Dry Creek Baptist Camp: A Place to Recreate, Meditate and Congregate

Dry Creek Baptist Camp: A Place to Recreate, Meditate and Congregate

Dry Creek is Home to Premier Baptist Camp

For many years, BECi has been guided by the motto, “Large Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care.” The same sentiment could apply to Dry Creek Baptist
Camp.


The camp, established in 1925, has grown over the decades to a sprawling 107 acres and now hosts as many as 13,000 visitors each year. And even as the camp continues to expand by developing the 45 acres added to the geographical footprint three years ago, the growth is being designed and controlled
to allow the facility to reach more people while retaining its intimate, personal charm.

 

Manager Todd Burnaman said the organization’s master plan includes construction of an 8-acre lake surrounded by a small chapel and four dogtrot houses that will hold 26 overnight guests. This will complement the Uncle Dave Sargent Tabernacle that seats 700 and the 480 beds that are already available on the property and at the old Dry Creek School Building (aka The White House) nearby.

“We’re embracing growth with our new plan, but we don’t ever want to get big enough to lose sight of the real reason we’re here,” Burnaman said. “We’re here to give people an opportunity to worship, to fellowship, to have fun, to reflect and get away from the busyness of life…and most of all to meet with Jesus.”

BECi and Dry Creek Baptist Camp have a relationship that spans many years as the two have an agreement for the co-op to use the facility to provide room and board for workers during emergency situations.

For example, more than 100 linemen were based at the camp while restoring power after Hurricane Ike caused extensive damage to BECi’s system in 2008.


“We have a great relationship with BECi and with the rest of the community,” he said. “We all work together for the greater good. When a storm comes through, it’s important that the men have a warm bed and some good food so they can go out refreshed and ready to do their jobs as efficiently and safely as possible. We don’t want anyone getting harmed while working to get the lights back on.”

BECi Communication Specialist Danielle Tilley serves as a point of contact between the two organizations. She recalls attending the camp as part of a youth
group when she was a youngster.


“I have great memories of this place,” Tilley said recently as Burnaman led a tour of the new construction in progress. “We had a lot of fun and met a lot of
new friends. It was something we always looked forward to in the summer.”


Burnaman also counts his youth experiences at Dry Creek Baptist Camp as a source of fond childhood memories.

dry creek white house

Todd Burnaman (right) shows ALEC's Billy Gibson (left) around the White House.


A native of Glenmora, Burnaman’s first visit came in 1987 when he attended camp during the week of his ninth birthday. His home church was part of the 186
Southern Baptist churches across the Southwest Louisiana region that collectively own the camp.


“I remember the pool being bigger than anything I’d ever seen, and I remember making friends, and the pine trees, and going to Bible study in the gym,” he said. “I just fell in love with the place.”


While an early bond was formed back then, Burnaman didn’t know that one day he would return as general manager of the facility that has built a stellar reputation as a prime site for Christian youth functions, church groups, university-based student programs and even corporate and family retreats.


Burnaman returned every year after that and became a staff counselor for two summers during his college days at Louisiana Tech. It was while on a mission trip to Taiwan in his junior year that he heard the calling to make his relationship with Dry Creek Baptist Camp a long term proposition.

“If we were in Taiwan, I could take you to the exact hotel room I was in when the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘You’re going to be spending a long time at Dry Creek.’ So I came back the next summer as head counselor. At the end of summer my wife and I got married and I worked on staff a couple more summers while she was finishing college,” he said.


He served as a full-time intern, became program director two years later, and eventually took over for long-time manager Curt Iles who retired in 2006. Today, Burnaman oversees the growing operation that includes seven full-time staff members and 10 additional hourly workers who contribute as needed.


He and his family live close by in the home they built as Burnaman was establishing himself as a leader at the camp and his oldest son was in diapers.

Asked to share his fondest memories of his time at Dry Creek Baptist Camp, Burnaman responds, “It’s actually not a single event.”

He explained that each summer he takes a week off from managing the camp to focus on serving as a chaperone for his son’s youth group and join the boys in their cabin. Together they play sports and games, join activities,pray and study together and bond as father-and-son.


“We’ve been doing that since he was 5,” Burnaman said. “But this will probably be our last year because he’s 11 now and he’s getting a little too cool to hang around with his dad. I’ll always remember those times we had together. It’s always been the highlight of my year.”


To find out more about the camp, visit www.drycreek.net. To read the rest of the March issue of Louisiana Country, click here.

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