History of Teenage Christian Camp

Harold and Della Duncan Historical Marker

For several years before 1966, there had been a growing sentiment for a Christian camp with a genuine outdoor setting.  The only camp for young people from the churches of Christ in the Knoxville/ Oak Ridge area had been Montview on the campus of Johnson Bible College near Knoxville. While Montview had known great success - this sentiment for an outdoor camp finally brought Teenage Christian Camp into existence.

Three men are primarily responsible for the leadership in founding and organizing Teenage Christian Camp (TCC). They are Art Gibbs, Jim Waldron, and Wayne Newcomb. Through the initiative of these three men, it was found that the campsite at Big Ridge State Park, which was leased to different groups throughout the summer months, had an open week available in the month of August. Having faith in the Christians in the area, Jim Waldron obligated himself for that open week and made an initial payment on the rent even before TCC became organized and chartered.

Since only one week was available in this very desirable, rustic setting, it was obvious that the number of campers would necessarily be limited. The total camp capacity was approximately 100 persons including staff: so it was decided to make the camp available to the teenage group, ages 13-19. For this reason, it became known as Teenage Christian Camp. The first session of Teenage Christian camp began in August 1966 with an attendance of 40 campers. During the next few years, attendance grew until the camp was at capacity every year.

The camp began to use the facilities of the Hillbrook Christian Camp in 1973. Brother Harold Duncan deeded the property to be used as a camp in 1969. In 1970, Walt Grandey drew up plans for the camp site. The main road was started in 1971. It was in the winter months when volunteers began cutting trees for the road. That same year, they built the road, a picnic shelter, mess hall, 5 cabins, and a chapel pavilion. In 1972, they built 5 additional cabins and the two bath houses. Walt Grandey, Paul Crawford, and Jerald Insell were three of the key men who did the construction. There were many others who helped from area congregations.

In the summer of 1973, Teenage Christian Camp was held on the grounds of the Hillbrook Christian Camp for the very first time. There was only one week for the summer. The swimming pool was added in 1976. Additional cabins have been added, as well as the Sarah Reel Pavilion, a nurse's cabin, a craft cabin, a covered basketball court, and an expansion of the mess hall. Each year, dedicated volunteers from area congregations work on weekends, and in the evenings to both maintain, and improve the camp. The camp increased the attendance to provide six weeks of camp each summer, including young people ages from 8 to 19 years old. A vision of what was possible is still being achieved at Teenage Christian Camp. Only in eternity will the full fruits of this labor be seen.