In 2004 to 2005 the North Alabama, Red Bird Missionary, and Holston Conferences purchased and began restoration of 20 acres near the Baltic Sea in the area of Liepaja, Latvia. The property had previously been a dairy farm and apple orchard. The dairy barn has been renovated and now includes a well-equipped kitchen, a dining hall, bathrooms with showers for both genders, and a bathroom for the handicapped. Upstairs is the assembly hall. The farmhouse has been renovated and is used as staff quarters and assembly room. Presently the camp is building six-meter square tent platforms, which will eventually become bunkhouses. We expect to build 10 bunkhouses eventually.
Each summer there are camps for children and youth as well as music and leadership camps. Camp participants are primarily from Latvia and Lithuania but nearly all the countries in NE Europe have been represented. The camp has an international Board of Directors and has been greatly assisted by VIM groups. Many children and youth come to the camp each summer for their first experience of being in a Christian family setting and of hearing the "good news" message of the church. The annual conference of the Latvia United Methodist Church has been held at Wesley Camp twice. It has also been the site of the Latvian Lay camp and yearly Wesley Days week.
Goals & Objectives
The ultimate goal of Wesley Camp is to provide a facility and environment where children, youth, and adults can experience the presence of the Living God. In order to achieve this goal we must do the following:
(1) Continue to develop the physical facilities of the camp.
(2) Develop the leadership skills of youth.
(3) Plan and offer camping experiences which emphasize the values and qualities of the Methodist church.
(4) Show "neighborliness" to other church groups.
(5) Provide a safe and secure environment.
(6) Create mechanisms whereby those who would not otherwise go to camp will be able to attend.
Each of these objectives is an ongoing effort. (1) We plan to build two additional tent platforms and upgrade the staff quarters in 2012. (2) The Shepherds' camp is for staff training and enrichment. (3) The Sunday school and Youth Camps emphasize Bible study and group activities. (4) Both Baptist and Lutheran groups have utilized the camp. (5) The Board has instituted new policies to ensure that each camper is safe. (6) This summer, for the first time, we are having a camp for children who are not in Sunday school or youth group in church.
(1) We are securing special funding for the tent platforms/bunkhouses. We will be required to secure building permits when bunkhouses are built onto the platforms.
(2) The volunteer staff program is invaluable. The pastors conduct this camp for the staff and develop deep relations with the staff. Three of our new pastors were at one time on the staff. The staff is a seedbed for future leaders.
(3) This summer we expect that at least one VIM team will help conduct the children's' camp. They will help to improve the quality of materials used in the studies.
(4) Winter proofing the camp will help to make it more usable for retreats by outside groups.
(5) New signs are being designed to limit access to unauthorized visitors and to further instruct campers as to the rules of the camp.
(6) Pastors and leaders are being encouraged to select children from their communities who are not church members to attend the camp. Funds are being solicited to support this camp.