It's a cold, crisp winter day at the Rockin' C Ranch in Lindale. The lake is still and the bunks are getting a break before the busiest time of year for the ranch that started years ago.
Director Matt Clapp tells us "God put the right people in front of me or put me in front of the right people I should say. One thing led to another and before you know it in a matter of 15 or 16 years we have a beautiful camp."
Clapp's parents bought 150 acres back in 1967. Over the years, he and his wife Janie, the master baker behind Janie's Cakes, bought it from them with the hopes of starting a Christian camp for kids.
Clapp says "I was blessed in so many ways when I was younger and I took it for granted. I thought everybody had a grandmother and a grandfather they could go visit on the weekends who lived on a lake."
Now, more than six thousand kids come to the Rockin'' C every year, enjoying the very experiences matt says made his childhood so rich.
Clapp told us "The biggest hit is swimming on the blob. They go blobbing which is just flailing arms and legs out to the wallaboo yonder and wind up with a big belly-buster at the end."
Clapp says for many campers, it's their first time to ride a horse or paddle in a canoe.
"It's also the first time a lot of kids in their lives have been touched by Christ. They come to camp and they've never been to church and they don't know who God is. They don't know what Jesus' plan for their life is. We try to tell them that," Clapp says.
Blake Emmert started as a camper. 11 years later, he's a counselor.
Blake told us "I think God placed it in my heart my sophomore year of high school. I thought it was pretty cool to be a counselor because I came here as a camper."
When it comes to being a counselor, Blake says "Besides having fun hanging out with the kids, probably whenever you do help lead a kid to Christ. It's a very uplifting feeling."
"Nothing is more exciting than for the counselors to bring one of their campers to me and say, 'Mr. Matt, Johnny here wants to give his life to the Lord.'"
After all, that's what the Rockin'' C is all about. And in spite of the success of the camp, Matt says prayer continues to take center stage
Summer Camps at the Rockin' C Ranch start in June and run through early August. Registration is open right now.
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:45 AM EDT2013-05-23 11:45:13 GMT
LELAND, NC (WECT) - One week after a soldier returning home from Afghanistan is surprised by his wife 100 pounds lighter, the unexpected continues. The couple has been bombarded with phone calls fromMore >>
An Army soldier surprised on live television with wife 100 pounds lighter is overwhelmed with all of the media attention. His wife is loving it.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:03 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:03:05 GMT
Dozens of East Texas soldiers are home with their families for the first time in more than a year. The forty men and women of Delta Company 3-144 spent nine of the last 16 months serving in Afghanistan. TheMore >>
Forty men and women of Delta Company 3-144 are home after spending more than a year away from family and friends.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 01:38:14 GMT
MOORE, OK - The trembling, mud-spattered dog whose photo went viral on Tuesday was not actually standing watch over her owner's body - her name is Susie, her owner is named Curtis Collins, and he's alive.ThanksMore >>
There's a happy ending to the story of the little dog who was found standing guard over a body after the EF-5 tornado that decimated her neighborhood in Moore, OK. Her owner is alive, and they have been reunited thanks to the viral photo. More >>