CAMP HARLEY SUTTON: A facility that fosters forever friends

CAMP HARLEY SUTTON: A facility that fosters forever friends

Mar 21, 2014

CAMP HARLEY SUTTON: A facility that fosters forever friends

by Lyle Sutton


Camp Harley Sutton is the center of church camping for the Seventh Day Baptist Allegheny Association of Churches. The camp is located in Alfred Station, New York, on land that was donated to the Association in 1951 by Dr. and Mrs. H.O. Burdick.

In 2000, an adjacent parcel of land (about 7 acres) became available and was purchased through a generous gift from the Richburg SDB Church. In 2010 an additional 85 acres was purchased from the Burdicks’ daughter. So altogether we have nearly 100 acres to “play” with and in.

02 Harley pavilion gathering CLR

The building begins

The first major building on the campgrounds came from the Alfred University campus, a structure built in the late 1800s and used for a variety of purposes—a gymnasium, a blacksmith shop, etc. The building was dismantled, then piece by piece re-erected at the campsite by volunteers. It was dubbed the Burdick Lodge.

Through the ’60s and ’70s, three sleeping dormitories were constructed. In 1993 and 1994, members of the SDB Senior Saints engaged in constructing an addition to the Burdick Lodge to house two modern bathroom facilities.


People power

Several of the Senior Saints who worked on that project returned to the Camp in later years to help make further modifications to Burdick Lodge and to build a pavilion. They also assisted in replacing the original Crandall Dormitory with a much larger, heated building with bathrooms, sleeping facilities for 32, and a meeting room. This has expanded our ability to host meetings of the Association, church and General Conference agencies year-round.

All of these projects have involved a great number of people donating their time, talents, and financial support. Out of these have developed some long-term relationships and friendships spanning the breadth of the country and with many, many SDBs representing many SDB churches. The memories are priceless! Thanks to all these efforts, our Camp Harley Sutton now has facilities valued at over three-quarters of a million dollars—debt free!! Praise to and thanks be to God!

03 Waterslide CLR

Rising regulations

and requirements

The more recent modifications to our camp have come under the increasingly watchful eyes of various government agencies concerned about facilities for children’s camps and general Code requirements.

The Allegany County Health Department has the task of enforcing the New York State Health Department Regulations pertaining to children’s camps. They have had this responsibility for several decades. But as concerns for health and safety have increased over the years, these regulations have become more and more stringent.

In order to operate our summer children’s camps, we need a permit from the County Health Department that is only given after considerable inspection of facilities, with considerable application paperwork and satisfaction of all regulations. We need to provide the County Health Department with a formal Camp Manual of Operations which addresses our plans to comply with all of the pertinent regulations.

04 Donna camp cook CLR

Checks and chlorine

All of our staff must undergo background checks. We are required to have a full-time medical “staff” of at least one person qualified as an EMT or higher, and a second person trained in First Aid; our food preparation and serving processes must be approved; our water supply must be chlorinated, even though our well has always provided satisfactory water untreated.

Most recently our water slide is now a “Licensed Amusement Device,” inspected and licensed annually by the State Department of Labor. And, of course, building projects are subject to permits and inspections to comply with building codes and subsequent issuance of Certificates of Occupancy.

Through all of these “hindrances” to progress, we are always granted the necessary permits and are able to operate our camp programs.


We are exceptionally proud to have facilities that we can provide (all year) for denominational groups, church groups and families. It is a special place where they can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere and come to know or renew their understanding of God’s wonders in nature, and how closely one can feel to Him without the “clutter” of other worldly distractions.

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