The River’s Edge Retreat campers and staff acting silly during the final weeks of summer camp.
River’s Edge Retreat in Columbia is a summer camp where kids can have fun in a faith-based environment. River’s Edge helps children starting at the age of four up to the age of 16. The day camp along the Saluda River was founded in 2010 and mostly serves mostly under-privileged youth in the Columbia area.
But what’s not fun is when the camp floods.
Steve Ware, CEO and founder of River’s Edge Retreat, is having to make changes to the camp now that it is in a flood zone. Ware spent part of his youth in foster care, moving from home to home, and founded River’s Edge Retreat to create a summer experience where children could learn about the Christian faith and build leadership skills.
Amid the outdoor summer experiences, children learn Bible verses and talk about how their faith can be applied in their daily lives. But intermittent flooding creats issues for the campgrounds.
Ware said the camp’s biggest problem is the cabin area. Seven of the one-story wooden structures were built right before South Carolina’s historic flood of 2015.
“We haven’t been able to permit those because we have to put them eight feet in the air because of the new standards,” Ware said.
Additional problems also persist for River’s Edge after the flooding. Water has pooled in areas around the camp, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“Mosquitoes love kids,” Ware said. Once each storm passes, an exterminator must come to the camp to help control the pest problem.
But bugs aren’t the only issue that can occur on Garden Valley Lane, where the camp is located. With soft marshland surrounding the area near Bush River Road, trees are more likely to fall during a storm with high winds.
There is a bright-side for River’s Edge Retreat, however. The clean-up process doesn’t take too long because of the help given by volunteers.
“We get a lot of help from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Wells Fargo, the University of South Carolina, and a lot of fraternities and sororities out there,” Ware said. “And thank goodness. It’s been a great experience with those volunteers.”