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Funds raised, ground broken,
barn construction will begin

Story and Photos By Duane Good, EDITOR

Shoveling the first dirt for Camp Hebron’s new equine barn are (from left): Dean Berger, co-director of the Horsemanship Program; Don Forker, representing the Build-the-Barn Committee; Bruce Stauffer, chairman of the Building Committee; state Rep. Sue Helm; and Dustin Musser. Camp Hebron’s executive director.

HALIFAX TWP. • Thursday, Feb. 12 was a day when many people at Camp Hebron were looking forward to Spring.

And it wasn’t just due to the weather.

They were looking forward to that spring day when the long-awaited new equine barn will be open for business.

That day is one step closer to reality, with last week’s formal groundbreaker ceremonies for the facility, held Feb. 12 at the current site of Meadowview Stables on the non-profit Christian camp property.

Work on the barn,  to be located on the stables property, will begin as soon as weather permits.

Background. As reported in the Sentinel’s Jan. 20 issue, the new structure – once completed – will include 23 horse stalls; a veterinarian/farrier work bay; feed room; and an indoor arena so riding can continue in inclement weather.

It will be used for lessons; summer camps; educational programs; clinics and seminars for local equestrians; and a staging area for guided trail rides – all part of the camp’s longstanding Horsemanship Program geared mainly toward young people.

The newer, larger barn will replace a building that has been in use for much of the program’s 25-year duration. Estimated cost, as reported at the groundbreaking, is $400,000.

While most of the construction cost has been raised, donations will continue to be needed to meet the ongoing costs of running the Horsemanship Program, as well as outfitting the facility with items such as stall mats, arena footing and equipment in the tack room, such as saddle racks, bridle holders and tack storage bins.

To that end, the camp will hold a Boots and Blue Jeans Benefit Auction Thursday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m. Additional details will be published at a later date.

Money has been raised through the efforts of the Build-the-Barn Committee, a volunteer group.

A ‘‘milestone’’ and ‘‘an exciting time.’’  The groundbreaking is ‘‘another milestone’’ in the camp’s legacy and would not be possible with the contributions of many people, said

The commencement of construction is an ‘‘exciting time’’ and a culmination of more than three years’ work to raise funds for the new facility, according to Dean Berger, who directs the camp’s Horsemanship Program along with his wife, Susan.

Along with others at the event, Berger praised the Stabler Foundation for its contributions that helped the project get on solid financial footing.

‘‘This was made possible by several smaller donors as well – people who gave sacrificially of their time, talent and resources; and for that, we are grateful,’’ he added.

Bruce Stauffer, chairman  of the project’s Building Committee, also stressed the importance of financial and other support  in getting the project to this point. He likened the people who donated in some way to the project to to the poles that will be used to hold the physical structure together and keep it in place.

‘‘(Donors) were needed to hold this project together and hold it in place. Thank you for what you have done,’’ he said.

The development of the project has been a ‘‘journey,’’ and Dean and Susan Berger deserve special praise for never giving  up on the vision to see the building become real, according to Stauffer.

‘‘They have been real workhorses to get us to this point; their persistence and patience is what pulled us through,’’ he said. ‘‘I have to look back on the years when they had to endure winters like this and wondered how they still were able to run the (Horsemanship Program).’’

Excavation will begin when ground conditions improve, according to information shared at the groundbreaking. (There  was a substantial frost cover as of Feb. 12.)

Horses’ benefits are praised. State Rep. Sue Helm also commended the camp for reaching the point where construction can begin. She also commended the Horsemanship Program for the benefit it offers its participants, young and old.

‘‘Winston Churchill (former British prime minister) said, ‘There is something about the outside of a horse that it good for the inside of a man.’ For more than 50 years, horses have played a vital role here, helping others see the camp’s scenic beauty,’’ she said.

Noting that many horses used in the program are rescues, closing speaker Rev. Robert Stoner said that these re-purposed animals are now helping others find new purpose in their own lives. (The Horsemanship Program works with disabled individuals as well as at-risk young people, among many groups.)

On behalf of state Sen. Rob Teplitz, Patti Miller presented the camp with a Senate citation commending the project.

A representative of U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta also attended the event.


Contact the camp at 717-896-3441
or email Susan Berger at
The camp’s website is 

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