Carolina Creek Origins
Carolina Creek Christian Camps was founded in 2002 by a group of men and women responding to God’s call. The Carolina Creek vision was to meet a need in the Greater Houston area for residential summer youth camping, and offer a non-summer retreat facility for churches, youth organizations, civic organizations, and family reunions.
In 2002, according to the CCCA, Houston was the most underserved major metropolitan areas in the United States for Christian camping. Therefore, this group responded to God, forming a Board of Directors and raising the funds to build a non-denominational, independent 501c(3) Christian camp. Their goal: to serve greater Houston and southeast Texas initially, with the future goal of serving all of Texas and neighboring states, as well as the nation and overseas.
In April of 2002, Carolina Creek purchased 440 acres of heavily wooded property containing two miles of water frontage, located 90 miles northeast of downtown Houston and three hours south of Dallas. In 2003, the first residential camp, Lakeview, opened with 1,703 summer campers and 3,616 total campers for the year. By 2005, there were over 2,000 summer campers on the waiting list! In 2006, Carolina Creek opened its second camp, Creekside. From 2009-2011, both camps reached maximum capacity for summer campers (over 7,000 campers in 2011) and had a lengthy waiting list. Retreat season registration (non-summer campers) was also experiencing similar growth.
Therefore, in December 2010, after hours of prayer, meditation, and the study of God’s Word, the Carolina Creek Board of Directors voted unanimously to once again step out in faith and follow God’s vision and direction into uncharted waters. In addition to raising around $7 million to make the third camp a reality by June 2012, the Board acquired the consulting expertise of McNair Wilson, a former Walt Disney World Imagineering Creative Arts Director, to help them develop an incredible, interactive Christian camp experience specifically for children age Kindergarten to fifth grade.
The third camp, The W!LD, allowed Carolina Creek to accomplish several goals: to meet the needs of an underserved population in the Christian camping arena (younger elementary), to reach young children with the gospel message of Jesus Christ as early as possible, and to create a more economical option for camper families (3 night/4 day sessions). In addition, the original goal of creating more space at Creekside for sixth through twelfth-grade campers was met, alleviating the waiting list.
Since Carolina Creek was founded, one of the bedrock principles of the Board of Directors has been that 20% of all campers come from urban/inner city communities, attending camp for a
nominal cost, with scholarships provided by Carolina Creek. Although approximately $200,000 is raised annually for urban campers, Carolina Creek awards over $400,000 in scholarships each year.
No matter what population is being served, the Carolina Creek mission has remained constant: to provide a variety of sports, arts, adventure, and activities in an exciting environment where youth and adults can experience and know the love of Jesus Christ. In June of 2018, Carolina Creek celebrated its 16th summer.