Yard sale, donkey basketball to bolster Ridgetop Bible Camp

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Camp directors announce first summer camps to begin May 23

Ridgetop Bible Camp will be hosting two fundraisers to raise money for the camp's operations, along with an informational meeting about the camp.

On April 29 at 7 p.m., a game of donkey basketball will be held at the Wheaton school gymnasium, and on May 14, a yard sale will be held at Ferman Prewitt's home at 530 E. Davidson St. in Wheaton, during the town's city-wide garage sale.

Homemade kettle corn and pork rinds will be sold at the yard sale, and people may donate items to be sold. All proceeds for both events go to help support the camp's opening and operations, which is located in Ridgley.

InFaith Missionaries Bill Bennett and Brenda Bennett, camp directors who have been working toward opening the campgrounds since last year, have announced that they plan to host the first camps for the season beginning May 23.

On May 1 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cassville, the Bennetts will provide a presentation about the camp during the morning service with the congregation. The public is invited to attend.

"At the camp, children will learn about the Bible while enjoying a variety of activities," Brenda Bennett said. "We'll have Bible class and chapel, but also recreation. They will have the opportunity to be with other children, do activities, learn more about God and the Bible, and be in a place where they are safe, loved and cared for. As long as we have room, our goal is to welcome anyone that wants to come."

The following dates have been set for summer camp:

* Day camp for grades K-2, May 23-27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

* Junior camp for completed grades 3-5, June 27-30

* Middle school camp, completed grades 6-8, July 18-23

* High school camp, completed grades 9-12, July 25-30

The camp, which is located in Ridgley, sits on about 50 acres of land and has a capacity of approximately 60 children per camp.

According to Jeanie England, who owns the land the camp sits on with husband Mike England and is assisting the Bennetts with preparing for the opening, the Bennetts are in the process of moving to the Barry County area to be closer to the camp.

"They put their house up for sale in Versailles, and by 5 p.m. the next day, it was under contract," England said. "They are going to be opening the camp. They set the dates, so things are going to happen really fast. We are still looking for volunteers for work days."

Several items are still needed to get the camp operational, England said, and the Bennetts are asking for donations of the following items: a commercial dishwasher, commercial stove and refrigerator, washer and dryer, ice machine, weed eater, mower or tractor, large cooking pots and pans, bowls, utensils, food prep items, five full-size mattresses, cleaning items and volunteers to clean and paint."

The Bennetts have several years of experience managing camps, including Camp Smokey near Roaring River, and a camp in Tennessee. The couples' focus is serving Barry County youth, and in the fall, they plan to use the camp for adult events, such as men's and women's adult retreats.

For more information about the camp, including pricing or to inquire about donations and investing, people may call the Bennetts at 417-342-7659, or visit their website at www.ridgetopbiblecamp.org. Donations may also be made at: PayPal.me/ridgetopbiblecampmo. Local churches are invited to be involved with the camp.

If directions are needed to Prewitt's home for the yard sale, or if anyone would like to donate items for the sale, they may call 417-235-2650.

England said previous issues with the camp's septic system, which prevented His Children's Camp from opening, have been resolved, and the Bennetts are just waiting on their permit.

"We're expecting the permit any day," she said. "They had to hire an engineer to help apply for it, and it will all be done with the way the [Department of Natural Resources] has laid out. The engineer doesn't foresee any problem of getting it."

England said His Children's Camp planned to operate on a much larger scale, which would have involved different septic system needs, but the camp the Bennetts are opening is a much smaller, different type of operation.

"When they get the permit in their hand, and it's already been paid for, that should open the door to where there won't be anything stopping it," England said.

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