Grow property?
Some groups have expressed interest in buying the property to continue to operate it as a camp. A conservation group has shown interest in acquiring the property to maintain as public green space. Developers have expressed interest in the property, particularly in the section along the Green Lake waterfront. A sale to some combination of these kinds of buyers is possible.
What is the expected timeline for selling Camp Grow?
Camp Grow will cease operations on December 31, 2017. It is not practical or wise to leave the camp property vacant and unused for any extended length of time. We hope to be able to finalize a sale in 2018.
What will we do with the money from the sale?
The proposal approved at the Annual Meeting specifies that proceeds from the sale of the camp will be locked up until another vote by the Family Council on a specific plan for the use of the money. No money from the sale of the camp can be spent for any purpose without the express direction of the Family Council.
What about the future of camping and outdoor ministry for ABCMC? What will happen beyond this summer?
The region has established a Camping and Outdoor Ministry Task Force. It includes Keith Cerk, Shakespeare Osorio, Jasmyne Brown Roberts, Kathryn Ray and others. They are hard at work finding answers to the question: What camping and outdoor ministry opportunities do our churches want and need? Without being tied to a specific property and its established program, all kinds of creative possibilities open up. A wilderness canoe trip for Senior Highs? Day camp using beaches and parks in the city? Spanish language Family Camp? A spiritual retreat for pastors? Renting a camp nearer Chicago for a few weeks each summer? In selling Camp Grow we are not giving up on outdoor ministries. We are selling the camp in order to expand and enhance ABCMC's camping and outdoor ministries.
Camp Grow has been central to my walk with Christ. I cherish my memories of times at the camp. By selling it won't we be depriving the Region's young people of these formative experiences?
Selling Camp Grow does not mean an end to camping for ABCMC young people. Surely God's presence can be experienced in the natural world at other camps. Surely Christ's love in community can be experienced through camping in other locations. Rev. Mary Hulst, of the ABC of the Rocky Mountains, has said: "Selling our camp was the best decision we ever made. Our region now rents a Quaker Camp for several weeks each summer. My grandchildren are just as attached to that camp as my children were to the camp our region owned."
How can I keep up to date with developments regarding the sale of the camp?
Progress in the process of selling the camp will be publicized in eWind as it becomes public. That information will also be posted here on the ABCMC website. It is important to bear in mind that much work, conversation, discernment, and negotiation in any real estate sale takes place confidentially and cannot be made public immediately.