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Camp Kavanaugh

Crestwood’s Camp Kavanaugh
expansion nears completion

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(July 2002) CRESTWOOD, KY. – For the past 126 years, Camp Kavanaugh has been a sanctuary in the heart of Crestwood, Ky., for many who have enjoyed this 55-acre wooded retreat.
Officials on May 9, 2001, broke ground for a new, state-of-the-art conference center. With construction nearing an end, a consecration ceremony has been scheduled for 4 p.m. on Aug. 4. Bishop James King will officiate.
The conference center will occupy one-third of the building it is housed in. Among its amenities are high-tech audio and visual capabilities. This two-story structure will contain four breakout rooms downstairs for small group counseling, a conference hall for larger groups, a kitchen, a dining room and staff offices. Guests can eat, sleep and meet all under one roof.

Camp Kavanaugh

Camp Kavanaugh

The other two-thirds of the building will serve as headquarters of the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, said Executive Director Brad North.
“When the Kentucky Conference and the Louisville Conference merged, they needed a permanent office site,” said Dale Ehret, Kavanaugh’s board chairman. The Conference currently rents space in Holiday Manor on Brownsboro Road.
Officials considered locating at Bowling Green, Lexington or Louisville but chose Kavanaugh because of its accessibility, officials said. Its convenient location to the interstate and 20-minute proximity to Louisville made it an appealing choice. Also, the conference currently owns the land on which the camp sits.
Bishop H. H. Kavanaugh, as a shrine to the Camp Meeting Movement, founded the camp in 1875. Bishop Kavanaugh recognized the rejuvenating power of nature and, as a result, the camp has always been a haven to such groups as the YMCA, boy scouts, girl scouts and most local churches. Businesses also come to the camp to hold training seminars or use the dining facilities.
North said Camp Kavanaugh could accommodate large groups of overnight guests in the 22-room Foeman Lodge or the McCoy House. The latter structure was built in 1879 and has four large dormitory rooms and a kitchen. Richard’s Cottage can house smaller groups.
Until now, the only meeting area on the grounds was the McDowell Auditorium, built in 1875. This open-air, multipurpose facility also contains a small chapel and kitchen. The camp also has a Dining Hall that will seat 150 guests.
North said one cabin was added in June 2001, and the camp’s long-range plan includes the addition of four more cabins. He said he would like to see money raised to refurbish the camp’s 48-year-old pool and build another lodge.
Due to the camp’s growth, upgrades are badly needed. Ehret said the camp has gone from accommodating 3,500 guests in 1996 to 19,000 last year.
The conference center was built for $3.5 million, said North. Approximately $1.4 million was spent on the camp’s facilities and $2.3 million on the conferences offices, said Ehret.
The entire amount was provided through donations. “We raised over half of the funding through the many wonderful supporters of the camp,” said North.
The new facility will seat 250 people at tables or 350 people stadium-style.

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