DOE RIVER GORGE PRESIDENT’S REPORT | 2019

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It’s Tough growing up in America today. With a culture that has gradually shunned its moral and spiritual roots, the hearts of young people are increasingly being battered and scarred. Many who come to Doe River Gorge have lives that are ravaged by wrong choices and damaging relationships, some are on the verge of giving up all hope . . . all are in need of a personal relationship with the One who is able to heal their hurting hearts--Jesus Christ.

At Doe River Gorge young people find a place of fast-paced fun, challenging adventures and breathtaking scenery. Away from the struggles and pressures of everyday life and in an atmosphere of love and acceptance, many young people

Thanks to Your Support many lives were changed this past summer:

  • 259 students trusted Christ for salvation
  • 368 young people turned over past hurts and failures to God
  • 567 made other significant decisions to advance their walk with Christ

Nothing warms our hearts more than to hear young people say things like:

The spiritual experiences were more than I could have possibly imagined. I realized the immeasurable depth of God’s love.

Dylan, age 15

FUN + ADVENTURE + ACCEPTANCE + LOVE

In their own words...

This week, I decided to give my life fully to God and let him use me in amazing ways. I experienced the Lord face to face at this camp.

~Sofi, age 13

I surrendered my heart to God and accepted him as my Lord. Doe River Gorge has turned my life in a whole new direction.

Addie, age 12

Doe River Gorge helped guide me on the path to salvation.

~Cadie, age 13

Not only did I make friends, but I made family

~Hannah, age 13

I was able to forgive others and give my life to Jesus.

~Grace, age 14

DRG Acquires Sawmill Property

After 25 years of seeking to acquire the sawmill property that separates Doe River Gorge from US Highway 19E, the property finally belongs to The Gorge. In addition to the fifteen acres, the property has almost 40,000 square feet of buildings or covered space. This acquisition will allow DRG to place a sign on Highway 19E, provides much needed warehouse space, plus a large building where maintenance facilities can be relocated away from the main campus.

But the greatest benefit for having this property is that it provides acreage needed for creation of The Christmas Train

New Camp Activities in 2019!

Campers were greeted with some new fun, adventurous, and relational building activities when they arrived this past summer.

The Lilly Pad Crossing may look easy but it presents a great challenge that keeps kids coming back to try again.
Expanded Game Patio: The game patio was extended across the back of the Depot by 100 feet giving everyone a place to hangout that is sheltered from the sun and rain. An 8-player foosball table was added along with some other game activities .
A new Hammock Village provides a place to literally “hang-out” with friends. The new hammock village can accommodate up to 32 single or doublewide hammocks.
The new Sliding Rock Xpress is a natural rock waterslide located deep in the Gorge that provides a plunge into a cold pool.

The Christmas Train—a Sneak Peak!

(Note: The Christmas Train project has not been publicly announced. You are welcome to share this information with friends but please do not publicize it to any news media, social media, or any online venue).

Several years ago, we began exploring ways to expand our ministry during the non-summer season while simultaneously generating revenue to operate and sustain year-round operations. In 2013 a team from DRG took a trip to a camp in Oklahoma to experience an event called The Christmas Train. Through this event, the true story of Christmas and the Gospel message was shared with 60,000 people each year while also generating significant revenue for the camp.

Being mesmerized by the experience, and wondering if a similar event could work at DRG, the group returned to Tennessee and commissioned an extensive feasibility study and business plan. With these studies projecting positive results, the idea to develop a similar event was placed in DRG’s long-range master plan.

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

In 2018, DRG was presented with a “once-in-alifetime” opportunity when the owners of The Dry Gulch Christmas Train offered to sell all of its assets to DRG for a fraction of its value. Over the twelve month period from September 2018 – August 2019 assets of The Dry Gulch Christmas Train were acquired, transported to DRG and paid in full. The assets included two steam locomotives, 11 passenger coaches, 43 storyboards that tell the Christmas story from creation to resurrection, thousands of decorations and costumes, and much, much more. Transporting it all to DRG required 57 tractor trailer loads!

What is The Christmas Train?

The Christmas Train will be an event where the campus of Doe River Gorge will be transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland to provide a spectacular night for your family. With festive Christmas decorations, warm campfires, amazing foods, singing carolers, and various shops and attractions, there will never be a dull moment. But the highlight of the evening will be riding aboard a live steam locomotive train where the true story of Christmas and the Gospel message will be told like you’ve never heard it before. It will be like riding through a life-size storybook.

When will The Christmas Train be Operational?

The Christmas Train will become operational at Doe River Gorge as soon as funding, engineering, and construction can be completed. The target date for the grand opening is November 27, 2021.

To learn more about The Christmas Train and how you can be involved, call us at 423.725.4010.

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