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Ammons Family empowers new education center

Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) celebrated the opening of the new Ammons Education

Center with a dedication ceremony on May 7. More than 250 attended the event at Cameron Boys Camp.

“This was a hazy dream and, in many ways, an impossible dream,” BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell shared with those in attendance. “Once we met with Jud Ammons, the dream went from impossible to improbable. And today, as we all can witness, the dream went from improbable to inevitable.”

The creation of the 10,000 square-foot center was made possible by a lead gift from Justus “Jud” Ammons and his late wife Jo Ellen Ammons of Raleigh. Additional BCH friends, including donors and North Carolina Baptist work teams, united their resources to build the center.

Justus “Jud” Ammons and his late wife Jo Ellen Ammons.

The date of the dedication, May 7, holds special significance to the Ammons family –– it is Jo Ellen’s birthday. She would have turned 84 years old this year.

“She was a dear lady, a dear mother, and a dear grandmother,” Blackwell shared.

“This is very moving for our family. To say ‘God is good’ is putting it mildly,” said Alma Hoffman, Jud Ammon’s daughter who spoke on behalf of the Ammons family.

At one point, per Blackwell’s request, both boys and girls from BCH’s two camps gathered with their caregivers or “chiefs” and Camp staff members to sing “Thank you, Jud” in the camps’ usual rousing spirit.

“It is our family’s privilege to build up this ministry to help change children’s lives,” Hoffman added. “You all speak the same language as my family –– helping others in order to further God’s kingdom.”

North Carolina Baptists, including members of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church in Pleasant Garden and Moon’s Chapel Baptist Church in Siler City, were instrumental in helping.

One of the hallmarks of BCH’s wilderness camp ministries at both Cameron and Camp Duncan for Girls in Aberdeen is its educational programs. Both camps are licensed, non-public schools educating campers through an experiential curriculum that serves as an alternative to the traditional classroom environment.

“The Ammons Education Center will serve as a hub to enhance the camps’ already strong educational component and open up additional opportunities for achieving academic success,” Blackwell said. “It gives us a new opportunity to invite community involvement utilizing the center and connecting them with our camp programs.”

Although the facility is located at the boys camp, it will be an equal resource for Camp Duncan, also located in Moore County.

“This long-held vision has come to fruition at the right time and because of the involvement of the right people,” said Blackwell.

To Learn More about Cameron Boys Camp, go to

Written by Blake Ragsdale, BCH Director of Communications

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