SHELL KNOB, Mo. —
A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.
Young Life, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said Wednesday the expansion, called Clearwater Cove, will include an office, a dining hall, pool, two dormitories and a covered basketball court. A ground-breaking is scheduled for Tuesday, The Springfield News-Leader reported.
The organization bought 276 acres on the lake in 2000 for $2.5 million. The land, with a few “minimally-developed” camps, has been used mostly for “discipleship camps” and retreats, said spokesman Terry Swenson.
“It was a vision, and we were waiting for the right time,” Swenson said of the expansion.
The expanded facilities are expected to serve 200 children and leaders each week beginning in June 2015, with the first focus on middle school students.
A master plan includes adding 10 more buildings with a goal of serving 400 children and leaders, but no timeline or budget for that phase has been established, he said.
The new camp is expected to draw from nine states in the Midwest and South. Currently, the closest of the organization’s 20 developed camps are in Colorado and Minnesota. Swenson said the organization targets middle school through college-aged people as a “youth group for kids who don’t go to church.”
“We currently have more than 50,000 middle, high school and college students involved in our programs in the region we expect to be served by Clearwater Cove,” Swenson said. “This new camp location will give all of those students and their leaders a weekend camp option during the school year.”