CRCG Debt Reduction:

We are thankful for all the support and donations we have received at year-end (2020) and the beginning of 2021!   In 2020 we paid off $200,000 in personal loan debt leaving us with just over $500,000 in debt.  This year we were paid off another $150,000 in March and hope to pay off another $100,000 by the end of the year!  The Conference Grounds ministry has paid off over $600,000 in debt in the last three years due to the generosity of our supporting families – THANK YOU!! Our current debt is just over $350,000 and our goal is to have all our loans paid off by the end of 2022!

New Ministry Center – Replace the Current Sunshine Room, Store, Kitchen:

The new ministry center is becoming a more urgent need.  Our current building, which houses the sunshine room, store, registration desk area, and kitchen operations is deteriorating more rapidly.   Most of the windows need to be replaced, we have ceiling leaks, the outside trim is falling off due to water damage, the cement block walls are crumbling and the door frames are rusted making it difficult to seal the doors.  Plus all the electrical and plumbing is showing its advanced age. The challenge the board faces is: do we make a major investment in an old building that has had six additions (last being in 1994) or do we invest in a new building?  We have received lots of great feedback from our campers on our preliminary planning.  They liked  the new concept with a bigger and air conditioned sunshine room, larger store with more grocery and  camping supplies, keeping the ice cream, candy, and pie case space, making the grill order area large with a pick –up window, and a separate camping / cottage registration area. Taking all those ideas together we have a concept for a 15-20,000 square foot facility.  The facility would be located where the current sunshine room building is located just on a larger footprint then the current structure (current structure is about 10,000 square feet. The timeframe for such a facility would be 3-5 years out.  All plans would still need to be reviewed by the Grand Haven Township zoning board and then by the Township Board for approval.  The board’s first priority is still to pay off our current debt and raise the majority of the funds (3-4 million includes new septic system costs) prior to the start of construction. We ask for your prayers as the board continues to seek God’s guidance as they plan for the future of the Conference Grounds family ministry.

 Septic System Improvements:

Our septic operations had a good year.  With less septic usage due to the restrictions we were under last summer, our septic flows and testing results were in compliance to EGLE requirements. Sadly that has not always been the case in previous years.  The Conference Grounds septic waste system was built in the mid 1980’s to accommodate the camping and cottage improvements of the 1990’s and 2000’s.  With the addition of our new worship center, year around cottage usage, and the 30 plus years of operations our septic system is getting maximized.  To continue our current operations or even consider additional improvements (replace sunshine room, store, kitchen, add cottage suites) we will have to update our septic operations.  Our system is currently permitted through the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and is tested and reviewed for compliance by the engineering firm, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. The Conference Grounds does not have expansion capabilities so it is the engineering firm’s recommendation that we connect to the Grand Haven Township septic system.  Based upon that recommendation the Board of Directors is looking into the engineering requirements and costs to connect to Grand Haven Township septic system. Currently the Grounds is one mile away from the closest point of connection and the tentative cost is 1 to 1.5 million dollars.  The septic system upgrade will most likely be a part of the new ministry center plan provided we do not have to connect prior to its construction. The change to connect to the Grand Haven system would be a major improvement and a positive impact on the Grounds facilities and operations.

Facility Improvements for summer of 2021:

  1. Upgrade our cottages:
  • Rest and Faith will get new living room furniture and queen bed mattresses
  • Fellowship and Retreat new flooring on the lower level and new stoves.
  • New blinds in Peace and Joy cottages
  1. Resurface our tennis courts and add pickleball lines to the courts – first of June.
  2. New retaining wall and sidewalk entrance by our administrative offices.
  3. Repainting in the Activity Center and new bathroom countertops.
  4. Replace the sidewalks that are cracked and broken behind Sunshine Room.
  5. Repairs to the steps going to the beach (again).
  6. Re-landscaping around the Gazebo area.

Will Mr. Mike Be Hiking the A/T in 2021?

I am hoping to get back on the Appalachian Trail in the fall of 2021 for a couple of weeks.  I was not able to get back on the trail in 2019 or 2020.  This past September I had full right knee replacement surgery and in February I had on my left knee done.  The healing and recovery process is going well.  After six months my right knee is feeling great and by the end of the summer season I’m planning on my left knee feeling great too!  After the summer camping season I’m hoping I can handle hiking 10-15 miles a day with a 25-30lb backpack.  I hope to hike for a couple weeks in late September picking up where I left off in Rutland, Vermont.  Making it through Vermont and through most of Massachusetts, approximately 120 miles. I still hope in the years to come to complete the entire trail.




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