The Regional Review

Volume I - No. 6

December, 1938


By R. A. Walker,
Assistant State Forester in Charge,
Division of State Parks,
South Carolina State Commission of Forestry.

The group camps at Kings Mountain and Cheraw Recreational Demonstration Areas were leased from the National Park Service by the South Carolina Commission of Forestry for the summer of 1938. It had seemed evident for some time that there were no organizations in the State able to assume the obligations of taking these camps for the whole summer, equipping them and supplying the necessary personnel to insure proper operation. It did appear, however, that there were many organizations interested in short-term camping of one, two and three weeks, with definite, worthwhile programs but with no facilities, equipment or trained personnel to make camping possible. It also was apparent that the organizations, if provided with those essentials, would conduct short-term camps and that their activities would embrace many young people in the low-income groups and other deserving persons.

The Commission felt that, if it should take over the leases on the camps, equip them properly and supply the necessary administrative personnel, the cost of these items could then be prorated among the short-term users so that the expense to each would be within reason. Not desiring to make any profit from the enterprise, the state agency decided to make a rate of $5 per person per week, which, if the camps were kept reasonably well filled, would be sufficient to defray all expense save that of equipment. The leases therefore were taken by the Commission and the camps furnished with kitchen and dining room equipment, cots and mattresses (some supplied by the National Park Service), life guard and first aid equipment, and a limited amount of athletic equipment. Personnel supplied at each camp consisted of one camp administrator, one life guard, one cook and two helpers, and one dietitian.



Some time after the decision to lease was reached and several reservations had been made, it became doubtful whether the Kings Mountain camp would be ready for occupancy and that caused us to delay our efforts to fill two camps for the summer. There also was some uncertainty whether the State could manage the purchase of equipment for Kings Mountain (Cheraw was equipped, having been operated for a short period in 1937). When these doubts were cleared it was near the opening of the season and we had some difficulty in making last-minute reservations. Taking all things into consideration, however, and making allowances for the fact that the first season's operation was admittedly an experiment, the summer was considered a decided success, even though it was not completely so financially.

map of Kings Mountain

map of Cheraw

The Kings Mountain Camp was opened June 6 and closed August 13. It was operated each week during that time except from July 4 to 10 and a few scattered days between reservations. Six different organizations used the facilities: The Childrens Bible Mission of Charlotte, N. C.; the Salvation Army of North and South Carolina, Stanley County 4-H Club, Armstrong Memorial Presbyterian Church, Gastonia, N. C.; Piedmont Boy Scouts of South Carolina, and Gaston County 4-H Club.

A total of 700 campers made use of the camp for a total of 4,416 camper days. Without the facilities offered, these organizations admit that they probably could have had no encampment during the summer and we feel safe in saying that 700 young people had opportunities under our method of operating who otherwise could not have camped at all. There was difficulty concerning the size of some of the groups. One had only 46 campers, one 52 and another 57. It is believed that 75 are necessary to meet expenses.

Although the total deficit appears high, about $625 of the $1,105 can be accounted for by equipment purchases. Only about 20 per cent of this cost should be regained in one year, so $500 might be classed as outside of operation expense. The deficit then would be approximately $600 for the summer.

Receipts and Expenditures at Kings Mountain

RECEIPTS Camping Fees and Extra Meals3,175.20

EXPENDITURESSalaries 845.45
Food Supplies2,064.61
Fuel Supplies21.00
Laundry Supplies35.29
Medical Supplies16.88
Educational Supplies38.48
Agricultural Supplies5.85
Clothing Supplies2.60
Other Supplies3.05
Household Equipment602.48
Educational Equipment24.25




The Cheraw Camp was opened June 8 and closed August 18 and was operated each week during that time except the weeks of July 4-10, July 24-31 and a few days between reservations. The Sumter Y.M.C.A., Plaza Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, Board of Christian Education of Orangeburg, and the Horry County 4-H Club were the organizations using the site. In addition, individual campers were received during the periods June 12 - 26 and August 3 - 14. A total of 631 campers made use of the camp for a total of 2,804 camper days.

