In 1868, Mr. A. A. Jameson was born in a small town in Kentucky. Growing up on a farm, he found there was not much time for leisure activities with all the chores, but he did have an opportunity to fall in love with nature and all the beauty around him. At the age of 22, he began working for the YMCA. Later in his career he was described by his colleagues as “cautiously progressive” in his thinking and was given credit for initiating many of the methods of Boys’ Work that later came into vogue. While working with the YMCA, Pop J (as he was known to all who loved him) had an opportunity to develop summer camps throughout the country. In addition to his work with the YMCA, he was involved with the Big Brothers Movement. He was also instrumental in establishing the American Camping Association and was the first vice-president of the organization.While working in New York, Pop J made two trips aboard to study scouting and met with Sir Baden-Powell the founder of the Boy Scouts. Pop J’s involvement with Scouting deepened when he was asked to be on the editorial board and help write the first Scout Handbook. He continued his work with the Boy Scouts of America and remained loyal to the YMCA until 1916.With his direct involvement in camping and his genuine love for young people, Pop J decided he would rather start his own camp than continue his work with the YMCA which was becoming more administrative everyday. He missed the daily contact with young people so after 26 years with the Y, Pop J said good-bye. Now he could devote all of his time and energy to making Camp Dixie the special place that it is today.
So in 1914, Pop J and three boys set up camp for a month. They lived in a canvas tent and enjoyed the countryside. Finding the area to be very desirable, Pop J began to make arrangements for a more permanent camp facility where everyone lived in tents around the lake and took showers below the dam as the “cool” water spilled over on them.
Camp Dixie grew rapidly and has been in operation every summer since 1914. The faces and names change but the fundamental principles set in motion by Pop J have endured the test of time. Our two-story cabins have taken the place of tents. Modern bathrooms with running hot and cold showers have replaced the cold showers of yesterday. Electricity is no longer provided by kerosene lanterns or the water from our dam. But, our bathrooms are still called “the Lighthouse” because once they were the only building to have lights on all the time! Although the facility has changed some over the years, the special feeling one receives at Camp Dixie has not changed for those who come to Camp Dixie feel right at home. And, each summer another chapter of history is written.
With its crystal clear streams and picturesque waterfalls, its wooded hiking trails and stately trees, its towering mountains and a spring fed lake, and its caring staff; it is no wonder that today young people from all over the world still come and enjoy a summer of fun and personal growth.