A Brief Look at Camp Smoky’s History & Today & to Where we are Going…

As we give attention to our camp ministry in this article of “about us”, it should be noted that Camp Smoky is open 24/7 and 365 days a year. Information for rental groups is also available in the appropriate link on this web site.

The Camp Smoky Christian Retreat campus served, during the “teens”, ‘20’s, ‘30’s, ‘40’s & ‘50’s; as one of Sevier County’s first public high schools. The Pitman Center & Glades areas kids had to walk to school and/or stay with neighbors close to the high school facility until boys’ and girls’ dorm buildings were built. With the advent of the school bus and newer facilities being built in other areas of the county, the Smoky Mountain Academy came to a close in 1960. It was then given to the Sevier County Association of Baptists to carry out the ministry of summer camps to our county’s children and youth. The first summer camp was held in 1964. Many adults across East TN can recall their salvation experience, rededication and/or call into various forms of ministry right here at Camp Smoky.

Today, with the recession having forced many changes, we are looking at rebuilding the campus both structurally, physically, intentionally and spiritually. This summer of 2013, we will see our association carrying out a second summer with total volunteer leadership. Many children were saved and blessed last summer through the camp ministries and we pray and expect to see many more this summer. This summer marks our first time to have a Summer College Student Missionary for the camp ministry (Joshua Settlemoir); also our first time to have a three day Day Camp; also the first time to partner with the Boys & Girls Club and the first time to have a volunteer team from out of state to carry a week of camp. God has provided and blessed the camp ministry in so many ways. We also have a part time (really working full time) living on campus full time Camp Caretaker (David Burkett) who is a tremendous blessing to our association’s camp ministry.

My personal goal for the association’s camp ministry for the direction I feel God would have us to pursue is that we utilize the entire (at least) 8 weeks of June and July for summer camp ministry. This association’s summer camp ministry should be focused on the ministry we can carry out to our county’s children, youth and families. And we have 8 full weeks (at least) to do this ministry. As we pray that the partnership with the Boys & Girls Club will grow and as we already have 3 weeks of traditional camps for children and youth; we can expand upon our camp ministry to our county by providing unique weeks for girls and boys separately focusing on missions as Southern Baptist around the world through RA’s & GA’s. Let’s pray together for today’s summer camp ministry and for tomorrow’s summer camp ministry as God will lead and bless us. May we thank God and praise Him for who He is and for what He has done in the past at Camp Smoky.  

God Bless!!

Robert Nichols