When the nearly 20-year-old staff and volunteer shower house fell off it’s concrete footings in spring of 2015 at Camp Paradise, the camp leadership team knew that an adjustment needed to be made. Concrete footings are a logical building pursuit for many jobs but due to the Upper Peninsula winters, constant freeze and thaws, and unpredictable frost layer, footings at camp have been a learning experience—typically dependent upon the location of the building.
Rather than turning their focus to expanding, they sought to pursue infrastructure needs first. Camp’s Director of Operations Curtis Vanden Bos shared, “We ditched our lodge expansion and new camper cabin plans for a couple seasons and went to the drawing board to evaluate what the next staff and volunteer shower house needs are. One of the biggest conversations around the building plan was: do we keep the bucket shower? Yes, we do. The bucket is a key piece of the rugged camp history, loosing it at this point in isn’t necessary.”
Construction for the new building began last fall. The exterior was completed in 4 weeks, and volunteers are heading north this month to complete the interior so that the shower house can be used for the summer season. Even though the bucket shower remains, this building will be one of the nicest spots on the camp grounds. Equipped with a solid concrete foundation rather than footings, radiant floor heat, sinks, and lights powered by solar panels, the volunteers and summer staff will be set up well for years to come. Tim Vanden Bos, the Director of Camp Paradise, affirmed that, “Our mission is to set camp up for the future—including the buildings we need. This project is long over due and will serve our faithful volunteers and hard-working summer staff for years to come.”
There are still available volunteer positions for the spring Work Weeks. The weather in the spring is a bit chillier, but the quiet and rustic spaces of Camp Paradise remain beautiful. Contact Tim Vanden Bos ([email protected]) for dates and volunteer needs.