The bright future at Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center

by Mick Schatz

ROSCOMMON, MI – As you are already aware, COVID-19 and all its shutdowns have been devastating to Bambi Lake. The events since March through the end of 2020 have been cancelled. The largest portion of the revenue for Bambi Lake is realized from summer events which we did not have this year. We have been very grateful for the success of the campground, single church events and private guests that have brought in more than $32,000 in revenue. In the Gift and Snack Shop, an additional $6,000 in gross sales has been a blessing to us. Although this may not seem like a lot of money in comparison to most summers, it has been an encouragement in our nearly closed-down state.

It has been a time of new challenges as the time available for repairs and upkeep of the facilities has been great, but the limited funds to do these same activities has made it a struggle.

The final painting of the interior of Cabin 2, along with new tile in one bathroom has completed the renovation of that cabin. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the beach area, including repairing and painting the docks. Seawall embankments have been added to prevent washing away the shore along the area of the Booyah waterslide. A large amount of sand has been added and spread on the beach area. With the limited finances and the restrictions of gatherings, the decision was made to postpone the new well for Pinegrove and the Beach House until spring.

With the volunteer labor of the Chilton Builders and Campers on Mission, Chalet 2 renovations began Labor Day Weekend. We are happy to report at this time that Chalet 2 is about 75% completed. Volunteer labor has been a critical part of this - from new ceilings and interior lighting to new steps for the side entrance.

We are excited for the future for Bambi. We are taking steps to decrease expenses through the winter months by closing and winterizing all the outbuildings. That takes six buildings and their utilities off the utility bills for the winter. With this savings, we feel confident that keeping the lodge open is a good move. It will allow winter retreats to continue, as well as preventing the potential damage from shutting down a complex system of water and heating that is in the lodge.

The outlook for 2021 summer events is promising as the it is already being booked by campers, schools, churches and other organizations who have come to love Bambi. With our regular summer events already on the calendar, the summer should be very busy. Volunteer help for grounds, housekeeping and kitchen staffing will be essential in keeping costs down during our recovery from the financial struggles of 2020.

God has been faithful. New people are regularly coming and discovering the priceless peace of our camp. We are working hard. God continues to bless us with volunteers who are willing to bring their time, skills and talents to make a difference here. We expect the future to be bright as God continues to bless Bambi Lake.



Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.



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