A new non-denominational Christian youth camp is in the works that will offer children a glimpse into the past with such activities as gem mining, archery and digging for Indian artifacts.
The Old Frontier, Inc., will let children step back in time to a primitive frontier camp that offers adventure and excitement for all, said Chris Smith, president of the board of directors for the camp.
Chris Smith talks about his plans for the property off Old Milledgeville Road in McDuffie County.
The non-profit camp has been supported by businesses as well as local individuals who say they appreciate the fact that the facility will create alternatives for children seeking recreation, and may also draw out-of-town visitors.
"This is a tremendous idea for the young people in our community," said Ralph Starling, vice president of First National Bank. "It's a wonderful concept and it's going to grow and get better and better. I'm looking forward to seeing it come."
As a kickoff event, a day camp is scheduled for first through sixth graders from May 30-June 3, Mr. Smith said. For this event, enrollment will be limited to 100 children.
Following the kickoff day camp, the facilities will be open Monday through Friday for group activities and on weekends for family outings.
The camp will offer more than 15 events with ties to nature and history including fishing, horseback riding, rope activities, a climbing tower, a craft shop, swimming, miniature golf, volleyball, badminton and a petting zoo.
The camp, which encompasses 85 acres, will eventually be able to accommodate 150 children who may stay in a bunkhouse of old frontier design or in teepees for campers. A modern bathhouse is located nearby.
"Children who participate will become close with nature," Mr. Smith said, noting that they may try some unusual activities that will give them an appreciation of the past.
Mickey Young, a volunteer helping build The Old Frontier, fastens boards together at the camp's pavilion.
For example, an Indian dig site will be seeded with artifacts prior to groups arriving.
"Everyone will have a chance to find a treasure," he said.
Also included in the Indian village will be techniques and demonstrations on arrowheads, bow and arrows, tool making and hide tanning. An archery range is nearby as well as a gem mine. There will be crafts, including ceramics and beading classes.
A mountain bike trail winds through the meadows, and there are also hiking trails.
For those wanting to fish, the camp features two small stocked lakes. A skate park is also in the works.
YOU CAN HELP
The Old Frontier is looking for donations and volunteers. The camp is located on Old Milledgeville Road off Wrens Highway. For more information, call 595-4197.
Donations can be mailed to The Old Frontier, Inc., PO Box 1576, Thomson, GA 30824