The idea of a Methodist Camp Facility on the island of Eleuthera was given birth in 1976, following the first District Youth Conference/Camp to be held in Eleuthera.
The conference was held at Windermere High School in August 1976. Two hundred fifty-three (253) persons attended from all over The Bahamas, the Caribbean and from Florida. With the overwhelming support of the youth conference, a meeting was held and the decision was made to approach Sir Roland Symonette with the possibility of helping with the project.
Mr. Henry Whyte, Mr. Robert Johnson, Mr. Freddie Ferguson, Ms. Rosie Gibson, Mr. Craig Cates, Mr. David Knowles and Mrs. Janette Cates, joined with Mr. Reg Eldon to speak with Sir Roland on giving the land for the camp sight.
The present site was selected and plans were drawn to build two camp villages, one in a Bahamian clapboard design and one in a Bahamian Fishing Smack Boat design.
During the events from 1976 - 1979, a breakdown in communications occurred between Sir Roland Symonette and the then Chairman of District, Rev. Eric Clarke. Politics entered the discussions, coming as it did at the time of Sir Roland's retirement from the House of Assembly. Many in the District's General Purpose Committee interpreted Sir Roland's offer as a political move and in a meeting of the General Purposes Committee, under the direction of Rev. Clarke, the district refused Sir Roland's offer.
Sir Roland continued with plans to build the campsite. He produced new plans (the present site) and completed the building in the late 1970's.
A Dedication service was held with Rev. Prince Hepburn in attendance.
The campsite was used during the summers. Before Sir Roland's death, the campsite was entrusted to the care of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The Seventh Day provided an elderly couple as caretakers, who were resident at the caretaker's cottage for a period. In 1982 Lady Symonette asked Mr. Reg Eldon to assist her in getting the camp back on stream and marketing the facility.
Mr. James Slevcove from California was employed as a consultant and a team was formed in Eleuthera to assist with promoting the facility. Many Methodist persons were invited as well as Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Rolle and Ms. Lavinia Sands.
By 1984, the campsite had been totally restored and was ready to rent.
The Methodist Youth Camps were now taking place totally at Camp Symonette and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Whyte were serving as the caretakers.
Mr. Reg Eldon served with Lady Symonette as camp consultant from 1982 until 1992.
In 1992, Camp Symonette was severely damaged by hurricane Andrew. Shortly after the hurricane, Lady Symonette decided that it was not possible for her to continue with the repairs and the overall management for the campsite. Discussions began with Mr. Eldon the possibility of the campsite being leased to the New Methodist Church in The Bahamas. A.R.M., the administrated body for the church at the time, formally agreed and plans were made for the Methodist Church, through its youth department, to assume responsibility for the campsite.
This also meant coping with the repairs from Hurricane Andrew. Mr. Sean Ingraham was employed to oversee the repairs and churches and individuals throughout the conference gave money to help finance the repairs. Major donations were received from City Lumber Yard and the Burton D. Morgan Foundation in Ohio, USA. To facilitate the management of the campsite, a Board of Directors was appointed, with Ms. Rosie Gibson and Mr. Robert Johnson as Chairpersons, and Mr. Joan Hilton and Ms. Sandra Cartwright as Treasurers.
Mr. Martin Gaitor now serves as caretaker.
We thank God for the completion of the full circle and we are now where we once started.
Join Mailing List