Meet the New Camp Caretakers: Mike & Diana

New Caretakers, Mike and Diane Richards.

New Camp Hosts, Mike and Diana Richards.

The Camp board was pleased to find and hire Mike Richards as Camp Host last Fall.  His wife, Diana, also joins him at Wa-Ri-Ki for hosting activities.  But there’s more to Mike than just being a great host — he has a successful remodeling and contracting background, so he’s been hard at work assessing needs (there’s a long list), and doing repairs.

The husband and wife team are greatly enjoying their experience at the Camp — Diana reports a great view of the stars at night.  We caught up to a busy Mike recently and asked him a few questions…

What is your overall assessment of the future of Camp Wa-Ri-Ki from a General Contractor’s point of view? The buildings are fairly old (1969) but well built. There is some deferred maintenance, mainly due to lack of funds for capital improvements. The buildings are good quality construction so with a bit of TLC they should serve us well. The water and sewer systems are my greatest fear since repairs are so expensive and conditions are somewhat unknown.

Where would you like to see the Camp in 5 years? We have a great location and a nice facility. With some remodeling and improvements they should be able to serve us well into the future. I would love to see the camp expand services to include more curriculum based, staffed camps that could serve at-risk and vulnerable youth in our community.

old well at Camp Wa-Ri-Ki

This is the original well dating back to the late ’50’s. It was replaced in 1969.  Now the Camp seeks to continue upgrading the system.

What are some immediate items you would like to work on at the Camp? We must get our roofs repaired/replaced first. Bathroom facilities and the kitchen both are high use areas and they need some TLC. We are currently converting our office building to accommodate a small Apt.

What are some reactions you and Diana have had about living there and interacting with Campers?  What a great blessing to join with folks as they enjoy their time at camp! We have really enjoyed meeting the groups and leaders. Each group has a unique personality, but all have been great! We try to help them enjoy the facilities but stay in the background.

With such a successful background in business and in your career, what drew you to the Camp, and what is the one challenge you enjoy most tackling at Camp Wa-Ri-Ki?  Diana and I have a unique set of skills from our various jobs and experience. We can use our God-given gifts to benefit this camp and the kids who visit. I really enjoy seeing a facility/organization improve and reach it’s potential. I’ve always enjoyed jobs that provide this sense of improvement and realization. I don’t think there is any one thing that I most enjoy tackling but getting to know the facility and creating a friendly, comfortable environment that can be sustained in the future is our goal.

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