How To Preserve a Legend

Posted by Nick Ressler, Executive Director on with 6 Comments

Our team of volunteers, past campers, local pastors and board members who helped convert the cabin.It all really started as an idea. A BIC camp in the woods of Lebanon County where boys and girls of all ages could come and know God. Late in the 1940s men and women from a Sunday School class at Fairland BIC Church toiled away at cutting tree's, milling wood and clearing space for Kenbrook Bible Camp and the exciting ministry that they had planned to do there. It's been 66 years since the first buildings were built and used here and after the installation of an outdoor basketball court project and a game plaza we have one remaining original cabin: Old Cabin 6.

Names like that of Dan Rinard, counselor in 2004, cover the walls.Or, just Cabin 6, as I knew it growing up. It was the first cabin that I ever stayed in as a camper in the late 80s. When I was on staff for 8 summers it became lovingly known as "the Jesus cabin" since so many of the counselors stationed there ended up playing Jesus in the Jesus Walk. I watched at a recent open house as a past counselor showed his own kids and wife his name in the cabin. He was able to do this because it's walls and floors and bunks are covered with the names of all who took part in residing there. Cabin 6 is surrounded by rocks to play and climb on. It sat at the end of Cabin Row Road for most of the camps long history.

There were six of these cabins. At one point their doors faced down the big hill and toward the 72 steps to the Old Youth Lodge. In the 1970s the doors were moved around to the other side as the center of camp shifted. 10 camper bunks and one counselor bunk were in each "Old Cabin." They housed kids and counselors for about 60 years. That probably ends up being over 5,000 lives impacted by each building...that's over 30,000 lives total!

And Cabin 6 is the last one standing.

New piers strengthen the foundation.Not all that long ago a large tree fell on the Craft Hut beside the Old Youth Lodge and essentially demolished it. Since, kids have been doing their crafting in Koinonia basement or along Cabin Row Road.

Cabin 6 faces the same dilemma as Staff Row and The Old Youth Lodge. Aging pillars built during a time when construction standards were a bit different have left the foundation rickety and unstable. The porch was build out of trees; not milled 2x4 and 4x4s. But, these too were getting old.

So what do you do with a legend? Something that has meant a lot to a variety of different people? How do you preserve it so that countless others can enjoy and appreciate it? The answer comes from something that any 14 year old Pinterest user is familiar with...re-purposing. 

Re-purposing is all the fad. In fact, I drank the cool-aid long ago. My backyard picnic table is an old farm house door. My coat rack is made of old silverware. I recently made the old-paint-roller-and-plastic-cups-ipod-speaker. So, when we look at Cabin 6 we can see a building that is in rough shape with it's best days behind it OR we can breath vitality into it and put it to good use.

Now we're ready to rebuild with wood that bears the history of the building.That's just what we are doing. Old Cabin 6 is in process of becoming the new Craft Hut. A place where people can still sign their names and have fun. Each salvagable board from the bunks that are torn down are kept to be used in building the new counters, benches, shelves an closet. The rickety cinder block piers were removed and new foundations poured. Cabin 6...er, I mean... The Craft Hut lives once again. 

I truly hope that you are as excited as I am that we have found a way to move into future ministry without losing important pieces of our past.

Tags: history, kenbrook, legacy, pinterest, craft hut, cabin 6

Comments

Roxanne Wolgemuth Jun 2, 2015 7:53am

That is awesome Nick! I have several boxes of craft supplies to 're-purpose' - interested? IDK what you'll find, but you're welcome to poke through them and use whatever you want :)

John Yoder Jun 2, 2015 8:26am

Hey Nick! I know you're a busy guy but could you send me a pic or two of the new foundations? Many thanks!

Anonymous Jun 2, 2015 11:56am

Cabin 6 is the best cabin. I spent many summers there as a camper and a counselor. Loosing the Craft Hut was a sad day. Combining them together is a great idea. Love it.

Andy Heisey Jun 2, 2015 11:57am

my name is/was in both places.

Ronda Lehman Jun 2, 2015 12:12pm

My very first year, as a camper, was in 1968. I stayed in Cabin 6 almost every year! Great memories! I also worked, on Staff, in 1977 and 1978.

Ruth Buckwalter (Eberly) Jun 2, 2015 11:07pm

Here are just a few of My Memories of Kenbrook:
I've stayed in ALL of the cabins. Many times in the '70's as a camper. (cabin 6 was known to us as Hook-Man's Cabin) Earl Herr was the Bible teacher, and later Jim Zook. I walked a 20 mile fund raiser for the camp in late '70's. It started at Skyline View Church & ended at Kenbrook. That was when the pool was at the bottom of the hill at the 'Old' entrance.
And many times in the '90's my husband Arlin & I served as Parent (Team) Counselors. Volunteering for both the spring and fall week-end camps for 6-8yr. olds. Tom Turley was the director. I was also craft teacher for the very young week-end campers.
All four of our Children were campers and junior/counselors or helpers at one time or another.
And last but not least, it was Cabin 6 for the whole family on a Family Labor Day Camp time. The big rock at the end of the path was our cooking/serving surface. Kenbrook was My second Home.
LONG LIVE KENBROOK !
Thanks for allowing me to share. * I would love to read about some of your memories.

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