Camp receives $20,000 to install pool for swimming lessons
By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Helping disabled youth and adults get into the swim of camp life will be easier now that an Ayden-based camp has received a grant to build a new pool.
The Refuge, a Christian camp that opens its doors for a variety of charities, churches and other events, on Monday received a $20,000 award from the Ronald McDonald House of North Carolina to install a zero-entry swimming pool on its property.
The award was part of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Carolina’s efforts to support eastern North Carolina charities and communities.
“The Refuge has been a pillar of this community since 2007,” said Wade Dixon, McDonald’s franchise owner/operator. “It’s our honor to continue to partner with, and support an organization that does so much to serve the needs of the most precious members in our community. We look forward to seeing how they impact the lives of so many as we work together to build The Splash Zone.”
The camp’s new Splash Zone feature will include an L shaped pool with a ‘shore entry’ on one end with a depth of one foot or less, and a deeper area that extends to more than four feet deep.
According to a news release, the expansion of the facility will allow the camp to serve more disabled children or children from low-income families.
Whitney Williams, a spokeswoman for the camp, said The Refuge has a large pond and other water actives on the property, but found that many of the children it served were unfamiliar with or even afraid of swimming.
She said the camp hopes to teach important life skills and bridge this gap with the new addition, in a special place where it is easier for lifeguards and instructors to operate.
Construction of pool will begin this week, and the camp said it is scheduled to be complete before the summer.
This was the second large grant the camp has received in the past few months.
Just before Christmas, The Refuge was selected as the winner of the Rye Foundation's Ray Bryan Award, given to a nonprofit “which is making a strong and life-changing impact on children and youth.” The award included a gift of $25,000 for The Refuge to enhance and expand programming.
Since its founding in 2006, The Refuge has offered children’s camps, marriage retreats, musical concerts, and large-scale festivals.
At its campsite in Greene County, The Refuge has six eastern North Carolina farmhouses which have been fully restored. Funds from that Ray Bryan Award will help to renovate a seventh farmhouse, which has been donated and is already on the site.
Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth