Gun Bingo a big bang for Haven on the Rock summer camp fundraiser
WHEATLAND – Raise your hand if you ever went to summer camp. The friends and adventures and the excitement each year of reconnecting with “last summer’s friends” as well as meeting new ones lives rent-free in the childhood memories of many people.
Zach and Karisa Bennet, Executive Director & Facilities Managers of Haven on the Rock Christian camp know the feeling. Zach originally became familiar with what was then known as Adventures in Christian Kamping (later Haven on the Rock) when he worked with the organization at another camp in Wyoming called Lone Tree; familiar to many people in Platte County, and especially Glendo. Zach married Karisa in 2009 and continued working in the camp ministry; in 2010, they became the Activity Staff Directors for the summer staff. In 2012, the camp became Haven on the Rock. Karisa recalls that she and Zach celebrated their first wedding anniversary at the camp and have been there ever since; raising their four children Daniel, Hope, David, and James there as well. Karisa was named Executive Director at Haven on the Rock in 2020.
“The gun bingo is a big fundraiser for helping kids pay for camp costs,” said Karisa Bennet. “Our cost per camper is $360, but we charge $180 per camper. Even so, about 20% of kids just can’t afford that. We say, ‘Come anyway!’ We never want someone to miss out on this great experience because of finances,” she said, “so events like gun bingo help to make sure no one misses out. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!”
The cost of renting the Agriplex was covered by Reece’s Refrigeration with food served by volunteers from BMO Bank. More than 50 generous individuals, organizations, and businesses from Platte County, Douglas, Lusk, and Casper contributed to the sponsorship and costs of the bingo event. “All proceeds that are generated tonight are 100% profit to the camp which means more funds for campers,” added Bennet. Last year the camp hosted 478 campers which includes kids K—12.
Winners were able to go home with the winning rifle from each round, with appropriate paperwork provided by an onsite gun dealer. In the past, winners were awarded gift cards to sporting goods stores in order to select the rifle they wanted, however, this year, winners were able to physically take home their winnings. Other bingo and raffle prizes were donated in the form of gift cards and gift baskets from sponsors. The first gun bingo was held in Goshen County in 2021 with the biggest turnout numbering 300 participants according to Bennet. This was the second year gun bingo has been held in Wheatland and there is an event in Casper as well. “We get a lot of kids coming to camp from Casper,” added Bennet. “But they really do come from all over.”
The camp’s mission statement is that of sharing the teachings of God’s Word amidst a fun, quality camp experience which includes horseback riding, archery, zip lining, volleyball, crafts and so much more. “Because of the support of this event, kids will be able to come to a great camp and also experience the love of Jesus,” said Bennet.
Haven on the Rock is located south of Ft. Laramie and west of Wheatland. Donations to the camp can be made by visiting their website www.havenontherock.org