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Camp Bays Mountain staff gearing up for visitors

Katherine Scoggins • May 27, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Camp Bays Mountain is a camp with a long legacy and an important purpose. And its mission is one camp director Jeff Wadley, the board of directors and staff take very seriously.

“Our mission is two-fold: to offer a Christian summer camp for first- through 12th-graders during June and July; and to provide an opportunity for churches to hold retreats, businesses to hold corporate events, nonprofits to hold annual meetings and training sessions. It’s a beautiful place to experience hospitality in an outdoor setting — a new facility away from ‘business.’ The transformation of the property will soon be home to those seeking a moment with God in a place of natural wonder and peace,” Wadley said.

Summer plans are quickly taking shape and exciting activities are on track for the various age ranges and interest levels. Plans for the summer: day-camp for first- through third-graders; three- or four-day sessions for second- through fourth-graders and a full week for third- through 12th-graders. There are 24 well-trained staff; the full-time team for summer includes adventure leaders, nurses, kitchen staff and counselors.

Activities include archery, a zero-entry swimming pool, ropes course, a four-sided 40-foot climbing tower, craft cabin, paintball sling shots, three hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking on the Nolichucky and Holston Rivers, and backpacking on Roan Mountain.

To make the camping experience a pleasant one, campers will enjoy a 150-seat dining hall, a 48-bed lodge, a 16-person rustic cabin bunk house (divided into rooms), all of which are ready to accept campers now, and in August, a pool house (with baths and laundry facilities). The Campfire Vespers area seats 150 and encompasses benches, a bonfire area and a multi-purpose building.

Looking ahead, additional cabins will be added as needed, and next year the camp will add a handicapped accessible zipline.

Wadley is insistent when addressing the many safety features throughout the camp. “Safety is a primary concern in our facilities and recreational structures and activities. From fire safety, to alarms, to training our counselors, we went over and above in our plans to make safety one of our main concerns,” he stressed.

Camp Bays Mountain is open year-round. An individual may attend camp as a church member or alone; they do not have to be a member of the Holston Conference, and there is a good supply of financial aid available for campers.

A bit of history for those who may be unfamiliar with the story ...

Buffalo Mountain Camp was established by the Allison family in 1947. In August of 2012, a flash flood and landslide destroyed much of the camp and after two years of evaluating, analyzing and praying, the Board of Directors decided to cease operations and move the ministry to a new location near Bays Mountain in Kingsport.

The newly refurbished dining hall at Camp Bays Mountain is named in honor of the Allison family, while several items from Buffalo Mountain Camp were “rescued” and integrated into Camp Bays Mountain: the climbing tower, the mantle in the dining hall, the bell, and stones for the fire pit.

To learn more about Camp Bays Mountain and this summer's activities, visit www.campbaysmountain.com, find them at facebook.com/CampBaysMountain, or call (423) 349-8401.

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