Bringing Christ to YL campers

Young Life plans opening here by summer of 2002

Next summer Young Life anticipates opening Lost Canyon, a Christian youth camp located just south of town, off Fourth Street.

This summer, youth campers are arriving in droves to help with landscaping and cosmetic repair of the lands surrounding the facility.

“We took down all the barbed wire and trimmed trees,” said Rick Wilson, camp manager. “We’ve prepared three of the dorms and moved a building.

“It’s just been great having the kids.”

The youth are from all over. Some came from Highpoint, N.C., Santa Rosa Valley, Calif., Georgia, Texas and even the metro Phoenix area. About 30 are spending a month working. The others work for a week and go home.

“These are designated as discipleship weeks,” Wilson said. “Most (of the youth) have been involved in Young Life for a long time. They’re dedicated to Christ.”

The volunteer work the kids do is more than free labor, said Jim Cunningham, regional director for Young Life.

“I think it’s a unique opportunity for the kids to make an investment in the property,” he said. “Not only are they investing in Christ but also in the future.”

Once the camp opens, there could be up to 350-450 campers and staff out at the facility, which will be open annually from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

“Hopefully, by next summer we’ll have 100 kids a week attending Lost Canyon,” said Ed Truxal, office manager for Young Life in Williams. “The summer 2002 opening will largely depend on our construction.”

Before the grand opening, Truxal said Young Life hopes to have most of the facility finished.

“We’d like to have the gymnasium completed — that will have an outdoor pool as well,” he said. “We just got started in the dining facility, which will seat 520.

“We actually imported redwood trusses from British Columbia for the dining hall. It’s going to be a neat place.”

The four trusses weigh in at 17 tons. The building will have a frontier front to it.

“One of the big projects we’re working on now is the lake with a 1,200 foot zip line and blob pond,” Truxal said. “The zip line is going to originate on the hill and end up in the lake.”

This month they are also starting on the bus depot.

“That’s where we’ll be welcoming our campers,” Truxal said. “The bus depot is designed to look like the Williams visitors center.”

Each building will have it’s own theme, Truxal said.

“Young Life is trying to capture that frontier flavor,” he said. “Each building is representative of a different era — some have a more rustic look and some are Victorian.”

“It kind of looks like a theme park.”

When you think of camp, you don’t think of this, Truxal said.

“This looks more like condos in Vail (Colorado),” he said.

During regular weeks, the camp will be filled youth exploring their path with religion, Wilson said.

“The camps give them a chance to actually look at what the Christian faith is like,” he said. “To explore more of what that means.”

The camp will serve youth in the Southwest, from southern California to West Texas, Truxal said.

“We have 22 programs active right now,” he said. “Lost Canyon will be 23.”

The camp will also include a ridge runner (all-terrain vehicle) course on the East side of the camp. And Lost Canyon will have a horse program as well.

Last year, three Young Life camps opened in America — SharpTop Cove in Georgia, Crooked Creek Ranch in Colorado and Wild Horse Canyon in Oregon.

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