FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - Campers will spend their last summer at the Fremont Family YMCA’s Camp Christian this summer.
Jerry Rinne, CEO of the YMCA, said camp activities will move in the summer of 2015 to the Christensen Family YMCA Camp on West Military Avenue, where the Keene Lodge is beginning to take shape.
“This summer is going to be the last summer we’re going to hold camp (at Camp Christian), so we’re going to be in the process of selling that piece of ground,” Rinne told the Fremont Tribune (https://bit.ly/1mApgHV). “We’ll turn that money back into the new camp then.
“The last camp will be in August,” he said. “We’ll try to figure out when we’re going to do something, and we’ll invite all the campers back and all the volunteers and staff, people who went there.
“We thought at one time about keeping it around for the smaller kids. The problems is the buildings are in disrepair because they’re very old,” he said.
Rinne believes the 14-acre camp with a small lake and abundant wildlife will appeal to hunters.
The Christensen Family YMCA Camp, which grew to 121 acres recently when the YMCA acquired the former Sunset Motel, will begin accommodating campers in the summer of 2015.
“If we have an overnighter, we can do a couple things,” Rinne said. “We can bring tents out there, and we can have tent camps on the island as well.”
Discover Island, at 7 acres, is half as large as the entire Camp Christian.
The Keene Lodge can also be set up with cots, with separate areas for girls and boys, he added.
Foundations and footings are in place for the 6,800-square-foot lodge, which is expected to be completed sometime this fall on the southeast bank of Marv’s Lake.
The lodge will feature a 1,600-square-foot Great Room and equally large Activity Room, along with a catering-based kitchen, locker rooms and furnace. Locker rooms will double as tornado shelters.
The Great Room, featuring a three-sided fireplace, will seat up to 100 people, and is generally intended for rental use. The Activities Room is seen as a place where youth attending YMCA camps can congregate or sleep.
The view from the lodge will be impressive, Rinne said.
“When you walk into the lodge there’s going to be lots of windows, so you’ll be able to see all the way through to the lake,” he said.
Gifford Realty Inc. is the general contractor for the not-to-exceed $1.25 million project.
“It’s pretty exciting. We’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” Rinne said.
“We’ll be starting our marketing campaign to the community about how they can rent out the facilities for family reunions, company parties, kids birthday parties, and things like that,” he said.
The YMCA acquired the campgrounds and its 50-acre lake in 2007.
A 2009 master plan envisions cabins eventually built on the site, along with zip lines, a rope course and other amenities available to YMCA campers and for rent by the public.
“Our second step with the master plan, once we get the lodge built, is going to be zip lines, unless somebody comes forward with a donation and really wants the cabins to go there first, then we’ll put the cabins out there,” Rinne said. “Basically the funding is going to dictate what’s going second, but what our group lined up for the second phase was zip lines.”
The north beach of the lake has already been developed with a covered picnic shelter and, in an area known as The Summit, a fire ring accessible via a trail.
The YMCA will continue to use the campgrounds during construction of the lodge. Youth fishing classes and wakeboarding are a few of the activities planned.
Also on the schedule is a fundraising event involving Membership and Marketing Director Mike Robinson and staff member Mike Leise.
“They are going to go out to the island in the end of June, and have to raise $10,000 to get off the island,” Rinne said. “That money will go toward helping with some equipment for camp, and also to provide, when the new camp opens up … free program fees for kids to go to camp there.
“We’re going to do different things on the island,” Rinne said. “We’ve talked to some of our fitness instructors and they’re going to do some fitness classes on the island. We’ll shuttle them over on the pontoon, and people can donate money to do fitness classes. We’ll have some youth fishing stuff going on at that time, and we’ll have wakeboarding, so we’ll have a lot of people going out there.
“We’re going to try to get some community leaders for a survivor-type challenge against these two guys,” he continued. “They can set up an obstacle course and these two guys can go against them to raise money.”
A grounds caretaker will live in the farmhouse west of Marv’s Lake, and the hotel on the north side of the campgrounds will be demolished to make room for a north entrance to the grounds.
“We’re trying to work with the Fremont Rural Fire Department and have them do controlled burns and practice things in there. That’s going to be cleaned up probably in the next two months,” Rinne said.
Information from: Fremont Tribune, https://www.fremontneb.com
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