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OUR HISTORY

1921

R.T. and Bertha Smith buy the house that can now be seen at the entrance.  The Smiths were missionaries with the American Sunday School Union, whose purpose was to establish Sunday Schools in rural areas.

1925

The Smiths hear of Daily Vacation Bible Schools and find them to be an aid in their goal of starting Sunday Schools, so they later decide to train teachers for DVBS’s to multiply their ministry.

1927

The first camp or Training Institute (as it was then called) was held.  Eighteen prospective teachers attended, ate in the Smith’s dining room and slept in their garage.  Classes were held on their front porch or under the trees by the river. 

 
1935

The basement of the house was dug and served as a dining room with a capacity for 86 people.

 
1936

The Boys Camp was begun, held August 14-21 with 36 boys of 12 years of age and older attending.

 
1937

The kitchen/dishroom was erected for classroom and sleeping space.  An irrigation system was installed for the Smith’s garden that continued as the source for much of the campers’ food, keeping the enrollment fee at a low $3.00 per person.

 
1939

The first Family Camp is held, August 29-September 1.  Services were held in a tent for a few years but a fund was started for a 45 x 80 foot Tabernacle.

 
1945

Camp Sharon, for girls 12 years of age and older.  Cost was $6.00 for 8 days.

 
1967-68 A 30 x 60 foot swimming pool was built under Rev. Francis Henderson’s direction.  
1970 Dennis (and Carolyn) Knee become the first full-time camp manager, organizing RRBC the camp in a fashion similar to Camp Forest Springs in Westboro, WI.  They made many building improvements in their five years of leadership.  
1975 David (and Karen) Legge becomes camp manager and continue to make more improvements to the grounds.  
1976

Dennis (and Kathy) LeFleur becomes camp manager and served through 2000.  Some of the major improvements made under their leadership are as follows:

 
         1977

A 120 x 110 foot concrete activity field is poured, consisting of one basketball court, two volleyball courts, and two tennis courts.

         1978

A 14 x 46 foot flour-plex staff dorm is built.

         1979

A 9-hole miniature golf course was made.

 
         1980

The R.T. Smith Memorial Chapel is built, a 2 ½ story, 44 x 84 foot building comprising of a chapel, dining hall and kitchen complex, bookstore, restrooms, and a upstairs classroom.

         1998 The pool’s walls and deck were demolished and rebuilt with steel reinforcement.
 

Under the LeFleur’s management, many other significant improvements were made to the grounds, camp finances improved greatly, and the average summer camp’s total attendance rose by nearly 100.

 
2001 Jan (and Judy) Kolar becomes camp manager.  Since then, a new, handicap-accessible cabin was built and a handicap-accessible bathroom was added to the girl’s dorm.  Additional land to the north was purchased and now serves as a playing field.  The camp well is now IDNR approved as a public water supply.  The water supply treatment room was renovated and the water supply lines to the chapel, girls’ dorm, and the guys’ shower house have been replaced.   A 270 foot zip-line was added in 2006. New wiring was run to the boys' cabins and girls' dorm and window a/c's installed.
 
     

As it was the founder’s desire to see the campground used to help people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and to grow to serve Him as their Lord, so by God’s grace we will endeavor to continue to do so.