Camp plans for 50 more years
As Totara Springs looks back on 50 years of Easter Camp, it’s up to camp directors Richard and Kate Davis to look to the future.
The camp held its 50th birthday celebrations over Easter weekend. Over 700 people, including former campers, staff and its founders celebrated with them.
A plaque adorns a decorative rock at the very epicentre of the camp, where there was once a small man-made lake. Davis says the plaque is a way of honouring the founders and the people involved over the last half century.
He says it’s also a reminder to keep moving forward.
‘‘It’s humbling to be here with the founders. We need to acknowledge and remember. But if it stops there, it’s not worth it.
‘‘Every foundation that I’ve seen has something pretty nice on it. We’ve got 50 years of foundation to build on.
‘‘Our challenge is to be relevant. What relevance are we going to be in our community and New Zealand?
‘‘We have 20,000 people come through every year, 18,000 are school kids. We can be relevant, because of what we have got today.’’
Davis says that over 50 years, about one million people have come through the gates.
Each person has challenged in some way.
He wants the next generation of camp directors and staff, to continue the work that was started 50 years ago.
As Davis and the staff think about moving forward, one particular guest was using the celebration as a time to look back.
Peter Robinson was the building supervisor for the first 25 been years. His first project was the dormitories, which are still used as such today.
They were the first buildings constructed on the site in 1966. He and his wife Lois have served in the camp in many capacities over the last half century.
Their children were campers, and their son Howard and his family are involved in the camp now. He has closely watched the camp grow and is proud to see it for what it is today.
‘‘It’s amazing to see what God has done, I believe it’s the foremost Christian camp in New Zealand. It’s very special to be able to look back and acknowledge the pathway the Lord has guided the past 50 years.
‘‘The amazing thing about Totara Springs, is it’s always growing.’’
Totara Springs director Richard Davis (centre) with founding staff Peter Robinson and Nathan Killen.