Brookwoods was born in 1944 when Dr. Lawrence H. Andreson, founder of the camp, purchased one hundred and ten acres, which were to become Camp Brookwoods. The rugged natural beauty of our property on Lake Winnipesaukee with a quarter mile of waterfront has always enchanted people during the years that Brookwoods has existed.
Two powerful forces motivated the foundation of Brookwoods and continue to play an important part in the camp’s development today. Integrally woven into the camp and its future has been the development and operation of a unique camper-centered environment, which is founded upon the historic Christian faith, centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Through the years Brookwoods has utilized God’s exciting wilderness for campers to see the hand of God and to learn from it. Leaders committed to Christ, well trained and able to teach, have been instrumental in developing campers’ deepening commitment to Jesus Christ. Careful programming has been designed to accommodate the different abilities and needs of each individual camper.
Today, Brookwoods remains dedicated to the development and perpetuation of our unique concept of camping. Brookwoods has always sought to present Christ to every camper in a compelling fashion, emphasizing personal commitment and values founded upon the Word of God. Dr. Andreson recognized that in order to fulfill his objective, he would have to offer Christian camping experiences not otherwise available to young people. Bible teaching, sound personal relationships, exciting staff members, and wilderness camping all helped to give Brookwoods a reputation for innovation and excellence which is well-known in the camping profession today. Over the years, Brookwoods did much to influence the growth of Christian camping.
Although Brookwoods had a small beginning with approximately 25 campers, the success of Dr. Andreson’s approach to camping helped Brookwoods grow to an enrollment of 100 for each camping session, a capacity that has remained unchanged for many years. During these years, Brookwoods’ facilities and program expanded to encompass a diversity of activities and experiences for hundreds of young people who have participated in the camp.
The summer of 1964 brought the opening of Deer Run, a sister camp to Brookwoods, comparable in every way in terms of purpose, philosophy, program, and leadership. This was the beginning of the exciting, innovative, and fruitful ministry of Deer Run as a Christian girls’ camp.
Late in the ’60’s, along with most other segments of the economy, private camping began to sustain an increasing number of economic problems. With more camps closing every year, Brookwoods and Deer Run would have to undergo certain structural changes and program renovation if it were to retain a place of prominence in the camping profession in the remaining decades of this century.
God miraculously preserved the unique camping ministry of these two camps in a most gracious manner through the purchase by Christian Camps & Conferences, Inc. The new board of directors developed long-range goals for the camps, as well as implemented immediate plans and projects. With many new ideas and the added impetus of more hands at the helm, Brookwoods and Deer Run became a very active and inspiring place. Along with campers, former staff members assisted in the development of a modern and relevant Christian camping program.
Throughout their history, the two camps have offered a program where direction and elective choices are combined in the best interest of the individual camper. Swimming is the only required activity. Naturally, their elective choices do not go unsupervised, especially for the younger campers who often need assistance in planning a well-balanced program. Older campers appreciate the responsibility and freedom that a program like this offers. Campers are able to select activities on a long and short-term basis and are encouraged to try a wide number of activities while concentrating on the development of real skills in a few areas of particular interest.
The staff of Brookwoods and Deer Run is drawn from all over the country and also includes a handful of international staff members. We recognize them as the vital ingredient to the complete camping operation. The number one priority is the selection and training of these young women and men to offer campers teaching from God’s Word, inspiration, and a strong, committed relationship to Jesus Christ. Staff and campers live together in an informal and relaxed atmosphere which encourages a real awareness of others and growth in the discovery of God. While we require competence and talent in our activity instruction, utmost importance is placed on the association of each counselor with the campers in their cabin. A camper’s summer experience depends largely on the components of their cabin experience. Happiness and confidence in the cabin experience usually opens the door to a challenging and rewarding summer. Much time is given to cabin activities, and staff are encouraged to take cabin trips and to plan special cabin events.
Although there are many new aspects to the program, there is also much that remains unchanged. Buildings are carefully integrated into the physical surroundings; the cabins are spaciously scattered, connected by a series of paths. Skill areas and athletic fields are safely and beautifully located throughout the camps. The food of Brookwoods and Deer Run is outstanding and with good reason — our food is always wholesome and substantial, with great variety and always finely prepared. Tables are arranged family style, and campers share the responsibility for waiting and clearing the tables.
There is much more that can be said about Brookwoods and Deer Run; however, the main thrust of our camps is found in a commitment to Jesus Christ and the finest staff, program, facilities, and spiritual emphasis for Christian camping.