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Camp Piankatank Celebrates Dedication of Buildings

“What has happened here is simply a miracle.”

Members of Walnut Hill Baptist Church are recognized during Sunday’s dedication ceremony.
By Nathan White

Hartfield, Va. – On May 17, 2015, dozens of supporters gathered at Piankatank Camp and Conference Center for a dedication ceremony to celebrate the naming of buildings.

Dr. John V. Upton, Jr., Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), opened the ceremony with a welcome and introduction of key figures, which included Walter Harrow, who was the first and past chairman of the Piankatank Commission; Eddie Stratton, BGAV Chief Development Officer; and Steven Gourley, current co-director of Camp Piankatank.

Edward Harrow speaks at the dedication ceremony.
Edward Harrow, current chairman of the Piankatank Commission, speaks at the dedication ceremony.
“Today we remember those who have done so much for this camp,” said Edward Harrow, current chairman of the Piankatank Commission. “We gather to say thank you and bless you.”

Harrow shared that one of his grandchildren recently accepted Christ as their personal Savior as a direct result of attending summer camp here. “This place is where men and women, boys and girls, can come and meet Jesus Christ.”

Began as a Royal Ambassador camp, several speakers reflected on Camp Piankatank’s journey from its humble beginning. “What has happened here is simply a miracle,” said Upton. He cited the fact that the number of summer campers and retreat guests has steadily increased since 2010 as the property has continued to be improved.

Three lodges were named for Berry Gray; Walter and Betty Harrow; and Sam and Emily Ukrop in honor of the significant contributions they gave to Piankatank. Additionally, Allen and Frances Krowe were honored by having the Activity Center named for them in recognition for all they have done for the camp.

Family members of the late Berry Gray pose by the sign outside the lodge named for him and his contributions to Camp Piankatank.
Family members of the late Berry Gray pose by the sign outside the lodge named for him and his contributions to Camp Piankatank.
The lodges and Activity Court are located around the newly named Walnut Hill Court. Walnut Hill Baptist Church of Petersburg made the tough decision to close its doors two years ago.

Through that process, church members voted to sell their building, designating all proceeds towards Camp Piankatank. “Walnut Hill is a resurrection story,” shared Stratton. “What a marvelous way to leave a legacy.”

After the ceremony, the families and guests had opportunity to tour the buildings at the camp, congregating back together for a reception in the Ukrop Dining Hall.

Camp Piankatank sits on 90+ acres of beautiful scenery, with over 570 feet of waterfront property on one of the cleanest rivers in Virginia. The camp is surrounded by a natural hardwood forest to the north, marshland to the east, Stamper’s Bay Road to the west, and the Piankatank River to the south.​

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