Hargis Christian Camp poised for more renovations, events in 2023

Published 12:27 pm Thursday, January 12, 2023

By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

CHELSEA – A productive year at Hargis Christian Camp in 2022 has set the stage for even more renovations and visitors in 2023.

With eight of the camp’s 12 buildings fully remodeled, along with the pool, basketball court and outdoor worship area, leaders are eager to start working on the remaining facilities as fundraising efforts for the camp continue.

In the final days of December, donations were still coming in to help the camp reach its end-of-year requirement and goal of $1 million.

“We didn’t reach the full goal, but we’re really close,” said Redemption Church pastor Aaron Knight, who is joined by his wife, Kellie Knight, and many others in ongoing work to revitalize Hargis and keep it open as a faith-based venue. “We raised $300,000 in three and a half weeks from Dec. 10 to Jan. 5.”

More than 7,000 people, from campers to event guests, came through the camp last year, according to Knight.

“We hosted the Chelsea football team, Shelby County High School football team, Evangel Christian football team, Chelsea wrestling, Helena High School special needs, Full Life Ahead special needs ministry, SafeHouse women’s shelter staff, The LoveLady Center staff and more,” Knight said.

Hargis also hosted a community event called Christmas At The Camp on weekends in December.

Christmas At The Camp drew about 2,000 people out to the grounds, where visitors could see a live nativity by the lake, make Christmas ornaments and cookies, and enjoy other features, such as a petting zoo, hayride and s’mores with hot chocolate.

In addition, the newly launched Hargis Hope Center supplied 84 children with toys for Christmas to help single mothers and families in need.

Knight highlighted the impact Hargis has had on people’s lives over the last year, noting the camp has seen 200 salvations and 64 lake baptisms.

Looking ahead, renovations on the remaining buildings will continue as the camp welcomes more visitors in the coming months.

“We still need to finish the last four buildings as far as remodeling. We need roofs and air-conditioning equipment,” Knight said. “We need to raise the final $1.5 million hopefully by year’s end in 2023.”

Hargis’s upcoming events include:

  • Summer Day Camp
  • Chelsea Neighbors Magazine’s Daddy + Daughter Date Night on Feb. 11
  • Hargis Day on March 18 with inflatables, food trucks, a car show, arts and crafts, a bake sale and the first-ever Save the Camp Plunge into Hargis Lake as a fundraiser
  • Adult/Child Fishing Tournament on April 1

More information about each event can be found on the Hargis Christian Camp Facebook page.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the camp may send a check by mail to Hargis Christian Camp, P.O. Box 226, Chelsea, AL 35043, or through PayPal on the camp’s website, Hargischristiancamp.org.