The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Staff Writer 

Camp Community To Honor Nath Thompson - Brevard NC

 

Charles Thompson

This Saturday will be a special day at Camp Carolina, as many are expected to gather to honor the life of Charles Nathan "Nath" Thompson, one of the camp's most influential figures and a pioneer of the summer camp industry in Transylvania County.

Thompson, who served as director of Camp Carolina for 50 years beginning in 1959, died earlier this year on Oct. 27. Saturday's service will offer folks the chance to say goodbye to a man that touched the lives of so many young people.

Jerry Stone knew Thompson for more than 60 years and said that summer camp programs were always near and dear to his heart.

"One of the reasons he enjoyed it was because he had a strong belief that camp was an opportunity for children to develop and grow," Stone said. "His emphasis during the program was for the kids to have a fun filled experience. There were serious times, but overall he just wanted the kids to enjoy themselves."

Thompson served as director and manager of Camp Carolina from 1959-1982, when Stone joined him and began serving as co-owner and co-director.

That was the last year Camp Carolina operated at its old facility, the present-day site of the Deer Lake Community.

Relocating the camp was quite an endeavor and required moving a total of 51 building roughly two miles to the Lambs Creek area.

Stone said one of Thompson's greatest assets was his ability to promote Camp Carolina and keep a quality staff of counselors on hand.

"He was great at going out and talking to parents and being able to attract campers. He also had a great talent for hiring good staff and those two things were what made him very successful in the camping industry," Stone said.

Aside from his own personal success in the summer camp industry, Thompson was quick to lend assistance to other camps starting up or give his advice when camps came to him with a question.

Stone said when he was first working with a new camp in 1961, Thompson was somebody he frequently spoke with and proved to be a great help.

Over the years, Thompson left his mark on Camp Carolina.

A scholarship was even named in his honor and is handed out every year to a camper who exemplifies "True Gentleman" character.

"His first year as director of Camp Carolina was in 1959, so you can just imagine the thousands of lives he influenced over that time," Stone said.

Today's summer season draws thousands of campers to the 14 different camps in Transylvania County each year and while the natural beauty of the mountains combined with the booming outdoor economy undoubtedly spur the camp industry, Thompson's legacy will be long felt and his contributions won't soon be forgotten.

"Thompson was always a very wholesome role model and he was involved with camps for the right reasons," Stone said. "He believed strongly in the impact camp could have on a child's life and that was why he did what he did and that's why he loved it."

Thompson's service will be held this Saturday, Nov. 30, at noon at Camp Carolina. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Nath Thompson Scholarship Fund, Camp Carolina P.O. Box 919 Brevard NC 28712, Hospice, or a charity of choice.

 
 

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