History

Under the administration of the SBC Education Board, steps were taken to have a summer camp for boys and girls. The initial step was the building of a 15-acre lake, now known as Lake Ridgecrest. The long-range plan called for a girl’s camp on one side of the lake and a boy’s camp on the other side. Today, Lake Ridgecrest is the centerpiece at Camp Ridgecrest for boys and Crestridge sits on the opposite side of I-40. Under the leadership of Mrs. J.M Dawson, then of Waco, Texas, a girl’s camp, known as Camp Swannanoa, was operated in the summer of 1926 and 1927. A large two-story residence was purchased from Dr. B.W. Spilman; it was used as a camp headquarters building. A number of cabins and other facilities were then built. However, logistical business issues caused the camp to close in 1928.

When the Baptist Sunday School Board took charge in 1929, they realized the need for a boy’s camp. Under the leadership of Mr. Noble Van Ness, who was active with the Boy Scouts at that time, plans were made to open a boy’s camp in 1929. Mr. Frank E. Burkhalter served as director during the inaugural summer. The camp was programmed for one two-week trial session. The results were so rewarding that planning for the 1930 season was begun immediately.


Crestridge opened for its first session on June 6, 1955. The first meeting was held in a combination dining hall and gymnasium. All of the facilities were not complete, and the staff and campers had to spend the first few nights at Ridgecrest. They also walked back and forth to the Conference Center for meals. The camp was set up based on the model Pickering had established at Camp Ridgecrest for Boys with two five-week sessions. Fifty girls attended the first session and 92 participated in the second session. Susan Harrell, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Harrell was the first to enroll.

In 2013, we began our first ever weekend family camps. As a part of our mission statement and vision, our desire has been to impact more lives for God's glory through discipleship and adventure. On Labor Day weekend, we held our first ever Family Camp, which was attended by 12-15 families. Two weeks later, we hosted a Father & Son Camp and a Mother & Daughter Camp. Each of those events had around 70 participants and all of our weekend camps were fun weekends that provided families a chance to experience together!