Ken Hay

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Kenneth Edward Hay (November 13, 1933 April 2, 2019) was the founder of The Wilds, a Christian fundamentalist camp and conference center.

The Wilds Christian Association, Inc. is a Protestant Christian organization, based in Brevard, North Carolina. The organization was founded by a group of Christians at Bob Jones University who recognized the need for a Christian camp in the Southeastern United States. In 1967, the group purchased a 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) property near Brevard, North Carolina and established The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center about two years later. Today, The Wilds is one of the largest Christian camps in the United States. About 21,000 people attend annual retreats, while summer camp averages 1,100 to 1,200 campers per week.



Ken Hay, a native of California and a graduate of Oregon City High School, was the son of a pastor who took his sons to camp settings "as soon as we were old enough to walk." [1] Hay, who was athletic and 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), turned down several athletic scholarships to attend Bob Jones University, where he became a student leader and graduated in 1955 with a BA in Bible. [2] He completed a master's degree at BJU in 1957. The following year he was named first director of the University's Institute of Christian Service (later the School of Applied Studies), a former BJU program for non-traditional students seeking to enter Christian ministries. He held this position for thirteen years. In 1975, BJU conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws. [3]

Oregon City High School

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Bob Jones University American university in Greenville, South Carolina

Bob Jones University (BJU) is a private, non-denominational evangelical university in Greenville, South Carolina, known for its conservative cultural and religious positions. The college, with approximately 2,500 students, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. The university's athletic teams, the Bruins, compete in Division II of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). In 2008, the university estimated the number of its graduates at 35,000; in 2017, 40,184.

In 1969, after directing Christian Dells Bible Camp (founded by Monroe Parker), near Trinity, Alabama, Hay founded The Wilds, a year-round 1,000-acre (4.0 km2), non-denominational camp and conference center in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Rosman, North Carolina with the assistance of Walter Fremont, Joseph Henson, and Carl Blythe. More than three hundred churches now support The Wilds, its retreats attract 21,000 attendees annually, [4] and more than a quarter-million campers have attended its summer programs, which combine recreation with Bible studies and devotional meetings. Hay reflected that while there was "no way a Christian organization can compete with the world when it comes to amusements...when you get young people can have an impact." [5]

John Monroe "Monk" Parker, was a Baptist evangelist, college president, and mission board director.

Trinity, Alabama Town in Alabama, United States

Trinity is a town in Morgan County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 2,095, up from 1,841 in 2000. It was incorporated in 1901.

Blue Ridge Mountains mountain range

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, and extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.

The Wilds produces its own music CDs and has as its own missions arm CampsAbroad, an organization that assists with consulting and start-ups of Christian camps outside the United States. Hay retired as president and CEO of The Wilds in 2006, but he remained chairman of the board until his death. [6]

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  1. Abe Hardesty, "Hay's ministry took root in N.C. mountains," Greenville News, November 24, 2010, City People, 4. Hay's father was Rev. Carl Edward Hay.
  2. 1955 Vintage [BJU yearbook].
  3. "Camp Director Named Alumnus of the Year," Backbone [BJU Preacher's Class] (May 1981), 2.
  4. Hardesty, 4.
  5. Hardesty, 4.
  6. Wilds newsletter