Reunion Facilities – Developed at Guthrie Center Grounds
The Herald – 1957
During the summer of 1955, the Northwest Iowa, Southwest Iowa, and Des Moines Districts began a co-operative project to satisfy a common need for a reunion grounds. At that time the Northwest and Southwest Iowa Districts were combining with Eastern Nebraska District in a reunion at the city park in Woodbine, Iowa. The Des Moines District was holding reunion at the State Fair Grounds in Des Moines.
After considerable effort in searching for the right location, the members found a site of 180 wooded acres centrally located to the three districts about eight miles north of Guthrie Center, Iowa. The middle Raccoon River bisects the grounds forming a beautiful camping area.
Development of the site, begun last spring, reached its first stage of completion this fall. Two buildings (dining room-kitchen and shower-laundry house) are completed and ready for use, and a winding graveled road has been constructed to the building area. One of the outstanding features of the grounds is that the buildings already finished have modern plumbing and heating so that they can be used the year around.
With a feeling of Zionic endeavor a joint committee, consisting of three men from each district and the apostle in charge of the area, set out on this development of the grounds. One of their major concerns was that enough use would be received from the grounds to warrant the investment.
The dedication of the grounds took place last May, and the first organized activity held in the new buildings was a Zion’s League Retreat on the week end of November 10 and 11. Sixty high school youth of the Des Moines District met together for a week end of worship, fellowship, and fun. Already there have been requests for a women’s retreat, a priesthood retreat, college age retreat, and a young adult camp. Plans have been laid to include in the summer activities at least two reunions, two senior high camps, and two junior high camps.
An investment of $75,000 has been made thus far in the grounds and improvements. Future plan include dormitories, an auditorium, and other needed buildings to complete the camping facilities.
This joint reunion grounds effort is indicative of how people can use the principles of Zion to unite their efforts in meeting a common need. It has not been without its difficulties, but difficulties can be overcome with patience and understanding.