by Bill Hensley
Aug. 26, 2013. One of the High Country’s oldest and most popular attractions – Camp Linn Haven – has closed for the season. The camp shut down on Aug. 18 after completing one of its most successful seasons.
Often referred to as “a haven in the mountains,” Camp Linn Haven’s 73rd season as a religious oriented facility saw nearly 1,300 people from the ages of two to 92 enjoy the various recreational and Christ-centered activities.
“Our season was a good one despite a lot of rain that sometimes hampered our many programs,” said camp director Teirsa Lane, 47, a Conover resident who has directed the facility for the past 13 years. Each year the camp is open from Memorial Day to mid-August.
“We have a diverse group of campers,” Lane said, “including children, senior citizens and families. Each group comes for a week and enjoys a wide variety of recreational amenities, bible studies, informal talks by visiting ministers or Christian Education directors, devotional programs and church services.”
The weekly sessions, with from 70 to 100 participants, are open to middle school students, pre-teens, high schoolers, mentally handicapped students, families and senior citizens. There is also an art week.
Recreational facilities include tennis, swimming, volleyball, shuffleboard, ping pong, basketball and crafts. The camp has 18 cabins that accommodate six to eight campers and a dining lodge that seats 112.
Camp Linn Haven occupies a scenic 54-acre site along the Linville River just off highway 105 near Linville Land Harbor. It is owned by a nonprofit corporation and is afiliated with the Southeastern district of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Tom Dale, the Golf Director at the Linville Golf Club, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
“The camp is a vital part of many lives,” Dale said. “We believe that Christ-centered camping is needed more than ever, and that God’s presence at the camp is essential. Therefore, our mission in the mountains is a labor of love for our staff and our many volunteers.”
The camp was operated by the Linville Resorts as a girl’s camp until 1938 when it was sold to the Lutheran Church. It reopened in 1940 and will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2015.
Camp Linn Haven also owns a campground with 29 spaces that adjoins its secluded facility. Many of the sites are rented for the entire season and are used by families on vacations and on weekends.
“The campground has been well received and is a source of revenue for us,” said Lane.
Campers who can afford to pay are charged between $165 and $340 per week for accommodations, meals and all activities. A “Booster Club” and the Board of Directors assist in raising around $300,000 annually for operating expenses.
Lewis Hollar of Conover, a camper since 1951, serves on the board and helps in fundraising.
“I practically grew up here,” he said. “And I love every inch of this place. I don’t think any camper leaves this place without having enjoyed the outdoors, a close fellowship and a meaningful and emotional relationship with the Almighty. That’s hard to beat.”