Summer fun draws youth to Roanoke Christian Service CampPublished 8:19pm Sunday, July 20, 2014
They come from near and far, flocking to Roanoke Christian Service Camp for days of fun and fellowship.
Founded in 1945, the camp was first housed at Bath High School, according to current manager Chris Avery. But by the early 1950s the camp was thriving on the banks of the Pamlico River near Washington.
“My grandmother was one of the first campers,” said Avery, who was a camper himself as are his own daughters. “I’ve been here every year since I was 5 years old, as a camper, counselor and manager. I worked here as a janitor guy for two years, and I was on the board of directors.”
Roanoke Christian Service Camp offers something for nearly everyone, according to Avery. There’s a swimming pool and ropes course, and activities include archery, crafts, kickball, volleyball, Bible classes and kayaking forays out on the Pamlico River. There are even special themes around which camp staff plan activities; recently, “Christmas in July” was observed, reminding campers that the birth of Jesus should be celebrated year round.
As with the Avery family, attending camp here is a tradition for many local residents. Some who have left the area even find their way back, according to Avery.
“We have one junior counselor, a former camper, who comes from Alabama for one week every summer to volunteer,” Avery said.
Volunteers are crucial to the success and survival of the camp. Twenty volunteers staff the camp each week.
“The people who come here to work put a lot of themselves into it,” Avery said. “The volunteers love what they are doing.”
Roanoke Christian Service Camp hosts up to 125 campers at a time. Summer camps — by the day, half week and week — run throughout June, July and August, according to Avery. Even in the off-season, the camp is rarely dormant. It hosts spring softball and fall volleyball practice sessions, and the camp hosts such diverse gatherings as church meetings and Christian motorcycle club rallies. The grounds may even be rented for weddings, family reunions and other social events.
And the camp staff has dreams of expansion, Avery added.
“We want a climate-controlled gym and workshop area, and we’re looking at a comprehensive replacement of buildings,” he said.
*For more information on Roanoke Christian Service Camp, call 252-946-5329 or visit www.roanokechristiancamp.com.