History of Camp Whip-Poor-Will (Since 1982)
Why is there a Camp Whip-Poor-Will? With a few lemons with which
To make lemonade and with much encouragement and support from elders in Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Camp WPW became a reality in 1982.
Prior to the WPW reality, Betty Ruth had been Director of Children’s
Ministry at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Her concern that
Children did not know each other well, as they were from many schools,
And her concern that too many Sundays were being missed by families
Going out of Town led her to establish through the week summer ministry programs for all ages so that Christian nurture could continue in the
Months of leisure that the church could claim! The programs continued
Throughout the summer, always with tremendous attendance.
Upon leaving the church , The camp began at the then closed Gus Purcell Camp location where Gus had operated a camp for approximately 15 years The camp had been closed For about seven years. With a lease in place for one year the camp opened with record attendance, and waiting lists in its first year and in The years to follow.
Space was also leased for a Camp Little Whip-Poor-Will at Carmel Presbyterian Church and also Country Day for preschool children to continue their Half day programs, offering Christian nurture and many special Activities for their programs.
The one year turned in to four years at Gus’s location. He then offered
To sell his place to the Camp. As the months continued, bank efforts
seemed to be delayed at every turn, when suddenly another entity
Purchased the camp. Shock and disappointment availed, as it was
Understood no one else knew the camp was for sale and it was offered
First to the group presently using the facility.
A staff member at Charlotte Latin School whose son attended and loved Camp WPW, invited the camp to continue for the following year at Charlotte Latin. A small lake and property back of the soccer field was soon set up for camp.Assured of only one year, as the property there was to be developed , the move continued. Ten years later with only a year by year lease, Camp Whip-Poor-Will was still operating at Charlotte Latin and the school Requested absorbing Camp Whip-Poor-Will. Knowing that change of leadership at Charlotte Latin might mean the Camp would not be allowed to continue in its Christian Education ministry for campers, the decision was made to find a permanent location.
While the search was on for land, the camp continued briefly in Waxhaw
On private property and on rainy days at a nearby church.
There were many explorations for land and many broken offers of land
use by individuals along with many trips to zoning, The camp at long last was located on New Town Road In Weddington through the generosity of a benefactor and Board member. The camp has continued since 1998 in this location.
Richard Ferguson, the benefactor passed away in 2014 with the hope that the Camp would continue. However, with a high offer for the land , his heirs made the decision to sell. In 2016 it was necessary to
pursue another location. During this time, the offer failed and the camp was
once again invited to continue at the place in which they had invested so much. From land set up , lodge improvements , added buildings and greenhouse and more, the camp continued. until the fall of 2018 Hurricane Florence flooded the interior and the outside, 2019 the owners decided to
offer the camp 2020 use and to improve the area in 2019. Later the decision was made by the heirs to sell rather than improve. Thus the camp
was without a home. With the pandemic of 2020 no further opportunity was
available to continue searches. Camp Whip-Poor-Will, as a place, has ended. With limited time to complete the WPW memories, we but remember the words in Jeremiah,”I have good plans for you.” .\In other words “I have good plans for Camp Whip-Poor-Will.” We await with eagerness to see the remainder of God’s plan.