The People of Camp Hudgens
What about myself? I started at camp as a camper when Jim Taft was the program director. I checked in with Bob and Martha at the old rock administration building. I lugged my luggage down to Cabin 1. I missed a year when we were in Kansas but stayed with it until 1978 when Paul asked if I wanted to work there. I worked every position camp ever had including cook and dish washer. I stayed with it until the summer of 2007 when I called it quits. It ceased being Hudgens and went a whole new direction (as Kevin Darland told me.) My last tv job was at KOCO-TV, Ch. 5 where I was a broadcast technologist. I am certified as a video engineer and broadcast technologist with the Society of Broadcast Engineers. My current job is media specialist at the Unversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. I do installs for the seven medical colleges, library, clinics, and affiliated hospitals. I do media production, editing on top tier FCP editors, studio shoots, and poster printing. When I am not at work, I am a volunteer Community Disaster Education instructor with the Red Cross. I am a FIre Corps volunteer with Oklahoma City Fire Department. I do public education, fire prevention, and emergency management duties. I work with Major Jo Johns
who offices out of the RMAC near the Oklahoma City Zoo. The RMAC is a 60's nuclear bomb shelter that is 30 feet underground. I taught 44 hours of disaster education in 2012. 8 of those hours were at YMCA and community day camps. So I'm still in the camp biz afterall. I am ham operator N3MAL and active with the City of Edmond with storm spotting and siren testing. I have my adopted siren. Whenever weather is bearing down on the metro, I'm out there with the sparkymobile.
I may be driving down the street and a name pops into my mind. I may be watching tv or out working on my vehicle and something triggers another name. Maybe I'm on my walk out in the heavily wooded neighborhood and another name appears. I grab my phone and make a note. So here;s the result, which I'm adding to all the time. Some of the people did not work for camp but were directly related to the BGCO and have visited the facility through the years. Everybody listed has visited Camp Hudgens.
This list is not at all exhaustive of the people who invested sweat equity in Hudgens. I would say it is a list of some of the people who served between the years of 1959 to the late 90's. My reasoning for cutting it off at 1999 is because that is about when it stopped being an RA camp. It then transitioned over to a coed children's camp. IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NAME, JUST SEND ME A MESSAGE AND I'LL INCLUDE IT AND A LINK.
If the name says (hit this button) it means it is a link to their page.
I test these links on occasion to fixed updates and dead links.
Charlie Westbrook Jr
Christin Shaw Alexander
James T. McAlester
Dr. Jimmy Kinnamer
Kenneth Lay see post below
O. J. Finley
We made the cover of Baptist
Messenger, May 18, 1967
Can you locate: Bro. Paul, Bob Gilmore, Clyde Kemp, Charlie Loper,.
James Jackson McAlester came to Indian Territory to get into commerce and coal mining. He married a Chickasaw woman and by way became a citizen of Choctaw/Chickasaw tribe. He could legally own property in Indian Territory. Grover Cleveland appointed him deputy U.S. Marshal between 1993 to 1897. He opened up the J.J. McAlester Mercantile which stands to this day and is owned and operated by decendents still in Old Town. Since this was Indian Territory, U.S. currency was like foreign money,. So the businesses printed up script that would work in their store. This script was issued when you worked for his coal company. You then took it in to the merchantile to exchange for dry goods and groceries you needed.
The older section is on the left and is only one story. The two story building was added after statehood in 1912. The JJ McAlester mansion is just one block east of this location. There was another building that was unfortunately tore down to build a transmission shop. Sadly, the existing McAlester descendants were not interested in preserving significant history. The efforts to save it fell in vein. Because the owners were not interested in preservation.
His original store dates roughly to 1880.
James T. McAlester listed above was our second boat mechanic while he operated his motor and prop shop. He is the grandson of J.J.McAlester featured on the right.
Joe Dee Ray, right, at the 1990 30th year anniversary dinner.
Joe De Ray is responsible for Hudgens being made possible. He was pastor at FBC McAlester.
