FENTON, MI – You have to go to Bambi Lake to appreciate the great beauty and potential that is there. Recently, as I heard people planning for an event, I made a suggestion that they consider holding their event at Bambi Lake. They admitted they have never been there. What I have noticed is that when people actually drive onto our beautiful campus, they begin to see things they can contribute, think of what they could do to help, as well as, what kind of events they would be able to hold here.
This camp’s potential is realized as people experience the camp. I deal with a lot of the financial side of Bambi, having the responsibility of registration, and working with our new director, Mick Schatz, to write contracts for events and submitting bills for payment. Most people do not realize the price tag of owning a camp, or cost of operations and maintenance. Sadly, many of our events have been poorly attended in the past, even though prices have not been raised in several years. This has led to a decrease in funds available to maintain the camp, and for improvements to be made. Although people understand the need to raise prices, there is a resistance to paying more to attend events. Consideration is not given to what the event price includes: meals, accommodations, speaker(s), the worship team and so many other incidentals.
I was delighted when I heard that Bambi will be the sole recipient of the Francis Brown Mission Offering. I know there are many needs as we try to bring the camp up to expectations. Many things are being accomplished-- Re-grading the entrance drive to solve water issues, redefining the drives, new picnic tables, repainting the old picnic tables, repainting the lodge, etc. There is so much more to do. All of the buildings need a fresh coat of paint, there are carpets to replaced, JB’s needs a complete remodel, at the least the floor and counter need to be replaced. Cottages 1-3, if renovated, could be a self-contained retreat center for small events with less than 25 people. This would give them the ability to cook their own meals. It would also expand the possibilities for family reunions, church leadership retreats and other gatherings. Of course, these are just some of the ideas floating around before priorities have been set. I pray Michigan churches will give generously of their finances and their abilities. Work teams, giving of their time and talents, can greatly extend the value of dollars received.
I have been attending retreats at Bambi Lake since I first came in the seventies to a married couple’s retreat. How did my path bring me to work at Bambi? Well, that is a long story, and an unbelievable course of life experiences have prepared me for this job/ministry. Since I began working full-time at Bambi, May 2017, I have had many opportunities to share the vision that we have for our camp and retreat center. People who walk with me and hear of the plans are excited about what we hope to accomplish with the facilities. First-timers are drawn into our vision, seeing the tremendous potential and possibilities. Serving Bambi Lake has been one of my greatest joys.
I remember the first month or so, waking up and looking at the beauty that surrounds me, thinking “I get to be at Bambi!” It is work, lots more hours than I have worked before, but the benefits certainly outweigh the long hours that I keep. Rewards? Lives rededicated, salvation experiences, and wonderful people to work with who love the Lord and seek to live lives that are pleasing to Him. Work teams from across Michigan join with us to accomplish what they can contribute, each bringing a personal flare and excellence that make Bambi a special place.
If you ever have need or opportunity, I am available to place reservations for a camp or retreat,or to reserve a cabin or lodge room as you pass through the area, or as you plan for a personal or family get-away. I admit you may not always get through on the first try, but I return missed calls and respond to email and voicemail messages, not wanting anyone to miss the chance to spend time at Bambi Lake.
If you haven’t been to Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center, stop in, have a cup of coffee and look around. God’s creation is beautiful - potential is everywhere. In any season, you will not be sorry that you took the time to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy Spears serves as the administrative assistant for Bambi Lake Baptist Retreat and Conference Center for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.