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YMCA of Greater Charlotte
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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OUR HISTORY

When kids attend YMCA Camp Thunderbird Resident Camp, they join of a legacy of future leaders that dates back to 1936.

Founded that year as Observer Fresh Air Camp, Inc. by Curtis B. Johnson, Camp Thunderbird has had a long-standing relationship with The Charlotte Observer. In 1946, a $75,000 endowment was established for less privileged youth which still provides funds for campers today. That same year, the YMCA assumed control of operations.
 
In 1951, camp was renamed Camp Thunderbird in honor of a car, surprisingly!  Generous gifts over the ensuing years led to the construction of Alex Hemby Chapel, Johnson Pavilion, the Thunderbird Outdoor Center, the Environmental Ed buildings and program, the Retreat and Conference Center and the Willard Nature Reserve.
 
Day camp began operations in 1983. Since then, camp has continued its improvements including cabin expansion and renovation, a new Climbing Wall, the Alpine Tower and a Dining Hall upgrade. Our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) center is in its formative stages and represents a new direction in combining fun and learning to prepare campers for their futures.
 
YMCA Camp Thunderbird is grateful for the generous donors, volunteers and campers who built and maintain this place through donations, talent and time. With their help, we will continue to impact the lives of children, now and well into the 21st century