Dade Brantley on Honey Creek
By Julia Ariail
Posted August 22, 2013
Confident, excited, and proud, Dade Brantley, Executive Director of Honey Creek, described the many aspects of the Diocese of Georgia’s conference center as restful, spiritual, and friendly at the presentation he gave at Christ Episcopal Church on Sunday, August 18. The group of 50+ welcomed three-fourths of the Brantley family to Valdosta and our church. Lydia Brantley, Dade’s wife, assisted with the slide show that accompanied the presentation. Their son Noah, who has several friends in Valdosta that he met at Honey Creek, also enjoyed the show. Both Dade and Lydia were in Valdosta in 1989 even though they didn’t know each other then. Dade attended Christ Church while he was in town.
Almost everyone in the room had been to Honey Creek. Many had been many times in the past 40 years. However, all enjoyed seeing the photos of the current accommodations, especially the four newly-renovated rooms in the lodge. Photos of the 2013 camp sessions included many Christ Church children. This year marked the 89th camp season with over 200 children attending the 4 camp sessions including 50 high school youth and over 90 middle school youth. Dade said he believes in camp ministry. “Relationships born at camp often last a lifetime,” he said. “And, we all know Honey Creek is hallowed ground.”
Describing the future of Honey Creek as sound, Dade hopes for an endowment that will guarantee financial security. The conference center has operated in the black seven quarters in a row. The Diocese pays the director and the summer camp director. The bond project in which many Christ Church parishioners participated enabled the camp to pay off the bank holding the mortgage on the property. There is also a program called, “Hundred for Honey Creek” where people sign up to pay $100 a month to Honey Creek for three years. “This allows us to take care of the unseen stuff that is hard to raise money for,” said Dade. They hope to have 100 people or groups signed up eventually.
A rustic retreat, Dade like to say that the facility has “220 pillows”: the lodge – 40 rooms; three cottages; space for 100 in the dorms and space for “a battalion” in hammocks and tents in the campground.
Dade invited our church and all the parishioners to use Honey Creek for all sorts of group meetings: vestry retreats, parish weekends, special group meetings, weddings, family reunions or just come for a weekend.
Long-time Christ Church member Judy DeMott echoed Dade’s invitation. “It’s holy ground,” she said. “If you haven’t been, go.”