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First Camp director Buford "Chief Mac" McKenzie passes

November 3, 2013

BCH’s first wilderness camp director, Buford “Chief Mac” McKenzie, passed away Tuesday, October 15, 2013. In 1981, McKenzie took the lead in building Cameron Boys Camp on principles developed by Campbell Loughmiller, who pioneered Christian therapeutic camping in Texas. McKenzie had worked closely with Loughmiller for 18 years. McKenzie then spent 12 years establishing the Eckerd Foundation wilderness camps in Florida.

As a young man in 1949, Mississippi native McKenzie went to Dallas to study music and youth ministry. When he was introduced to Loughmiller and witnessed what he was doing, he said to himself, “This is what I was cut out for.”

“Chief Mac believed whole heartedly in the spirit of Camp,” BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell said. “Intangible was the word he often used to describe the redemption and healing power the boys experienced in the woods.”

McKenzie once said that the woods is a child’s world. “We realized that when they have a choice, youngsters really go right to the woods.”

“Chief Mac built Cameron Boy’s Camp around the boys and their needs – physically, emotionally and spiritually.” Blackwell said. “He was a big man in stature, but he was even a bigger man spiritually – he had a big heart.”

Blackwell said that he would be forever grateful for McKenzie’s strong and visionary leadership.