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About Us

We have a heart
for Camp John Paul II

A generous, anonymous donor decided to gift the Diocese an 80-acre camp just south of Cascade, complete with its 25 cabins, chapel and dining hall. The property transfer – valued at just under $2 million – closed in late June. Camp Cascade is now Camp St. John Paul II. Bill Green is camp director and Mike Fretwell is the chef.

Mike Fretwell, who owns his own landscaping company, was laying brick pavers when he started to feel dizzy. His breathing was labored, a sharp pain burning in his chest.


He went inside to tell his longtime companion, Carleeta, “I think I’m going to die tonight.”

 

The heart attack gave him a short route to baptism – though he still plans on taking RCIA this fall – and a new lease on life, at age 50.


“The heart attack was the best thing that could have happened to me.” He went home five days after the attack and threw out all the methamphetamines, other drugs and alcohol that were sapping the life out of him. “The doctors told me that if I took meth or any of that just once more, I would be dead. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were serious.”

Mike Fretwell spends as much time working at the camp as possible. “When I get tired, I rest. Carleeta makes sure of that.” If his life should end while he’s clearing brush at the camp, he’s OK with that. “I couldn’t think of a better way to go.”

Mike-F.jpg
A GIFT TO GET AWAY

ICR September 9. 2022, Deacon Gene Fadness

The previous owner of the camp was the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now called the Community of Christ. The first cabins were built in about 1965 and more cabins were added as the camp grew, creating a lower and upper campground. Men’s and women’s restrooms with indoor plumbing were built in both the lower and upper campground, with six shower stalls in both men’s and both women’s restrooms for a total of 12 men’s showers and 12 women’s showers.

 

Families who returned to the camp annually paid for the use of their own cabins, naming them and paying to upgrade them to fit their needs. One of the larger cabins that can sleep up to 12 has a screened in porch.
 

Long before it was an RLDS Church camp, it was the small town of Alpha that had been largely destroyed by a fire.

 

From the time the Diocese closed on the property near the end of June, Bill Green and Mike Fretwell had slightly more than a month to work at the camp. The duo, with the help of volunteers, some from the former Nazareth Retreat Center community and others from the “Holy Conversations” group at St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart parishes in Boise, have done a lot of work in a short amount of time, though much remains to be done.

 

Much of the work in the large commercial kitchen in the dining hall was completed last week, stocked with cookware and dishes. The kitchen is equipped with both electric and older propane stoves. Green wants varnish applied to the kitchen tables and benches and a coat of paint in both the kitchen and dining room. He wants to leave one of the walls in its original rustic appearance to give it that camping lodge look. “I can’t stress enough what this looked like when we walked in,” Green said of the kitchen and dining hall.

 

If you would like to volunteer to help in any way, please email us at campjohnpaul2@rcdb.org. If you would like to donate to our camp please visit us at https://www.campjohnpaul2.com/donation.
 

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