St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center celebrates 75 years

  • Friday, May 10, 2013

Campers prepare to race to the water (1950s era). Inset, a camp tradition was to gather around the cross for a group photo.


There’s no place quite like it. St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center is a little slice of heaven, situated on Seabrook Island.

This hallowed spot has served hundreds of thousands of visitors and continues to be a memory maker for generation after generation.

The weekend beginning Saturday, June 22 may be an average summer weekend for most, but for East Cooper resident Ned Collins it will be anything but. He’s one of the organizers behind a mammoth event to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center. Clearly his profession is a labor of love, as Collins leaves every morning for an hour-plus commute to Seabrook. Although the camp and conference center is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, it offers facilities open for rental to any organization desiring a retreat from the feverish pace of everyday life — whether as a family, a church or a business.

“One of the reasons we’re working so hard on this gala,” said Collins, “is we want to spread the word that St. Christopher facilities are available for rent to all organizations and personal retreaters. Our Barrier Island educational programs and Summer Camp program are open to children year round. In 2012 more than 14,000 children and students slept in our bunk beds. Few people are aware of this, but we’re hoping this 75th Anniversary will change that.”

In 1938 the summer camp program for the Diocese of South Carolina found its permanent home on Seabrook Island and “Camp Saint Christopher” was born.

The sands and the buildings have all changed but the goal of offering visitors and campers amazing experiences has and remains the heart of this barrier island treasure.

Collins, who serves as the operations director at St. Christopher, says that many of the 75th Anniversary events are designed specifically for children, including a full day of access to the facility’s secluded beach.

“St. Christopher is a Christian facility,” Collins added, “and there are few things more important in the Christian faith than quality time with one’s family.”

The events on Saturday, June 22 offer a wide range of things to do, including an off road 5k Run through the island’s various ecosystems, a property-wide open house (with a smart phone scavenger hunt), presentations led by the staff naturalists, as well as all-day beach access. Families are welcomed to bring a picnic, or buy lunch on-sight from the Creole Food Truck and utilize the St. Christopher canteen for snacks and soft drinks. The 75th Anniversary Gala will be held on Monday, June 24, as this is the day on the church calendar celebrating the Feast of St. Christopher. The day will offer traditional camp games for the young, an auction for those a bit more “seasoned” and a full-blown gala feast featuring locally grown produce and freshly-caught seafood thanks to Stono Family Farms and Adair and Boone McCoy. The day will also feature live music, a kids’ art show and contest and the opening of a 25-year-old time capsule.

“Monday is going to be something amazing,” said Collins. “There was simply no way to do all the events in a weekend so we decided to let the celebration spill over to Monday.” The celebration is possible in part due to the generous support of area sponsors including: St. Michael’s Church, Charleston, Charleston Christmas Collections, Anderson Insurance Associates and Dr. Thomas Newland of Carolina Eyecare Physicians.

Many of the events during the 75th Anniversary Celebration will be available to all “walk-ups,” but some will require pre-registration. To learn more and to sign up for the registration events, visit StChristopher75.org.

The weekend

• Saturday, June 22

Barrier Island 5K Off-road Run **Registration adult $25 - student $15

Property-wide Open House (All Open House Events are free)

Senior Session Closing Celebration (lead by the Rev. Chris Warner of the Church of the Holy Cross)

5K Trail Hike

All Ages Beach Day

Smart Phone Scavenger Hunt

Naturalist Presentations

History Exhibit

Service of Compline

• Sunday, June 23

St. Christopher Sunday 2013 - free

(Observed in worship by parishes across the Diocese)

The Seventh Annual Staff Regatta - free

• Monday, June 24

Retrieval of the 50th Anniversary Time Capsule - free

Pelican Gala, 75th Anniversary Dinner and Auction Celebration

**Adults $75, Students $50 and Children $25 - see specifics on the website


Children’s Art Show & Contest (“paint a pelican”)

Special Children’s Celebration (7 decades of Camp Games). Visit stchristopher75.org to learn more.

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