Foundation gives $150,000 to help Holston camps

Foundation gives $150,000 to help Holston camps

The Holston Foundation invests in the future of five Holston Conference camps, including Wesley Woods (pictured), Bays Mountain, Dickenson, Lookout, and Camp in the Community.

ALCOA, Tenn. -- The Holston Foundation announced today it will give $150,000 to help Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries, the largest gift to any ministry during the foundation's 40-year history.

The grant from the Holston Foundation will support Camp and Retreat Ministries' "Together for Tomorrow" campaign and will be divided equally among Holston's five camps: Bays Mountain, Camp in the Community, Dickenson, Lookout, and Wesley Woods.

Through camp, children and youth often make decisions to follow Christ, dedicate their lives to service, and develop appreciation for creation and its stewardship. Camping is a vital part of Holston’s ministry to children and youth.

However, in 2020 in-person camping was canceled at all Holston camps due to the pandemic. The loss of revenue had an impact on each of the camps. The "Together for Tomorrow" campaign strengthens camps financially and ensures the future of Holston Camp and Retreat Ministries.  

“God has blessed the Holston Foundation and we want to be good stewards of those funds. This gift enables the Foundation to help impact people’s lives throughout Holston through the ministry of camp,” Paul Bowman, Holston Foundation president, said. “There’s value in camping not only for the young, but also for those who feel called to ministry, older adults, and churches. Camping strengthens and fosters the spiritual life of Holston.”

In other United Methodist conferences, camps are shutting their doors. However, the Holston Conference is ranked among the largest United Methodist camping ministries. Holston has physical camps in four of nine districts and also includes Camp in the Community, a unique model that takes camp to campers in each of Holston’s districts.

“Our Camp and Retreat Ministries feel especially blessed to be in the Holston Conference. Our laity, clergy, and conference office show us such an abundance of support. We are so grateful to receive this generous gift from the Holston Foundation and be able to continue to provide this ministry for all," said the Rev. Mary Thompson, executive director of Holston Camp and Retreat Ministries.

In previous years, the Holston Foundation has given significant gifts to Tennessee Wesleyan University to support acquisition of the dental hygiene program from Hiwassee College ($100,000) and to support Holston’s ministry with The United Methodist Church in South Sudan ($75,000).

For more information about the Holston Foundation, contact Bowman at To learn more about the Together for Tomorrow campaign, contact Thompson at


Holston Foundation

Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. For more information, visit

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