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Zac Clark puts hard work and prayer into The Haven

In Moore County, beneath a stand of pines, Zac Clark busily constructs a new haven, a place of safety and rest, on Cameron Boys Camp property. Songbirds provide the tunes as he puts

the finishing touches on a table he has just built. Their chorus adds to the forest symphony of rustling leaves, chattering squirrels, and buzz of cicadas.

The Haven is the newest addition to the Camp’s wilderness area. It is an outdoor space accommodating thirty-five overnight guests—plus more in a tent camping area. It’s modeled after campsites the boys create and live in at Cameron Boys Camp. The Haven offers outdoor showers and there is a shower house only a short walk from the campsite that includes an ice machine and a washer and dryer. There are also an outdoor classroom, kitchen/dining area,

and a fire ring to gather around at night and contemplate the day’s activities under a blanket of stars.

This is a special place created for the community. Boy Scout Troops and Trail Life groups can use the site for camp outs.

Homeschool co-ops can use the outdoor classroom for day trips.

Church groups, father-son activities, and military ministries like the Centurion Project will find refuge in the simplicity of this forest haven. Any group desiring to experience God’s wonder through nature are welcome.

Zac pours his heart into the campsite. Every board and plank is inspected using his eye for detail. Creating the campsite has proved to be a learning process. He takes construction classes at the community college and puts his knowledge to work in the campsite. He has built his own scaffolding to construct the roof in the kitchen/dining area. He has built tables and bunk beds, laid the stone floor, and designed the kitchen and shower areas.

A fair amount of Zac’s time here is spent alone. He has become acutely aware of nature’s friends that keep him company. An eastern phoebe builds her nest among Zac’s sturdy posts. Cooper’s hawks and pileated woodpeckers scout the near tops of the large pines. Cedar-waxwings snack on bright red berries from holly trees. Ruby-crowned kinglets keep watch, darting from branch to branch and seemingly chirping their approval.

One doesn’t need to look far to experience the beauty of God’s creation at The Haven. In addition to watching numerous species of birds (which is one of Zac’s favorite things to do), there are networks of trails to hike and ponds to fish. Other discoveries to enjoy are the muscadine vines wrapped around branches offering their bounty and persimmon trees that drop delicious fruit in late fall for those lucky enough to taste them before the fox and deer eat their fill. Their tracks are easy to spot in the sand and jumbled

pine straw among the mining bee entrances and reindeer moss. Time slows at The Haven. One can breathe deeply, relax, and listen for God—just as Elijah did when he met God through His gentle whisper after the chaos (I Kings 19:11-13).

Zac has had help in building the campsite. Christ Community Church from nearby West End helped build platforms and roofed structures. Adult and Teen Challenge from Carthage lent their manpower on several occasions. The group spent many days setting trails and building platform tents with Zac. Troy Lumber donated the boards to construct the shelters. Smith Saw Mill graciously provided cedar logs for the trails and planks for the shelter walls. The Haven’s construction is a community effort.

Zac is hand carving a plaque to hang in the dining area. Crafted using pine harvested from the property, it captures the heart of The Haven, providing clarity for all who visit: “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God” (Psalm 62:7). And as he works, he prays that all who come to The Haven will pause and connect with God, nature, and those who come along side them.

Written by Jason Sullivan, Assistant Director, Cameron Boys Camp & Education Director, Wilderness Camping

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