Dr. Marvin Gaskin made many trips to Camp Hudgens to give Baptist history lessons. He delighted in discussing the significance of Baptist work in Indian Territory. He so enjoyed his visits to camp through the years. He always showed up with his Colonel Sanders white tuxedo. Later I would check him into the hotel I helped manage while attending college.
Mr. and Mrs. O.J. Finley
Mrs. Goddard at work
If you dined at Camp Hudgens when Mrs. Goddard rand the meal program, you were familiar with family dining. Thousands of kids were first introduced to the idea of dining as a whole table and not just a cafeteria tray.
Bro. Paul McCullough
Dr. Thomas Bert Lackey established the successful operation of the numerous hospitals, homes, retirement centers, Ranch Town, and cottages. He had a passion for Hudgens and was a staunch suppoter early on until he retired. He is also credited for changing the Falls Creek summer program from one 10-day session to five weekly sessions.
The token or mine coin replaced the script and was harder to counterfeit. You exchanged it for goods only at the mercantile.
The sad story of the JJ McAlester Mercantile Feed and Seed. It was a classic tac store with feeds and farming supplies. It had full length dock facing this direction. You pulled up your wagon and later truck and loaded up your supplies then headed back down Stonewall or Main.
Just on the south side of the mansion (on the let) is the oldest surviving structure of Pittsburg County. The Choctaw Tribe or Tobucksy County Courthouse. Constructed in 1876.
JJ McAlester wasn't just a US Marshal, coal mine operator, mercantile operator, and town founder. He was also a prolific real estate developer. He located this store on what was OK 31 and at the time, the main East/West street in town at 2nd and Choctaw.. The main road later changed to US 271 a block north.
The J.J.McAlester mansion. Listed on National Registry of Historic Places. To the east of it is the ballfield where our staff played softball with Second Baptist Church.
Lost skills of contruction methods for sure. Today's designers scan the moldings and then put them in a computer and use digital printers to recreate these works of art. The worst part of this building is the steel skirting added years later.
Images from the book: Camp Hudgens, a place where a boy meets God.
Mrs. Teala Goddard
Original Admin building.
Mrs. Goddard lived just 10 minutes from Falls Creek and cooked for the girls at Nunny. When Bob opend up the RA camp there, she cooked for him at a church cabin. Mrs. Goddard always said boys were respectful and appreciated her cooking. That was something we witnessed in her more than 35 years at Hudgens. When Bob told Mrs. Goddard that the BGCO had bought the camp in McAlester, she asked if she was going to be able to still be cook. Bob said there was no other choice, she had to be cook. Thus Hudgens opened up with all that wonderful scratch food served at the table family style.
The Temple of Silence on the right had a solid roof for dances with the Demolay. It still has a large steel beam going from east wall to west wall. I like this original design.
Senator Robert S. Kerr dedicates new pool
Senator Robert S. Kerr took time out of his busy schedule to dedicate Hudgen's new 100,000 gallon pool. The funds were donated by the WMU which was the original parent organization of the RA's. Little did the WMU know that the BGCO would close down Nunny Cha Ha and the girls would come and swim in this pool some day.
To the right is the old pool which was a rock wall with plaster. The old caretaker, Mr. Powell, said it did not have a filtration system. He would dump alum into it and settle out the bad stuff. Then he also dumped in chlorine and soda ash. It was never really clear and the new pool would have a state-of-the-art filtration system.
30th year celebration
CAMP HUDGENS REUNION—The 3Qtli anniversary of the beginning of Camp Huilgens for Royal Ambassadors was observed June 19; Five men who took part in the first week of the camp attended the bbservance. They were (from
McDow of Norman, Northeast and Neil Hopkins of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs who attended as boys; John Henson of Brush Hill Church near Checotah and Jack Seymour of Midwest City, Meadowood, first week counselors, and Bob Banks, now Home Mission Board executive vice president, first camp director. Below, Joe Dee Ray ( left) and Paul McCullough take part in the anniversary event. Ray was pastor of MeAlester, First when a member, Mrs. Zettie Edith Hudgens, gave the money to start the camp. McCullough now directs the camp. Ray was camp pastor last week and Banks was camp missionary. In its 30 years of operation, Camp Hudgens has pro- vided 208 weeks of camping with a total of 26,393 campers. Professions of faith have totaled 1,697 with another 1,697 surrendering to special service. Missions offerings
total $17,999.52. (Photos by James Warren)
Kenneth and Anna Lay
Ken Lay was one of them any people who gave support to Camp Hudgens through his efforts on the various committees he held through many years of Baptist work.
