Almost ten years ago, Robert Lipman sold his thriving practice in Atlanta and devoted himself full-time to developing a children's retreat on a 450-acre property in Ellijay, Georgia. Over the past decade, the retreat has grown to include three mountains, two lakes, 12 miles of trails, and a full-service campground with a 9-bunk treehouse. Robert has always had a dream of offering a full-fledged camp for disadvantaged children at the retreat, but until recently, he had no mentor or advisor to help him achieve this goal.
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jay Zipperman and his Mountain Wisdom Camp approached Robert about using the property. Mountain Wisdom Camp, which Jay has directed for over 20 years, is a wonderful camping experience for boys and girls in a natural environment. However, due to the pandemic, they were forced to leave their usual location in the national forest and saw the potential for using Robert's property as a new site. This partnership was beneficial for both Jay and Robert, as it allowed Jay to continue his camp and gave Robert the opportunity to learn about camp operations.
Over the past year, with Jay's expertise and camp connections, Robert, Jay, and other knowledgeable individuals have visited camps throughout the southeast to gain a better understanding of how to develop and operate a new camp. Robert now understands that expanding The Retreat into a full-time camp will be a long, difficult, and expensive process and will require the retreat to become a full-time business rather than just a weekend commitment.
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