Jack Norment Camp Report

Jack Norment Camp Report

Jackson Clair (Jack) Norment was born in 1928, the second son of Paraguayan missionaries, Malcolm L. Norment and Arabella Marvin Norment. Jack first traveled to Paraguay with his family in 1931. They returned to the United States in 1935 when his mother was critically ill. She died in April 1937. Malcolm Norment and his two sons, Malcolm, Jr. and Jack, returned again to Paraguay in 1938. 

In October 1942, Jack was at school in Buenos Aires when he became ill with scarlet fever. He died four days later. 

In 1948, the Disciples of Christ Church in Paraguay established a camp and named it after Jack Norment. For many years, missionaries Juan and Renee Carter provided leadership to the camp, beginning in the late 1960’s when they arrived to Paraguay as missionaries with the Disciple Church.  It has the only program of its kind in areas of outdoor ministries, ecology, and leadership development.  It has been used by the Paraguayan government as a model for other programs, and the Shalom Center in Chile also has had much input from the experiences of the Jack Norment Camp as it has developed – in fact Global Ministries missionary Elena Huegel, who works with the Shalom Center in Chile, worked for a significant time at the Jack Norment Camp in years previous to her missionary service in Chile.

During the summer, camps are held for children, youth, young adults, and families. Several times each year groups of working and street children who relate to the Disciple ministry of Friendship Mission in the capital city of Asuncion go to Jack Norment Camp outside of the city for weekends of fun and fellowship.

Sixty years after Jack Norment Camp was established, it continues to meet the needs of the people of Paraguay and nearby countries. The camp offers a variety of camps, many of which pay particular attention to the environment. In addition, new programs are providing development opportunities for the region. The camp is thriving under the leadership of the current directors, both from the Disciple church in Paraguay.

In 2006, Jack Norment Camp established an educational farm. In addition to educating on best farming practices, the farm has goats that provide milk and meat for the camp, the Saturday kids’ project, and for sale when available. They can provide these resources for approximately 120 people. The income generated by the farm will help with the administration of the farm and camp, and they hope to offer the opportunity for low-income people to participate in the camp activities. The barn has recently been expanded to prepare for future farm growth.

Jack Norment Camp continues the tradition of providing an annual leadership training camp. The most recent training had 48 participants, about half of whom were from the Disciples of Christ in Paraguay. In previous years, the leadership training has included people from Chile and Argentina. The co-directors of Jack Norment Camp also have participated in other leadership events including exchanges intended to help camp staffs from around South and North America experience alternative camp settings and exchange ideas.

Groups from around the region use the facilities at the camp for meetings, retreats, and training events. Groups include Disciples and outside groups who rent the facilities. On Saturdays, the camp serves as location for an ecological club which gathers kids, ages seven to twelve, from the local community. A new Disciple congregation has begun meeting at the camp on Sundays for Sunday School and church services. The Sunday gatherings are very ecumenical, as is the vision of the whole Disciples church in Paraguay.

In the past year, the camp has made many improvements to existing structures. Several cabins had a variety of needs including remodeling, bathroom repairs, floor tile installation, painting, installation of fans, and replacement of water pipes. The swimming pool has been repainted and a dining hall was built to increase the number of people who can use the camp at one time.

Despite the progress, there yet are plans for even more work yet to be done. Physical improvements include upgrading the water system, additional cabin remodeling, building a multi-purpose room that will be available for the community, replacing a roof, and building a restroom for one of the cabins. Other goals include continuing to help strengthen the local church and providing social security benefits for the staff.