A little info about us
Camp Grace is a home missions ministry, using the unique aspects of the camping ministry to reach young people for the Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen families and serve local churches. It is a place of decision in the areas of salvation, full-surrender and consistent Christian walk.
We are located on the eastern slope of the front range about an hour north of Cheyenne, Wyoming. We serve churches across western Nebraska, northern Colorado and eastern Wyoming.
The Value of Camp: the Heart of Camping
Hearing God’s Word in a variety of settings
Eliminating worldly distractions
Away from home overnight in a new setting
Reflecting on God’s Word and my life in a creation setting
Trained staff leading unique and organized activities
Our Core Values
The first private owner of the Camp Grace property was Robert Shaw Fletcher (1878- 1952).
Born in Utah to Mormon parents, Samuel Fletcher and Elizabeth Shaw, he served
for two years as a Mormon missionary in Rock Springs, Wyoming beginning in
1900. At the end of his mission, Fletcher married and settled in Sweet Water,
Wyoming. Both Fletcher and his wife Elizabeth may have filed for, and patented, 160 acres of land through the Homestead Act of 1862. Their combined land eventually became the site of Camp Grace and the Fletchers’ original stone cabin, now called the Lion Cabin, survived for over a hundred years to become the oldest usable structure on the mountain.
In 1915, just three years after receiving their patents, the Fletchers and their six children opened a guest lodge with a Fourth of July celebration. The guest lodge briefly brought prosperity to the Fletchers and their six young children but in 1919 the United States enacted the Prohibition. Furthermore, in 1926 Wyoming Highway 26 became the main thoroughfare between Wheatland and Laramie, the two largest towns near the Fletcher property. Although Highway 26 benefited motorists, it was detrimental to the business of the Lodge because the new road bypassed it.
To compensate for the loss of business, the Fletchers turned it into a speakeasy, an establishment that illegally sold alcohol. The Fletchers’ also permitted gambling and prostitution on their property. To evade detection by the sheriff, the lodge stationed a man at the top of the mountain who could see dust from unknown vehicles and warn the lodge. The sheriff was never able to prove the Fletchers’ involvement in illegal activities. At the end of the Prohibition, when the Lodge no longer served a purpose the Fletcher’s decided to temporarily close it. The Fletcher’s took odd jobs ranging from store clerk to janitor, in hopes of reopening it. However, the Great Depression added to the Fletchers’ financial struggle, and in 1940 it closed for good and the Fletchers sold the property.
Our story jumps to a man named Irvin C. Noyce who came to Wyoming as a member of the American Sunday School Union (ASSU), a mission to isolated areas of the United States that could not independently support a gospel ministry. Noyce held Sunday schools one day a week and expanded his ministry to hold Bible conferences and finally in August 1936, began a children’s camp he called “Camp Grace.” Camp Grace was initially held at an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) site until 1938, when that place became unavailable. The camp then moved to an abandoned dance hall called Kelley Kamp, which lacked a dining hall and was unable to accommodate many campers. Furthermore, a flood had destroyed the washhouse. During the summer of 1940, Noyce learned of the Fletcher Park property, which now belonged to a certain Wiley Brown. Noyce rented the property at the rate of fifty cents per camper, 110 of whom attended in 1940. Noyce and his co-laborers fell in love with the property, and Noyce bought 800 acres of the Fletcher property for $4,000. When the ASSU told Noyce that he could not conduct a permanent camp while remaining an employee of the ASSU, Noyce resigned and took a job delivering the mail. Meanwhile, he worked to make the property more suitable for a camp by eliminating traces of the old speakeasy, by re-shingling the lodge roof, and by harnessing a large spring on the property to provide water for the campers.
After ten years Noyce, in 1950, sold the property to the Fletcher Park Baptist Youth Foundation Inc. (FPBYF), an organization founded by area pastors, to provide a Christian camp for their young people. The members of the board of directors came from affiliate churches. In 1951 the FPBYF held its first youth camp at the place they called Camp Grace. The organization grew and continued to make improvements on the old Fletcher property by adding electricity, indoor plumbing, a bath house, dining hall, and several cabins such as Bear Cabin in the 1960’s. The growth continued and a new chapel and caretakers house were added in the 1970’s. A caretaker was hired to live at and maintain the facilities year round.
Problems started when the churches started to decline, and the board lost its trust in the fiscal abilities of the pastors (who served as deans during the weeks of summer camp) and the pastor’s lost their trust in the board. This resulted in an extended lack of decisive board leadership, years of infighting, and then a 20-year trust rebuilding process. in 1993 Pastor Marlin Driskell drafted a motion to eliminate the caretaker position. It seemed innocuous, but it opened the way for the board, pastors, and churches to unite together. The next year the Board hired their first director, Terry Riegel to do what the deans had done for many years. It turned out to be a huge step in the long-term history of Camp Grace. The camp remained small, but it was successful in the sense that it met the needs of the area churches and many campers made professions of faith each summer. In 2010 Pastor Marlin Driskell replaced James Baker to become the first full-time Director of Camp Grace. His responsibilities included being the President and Chairman of the Board and being the administrator of the Camp.
In June 2012, lightning started a wildfire in Albany County that burned well into July. Camp Grace staff monitored its progress through fire department reports and from their vantage point on Laramie Peak. On June 28, camp staff and a crew of high school volunteers who were making improvements on the property went to bed assured by the fire department that they were safe. But during the night, the Arapaho fire broke the fire line, and at 1:30 in the morning, the staff and volunteers were alerted and evacuated the mountain. By the evening of June 29, the camp had been burnt to ashes. Only the Lion and Bear cabins survived along with the stone chimney of the old lodge. At the same time as the great material loss to the camp, the Lord directed the Camp Grace program director, Paul Dickman, to resign and move with his growing family to another vocation.
In 2009, Camp Ironwood, a Christian camp in California, had grown to a point that they had opportunity to expand their ministry. The Ironwood Family of Camps was an out-growth of the desire to help local churches in areas far from Ironwood who were served by struggling camps or no camp at all. In 2013 Camp Grace became a part of the Ironwood Family of Camps. Marlin Driskell was retained as the caretaker-Director and a board member. Scott Schulman was hired as the program director in January 2013.
During the four years following the 2012 fire, the camp began reconstruction. Large canvas tents temporarily replaced cabins and a large tent served as an assembly space and dining hall. Nevertheless, there were many fewer campers, and no more than three weeks of camp each summer. During the rest of the summer, the camp held “work weeks,” when volunteers – from teenagers to retirees –assisted the rebuilding. Of these groups the Nehemiah Corps contributed significantly. Nehemiah Corps was founded by Ironwood to assist the Family of Camps and takes its mission statement from Nehemiah 2:18 “Let us rise up and build.” The team has the expertise and experience to take the lead in construction projects and is devoted to serving Christian camps by “eliminating temporal distractions,” such as a need for cabins and indoor plumbing. In four summers, Camp Grace built four new cabins, a meeting hall called the Grand Hall, a large washhouse, a kitchen and a dining hall. In the summers immediately following the fire, there was not enough room enough to house even twenty campers at a time. Today the camp can accommodate 54 campers each week. and by the grace of God, we look forward to being able to minister to many more individuals, churches, and families in the years to come.