Skip to content

Year 3 of construction to begin at Camp Kamassa

This is one of the eight cabins built at Camp Kamassa during Year 2 of the multi-year project to build the special needs camp. Each cabin can house at least 20 campers. This year six multi-family cabins will be added with 6 apartments each.

By Tricia Nelson In a few weeks, Year 3 of Camp Kamassa’s multi-year construction will begin. The camp, which is located near Calling Panther Lake on Sumrall Road, will be for adults and children with special needs. Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation (MTK) purchased the 326 acre site in 2013 and through vigorous fundraising was able to pay off the land in 2017. After securing funding, a multi-phased construction plan was developed and support was secured through the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program, a program developed through the Rebuild America Initiative which is exclusive to the US and its territories. The partnership between the Department of Defense and the local community provides opportunities for military personnel to use their skills for training. By the time the camp is completed, over 600 members of the military will have worked on Camp Kamassa through the IRT program. Chief Master Sergeant Stacy Gilman with the Air Force Reserve is the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the IRT project at the camp. He will arrive with a team the last week of February to set up a temporary housing site at the armory. They will construct tents, known as Alaskan shelters, hook up generators, run electrical wiring, and install portable air conditioners and heating. These shelters will house the teams until approximately the middle of August. Once temporary housing is in place, work will begin at the camp. A group of 50 Marines from across the US will arrive and then every two weeks they will be relieved by a new group. Teams can come from several service components including the Army, Marines, Air Force Reserves, and Air National Guard. This year will begin Year 3 of the multi-year project. In Year 1 a lot of surveying took place. About 47 acres of land was cleared and culverts and roads were installed as well as several feet of concrete storm water drainage pipe. A 50 x 100 maintenance pole barn was also constructed. Year 2 saw a lot of progress with the construction of 8, 2100 sq. ft. duplex cabins and all associated infrastructure including wiring and plumbing. Each cabin can house at least 20 campers. A 90 foot, 45,000 lb. steel bridge was installed to connect to land parcels. A lot of earthwork took place with grading and building up the land in preparation for construction projects. In addition, a 25,000 gallon vertical water storage tank was installed to provide water to the camp. This year, 6, 2700 square foot multi-family cabins will be built, each with 6 apartments, including all infrastructure, HVAC, doors, windows, and roofing. The teams will begin two large buildings, the multi-use building and the open-air recreational building. Underground power supply will be installed and tied in to all structures. Earthwork will begin on the medical/cafeteria building and the cabins built in Year 2 will be fully completed with insulation, interiors walls, and other items needed. Nature trails will also be developed during this phase of the project. Camp Kamassa would not be where it is today without the talented, hard-working, skilled men and women who work with the IRT program. Continuation is always contingent upon funding and world events, however; the Air National Guard is looking to support the camp for 2021. Let us hope that the IRT program can continue to help build this much-needed special needs camp.

Leave a Comment