Deerwoode Stories and Comments

The Deerwoode experience defies an easy description.  I began by collecting all the Deerwoode memorabilia that I could find–photographs, catalogs, original campfire songs, and so forth to create this website — a celebration of all that was Deerwoode, at least from my perspective. But that was just a start. Many of us have attended  Camp reunions in Brevard from 2003 through 2019, and have stayed in touch via email. Some of our correspondence and old photographs are also included here to collectively share our Deerwoode experiences. 

This will continue to be a work in progress as I try to incorporate many memories and testimonials and organize everything into a coherent format.

If you have attended Deerwoode and would like to share your experiences, feel free to contribute your Deerwoode thoughts, stories, and adventures. Some of you may even have memories of Camp before the Bill Mayes era, since Deerwoode was founded in 1923. Please include the years you were involved with Deerwoode, and in what capacity (camper, JC, counselor, etc.).

For now, please send me your input via email. (There was too much spam being sent through the Comment Section). I may contact you for any clarification and may need to edit or withhold some comments.    

Tim Stuart, Webmaster 

Camp Deerwoode, 1970-1975, 1977-1982

[email protected]


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    • Bobby Young on May 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    My name is Bobby Young and I went to Camp Deerwoode in the early 80’s. I was also a JC when they were in the living quarters in the gym. It was some of the best experiences I ever had.

    • Jim Riley on March 15, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Would like to be involved
    Was at camp in early 70s as a counselor

    • Julia Wardrup Vanaman on April 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    My husband and I visited the Camp Deerwood the spring-summer of 2017. I had been a two month camper ( 1952-19 thru 1955?). I am not certain of the years. I loved Camp Deerwood and was hopeful there would be some vestige of the Camp. There was nothing left as the rigors of the weather had left the cabins in bad condition and they had to be torn down by the present owners. I could see what was left of the tennis courts and the huge bell that rang to let campers know that the next class was starting and to signal that we were to arise from a night’s rest and to start the day anew and again in the evening to signal bed-time. The lake had receded remarkedly. The former Sprout’s house now houses the new owners.We stayed the night in a cabin t.hat had been newly built from the old cabin’s wood. It was comfortable enough, but I wanted to see our old cabins. Time has marched on, but the memories linger. Julia Wardrup Vanaman , vanaman I still remember our camp songs, even at 76yrs.

      • Neil Oakes on June 16, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      Perhaps you remember a camper named Sandra Beard….don’t remember where she was from. I was a camper at Carolina and met her at a swap type gathering between Deerwoode an Camp Caolina. Would like to reconnect. Been a long time, but remember her well.

    • Bryce Garner on August 5, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I went to Deerwoode summer of 1970 & 1971.

    • David Friefeld on September 17, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for your effort to capture this haven of getting muddy and playing hard.
    I camped in 1977 & 1978. Great summers.

    • Russ Magbee on November 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Would love to see the info. Great memories from 5 summers.

    • Chris Tusing on April 10, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Attended Deerwoode the summer of 1976. Great memories. The camp was foundational in my love for archery, swimming, and target shooting. Fond memories of playing capture the flag and the first time someone ever sprayed mosquito repellent on my feet while I was asleep…

    • Craig Bellack on May 19, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    I went to Camp Deerwoode as a kid. Gordon Sproote would come to our home in Hollywood Florida to show movies of the camp. We watched with eyes wide open. Next dad had to sign us up for the summer adventure of our lives. Remember the “Bully Wampus”? Before eating meals, we would sing- Mealtime is here. I learned how to slalom water ski on the lake there. Does anyone remember “Shorty” , the black farmer who drove the tractor around. Good times! Hahaha

    • Kenneth Lauria on July 19, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    My name is Ken Lauria and was a young lad who was so fortunate to have been blessed with such an amazing childhood, able to spend the summers at Deerwood in the mid eighties . Thank you sir Bill Mayes for all you have done for us giving us young kids skills that made us who we are today. What memories I will never forget. I know many of us have all grown up. I say hello to friends Hunter, Mike ,Jimmy and Alan and all the men and counslers at Deerwood who I learned so much from.

    • Cooper Taylor on August 31, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    I remember the automatic one lanyard! Keep those men in line!

    • Rafael Calleja on September 30, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Hi y’all went to camp deerwoode summer of 1986….became a member of the NRA got my 10’a lying down kneeling and sitting….still got my paddle and remember best catching fish on corn and having skin em if you caught em

    Had the best banana split doing my seven week on the summer break

    • Cooper Taylor on April 14, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    The next joker who cuts class and leaves the campus without permission will get one lanyard!

    • Billy Chandler on June 29, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Just joined the group and it quickly brought back many memories and how the camp helped develop me in many ways. I’m from Atlanta and our school sent many campers. We also used the camp for a week long soccer camp following the regular camp.
    I attended for 4 years, 1972-1975. I was in cabin 8,12 and 13 twice. Also won the “Decathalon” my last two years in Cabin 13.
    Last time I visited Camp Deerewood was in 1985 and spent a little time with Bill and Mrs. May.

    • Jeff Saunders on July 24, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Take what you want, but eat what you take.

    I was so lucky Phil and Geroge Wislar turned me on to this wonderful place back in the early ‘80’s. Deerwoode was a magical place.

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