Written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern
The City of Lynchburg is a special home to the many people and places that it shares a deep, rich history with. This is especially true for Camp Kum-Ba-Yah, who has been serving children through summer camps and year-round programming for the last 71 years.
Camp KBY had a very successful summer season, with over 400 students at full capacity and 25 counselors. One of the counselors came through a partnership with another local nonprofit, Global Camps Africa.
“Having a South African camp counselor work at Camp Kum-Ba-Yah this summer was a great way for local children and staff members to experience the magic of connecting with someone from a different culture,” said Emily Crowder, Global Camps Africa’s Executive Director. “And, of course, for our South African counselor, learning from an American Camp Association (ACA) accredited organization was a tremendous professional development opportunity. Everyone benefited!”
On September 9, 2022 the Camp is having a CAMPaign fundraising event themed “Together We Grow” which will celebrate the purchase of the land that Camp bought in October 2021 after leasing for over 70 years.
“We purchased the 47 acres and then placed 42 of the acres in a conservation easement to preserve natural play space for future generations,” said Amy Bonnette, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah’s Executive Director.
Camp KBY has exciting plans for the 2nd phase of their Capital CAMPaign to create inclusive areas to support a multigenerational community in the City of Lynchburg and surrounding areas while also building their endowment fund.
Their amphitheater will be doubling in size and will include a covered stage for outdoor education and a place for campers to shelter in inclement weather. The growth of the amphitheater will also be a place where events and rentals can be housed.
The current parking lot will transform into a bus turnaround lot for field trips. It will feature a butterfly garden in the center, parking spaces against it, and the bus turnaround looping around the outside.
One of the ultimate projects that Camp KBY is currently working on is renovating the current Youth House into the Rosel and Elliot Schewel Education Center that can be used by the entire community.
Bonnette says, “The Rosel and Elliot Schewel Education Center will be a space for nature based programming to include birding, local art of all ages, pottery and environmental education classes.”
The Rosel and Elliot Schewel Education Center will be transformed with a new addition, front porch, and a catering kitchen on the first floor to support meals and events that Camp KBY will host.
The “Together We Grow” fundraising event will kick off at 6 p.m. on September 9 beginning with a scavenger hunt. Guests will truly be immersed in the camp experience as they are given a bag with clues leading them to future building sites. The evening will culminate with guests enjoying a vegetarian meal as they connect with the camp experience. Camp Kum-Ba-Yah serves vegetarian meals during camp. Campers learn how to cook and grow their own vegetables and are often cooking over a campfire two to three times per week.
Tickets are available here for $50 per ticket or guests can purchase a table for ten for $1,000, fully equipped with champagne service and Keeper of the Woods membership for all table attendees. To purchase tickets, click here.