By Andrew Campbell, Camp Paron manager

An article in the April 8, 2021, edition of the Arkansas Baptist News referred to Camp Paron as possibly “the best kept secret” in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. At that time, some considered it to be the most underutilized facility in the ABSC.  

One visit to the camp will cause you to wonder how this could be. With a beautiful setting situated in Paron, Arkansas, at the edge of the Ouachita National Forest just 25 miles from Little Rock, it is the perfect place to host many different types of groups and events.  

The camp features a variety of lodging options and activities. The Flatside Hotel and Conference Center, The Lodge Guest House, and 12 cabins provide options for overnight accommodations. Bent Oak Conference Center, Cross Timbers Chapel, and an activity building are available for use by groups. Outdoor options include an outdoor pool, a large recreation field with gaga ball, human foosball, basketball courts, a volleyball court, disc golf, and walking trails, in addition to a prayer garden for times of reflection. The patio and snack shack offer a place for campers to relax and refuel.  

With so much to offer, it can easily meet the needs of groups both small and large, and minister to everyone from youth to seniors and everyone in between. The camp is unique in that it can host multiple groups at one time.  

As the new camp manager, I am determined to make sure the “secret” is shared. I came on staff as camp manager on January 1st and already this year I have had opportunities to get information out about the camp at both the ECON evangelism conference and at the Williams Baptist University career day. As a former pastor with a heart for evangelism, I view my work at Camp Paron as a ministry. My desire is to reignite the vision of ministry at Camp Paron through a hospitality and service focus.  

When groups are here, we want to take care of them and minister to them. This extends to the smallest detail and includes things like streamlining the process for scheduling and reservations to make it as easy as possible and creating simple check in and check out procedures. From the time they reserve to the time they leave; we will go out of our way to take care of all their needs and minister to the group. 

The word is getting out. Already the camp has hosted six groups since Jan. 12, with three of those groups attending on a single weekend. During that weekend eleven of the twelve cabins were used, The Lodge was at full capacity, 16 of the 26 rooms at the Flatside hotel were occupied, and the dining room provided meals for 180 people.  

We had the pleasure of helping Indian Springs Baptist Church have their Student Ministry Winter Retreat. The camp they were scheduled to use had issues from the winter storm, so they contacted us at Camp Paron, and with a couple of days’ notice we were able to accommodate them. Because of this their students were in a place to hear the Gospel presented.  

“[Andrew] jumped through every hoop there was. He just said tell me what we need to do, and we’ll do it. He saved an imperative weekend where we had a bunch of kids get saved and kids called to ministry. It was pretty powerful how the Lord used Camp Paron,” Indian Springs Baptist Church Baptist Pastor Matt Duran said. “Camp Paron is a hidden jewel with a ton of potential. It is nestled in a beautiful part of the state and there are just endless opportunities out there. One thing I can tell you is I am excited about the future of Camp Paron.” 

People are noticing the ministry emphasis. Debe Taylor, whose ladies’ group has been renting the hotel and conference center for several years, said that the spirit at the camp is wonderful. She went on to say that “you can tell this is a ministry to Andrew and not just a job.’ She said that she appreciates the kitchen manager, Brenda Koon, who is wonderful to work with as well.  

Now that spring is here, the staff is working hard to deep clean and freshen up the buildings and grounds in anticipation of an exciting year of camp ministry.  

If your group is planning a conference, retreat, training, camp, or day use activity, now is the time to make your reservation. Camp Paron is ready to minister to your needs. You can call 501-594-5257 to reserve the dates for your group. You can also visit our website at for more information. 

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