Backwoods Christian Camp had its first session almost four decades ago but had its conception many years before. On beautiful spring days in the late 1950s and early 1960s John Brinton Rice and his wife Peggy would take their children to what was then called “the old place.” The children waded in the gently flowing streams that wound their way to the Tallapoosa River and saw wild azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom. Weed bushes and vines were everywhere, but there was a sense of beauty and peace that can only come from the backwoods. It was then that their children: Sherry, John, Tim, and Janice were first influenced by the beautiful but seemingly inconsequential parcel of land that is now known as Backwoods Christian Camp.
As the children grew, they were taught to love God and His word. Attending Christian camps was a valuable part of this training, as these trips brought a deeper respect for the church and the Bible and opened the door on many new friendships.
Years passed. The children grew into adults. Now getting married and starting families of their own, the Rice children were very interested passing on that love for God and His word to the younger generations. But a fully realized Christian camp at “the old place” was still a dream.
Yet, all dreams have to begin somewhere. So in 1978 (one year before the first official camp session) a group of boys and men from the then 25th and Noble St. Church of Christ braved the elements and, with several sleeping bags and a few cans of beanie weenies, had the first official congregational gathering at the place we know of as BCC. It had begun.
The first official session in 1979 lasted only 2 days and one night. Showers were taken under the waterfall. The bathroom was an old fashion wood shed at the end of the path in the woods. It was during this first session that brother Lonnie Jones came up with a very appropriate name for the new camp–“Backwoods Christian Camp.” To this day when newcomers arrive, the first thing they say is often, “This camp is named correctly.”
“For the first few years the girls stayed in the old house, which is now over 160 years old, while the boys slept in the loft of the old barn on the wooden floor. Yet even then the singing was good, and the lessons and devotions from God’s word were sound and inspirational.
As the years flew by, sessions were added, along with a homemade waterslide, a cable ride, a softball field, a volleyball court, new cabins, the Canteen, horses, a professionally produced waterslide, and improvements to the dining hall.
Although a lot has changed at BCC, many things remain the same. God’s word is still taught in a pure and simple way. Songs still echo over the hills and through the hollers. And children with smiling faces still transform the old worn buildings into the most beautiful sight ever seen in the backwoods.