Camp Grace: The Corral; A Study in ProBono Architecture
Date: April 27, 2015
How do you help 3,000 under-served city kids learn about life beyond the concrete? “A lot of prayer, generous donations and wonderful partners who get – not just see, but really understand – our mission” says Dave Pridemore, founder of Camp Grace.
Wakefield Beasley & Associates has been working with Dave Pridemore for 4 years in a pro-bono partnership to help him achieve his vision. Camp Grace was the start of the vision and the outcome has been amazing. Camp Grace is the only high capacity, high quality, year-round overnight camp for Georgia urban children.
“We are happy to announce that in addition to Camp Grace we were recently donated another 150-acre camp, from a very generous donor, that is an hour north of New York City. So we now own and manage two camps that serve urban kids year round” says Pridemore, but the camps also serve as business or church retreats in the off seasons.
“We have plenty of buildable space, but we always lack funding. This is why we could not do it without the help of Wakefield Beasley. WBA makes me feel like you really believe in what we are doing to help these urban kids prepare for a better life. They (WBA) invests in me, and I invest in the kids. I look at WBA as an extension on the ministry God gave me.”
WBA started to work with Pridemore through Javier Santos, Retail Studio. Santos and Pridemore were acquainted with each other at church. “I think I can speak for all of us at WBA to say that we are proud to be associated with Camp Grace and the work they do. This is an organization which does an enormous amount of good for the community…every little thing that we can do for Camp Grace is meaningful many times over” says Santos.
WBA’s work so far has included an updated master plan, basketball facilities, the Wild West Café and the newest addition at the camp, the Coral. The Coral is a 12,000 sq. ft. air conditioned assembly hall that will serve as a multipurpose room for worship, performing arts and any training or activities that the kids will need. The space is under construction and when completed will include a stage, kitchen and a few breakout meeting rooms.
Pridemore has big plans for his mission. In addition to Camp Grace he wants to build Frontierstown, Hooptown and Extremetown; eventually hosting 7,000 kids from Georgia’s communities. “In the future I see thousands of kids at camp in the summer where they will be taught respect, responsibility, leadership, honesty and integrity.”
In order to go to Camp Grace Pridemore relies on inner city partners who work with the kids every day. The partners select the children, who come three times a year, and this process enables excellent follow up on how the kids are progressing and it accounts for a 70% return rate each year.
“We are hiring many of these kids now to work as college counselors. It is very gratifying to see them actually be accepted to college and apply to camp as a paid counselor knowing that they started as a 7 or 8 year old.” says Pridemore.
If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful Camp or would like to contact Dave Pridemore please visit the website at www.thecampgrace.com