Camp Westminster, Conyers, Georgia

Camp Westminster is a non-profit, Christian Camp. According to their website they’re set on 114 acres and when they have a full camp, they can have 180 campers 30-day campers on site per session. They run several different sessions with different activities designed for specific age groups up to age 16. They even have a first-timers 3 night camp for the younger campers aged 6-9. Many times, the older campers eventually come back as counselors.

Besides some of the activities shown in the pictures above, they have swimming, archery, zip-lining, sports, cooking, arts and crafts and I’m sure there’s more. They host retreats and special events at this camp also.

The ratio of counselors per camper is around 1 counselor per 3-4 campers.

This is where the SOWERs camp for the month stay.

Back in 1953, John Richardson, a Presbyterian Pastor envisioned this camp and within 2 years it was operational and has been every year since. Over the years it has grown and developed into a camp that brings campers back year after year and eventually they become counselors and some even part of the staff. A great testament to how the camp is managed.

A Little About the City of Conyers, GA

Conyers is located about 24 miles east of downtown Atlanta GA and is the county seat of Rockdale County. Apparently, according to the city website, this was a prominent area for the Creek and Cherokee nations. Hightower Trail is a road in Conyers that was originally named the “Great Indian Road” because it was a common road shared by both the Creek and the Cherokee. Later in the early 1800’s the area became very popular with European immigrants and the settlement grew with homes, and schools, and businesses such as sawmills, and grist mills, and even a cotton gin. Some of these buildings are still standing. Some of the buildings were burned by the Indians. Around 1845 the railroad came to town. There was a regular route that ran from Conyers to a “little” town, Martinsville, which is now called Atlanta. In 1870, the Georgia legislature acknowledged Rockdale as a county and named it Rockdale because of the underlying strata of granite that runs through the county.

In the 10 years around that time. Conyers grew from around 400 residents to around 1800. It was a WILD town with 12 saloons, 5 brothels, 40 stores, a fine hotel, good schools, and a college and it had 12 lawyers, 12 doctors, and a large carriage manufacturer. Pretty impressive for a wild town of 1800 residents.

One resident, Sally Fanny Gleaton became one of the leaders in the women’s suffragette movement for the right of women to vote. Interestingly, another woman she worked with was a woman named “Kit” Hepburn. She was Kathryn Hepburn’s mother. They were able to see the 19th amendment to the constitution become law.

In 1944, a group of Cistercian Monks or “Trappists” from Kentucky arrived at the train depot to begin their monastic life in Georgia. These men shared 2000 acres of an old plantation and an old barn with their 20 jersey cows. They finally built a small pine board monastery they lived in it for 16 years. Many years later, with community help, they were able to complete “The Monastery of the Holy Spirit” which still stands today, has private living quarters and a daily public Mass in the Abbey Church.

This community has grown substantially attracting many businesses and has developed some of the best schools in the area with higher-paid teachers. This attracted many young families and commuters who worked in Atlanta. It’s become a very desirable place to live.

Another interesting thing about Conyers is in the summer of 1996, over 600,000 visitors came to Conyers during the Centennial Olympic Games for the Equestrian events and the first-ever mountain bike competition, and the final two events of the modern pentathlon.

This is a pretty interesting area and a very nice camp. We’ll be leaving here on Thanksgiving Day headed to our next SOWER location in Vero Beach. There will be a little more about this area until we move on to Vero Beach.

Until then…