Wilson Infirmary

The summer camp infirmary has evolved over the years. In the 70's and 80's, a volunteer camp nurse attended to sick campers in a platform tent just like the ones campers sleep in. She slept on the conference side, and night time health issues were dealt with by the staff. At some point a line of water was run out to the tent so that a sink could be installed, and a single outlet was installed so that campers who were overheated could sit in front of a box fan to cool down. In the 90's the Wilson Infirmary was built, and it included a room for the nurse to sleep, a bathroom she shared with campers, and window unit air conditioning. When the infirmary was initially built, there were twelve camper tents and cabins.

This past summer, Gravatt served over 900 campers, and at least half of them made their way into the infirmary for daily medications, boo boos, tummy aches, homesickness, and the need for a cool place to sit. We now have eighteen camper tents and cabins. In 2006 we moved from a model of volunteer healthcare supervisors who committed to one session at a time to having a healthcare supervisor who serves the entire summer as a part of the permanent camp staff.

As Gravatt has grown and the needs and practices in children's healthcare have changed (children take a lot more regular medications today than they did twenty years ago), Wilson Infirmary has become antiquated. During our 2013 American Camp Association re-accreditation evaluation, the only area in which we were marked down was our infirmary because of its size and lack of privacy.

Father Fred Byrd, who credits Gravatt for a great deal of his own Christian formation, spent a week with our campers this summer and saw the need for a new infirmary. He made an incredibly generous gift in honor of his mother and father, Frederick and Addie Byrd and his brother, Joe Byrd, to kickstart a campaign for a new health center at Gravatt. About his gift Father Byrd said, "I believe I am only a steward of all God has given me. One of His greatest gifts is Gravatt and that gift has blessed me again and again. I am giving to Gravatt in thanksgiving and in memory of my beloved family and in honor of you all who serve day by day to care for and promote our beloved Gravatt." 

Learn more about the Byrd family on our blog.

We have a goal to have the Byrd Health Lodge built and ready for use before the start of camp in 2016.

The new center will include a covered porch, a triage/lobby area and kitchen, two rooms (one for girls and one for boys when necessary) for patients who must spend the night in the infirmary with a patient bathroom, a laundry room, and private nurse's quarters with its own bathroom. The lobby area will have enough space for an additional staff member to sleep in case a child must spend the night so that we can meet the Safe Church requirements of having two adults present with a child at all times, as well as for campers to play board games and work on puzzles if they have to be quarantined. In the past, children have been basically bedridden if they have to stay in the infirmary for a 24 hour quarantine due to pink eye or other short-term contagious ailment. The porch will provide a covered waiting space for campers to receive regular daily medications. Each camper sleeping space will house three bunk beds in case it is necessary to have several campers staying overnight. The kitchen will include a refrigerator for medications that need to be refrigerated as well as storage for juices and snacks for kids staying in the infirmary and a locking pantry for medication storage. The laundry room will enable the healthcare supervisor to wash soiled sheets and towels without having to drive to the conference center. Clint Burdett, a longtime supporter of Gravatt, is serving as architect on this project. A builder has not yet been selected.

In addition, we will be able to use this building from September to May to house our growing internship program, which has become integral to the mission of Gravatt.

The fundraising goal for this project is approximately $100,000 (subject to change based on final architectural drawings and bids received), and thanks to Father Byrd and several other generous donors, we have a reached the fundraising goal. Any additional funds received toward this project not used in the building or furnishing of the new health lodge will go into an endowment for its upkeep. Please consider helping us reach this goal. If you know Father Byrd, a gift to the Frederick and Addie Byrd Health Lodge would be an amazing gift to him. He has touched the lives of many people at Gravatt and in the Diocese, and his gift of the new health center will continue to make a difference in the lives of children and youth for many years to come. There are several room-naming opportunities still available. Please contact Lauri SoJourner at 803.648.1817 or for more information.