During our November 2009 annual planning meetings with our entire staff, we discussed the possibility of a “Family of Camps.” Ironwood was coming to a place where we would probably not add a bunch of bed capacity, and one of the ways to grow would be to get involved in a camp start up. We could expand in many ways, but we settled on the picture of a family in which a couple who is mature (although maybe not totally ready) have a baby and work for the next 20 years to train the child to be ready to go out on his own. Our hope was to someday instill in another camp the mission, core values, philosophy and processes that we have here at Ironwood.
After discussions with our board, we developed a 12-year, 4-stage plan (venture stage, pioneer stage, planning stage, and foundation stage). Much like the training of a child begins with lots of control and slowly lets go, our hope was to begin with lots of control and slowly hand over responsibilities. At the end of the 12 years (give or take a couple), the camp would have its own board, identity, and character. Wolf Mountain in Grass Valley, CA, became part of Family of Camps in 2010, Camp Grace in Wheatland, WY, in 2013, and Longview in Arcade, NY, in 2015. Many of our Ministry Bound interns go on to serve at one of the Family of Camps, and Nehemiah Corps helps with building projects at each of the Family of Camps.