As in the case of Kings Mountain, the greatest cause for concern at Cheraw was the number of days during which the camp was unreserved and during which time salaries of personnel continued. Also, as at Kings Mountain, many of the groups were far smaller than they should have been, but this condition, we believe, can be corrected by the next season.

The deficit is attributed to the vacant dates and failure of some of the organizations to enter the number of campers anticipated when the reservations were made.

Receipts and Expenditures at Cheraw

RECEIPTS Camping Fees and Extra Meals2,170.17

EXPENDITURESSalaries 655.02
Water, heat, light & power29.40
Food Supplies1,366.19
Fuel Supplies51.00
Laundry Supplies44.89
Medical Supplies23.31
Educational Supplies28.43
Clothing & dry goods5.82
Other Supplies15.64
Household Equipment1.95
Educational Equipment7.25




The methods of operation were considered very successful and met with complete satisfaction of organizations using both camps. The camping groups, although required by the State to have a well planned program, were solely responsible for its execution, but had no duties in connection with purchase or preparation of food or other administrative details, since these were handled by the State employees. The State employees were available to help the camping organizations at their request and insofar as the State employees' administrative duties would permit. Such help with the program usually consisted of promoting and organizing athletic games and field events, nature and forestry hikes and similar activities. This method of operation is logical, since the administrative part of the camp was run continuously, accounts were kept easily and organizations found no need for lengthy periods of orientation. They simply moved in and started their program immediately.

Some of the camping standards required by the National Park Service were adopted by the State, and additional requirements were in turn placed by the State on the organizations. For instance, each camper was required to "check in" with the State's Camp Administrator and to present a health certificate and, in the case of minors, parents' permission to attend camp. A camp doctor was not always on duty at the camps, but arrangements were made to have one present at each checking in and to have one always on call. The life guards at each camp had a first aid certificate to care for minor injuries.


lunch room
Boy Scout Campers (upper) at Sleeping Cabin. (lower) Awaiting Lunch at KINGS MOUNTAIN RECREATIONAL DEMONSTRATION AREA, SOUTH CAROLINA.

The duty of the camp dietitian was to plan meals, supervise the preparation of food and enforce rules of cleanliness and sanitation in the kitchen. From observation during the past summer, it is believed that this position could assume more responsibilities and further duties and it is our plan to have next summer a trained nurse who also has had a course in dietetics.

Campers themselves were charged with the responsibility for clean up in and around their cabins, served themselves in the dining room and cleared the tables and cleaned them after each meal. Regular inspections of the camp were made daily by the administrator in company with the director of the organization to insure that regulations as to cleanliness were being adhered to.

The life guard at each camp held a Red Cross Aquatic Instructor's Certificate and had complete charge of the swimming area. Organizations were required to furnish help in the form of junior and senior life savers. Instruction in swimming and water safety was given by these men.

As stated above, we were confronted many times with unsatisfactory cases of organizations bringing in far less campers than had been expected. Our terms did not fix a minimum fee and we did not feel we could charge more than $5 for each camper. Next year, however, before we make a reservation, the reserving organization must guarantee 90 campers for Cheraw or $450 minimum fee per week and 75 campers for Kings Mountain, or $375 minimum fee per week. With this guarantee required, together with our fair assurance that we can have both camps filled next season to capacity, we feel that the summer of 1939 will be highly successful in all ways. Of the ten organizations using both camps last summer, all have signified intention of using them again, and most of them have made definite reservations.

The State Commission of Forestry went into the camping field in a manner different to that followed by any other State. It was an experiment that has proved it will work and the experience of the past summer, from which we may profit and iron out the kinks, has laid the basis for a definite policy for our organization in its activities in the field of organized camping.

By bringing camps within reach of those organizations which are lacking in funds, and by the natural encouragement that the simplicity of the system offers, we feel we have widened considerably the scope of these fine camps, doubling their contribution towards the betterment of the health and character of the youth of this and neighboring States They are being placed at the disposal of those most in need.

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Date: 04-Jul-2002