History

Owned and operated by Youth Camps for Christ, Inc., Camp Willow Run is a non-profit, interdenominational Christian camp and retreat center located on beautiful Lake Gaston near Littleton, NC.

Built on a unique railroad theme, Camp Willow Run began in 1968 as a day camp and opened as a co-ed residential camp in the summer of 1970. Southern Railway donated 14 boxcars that serve as dormitories for the campers. In 1971, Norfolk and Western donated 8 boxcars and 2 baggage cars. All dormitories are paneled, electrically heated and air-conditioned and equipped with bathrooms for up to ten campers and staff.

Exciting weeks aboard the “good ol’ Gospel train” are available during the summer months for the general public to send their children and youth, grades 3-5, 6-8, 7-9 and 9-12. Other weeks are designed to reach out to youth with special needs through our sponsorship program. Church groups can also hold their own camping programs during designated weeks. Camp Willow Run hosts Christian groups for a retreat ministry from September through May. Each October CWR leads a Mother-Daughter Legacy retreat. In the spring, the camp leads a Father-Son B*U*I*L*D retreat. In March, October, and November, a Super High retreat is held for church youth groups.

The faith that brought the camp into being originated in the hearts of the Reverend Erbie W. Mangum, Jr. and his wife, Linda. God motivated them and showed them the direction. He also motivated hundreds of wonderful and generous people whose time and resources actually built Camp Willow Run.

On June 16, 1975, death claimed the earthly life of Mr. Mangum. In September of 1977, Linda married Robert T. Harris of Littleton. She is continuing her work at Camp Willow Run as Executive Director.

The camp presently has 22 boxcars, a 1911 Baldwin locomotive, a caboose, two baggage cars, a replica 1890 depot dining hall, administration center, gymnasium, and camp store. Our meeting facilities with seating capacity are as follows: The Crossing (capacity of 220), The Junction (capacity of 90), and Lakeside (capacity of 40). During the summer camping sessions, up to 190 campers per week can be enrolled. Up to 220 guests at a time can be accommodated during retreat season.