After a friend brought the place to my attention, I decided to take a ride and have a look at the place. My three children and I instantly fell in love. Not only did it look like a good place for a camping trip, but it simply felt right.
The directors, Don and Laure Peterson, signed the lease/purchase agreement for the 100-plus acres while working as missionaries in Haiti. In 1992, with little more than a tent – which was soon followed by a camper until the completion of their home in 1996 – they began to bring their vision to life.
During the years that follow, they have dedicated their time and love to making their dream a reality. Open all year, with the exception of the cold winter months, they make their grounds available to all who are looking for a good wholesome getaway.
“This isn’t a place where parents drop their kids off,” Mr. Peterson informed me lovingly. “It’s a place parents bring their kids as a family.”
A quick glance at their webpage will tell you of their own missionary goal: “The spiritual foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. The social foundation of the church is the family. Strong churches require strong families. The overriding purpose of The Family Center is to strengthen families. The Family Center, using biblical values, is dedicated to helping families arrive at the objectives God intended for families to achieve.”
Thanks to contributions, volunteers and a lot of hard work, in 2001 they opened their bunkhouse. It was soon followed by the three cabins, the residential housing and the KRAM center.
The bunkhouse sleeps 16, which would have been perfect for our little camping expedition, but we opted for the cozy cabins instead. Each cabin sleeps 6-7 people. They have both heat and air, and are located directly across from KRAM.
The KRAM Center, which stands for Kitchen, Restrooms and Meeting, helped in making the camping trip memorable. Within this large building with its screened in front porch, you will find bathrooms, showers, a large kitchen and a large meeting area. Even if it were to rain on the night of the camping trip, it wouldn’t have come close to ruining our fun thanks to this fantastic addition to an already wonderful campsite.
Near the cabins, our youth played on a small playground until it was time to move everyone up to the Recreation center. We enjoyed hot dogs over a campfire and ate our meal under the cover of a large pavilion while watching the children use the stage to perform spontaneous skits. From there, we all walked across a large field where the bonfire was lit and awaiting us.
After a good night’s sleep, we enjoyed breakfast cooked in the KRAM center before heading back out to the recreation area. If the night before didn’t supply enough family entertainment, our afternoon at the rec. center more than made it for it!
Mr. Peterson had headed out there before us and set out the many games and activities they have accumulated over the years. Children and adults alike played for hours with the assortment of games spread out around a large field.
There were stilts to walk on, as well as a small (and low) high wire for the kids to test out their balance. Volleyball, tetherball, basketball and bola toss, as well as many other games, kept friendly competition alive until we reluctantly called our trip to an end.
Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to brag as much as I would like about our trip to The Family Center. I will say this much though: The Family Center wouldn’t be what it is without Mr. and Mrs. Peterson behind the scenes. Never have I met a more friendly and honestly genuine couple.
Thanks to groups like the Boy Scouts, Berry College and local churches who have volunteer their time with construction, clean-up and other needs, they have been able to keep their dream alive.
I can not speak enough of the fun we had. I can’t describe how it brought us together, strengthening the family bond between us all. You would need to see the joy on the children’s faces as they begged us to return for another camping trip to truly understand what all I cannot put into words.
The next time you’re looking for a getaway, whether it’s for the family, youth group or a church, take a minute to check out this fantastic little establishment hiding in plain sight. For more information you can call 706-639-7063, or visit their website, familycenterlafayette.org.
LaFayette resident Tanya Nave is a mostly sane mother of three children, a proud wife and caretaker for many pets. “I could probably give life a little more than I am, but I love the one I have,” she says. You can email her at email@example.com. She also has a Facebook fan page.