Ken and Anna Lay look over a brochure for The Listening Center Foundation.
for families facing a terminal or chronic
illness. She said caregivers are under con-
stant stress, and could use an occasional
night off or weekend away. Trained
volunteers will stay with the patient while
the caregivers i take a break.
Currently, the Lays are renting an of-
fice on the main thoroughfare in Edmorid
for The Listening Center. An answering
machine records calls during the day,
Sam Pace - Unit I Director
Sam Pace, an Associational Missionary (DOM) of many years was always a delight at Hudgens. Bro. Paul would always put him as Unit I director. That means he was respnsible for the five cabins of 60 total people. At that time, the unit lodge was still a meeting place and had not been converted to a group sleeping quarters. It was the location for unit meetings, counselor meetings, and evening mission time. I remember being assigned to do campcraft when Sam was there one week and it was a delight to basically help him teach campcraft. He was a brilliant outdoorsman and a great teacher of such skills. I basically learned the right way to wrap a hobo dinner and used that method until Hudgens stopped doing the dinners around 2005. It was good having such leaders who Paul could trust as we never had to worry if the unit was being ran right.
Roland Edge - Unit I director and counselor
Roland is a peanut farmer who was with Fort Cobb FBC. He served on many BGCO boards and was on the board who oversaw the purchase of the former bank building at 3800 N. May that was owned by C.A. Henderson. The BGCO got that building thanks to C.A. for 15 cents on the dollar. Roland was the one who discovered a serious problem with the new deed once the land deal was completed. He looked at the new deed and it read, "2800 N. May." The BGCO was about to purchase a much smaller building that C.A. didn't even own. Thanks to Roland, the error was fixed and it was not too long after that when the BGCO ran out of space at 3800. Roland was another cherished leader of Unit I who could be left alone to run the unit or lead a group of kids. We could put troubled kids in his cabin and we knew he was going to take great care of them. Roland never came to camp without a nice roll of plastic cord to make ropes with. He gave camp a rope making rig. Each chapter group would make ropes to use at camp or to take home. One year, he made me a replacement rope for the pool deep end divider. Roland never failed to bring his wife Doris. She helped Mr.s Goddard and then Jodi Shaw in the office. We knew what meals had that Doris touch because it was something special like home made pies, seasoned vegetables, and peanut butter with pancakes. Yes, the Edge's taught us to love our pancakes coverd in peanut butter then syrup. Yum Yum.
The movers and shakers of Camp Hudgens
Nine Oklahoma City residents will serve on the staff of Camp Hudgens, a statewide Baptist boys' encampment near McAlester, this summer.
Lee Martin, director of Grace Rescue Mission, will be camp missionary Monday through Friday.
Serving as counselors will be Ray Logan, 4932 S Drexel; Philo Gravitt, 108 SE 64 Terrace; and John Roberts, 3012 NW 48.
Also, Keith Butler, minister of music, Olivet Baptist Church; Steve Brown, 4423 NW 20; and Richard Riddlespurger, 2604 SW 80.
Ken Myers, minister of music at Regency Park Baptist Church, Moore, will be a unit leader July 8-12. Robert Wilson, pastor of Classen Boulevard Baptist Church, will be camp pastor July 22-26. BIOG: NAME:
From the June 8th, 1985 Daily Oklahoman
Probably the most famous visitor of Camp Hudgens came in 1960. He dedicated the new pool that was built with $50,000 donation from the WMU. Robert Kerr dedicated the plaque that used to sit on the wall near the pool.