CAMP GROW BUILDINGS, including the boathouse, will be razed to return the land to an undeveloped state. 								               Tim Lyke photo
CAMP GROW BUILDINGS, including the boathouse, will be razed to return the land to an undeveloped state. Tim Lyke photo

     More than 560 ... folks and groups reached into their wallets to help preserve the 700+ feet of Green Lake shore, as well as 1,500 feet of Spring Lake frontage, and the forest and fields nestled between the two lakes that constitute one of the very last, pristine, undeveloped parcels of land on Green Lake.

     Camp Grow — named after Baptist philanthropist Fred A. Grow — for 59 years had been a Christian youth and family camp that has changed lives while giving urban families a refuge in the unspoiled wilderness on Green Lake’s southwest shore.

     While the property has been owned by the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago (ABCMC), for the past two decades the Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC), under the non-profit corporation Camp Grow Ministries, has leased and managed the camp.

     That all changed in May 2017 after the Chicago group’s delegates voted 29 to 15 to put the camp up for sale. ...

     Knowing the wilderness area — appraised in August 2016 at $4 million — could be purchased by a private developer to add homes or possibly higher-density housing to the area, a Conservancy Partnership (led by the Green Lake Sanitary District and Green Lake Conservancy) formed recognizing that the land acquisition, albeit pricey, was a once-in-a-lifetime proposition. ...

     The Conservancy Partnership since has collected pledges, met grant requirements, closed the deal earlier this month and has been preparing the property for land restoration, an ongoing process.

     But this Saturday the work will pause as the former Camp Grow will host a celebration from 2 to 5 p.m. for the many folks and groups who made the land purchase possible. ...

— Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Aug. 23, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.