Camp Barakel’s biggest technology
infrastructure upgrade since the 1970’s
Joining the Resident Missionary Staff at Camp Barakel allows for many opportunities to do many different kinds of jobs. One of those for Jim has been to handle the technology needs of camp, including an idea that has been talked about for a couple of years: a fiberoptic network for high speed internet. Being so remote in this area of Michigan, there hasn’t exactly been a lot of availability of technology connection at Camp. Perhaps if you have been here you have used, or tried to use, the internet in the dining halls. What camp had was functional, but limited by DSL modems and phone lines, making it spread too thin for the tasks it needed to cover. An upgrade was needed, and this year’s extended maintenance season allowed the time and ability to finally give consideration to this project. So starting in June shortly after moving here, Jim began working on this plan.
It was a long list of tasks to be “trenched through”. Researching options, planning the network, ordering equipment, configuring equipment, digging trenches, laying fiber cable, wiring buildings, installing equipment, connecting everything up, and praying it all works. He has been extremely thankful for more than 10 volunteers at various points in the process who have helped to make all of it happen. Some of these have been very specific provisions from the Lord, such as a seasonal staff member who recently completed a degree in networking, and another volunteer who runs network wiring for a living. How good God always is to provide the expertise needed at just the right time!
Once the network is up and running, it will help many functions at camp to simply run smoother. The Trading Post, the camp store, will be able to run better. The facilities team can better monitor maintenance needs and perform various functions of upkeep. The summer medical volunteers can have more efficient ways to complete their daily routines serving campers. The chapel speakers will have access to internet resources helping them prepare for or deliver their messages to the campers. Of course in addition to these things, guests at retreats will have better access to technology connection should they have a need for it. Add to these a list of many more behind-the-scenes ways that staff will be helped by this network as they seek to keep camp running for the guests that come.
And what is the timing on this project? He expects it to be “lit up” this week. Picture a grand Christmas tree lighting…except underground…not visible to anyone…and with lasers…
So this is a piece of the work that Jim has been doing since we arrived in June. We are grateful for the opportunity to be here and for those that God has brought alongside of us to allow that to happen.
Rachel, for the Bennetts