HIS Children's Camp, which is located at Ridgley, is gearing up for its largest camping season so far. Camp directors and founders Kenny and Delene Abbott have scheduled four weeks of camp this summer.
"We are very excited," said Delene. "This will be the biggest camping season we have had so far. Hopefully it is setting us up to grow a lot more."
This summer, HIS Children's Camp will host campers from Grove, Okla., and Bolivar in June. Barry County campers and Springfield kids will be attending the camp in July.
The kids who attend HIS Children's Camp this year will have an opportunity to lodge in one of the camp's six finished cabins and participate in a variety of camping activities.
"We have swimming, archery, frisbee golf and sand volleyball," said Delene. "We have a nice playground and an amphitheater. We have the discovery garden, hiking trails and open fields that can be used to fly kites or just play."
Children will also have the opportunity to interact with a miniature horse, chickens, ducks, puppies, rabbits, lambs and goats at HIS Children's Camp this year.
As June 1 approaches, the Abbotts are accepting any volunteer help they can get to complete several projects at the camp.
"We have Taggart's Barn dining hall dried in, but we still need to finish the electrical work and plumbing," said Kenny. "Right now we are working to make seating available. Then we can cater in from the Ridgley Baptist Church's Outreach Center."
Volunteers will also be needed to help clean up the camp in preparation for the summer season.
"We need to move beds and furniture, and we have some housekeeping that needs to be done," said Delene. "We need to do some grounds clean up. If someone would like to bring a mower and help me mow, that would be pretty awesome."
The Abbots need volunteers to trim trees and complete mechanical repairs on two vehicles at the camp. The camp will also need volunteers to help plant 1,200 trees that were donated to replace trees at the camp that were damaged last winter.
"We have a lot of maintenance work that needs to be done," said Delene. "We need someone to weed eat and we have some concrete work to complete.
"We need help building more animal pens in our barnyard," said Delene. "We have someone who would like to donate more animals to us but we don't have room to keep them."
Teams who have worked at the camp this year include: Church Without Walls in Bolivar; Southeast Missouri Baptist Student Union in Cape Girardeau; College Heights Christian School; First Baptist Church, of Oklahoma City, Okla.; First Baptist Church, of Cassville; Cassville High School senior class; Emmanuel Baptist Church, of Cassville; the Cassville Rotary Club; University of Missouri-Rolla Baptist Student Union; and other individuals.
In addition to volunteers, HIS Children's Camp needs financial contributions to purchase kitchen equipment for the new dining hall.
"Everything we have left is big money items," said Kenny. "Our equipment need is around $160,000, and we are squeezed dry."
This summer, HIS Children's Camp will host several fundraising events to help raise monies for the dining hall and other camp projects.
HIS Children's Camp will kick off fundraising with a poker run, sponsored by Aurora #3948 Eagle Riders, that will begin at the junction of Highway K and ZZ in Aurora, at 11 a.m. on May 31. Registration will start at 10 a.m.
Entry fees will be $15 per individual, $25 per couple and $30 per car. Participants interested in playing an extra hand can do so for $5.
Motorcycles will leave Aurora between 11 a.m. and noon. Participants must return by 3 p.m. The poker run will start and end in Aurora. Stops will be made in Monett, Ridgley and Jenkins.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the participants who have the best and worst hand. Numerous door prizes will be given away during the event, and a free dinner will be provided at the end of the run.
For more information on the poker run call George Riffel at 417-848-2405 or Greg Yardley at 417-236-4635.
Other events scheduled for this summer and in the early fall include: a golf tournament, which will be held at the Cassville Golf Course on Aug. 23; Taggart's Barn Raising, which will be held on Sept. 12 and 13; and the Ozark Pioneer Festival, which is scheduled for Sept. 27 and 28.
The Ozark Pioneer Festival will include a Civil War encampment and skirmish, historical displays and pioneer arts and crafts.
"This will be a kid-oriented event," said Delene. "Children will be able to make things like corn husk dolls to take home with them. They will also have the opportunity to take part in other activities. The majority of the activities will be hands on."
Individuals dressed as pioneers will demonstrate spinning, lye soap making, butter churning, basket weaving, quilting, knitting and other skills.
Organizations and individuals interested in supporting the camp are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming events, visit the camp website at hccamp.org or call Kenny or Delene at 417-652-3351.