By Don Plummer
Diocese of Atlanta
The Diocese of Atlanta’s Camp Mikell has been included in this year’s Newsweek list of the 500 best summer camps. Moreover, Camp Mikell was singled out by Newsweek as one of the eight best camps in Georgia. Located in Toccoa, Ga., Camp Mikell is an overnight Christian camp offering sports, water activities, arts, academic, adventure, and environmental programs.
Being recognized as one of the top 500 of more than 12,000 summer camps across the United States is a big honor, said Mikell Camp Director Rev. Ken Struble. “This recognition is the culmination of the good work of all involved in making summer camp at Mikell what it is,” Struble said.
Many people over the years have contributed to the excellence recognized by Newsweek, said Struble, who has been the director since 2002. “This includes the permanent staff, summer staff, board of governors, deans and their staff, nurses, volunteer counselors, the bishop and diocesan staff, the parents and not least, the wonderful campers. Mikell’s community relies on each of these to complete the experience that we are all proud of, and we are appreciative of this recognition.”
Camp Mikell – officially The Mikell Camp and Conference Center – was established in 1933. Located near the city of Toccoa, Mikell is a year-round facility for people of all ages. “We have summer camp, then the place is fully booked with people over Labor Day for family camp, then we have weekend retreats and weekday meetings here until Thanksgiving. Then the weekend retreats and weekly Blue Ridge Outdoor Education groups here right up until summer camp begins,” Struble said.
The summer camp is accredited by the American Camp Association. It offers 240 beds with 79 in semi-private rooms and 164 in dorms. Recent improvementBy Don s include building a five-bedroom lodge, new bathrooms in the dorms, a new 6-inch water main and fire hydrant in the middle of the camp, and a 21-foot wide, two-way concrete road into the camp.
Among Mikell’s attractions are its creeks and trails, a swimming pool, a volleyball court, and a brand-new art shack and nature center. A 1993 addition, the Blue Ridge Outdoor Education Center, provides hands-on environmental education for school classes, church groups, and others. Each spring and fall, The Allan Folk School at Mikell, named for the late Diocese of Atlanta Bishop Frank Allan, offers a weekend of arts, crafts, and fellowship.