The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Worship

July 11, 2008

Rich Brown: Camp Sagmount's roots in Joplin area go deep

Sagmount Baptist Youth Camp has played a big part in the life of Chet Wampler.

The 33-year-old Joplin man was introduced to SBYC as a third-grade camper from Bible Baptist Church in Carthage and has been back every year since. Not only that, he lives across the street from the camp, where he is employed as the property manager.

Oh, did I mention that he met his wife, Jennifer, there? She was attending camp one summer with her Baptist church from Crane when he was a counselor.

“I met her in 1996 and we got married in 1999,” said Wampler, who is the youth director at Bible Baptist in addition to managing the 17-acre camp.

Managing the camp not only means taking care of the grounds, such as mowing and pruning, but also maintaining the buildings, swimming pool, etc. He also handles schedules for youth groups each of the nine weeks of summer camps.

“I also schedule such things as retreats and family reunions often in the spring and fall,” he said. “I have them sign contracts and I collect the money. It is my full-time job as well as my ministry. Most pastors look at my job as a ministry.”

Anyone wishing to schedule time at the camp may call him at (417) 499-3885.

The camp property was purchased in 1960 by churches of the Missouri Baptist Bible Fellowship in the Springfield area. Youth camps from around Missouri and bordering states, as well as Nebraska, Illinois and Texas, have been held there. Not only that, weekend retreats for couples, men and women, one-day camps and weddings have been held there.

“We have about 20 or so churches who support our camp monthly as a mission and others who give occasionally,” Wampler said. “So far, 1,075 people have come through our first five camps and ,all in all, we average around 2,000 for the summer. Last year, we had 103 people who got saved and so far this year there have been 39.”

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