The Largest Church Camp In America Is In Oklahoma
You'll have to forgive the picture above. We have a subscription to a stock photo supplier, but they don't have any results for "church camp," so I was told "Just stitch something together. People love that" from our corporate overlords. Church & camp... same/same.
Growing up in Northern Oklahoma, church camp was practically the summer vacation for most kids. Five or six days that you get to bunk with your buddies and have tons of fun. I always went to Camp Lujo, it's South of Lawton down by Faxon. The boys bunkhouse had surplus Army bunk beds, and no air conditioning or doors on bathroom stalls (I always thought that was weird), but it was always a good time regardless of Southwest Oklahoma's searing temperatures.
Like most things in rural Oklahoma, the plumbing runs (or at least it did) into a septic pond down the hill from the camp. We used to haze the new campers each year by telling them they could catch brown trout in the pond. It was harmless and we always came home with good stories.
The summer/church camp that my school buddies always talked about was Falls Creek. It's about two hours East of Lawton, located off in the woods where Falls Creek tributaries into the Washita River. I knew it had to be big since it seemed like all my friends went there every year, and it turns out it is pretty huge. It's the largest church camp in the United States.
Falls Creek was established back in 1917 when some old dude gave a bunch of land to some other people. We know this because it's how it is. That first year Falls Creek attracted a respectable 273 campers. Not bad for a first at-bat. Nowadays the mega-camp averages about 55,000 youths each summer.
That is an insane number of people for a summer/church camp.
Do they put them all in big dormitories like I knew growing up? No. Most churches own their own cabin along Falls Creek, or at least that's what I've been described. When the church doesn't have a group down there, they rent it out to churches that don't own property down there. Everyone gets along, everyone has a good time, and it makes for interesting Oklahoma history.