Camp surpasses original goal by $100,000
With the support of donors from around the world, Sumatanga Camp and Retreat Center has raised over $400,000 towards its goal of sustaining itself past December 2009. The initial goal was to raise $300,000 by the end of August. That milestone was passed in late July. As of Wednesday, August 6th, $401,739.23 had been received. The funds have been used to pay down lines of credit, make needed repairs and sustain the camp through a difficult economic climate that had led to a decline in reservations.
Executive Director Bob Murray believes this answers the question that many have been asking of the camp, "Is Sumatanga still relevant?" with a resounding "Yes!" Donations have come in the form of nickels and dimes collected by young summer campers and delivered in plastic bags, special offerings collected by congregations, and individual checks for thousands of dollars.
For over 60 years, the camp has served guests of all denominations as a Christian camp and retreat center. It is best known for it's summer camping program and the Walk to Emmaus. But it is also used year round by groups as diverse as cancer survivors, addicts in recovery, the Kairos prison ministry, campus ministries and local church family retreats. In recent years, more guests have chosen to get married at the open air chapel that overlooks camp from Chandler Mountain.
Unfortunately, overall usage of the camp outside of the summer months has been steadily declining for several years. While a business plan that aggressively markets the camp has been implemented, this decline combined with the recent recession have dramatically impacted group reservations.
Since making the initial plea for help in early June, year-round reservations have increased dramatically. But without a sustained increase in guest revenue, finances will remain a significant challenge for Sumatanga.
Camp Sumatanga is on the web at www.sumatanga.org and their phone number is 256-538-9860. The 1,700-acre site is open year round for families, churches, schools, and corporate groups. Accommodations range from RV hookups and cabins to dormitory style halls and motel style rooms. They offer summer camping and year-round accommodations.
Gifts made as personal checks can be mailed to Camp Sumatanga, 3616 Sumatanga Road, Gallant, AL 35972 and designated as "general donations."