In the 1930’s, United Methodist Minister, Dr. J.E. Stephens, developed and implemented several outdoor camping experiences for the children and youth of north Mississippi. These camps were held at various locations including Castallian Springs (old hotel and resort near Durant, MS), Greenwood Springs (old hotel and resort near Amory, MS), and Pickwick Lake. Dr. Stephens believed that a permanent camp should be established within the bounds of the North Mississippi Annual Conference. He shared this dream with the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Oxford and received enthusiastic support for this special project. Shortly afterwards, the Oxford Chamber of Commerce purchased 87 acres of land and donated it to the United Methodist Church for the formation of a summer camp.
Dr. Stephens, along with several other United Methodist ministers and lay people, immediately began work preparing for the first summer of campers. The first camp was held in July of 1946 and named Camp Lake Stephens, in honor of the Dr. Stephens’ leadership in establishing the camp.
Camp Lake Stephens is one of the oldest camps in the state of Mississippi and a vital ministry of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. Camp Lake Stephens has provided quality camping experiences for children and youth every summer for over 70 years. Over the past 20 years, Camp Lake Stephens has built on the summer camp foundation and expanded its ministry in an effort to be a year-round camp facility for children, youth, and adults of all ages.