A cheer went up Saturday morning when the sun finally came out from behind the clouds, shedding its warmth on the 70 volunteers gathered for a work weekend at Camp Talahi in Brighton, Mich.
Owned by the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ since the 1950s, Camp Talahi closed in 2009 due to financial difficulties. It reopened this year by the Camp Talahi Retreat and Nature Center, a new nonprofit that is led by a consortium of young adults and UCC pastors and lay leaders.
"It's amazing to see this many young people –– college students –– take an entire weekend off from work and school to come out here and work," said Kris Poling, 22, who has been coming to Camp Talahi since he was 4 years old. "We just all know what an incredibly important place this camp has been for us and we want to see it grow."
Young people weren't the only ones that came out to lend a hand. Bradley and Barbara Barnes have been involved at camp since it originally opened. During the work weekend, they raked leaves alongside their grandson, Adam
Volunteers had plenty of work to do to rehabilitate the camp after being closed for two years. They cleaned every building, raked leaves, cleared trails and even built a new teambuilding obstacle for the camp's Adventure Course. Eight churches in the Michigan UCC sent volunteers, and many more have donated to make the camp's reopening possible.
"It looks like the whole camp got a facelift," said Ashley Finkbeiner, a Center board member who organized the work weekend. "We have such a strong and committed Talahi family, and I'm thankful and proud to be a part of it."
Camp Talahi serves as a retreat center for churches, secular organizations, and individuals throughout Michigan. Away from the pressures of everyday life, Camp Talahi offers a singular, spiritually enriching environment wherein one grows to a better understanding of God, oneself, and one another. Camp Talahi provides an "up-north" Christian retreat experience in close proximity to church and home.
Learn more about the camp.