Camp History - New Location

The church learned in 1970 that the new Interstate Highway (I-65) would cut through Valley View and take a portion of the beloved camp.  After receiving the money from the news, the elders almost immediately found a site of 68 acres further north on El Dorado Springs Road, and the money received from the state was enough to purchase the new camp site.

 

These acres, however, were undeveloped, so Madison members once again just rolled up sleeves and jumped into their work shoes and this time built a brand new camp from scratch.  Ground was broken in 1971 by Ira North, Ben Jones, and Camp Committee Chairman Lemuel McKenzie, and the new Valley View was constructed by Madison members under the direction of Jones (the first youth minister) at a cost of approximately $400,000.

 

It was a giant leap of faith by the Madison elders, but the new and larger Valley View increased the capacity of campers from 75 to 103.  The camp program followed the same basic format that had been so successful at Short Mountain and the first Valley View.  Hayrides to Jud Jones’ Store became popular and stories about The Hermit became part of camp lore.  How many campers will ever forget the legendary escapades of The Hermit as they were related by (then) camp counselor and former Madison shepherd Howard Henderson?

 

The camping ministry is 60 years old this year, and the current Valley View has just turned 45.    But grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those first campers who played those highly competitive Capture the Flag games and threw Ira and Avon North in the creek at Short Mountain, can enjoy the delights of Valley View Bible Camp and worship in the Chapel in the Woods just like their grandparents did at Short Mountain and the first Valley View.

In Spring of 2012 the Elders at Madison decided the church could no longer afford the costly upkeep, repairs and management of Valley View. The elders met with the members of the board at Valley View and they decided to sell the camp to the Valley View Camp Board of Directors. Lin Sherrill chaired the Valley View Board during this time and the restructuring of Valley View Camp began. The camp was in a financial crisis and the buildings and infrastructure of the camp were in dire straights.  Once again Valley View was blessed as a school teacher named Robert Longhurst remembered Valley View Camp and his desire that children attend camp at his passing. Through the hard work and generosity of many Board Members like Neil Hart, Ron Nimmo, Darlene Sweet, Steve Reynolds, Jerry Sherrill, Julie Rollins, Linda Highers, John Broadway, Dave Logan,  and Mark Pugh the camp began to rebuild. The Board hired new caretakers Mark Anthony and Lindsey Born and their time and dedication helped to establish a zip line and ropes course for team building called Valley View Zips and Adventures.

 

 The board continues to restore and renovate not only the camp property but also build  with new people. We have acquired new renters, campers, caretakers and board members. Our newest caretakers Daniel and Jessica Knox, both teachers at Goodpasture Christian School, new board members Ricky Perry, President of Goodpasture Christian School, Jimmy and Sandy Blackwell.  and Office Manager, Rhonda Robertson have provided great new talent and resources for the future.

The 2016 camping season at Valley is expected to serve close to 2000 children and adults. The attendance has increased exponentially sinse its first season hosting 250 children in 1956. We now serve many area churches and schools in addition to the Madison Church such as: Otter Creek Church of Christ, Indian Lake Peninsula Church, Providence General Baptist Church, Hermitage Church of Christ, Tusculum Church of Christ, Smith Springs Church of Christ, Lebanon Road Church of Christ, Hillcrest Church of Christ, Friendship World Outreach Church, Riverwood Church of Christ, and many more.  

The more things change, the more they remain the same!  The urban sprawl that caused Ira and Avon North to see the need for getting children in touch with nature is now full-blown.  Camping at Valley View Bible Camp continues to provide a place where kids can get in close touch with nature away from the helter-skelter,  wired-up,fill-every-moment outside world that seems to contribute to a lot of the ADHD and anxiety disorders that handcuff so many children  Studying God’s Word in natural surroundings still offers a real refuge from urban sprawl.