Walking the trails and hills around Camp Caraway in Sophia, N.C., isn’t as easy as it once was 40 years ago for C.J. Bordeaux.
“When did you all move Mountain View so far back up in the woods?” Bordeaux joked during a more recent visit to the camp.
Those trails bring back a flood of memories from when he led young boys as a camp counselor. It’s Bordeaux’s experiences at the camp that he believes helped fuel his calling to the ministry.
“Many of those [counselors] … now serve in the pulpits and positions of leadership in our N.C. State Baptist Convention,” said Bordeaux, who now is pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham and first vice president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “I am proud to say that I am one of them.”
This summer the camp program, which is led by N.C. Baptist Men, will celebrate 50 years of ministry among boys ages 9 to 17. Caraway will celebrate this milestone through various events from June of 2012 until June of 2013.
BR file photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Counselors at Camp Caraway work hard to ensure boys have fun at camp while also teaching them God’s Word. This year Camp Caraway celebrates 50 years. Through the years, about 7,000 campers have made a decision to follow Christ.
Located on nearly 1,100 acres, Camp Caraway began as a camping ministry for RAs (Royal Ambassadors) in the summer of 1963. Since then, more than 67,000 boys have spent a week at the summer camp. About 7,000 of the campers made a decision to follow Christ.
Though the camp has helped change lives through the years, the number of boys who attend has slowly dwindled over time. Some speculate the economy is a factor to a lower turn out.
This summer, in conjunction with the 50-year celebration, Caraway and N.C. Baptist Men are sponsoring a special emphasis entitled “Send 1 for Him.”
The emphasis focuses on challenging every Baptist church in the state to send at least one boy to camp.
Bordeaux said he hopes churches will respond to the challenge and find at least one boy in their congregation who could go.
“I know the economy is tough, but pastors, parents and churches … will get more bang for [their] buck at Camp Caraway than any place I know in this state,” he said. “[They] will not find a better place to send your boys this summer.”
On July 21, Caraway will host a reunion of summer camp staff and also a ceremony commemorating the anniversary.
A commemorative wall will be dedicated in honor of all the summer camp directors who have served through the years. This summer the camp dining hall will be named after Clyde L. Davis Sr., who died in 2003. Davis was known for his help with founding the camp and his involvement in Southern Baptist life.
Each year, Caraway Conference Center and Camp hosts more than 8,000 guests through camps, retreats and environmental education programs.
Caraway is in the middle of raising support for a $7.5 million campaign to build a new three-story facility in its conference center area that will be used to accommodate more guests.
In September of 2011, Caraway also dedicated the Powell/Warren Mountain House that serves as a minister’s retreat.
“[Caraway] is becoming even more of a place where we need to invest our dollars and in the lives of those who will lead this great convention and our churches of tomorrow,” Bordeaux said.
“[Camp Caraway] is where they will get camping skills, swimming, fun and games, but more than that they will hear that Jesus Christ loves them.”
To register or for more information go to campcaraway.org.
Contact N.C. Baptist Men at (800) 395-5102, or call Mark Moore at Caraway at (336) 629-2374.