In 1994, Mark and Will Adkins established Waterfront Group, a company that buys and sells land to individuals looking for just the right place to build a home. A few years later, they purchased 160 acres in the mountains of North Carolina on the New River near West Jefferson. At that time, the land was known as High Valley. The property also boasted a five-bedroom hunting lodge built in the early 1950s. The lodge was surrounded by beautiful mountains and a high grassy knoll overlooking the winding New River. Valuing the unique beauty of this property, they made the decision not to develop or sell it.
In February 2006, Mark was busy working on the Adkins Pet Center, a 15,000 square-foot facility consisting of a nonprofit no-kill animal shelter. At the same time, Will was about to embark on another endeavor. He felt that, because of its unique beauty, the land known as High Valley must become a special place for some very special people. So he decided to renovate the lodge and provide a place where families with children who have life-threatening diseases could go for a week of much-needed relaxation. Knowing that with any illness there are also medical expenses, the brothers decided they would lift the financial burden of a vacation, and decided to provide the lodge and food for the week at no charge. The work began immediately, with the help of many volunteers, and was funded totally by the brothers. Camp New Hope opened to its first family in just 14 weeks.
During the short season of the first year, the lodge provided nine families with a week’s vacation. Since that time we host an average of 42 families each year.
In 2007, more renovations came as we glassed in the 30-foot long front porch. We also added a 20′x50′ stone patio and grill, picnic areas, and a waterwheel with a swing. Thanks to funding from Waterfront Group, Camp New Hope opened for a second season and is still going strong. Because no-charge facilities are rare and in high demand, we will continue to search to find that unique property that one day will become the second Camp New Hope.
When asked why he chose to take on the expense of the camp, Will Adkins replied, “Just look at the smiles on the children’s faces and you will know why.”