Camp Walter Johnson History
Since 1974, Camp Walter Johnson has touched the lives of 55,000 + underprivileged children and it all started with an interesting story and a generous donation.
This Salvation Army Camp began with a generous land donation from a local Denton, N. C. resident, Walter Johnson. He gave The Salvation Army 143 acres and an additional piece of real estate which was sold for $650,000. These funds helped finance the initial construction of the camp. So why did Walter Johnson do this?? He was asked what motivated him to make such a generous donation and his answer was as follows: (Taken from an actual recorded transcript made in 1975.)
Walter Johnson was speaking with his tractor mechanic and they were discussing the things that "young folks" do when they're growing up, how wild they can be and how sometimes, they can even leave home. The mechanic went on to say that he had been one of those young people. He started traveling to the midwest and had been gone several days and did not have much money. He had slept in barns and anywhere he could find. Finally, he went into a big city where he came to a toll bridge. He explained to the operator that he would be glad to pay the toll, but he did not have any money. The toll operator gave him directions to a place that could help him in town. That place was the Salvation Army. He said that:
They took me in, sat me down to as nice a table, as clean as anybody could think about. Did I sit down and eat a meal! After I ate my supper they put me to bed. That bed was just spotless - just as clean as could be. And boy, did I take a nap. The next morning they got me out of the bed pretty early. The man there told me, "Come on son, we're going down to cross the toll bridge". He took me across, paid the fare, gave me a talking to. When we got to the other side he told me to take care of myself and so on. And he gave me some money and told me to go on my way.
When the tractor mechanic finished talking, Walter Johnson started thinking to himself that "we would all be a rough sight better off if we'd done some things that this bunch had done. I thought the best thing I could do is fix for the Army to have what I've got. And the more I thought on that, well, the better satisfied I was that it was the route for me to take. I think the best thing I can do is just give what I have to The Salvation Army. And that's what I've done."
Because that generous donation, thousands of young lives have been been changed for the better. Many successful individuals write letters to local offices saying how attending a Salvation Army camp was the turning point in their life. Memories are made and friendships are formed that can literally last a lifetime.
It is true that Camp Walter Johnson is home to 1500+ children each summer, however there is another side to the camp - it's conference center facilities. In 2005, the camp began to take reservations from other non-profit, church and corporate interests for day and weekend retreats. Now in our 5th season, we have formed relationships with many wonderful groups and we want to know you! Please browse our camp rental, facilities and equipment menu options or call Lisa Simms at (336) 859-2105. Let us serve you!
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