Help convince Kamloops United Church members to save Camp Grafton
An unmatched resource, Camp Grafton is at risk as Kamloops United Church begins a major redevelopment.
Church members must find ways to fund this huge undertaking.
To date, close to $1 million has been raised by the congregation, but the church is now looking for ways to access additional financing.
The focus has turned to one of the church’s most valuable assets: The 44 acres of pristine, lakefront property that is Camp Grafton.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, members of Kamloops United Church will be asked to vote on whether to pursue the sale of a portion of the camp to finance the urban redevelopment.
Camp Grafton has belonged to Kamloops United Church for nearly 60 years.
In this time, it has served thousands of children and families.
The lives that have been affected and the memories that have been made at Camp Grafton are too great to count.
We speak from experience when we say a week at Camp Grafton is a life-changing experience.
This is because Camp Grafton is more than a summer camp; it is a safe environment where people can nurture their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
It is a space that teaches children about sustainability, stewardship and community.
While the vote in question affects only a portion of the property and not the sale of the camp in its entirety, it would still be a great loss.
Located on the busy North Shuswap, Camp Grafton depends on its entire property to provide participants with an authentic nature experience.
Beyond the impact the sale would have on camp programming, sectioning off and selling portions of such a pristine piece of nature is poor stewardship.
There simply is no other accessible space that could come close to offering the opportunities and beauty of Camp Grafton in the area and, once a portion of that property is sold off and developed (which, given real-estate values on the Shuswap, it inevitably would be), there is no getting it back.
Selling a piece of the camp’s virtually untouched property will mean losing it to condos and cabins forever.
That is a price too great to pay.
While many proponents of the sale argue that it is only a small portion of the camp’s large property, selling any of Camp Grafton is a slippery slope and a dangerous precedent to set.
While we strongly oppose the sale of any part of the Camp Grafton property, we are absolutely in favour of the church’s redevelopment plans.
As lifelong church members, we see firsthand the incredible work that is done out of the building at 421 St. Paul St.
Programs like the PIT Stop and other outreach programs will benefit greatly from the redevelopment.
We are proud to see the church working so hard to build a space that will serve church members and the entire community in so many ways.
But, to sell a portion of Camp Grafton is not a suitable way to make the project happen.
The small financial gain of such a sale, relative to the expected total cost of the project, is more than outweighed by the permanent losses of space, peace and our identity as good stewards of vanishing natural spaces.
Anyone who wishes to show their support of keeping Camp Grafton intact is invited to join us on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 9:15 a.m. in front of the church.
Wear your camp shirt, bring your guitars and let’s show the voting members of Kamloops United Church how important it is to keep Camp Grafton whole.
More information about Kamloops United Church’s redevelopment can be found on its website at kamloopsunited.ca.
For information about the movement behind keeping Camp Grafton intact, visit our Facebook page, “Keep Camp Grafton Whole”.
Steven, Caitlin and Alix Dolson