OUR HISTORY

Since 1945, Roanoke Christian Camp has been impacting the lives of thousands in the Eastern North Carolina area.

It began as an effort by the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ to provide a summer camp ministry to children and now reaches and ministers to all children regardless of race, religion and ethnic background.

Young people have experienced the joys of Christian camping while forming friendships that last a lifetime through daily classes, chapel time, vespers, campfires, mission speakers, and recreational activities.

Roanoke Christian Camp is located on the Pamlico River in Washington, N.C.

Frank Leggett (father of Marshall Leggett, former President of Milligan College) became interested in Christian camping after attending a camp meeting in Indiana. He returned to Eastern North Carolina in the mid-1940s excited about the possibility of starting a Christian Service Camp. Leggett shared his idea with many Christian Church/Church of Christ members in the area.

 

They learned that Bath School in Bath, N.C. would allow the Christian Church/Church of Christ members to use their properties to host a summer program for Christian service. After two summers at Bath School, Leggett began to search for a permanent home for Roanoke Christian Service Camp.

Frank Leggett, Marybelle Latham, and Lydia Respess, who were all associated with the First Christian Church, Washington, N.C.North Carolina moved to secure a piece of property owned by G. W. Baker who was willing to sell the riverfront property to the churches.

 

On November 5, 1948, according to the present deed, the acreage on the Pamlico River was deeded over to the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ to be known as Roanoke Christian Service Camp, Incorporated. The name would later be simplified to Roanoke Christian Camp.

Frank Leggett, Alston Wallace and Jean Bailey

 

The original building known as the “Old Chapel” was the only building on the Baker property. Later classrooms were added making the Old Chapel into an “L” shaped building.

 

In the early 1950’s a dining hall and kitchen were built. Following that construction, dorms for the boys and girls were added. All these buildings are still in use today.

Dining Hall

Chapel Building

In 1982, a multi-purpose building costing $110,000 was added and was almost paid for when completed.

In 1988, Richard Smartnick was hired to be the camp’s first full-time manager. Mr. Smartnick managed the camp off and on since 1979. Smartnick and his continued to serve as Camp Manager until November 2003. Mr. Smartnick’s wife, Myrtle served alongside him helping in the dining hall and performing clerical duties.

In 2012, the Dining Hall on campus was renamed the Smartnick Dining Hall in honor of Mr. Richard’s and Mrs. Myrtle’s service and dedication.

   Construction of Multipurpose Building

Richard and Myrtle Smartnick

 

In 1990, a swimming pool was added at the cost of $60,000. Picnic shelters were also constructed to serve as outdoor classrooms.

 

 

 

Mike Wise was hired as the new camp manager after Smartnick’s retirement on November 1, 2003. New air conditioned classrooms were added in the Multi-purpose Building along with 35 outdoor benches to provide more areas for small groups to meet. New programs such as Archery and Low Ropes provided campers with new and challenging recreational activities.

Mr. Wise’s wife, Christie served as Office Manager and Interim Camp Manger (during Mr. Wise’s military deployment).

Mr. Wise served as Camp Manger until 2012.


Mike and Christie Wise

Archery

Low Ropes

 

Chris Avery became the new camp manager on March 5, 2012.  Avery has attended, worked and volunteered at RCC for over 25 years. Roanoke Christian Camp played an important part in his life and spiritual growth. Avery has made many improvements to the camp since his hiring in 2012.

 

In 2012, the roof was replaced on the Girls Dorm.
In 2013, a new sewer system was installed that will better support future buildings.
In 2014, a land trade was completed that granted the camp 2.5 acres of wooded area. The camp’s archery facility will be eventually moved to this land.
In 2015, a new pavilion was built to serve as an outdoor worship area and Pop Shop expansion. This pavilion was named after Bonner Jackson for his dedication and service to the camp over many years.
In 2016, property and a house adjacent to the camp was bought to house the camp manager and his family. The house on the main campus is now being used as the Camp Office and staff housing. In November 2016, Smartnick Dining Hall’s roof was replaced and a heater was installed in the Multipurpose Building.

Chris Avery and his family.

The roof being replaced on the Girls Dorm.

The new sewer system being installed.

Volunteers working on clearing a section of the newly acquired land for the relocation of archery.

Contstruction of the Bonner Jackson Pavilion.

Newly purchased Nance Lane Property.