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Camp Staff Alum Gives Back to Gilmont in a Big Way!

The 1979 Gilmont Summer Staff team, with Spradlin pictured second from the right.


Spradlin (left) pictured with his campers – ready to “BE POSITIVE” – in the summer of 1979.

 Gilmer, Texas – Gilmont Camp and Conference Center, received a commitment of a 1.5 million dollar capital campaign contribution from Ronald “Ronnie” Spardlin, III, Mayor of the city of Kilgore, Texas. Spradlin has deep connections with Gilmont as a summer staff alumnus, a former board member, and a long-time supporter of the camp – having provided lumber and resources for many projects over the years.

This lead gift is not only the largest gift that Mr. Spradlin has given to an organization; it will also be the largest financial commitment from an individual donor in Gilmont’s 83 years of ministry. Mayor Spradlin believes Gilmont has made a huge difference in his life and the lives of countless people that have grown closer to God, creation, others, and themselves because of their experiences at Gilmont. Ronnie shared, “Gilmont has always been a sacred place where children and adults can get away and feel the presence of God.” 

Mayor Spradlin fondly recalls serving as an overnight camp counselor in the summer of 1979. “It was an amazing week filled with laughter and tears, as well as deep conversations about life and faith,” shared Ronnie. The theme was “Be Positive” and there was a camp challenge issued at the beginning of the week. Everyone at the camp was given 20 dry beans and if someone caught you saying something negative you had to give them one of your beans. At one point, a clever camper asked Ronnie if he could build a fire in the middle of the campground – hoping he would tell him “No” and have to give him a bean. Instead, Ronnie told the camper that he COULD build a fire – IN the firepit! 

Gilmont provides a variety of year-round programs and is excited to be in a chapter of growth! In the Summer the camp runs Overnight Camps (Sunday-Friday) and Day Camps from Monday-Friday for children ages 7-17. Throughout the rest of the year, Gilmont provides retreats for children, youth, and adults. When Gilmont isn’t hosting one of its own programs, it serves as a rental facility for churches, organizations, businesses, schools, and families to have their own camps, conferences, retreats, reunions and special events. 

The generous commitment is part of Gilmont’s capital campaign that will include a brand new lodge with 20 hotel style rooms, new staff housing, and improvements to existing facilities. As Gilmont’s programs and partnerships have increased in recent years, these additions will increase Gilmont’s capacity to host larger groups as well as to host multiple smaller groups at the same time. 

While this capital campaign is in its early stages, Gilmont has received commitments ranging from $1,500 to $150,000, in addition to Mayor Spradlin’s commitment of 1.5 million dollars. These generous commitments are sure to inspire others to give generously as Gilmont seeks to invite more guests to connect with creation, have some fun, grow in faith, and develop lifelong friendships. 

For more information about Gilmont’s programs or rental facilities, please visit, call the office at 903-797-6400, or email Jennifer Rigoulot at If you would like more information about the capital campaign, please visit with Kenny Rigoulot at

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