Summers at Kanuga are a precious time in our history. For years, generations of campers have made the Blue Ridge Mountains and Kanuga their home away from home.
For a certain set of campers, the time at Kanuga is more than just a vacation. It’s an opportunity to learn more about themselves, strive for personal achievement and enjoy respite from a world that’s harsh and uncaring.
More than just a camp, it’s a new way of life
Founded in 1998, Camp Bob lies nestled in a beautiful cove along the property. Open to children ages 8 to 17, the camp strives to provide a joyful and exciting summer experience to youth who are usually unable to attend camp.
Campers are sponsored by more than 20 churches and community organizations and come from 18 cities across the Southeast. By the end of the summer, more than 1,000 children will have spent the summer at Camp Bob.
From camper to counselor
This year, one of the counselors at Camp Bob is a camp alumni with a very special connection to the camp. Markeith Wade is in his second year of serving as a counselor after attending Camp Bob as a camper.
His first experience with the camp was in fourth grade, and it changed his life forever. The opportunity to be outside, immersed in nature, and surrounded by new friends and caring counselors made a deep impression.
“Camp Bob was my first time being out in the woods, and I loved it. I liked camping outside, looking at the stars, hearing different animals, and enjoying the quiet of the night,” says Wade. “Now that I’m at camp as a counselor, I like to take walks so I can clear my head and meditate.”
While Wade immediately developed a connection to nature and excelled at learning basic outdoor skills, he was most deeply touched by the emotional bond campers form during their five-day stay.
“There is something here that keeps the love going through everyone. There is the spirit. Everyone looks out for everyone and takes care of each other,” says Wade.
Discovering Trust, Hope and Love
The spirit Wade speaks about is simply the camp’s motto in action. Trust, hope and love are the cornerstones of the camp and are sometimes the campers’ first experience with caring adults.
“What campers experience here is something they’ve never had before,” says Katherine Parnell, Camp Bob Director. “They realize there’s more out there than what they’ve been through in their homes, communities and schools.”
Camp counselors strive to set campers up for success by showing them how to reach goals in small steps. Wade continues that journey this summer on a personal level.
“I’m using this opportunity at Camp Bob to build my résumé,” says Wade. “I’m currently applying for the resident apprentice program so I can continue my work with Kanuga.”
His journey from camper to counselor is one that Katherine says is inspiring. “Wade is the ideal image of a camper coming from a difficult situation, growing up through our program, and becoming a positive role model,” says Katherine. “Now he is giving back and being the role model that he once had at Camp Bob.”
Make a difference
Camp Bob is made possible through the financial support of organizations and individual scholarships. If you would like to support Camp Bob through the Kanuga Pathfinders Scholarship program, please make a tax-deductible donation online or contact Vice President of Advancement Gary Giniat at 828.692.9136, ext. 2816 or email@example.com.