Summer Camp: Covenant Point Bible Camp and Retreat Center
After summer camp at CFR was over in 1990 Prof. Hoover and Mr. Miller set out to find a new facility. The University of Michigan was preparing to sell Camp Filibert Roth, forcing a move. Several camps were visited, but one stood out, Covenant Point Bible Camp and Retreat Center on Hagerman Lake south of Iron River, Michigan. The seekers contacted the administrator, Chuck Fraiser. He invited them to dinner the next day. That evening the dining hall was filled with women quilters, providing a very homey atmosphere. The food was great, the facilities modern and a significant step-up from any previous camp. Best of all, “all” the camp director would have to do was get the equipment and students to camp, keep the students in line and safe, and keep things organized. No more hiring cooks and buying food. A contract was negotiated and Covenant Point has been the home for summer camp since 1991. Brian Miller was the camp director from 1991 until 1998. Bill Krug filled the role from 1999 to 2005. He is a professor in Purdue’s Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision. Steve Creech has been the director since then. He started after his retirement as Director of Fire Programs, Indiana Division of Forestry. He’s expanded the role of director to include fishing lessons, discussions of wild fire control methods, and extra demanding expectations of student behavior. He also leads weekend camping and hiking expeditions to Porcupine Mountains State Park and other scenic wonders in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The transition from the wilds of Golden Lake to the “highly developed” Hagerman Lake area was not without challenges. Travel to and from Covenant Point passes by the houses of many permanent residents who prefer students’ personal vehicles and Purdue vans to travel at a reduced rate of speed. There are several bars, or supper clubs as they’re called in the north woods, within an easy drive. These establishments had a stable clientele that didn’t always readily adjust to the invasion of the snotty-nosed, know-it-all, students from Purdue University. The barkeepers were generally able to keep face-to-face encounters from accelerating to a dangerous level. The preferred bar was the Brule Tap south of Covenant Point just across the state line into Wisconsin. During the first year at Covenant Point the ire of some of the most impacted local “boys” found its most serious expression in the slashing of all the tires of out-of-state vehicles in the Covenant Point parking lot. This made the local tire dealers happy. More importantly, however, it made clear the need for a robust orientation program for the students.
A major advantage of Covenant Point is the presence of permanent staff that lives in the area. Starting in 1992 Chuck Fraiser, Covenant Point Director, who oriented the students regarding the local area and the residents. Every year the camp director would explain the zero tolerance of alcohol in the camp. Over the years neighboring landowners expressed their concerns of campers visiting the Brule Tap, speeding, accidents and questionable behavior. The Michigan State Police gladly scheduled a time to come and explain the laws regarding driving under the influence and highway safety. The Brule Tap remained the venue of choice until 2010. The word on the street was that the owner failed to pay his taxes for enough years to have the bar ceased. An officer of the law visits camp now and then because of the complaints of speeding on Hagerman Lake Road leading to camp.
The Covenant Point Bible Camp, Retreat Center and FNR have developed a symbiotic relationship over the years. Several new dormitory and class room buildings have been constructed to meet the needs of FNR. This has allowed CP to expand their programming and the number of campers they can enroll in their summer programs. Chuck Fraiser, now deceased, was the head cook for the FNR camp session. He improved the menu over the years in response to comments from the students. Bill Fish, an ordained minister, is the fatherly figure in camp. He counsels students when he sees a need or they come to him. He arranges evening activities, says grace before meals (no one has ever complained about this), calls out students at suppers on their birthdays, and otherwise provides a homey atmosphere.
The rafts, canoes, and other equipment of the camp are available to students who don’t bring their own equipment to camp. Hagerman Lake provides excellent fishing for bass, pike and walleye. The pier on the waterfront becomes a hot spot of activity as the weathers warms. The ice is usually off the lake by the first week of camp, but not always. Thus, unexpected dips off of the pier (being thrown in the lake) are chilling. Unfortunately the sauna is not running during camp.
Reminiscences of Summer Camp at Covenant Point
Anon. 1993. “1991 Forestry Summer Camp.” 1993 Log . . . Cruisin’ The World. p. 28-29.
Lotter, Deanna. 1993. “1992 Forestry Summer Camp.” 1993 Log . . . Cruisin’ The World. p. 26.
Haney, Missy (Mel Harvey), and April Dunne. 1994. “1993 Forestry Summer Camp.” The 1994 Purdue Log. p. 27-29.
Faris, Cariann. 1995. “Forestry Summer Camp.” 1995 Purdue Log. p. 36-37.
Weaver, Stephanie. 1996. “Say Ya To Da U.P., Eh!” 1996. Purdue Log 1996 – Tomorrow’s Vision For America’s Forests. p. 26-27.
Michalos, Kimberly and Rebecca Murray, 1997. “A Troop of Scoobs Explore The U.P.” 1999 Purdue Log – Purdue Around The World. p. 54-56.
Hanley, Terence. 1998. “Summer Camp.” The Purdue Log 1998. p. 14-17.
Perry, Dan (Forestry Major), Vollmer, Dawn (Wildlife Major), and Hitzeman, Matt (Fisheries/Aquatic Science Major). 1999. “Summer Camp (three sections).” 1959 The Purdue Log 1999 – Anniversary Issue. p. 16-17.
Knott, Billy. 2000. “Events.” The Purdue Log 2000 – Millennium Issue. p. 15-16.
Burgess, Laurie. 2001. “Summer Time – Summer Camp.” The 2001 Log. p. 14.
Anon. 2005. “FNR Summer Practicum – Summer Camp 2003-2004.”The Purdue Log 2005. P. 30-38.