When The La Vida Center and Gordon College acquired our Adirondack property in 1995, a myriad of possibilities opened up for not only our organization but for the participants that joined us every summer.
At the time we purchased the site, our Adirondack Expeditions program had outgrown its previous location at Young Life’s Saranac Village and was looking for a new place where it could call home. The intention was to be able to find a location in the Adirondacks that would be able to foster community through worship, expedition training, and team-building initiatives as our participant numbers grew.
An aerial shot of base camp when it was Applejack Farm from the late 1930’s to the late 1950’s.
Since 1995, the Lake Clear property has done all those things and more.
The large 75-acre “base camp” had enough space for us to build a ropes course, create over ten campsites, and house our full summer staff in cabins that had been left by the previous owners. The property allowed us to not only welcome college students but families, church groups, and youth to participate in expeditions.
One of the most beloved and utilized buildings on this site is our barn.
As participants have gathered in the space to worship and share stories from their expedition, the walls of our barn have heard thousands of testimonials of how God’s faithfulness was steadfast on the mountaintops, gliding on the surface of the water, and by the warmth of a fire.
A Celebration service in the barn from the 1990’s.
Showing off our new La Vida sign in front of the barn.
Skits in the barn have been a staple from the beginning.
Left: A Celebration service in the barn from the 1990’s. Middle: Showing off our new La Vida sign in front of the barn. Right: Skits in the barn have been a staple from the beginning.
Skits in the barn in 2016.
Worship during Celebration has been a sweet time of reflecting on God’s faithfulness.
The last group photo taken in front of the barn while it was still standing.
Left: Skits in the barn in 2016. Middle: Worship during Celebration has been a sweet time of reflecting on God’s faithfulness. Right: The last group photo taken in front of the barn while it was still standing.
The red paint and tin roof act as a physical reminder of what it looks like to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Since we acquired our Lake Clear property back in 1995, over 4,000 participants have gathered in the barn to worship and share testimonies of God’s grace, faithfulness, and presence on the trail.
The barn has also served as a secure storage facility for valuable program resources including canoes and tools, especially during the winter months.
But the years have taken a toll on this vital structure: the floor is cracked, the roof is leaking, and the overall wooden building is fighting against rot and the woodland creatures who have nestled their way into the cracks and crevices of the building.
This symbol of accomplishment and faithfulness needs help.
Our proposed plan is to erect a new barn that honors the legacy of the original structure but will stand for many more expeditions to come.
We’ve started demolition of the barn, and site preparation will be done in the latter half of October. Our plan is to complete the foundation work in early November. Due to the unexpected storms that devastated Vermont and parts of New York this summer, our contractors had to push back demolition, and Geobarns informed us that they will not be able to complete construction this fall or winter. The construction is now slated to begin in mid-March of 2024.
The new structure will sit on a professionally prepared site that will allow for proper drainage and will provide a solid foundation for this new building. Within the walls, a 20’x30’ workshop will house all tools and materials to care for the 75-acre property. If funding allows, we would like to add storage rooms to provide a secure location for campers’ personal items while they explore the Adirondack wilderness on various La Vida trips. Once this project is complete, the barn will once again be the site of end-of-trip celebration.