Fr. William Pentis of the Rock Hill Oratory founded our camp in 1970.  At the time, he was pastor at Divine Saviour Catholic Church in York, SC.  He started Camp based on his experience as a child, when he spent his summers at camps in rural Wisconsin.  Fr. William decided to create a similar camp, with special emphasis on families who could not afford to send their children to a camp during the summer. 

The first year of Camp was for just a three night stay.  After the success of the first camp, Fr. William expanded it to a full week.  Fr. William recruited Christine Palombi as his cook (standing on the left in the adjacent photo).  She cooked during the day and went home at night, as she only lived 15 minutes from Kings Mountain State Park.  In 1995, she "retired" and taught her two daughters, Chrissy and Bernadette to do the cooking.  Until her death in 2016, she continued to support our camp through prayers, donations and sending her daughter Chrissy to help cook, her grandchildren as counselors, and her great grandchildren as campers. 

Colette Truesdale was the in-house nurse (standing on the right in the adjacent photo).  After Colette's death in 1995, Irysse Crimmins was recruited to be camp nurse.  Br. Joseph Wilkerson helped with the religion program.  The Oratory sent out priests to hear confession and supported the camp the last 20 years that Fr. William was alive.  Fr. William was also pastor at St. Catherine's in Lancaster and then he went to St. Anne in Rock Hill.  When he was pastor there, Elena Zeigler helped him put the religion program together.  Elena helped with the music for the Mass and for the prayer services.  He would use an old projector and slide shows to get the message of God's love and forgiveness across to children.  In the later years of camp, campers and some counselors didn't even know what a slide projector was.  Talk about old school!!!!   Fr. William would always get enough counselors to volunteer.  He was well known in the Rock Hill/York/Lancaster area, that whenever he would "ask" for help from the youth in the area, he would always get a positive response.  He also recruited the Robinson Family from Divine Saviour Parish every Tuesday night to play songs and sing with the Campers.  It has been a long standing tradition that continues even with The Children of Mary Camp. 

In 2010, Fr. William became so sick that we were unable to have camp.  He asked many of the counselors and staff who had been helping him over the last 10 years if we would be able to continue his legacy.  In July, 2010, a group of counselors and staff met and formed The Children of Mary Religion Camp.  A board was formed, non-profit status was obtained, and work was started to become approved by the Diocese of Charleston.  In June, 2011 Fr. William passed away knowing that the camp was continuing.  We had our first camp without his physical presence in July 2011.  However, his spirit filled the camp and gave us courage to continue.  We finally got approval with the Diocese and the IRS approved our 501(c)3 non-profit status.

Camp Founders, circa 1980 - From left to right, Brother Joseph Wilkerson, Colette Truesdale, Fr. William Pentis, Christine Palombi.