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Executive Director Andy Black

Andy came to the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center in May of 2019. As Executive Director he works to support existing programs and to grow partnerships that help Lake Nixon provide year-round opportunities for recreation, education, and sanctuary. He is also part of the staff of Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock.

Andy has a diverse background. He has been the program director of a community development organization, a History and Religious Studies professor, and a hospice chaplain. Most recently, he worked to coordinate efforts to reduce food insecurity as the Lubbock Regional Director for the Texas Hunger Initiative.

He spent about a decade growing up in Wyoming, where he developed a deep and lasting love for the outdoors. He has family roots in Oklahoma and Mississippi, and so it seemed fitting for him to split the difference and take root in the Natural State. Andy is married to Jennifer, who is currently an online instructor for the Baylor University School of Social Work. They have enjoyed settling in at Lake Nixon with their three children.

Andy enjoys hiking and biking, playing and listening to music, reading books and maps, and cheering for the Baylor Bears. When he was younger, he enjoyed regular games of pickup basketball and ultimate frisbee. These days, most of his exercise takes the form of chasing kids or simply exploring all the nooks and crannies of Lake Nixon's 230 acres, usually with a camera at the ready.

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Assistant Director/Camp Director Mike Simmons

Please welcome the newest member of our Lake Nixon Outdoor Center team, Mike Simmons!

Mike comes to us after years of service at the Arkansas 4-H Center. He has 25 years’ experience in the camping and outdoor education field and has a passion for helping people realize the best in themselves. He is involved in a number of professional organizations related to outdoor education. He is certified as a challenge (ropes) course facilitator and lifeguard as well as an experienced Wilderness First Aid, and Leave No Trace instructor. Mike will serve as the Assistant Director of the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center, working with the rest of the LNOC team to develop year round programming and as the Director of the Lake Nixon Summer Day Camp.

Mike has lived and worked in a wide variety of locations. He was born in Mexico City but only lived South-of-the-Border for 17 months. He primarily grew up in the Midwest, Ohio and Kansas. When he and his family moved to Western North Carolina, his interests in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, camping and hiking took off. Pursuing his love of the outdoors, Mike obtained a degree in Recreation Management from the University of Montana. He has worked at camps in North Carolina, New England, Canada and Arkansas. He taught at a boarding school in Vicksburg MS for 6 years.

Mike has lived in Little Rock since 2006. He is married to Rene, who works in healthcare. They have 4 teenage children, 2 boys and 2 girls. The eldest two are in college and the younger two are still in high school. Mike enjoys staying active, spending time with his energetic family and being outside.

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FAQ What are your facility rental rates?

Rental rates for the facility are $4 per person for a 4 hour block use of the entire facility. There is a $150 minimum due upon reservation. Rental times slots are seasonal and available upon request. Lifeguards must be present for swimming and require an additional $30 per swimming hour. Contact Jeremy for more information at jspann@2bclr.com.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

About Lake Nixon

Encompassing 200+ acres and a 34-acre lake located just west-southwest of Little Rock, the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center is minutes from the heart of the capital city.

Yet it feels like a world away.

For the first part of the 20th century, Lake Nixon operated as a commercial entertainment and recreation venue featuring a variety of activities and amenities. These included a swimming beach that provided relief from the summer heat.

In the summer of 1966, two young African American women sought admission to Lake Nixon and were denied an opportunity to pay the membership fee. In response, they charged the lake’s ownership with violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The resulting legal case, Daniel v. Paul, eventually made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States. In a landmark 7-1 decision that drew national attention, the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. This set an important precedent in the application of the Civil Rights Act to membership-based establishments.

Before the conclusion of the legal proceedings, Dr. Dale Cowling, pastor of downtown Little Rock’s Second Baptist Church, led his congregation to purchase the lake and surrounding property, with the help of generous giving commitments from ten church leaders and their families. The church envisioned Lake Nixon as a ministry to children and families of all races and backgrounds, offering a summer day camp that served the needs of working families and provided opportunities for young people to encounter God through the outdoors.

Still a ministry of Second Baptist Church, the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center encompasses the Summer Day Camp–celebrating its 50th year in 2019–a unique Outdoor Preschool, recreational facilities for group rental, and more. The LNOP seeks to be a pristine, sacred space where God’s presence may be sensed through worship, education, recreation, and sanctuary.


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Executive Director Andy Black

Andy came to the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center in May of 2019. As Executive Director he works to support existing programs and to gro…

Learn more
Assistant Director/Camp Director Mike Simmons

Please welcome the newest member of our Lake Nixon Outdoor Center team, Mike Simmons! Mike comes to us after years of service at …

Learn more

© 2021 Lake Nixon Outdoor Center