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Camp Broadstone’s namesake originates from the camp’s founder, Bob Breitenstein, whose German surname translated literally means “broad stone”.
In 1952, Coach Breitenstein and his family moved to the Valle Crucis area after purchasing one acre and a small cabin from the Shull family. At the time, Coach Breitenstein was the head football coach for Miami University of Ohio and purchased the land and cabin in Valle Crucis to serve as a summer vacation home for his family. The Breitenstein cabin in Valle Crucis provided a mountain retreat for the family during the summer, serving as a source of relaxation and rejuvenation from Coach Breitenstein’s physically and emotionally demanding job. The Breitenstein’s adored the mountains and admired the people of Valle Crucis, particularly enjoying the cooler climate of the area.
After working many years as a high school and university coach, Coach Breitenstein’s experience gave him to the idea of starting a boy’s athletic camp. He decided that Valle Crucis would be the perfect place for the camp, purchasing thirty-five acres from the Shull family in 1955 to serve as the camp’s location. This purchase was made possible with help from family, friends, and a small investment.
The camp opened in the summer of 1956 with five cabins, an office, an infirmary, and a dining hall. All of the buildings were constructed by local mountain craftsman with lumber harvested at the site. Tennis and basketball courts were built on the large lower field, with additional land cleared and set aside to be used as baseball, soccer, and football fields. A swimming pool was also constructed at the camp, which was one of the first in the area. However, during the 1970’s the pool was filled in, and is now located below the site of the Alpine Tower.
Coach Breitenstein’s athletic camp was an innovative program and brought in young athletes from across the country, including the Cleveland, Miami and Charlotte areas. Notable individuals among Coach Breitenstein’s camp staff include George McIntyre, former head football coach at Vanderbilt University, Don James, former head coach at the University of Washington, and Tom D’Amri, former Assistant Athletic Director at Duke University.
During the 1970’s Camp Broadstone’s program focused on environmental education, as well as a new trend in education—experiential education. The camp built the first high ropes and low ropes courses in the area and began to offer teambuilding programs in addition to the variety of environmental science courses.
In 1975, the Summer Enrichment Program for Academically Gifted Youth was established with assistance from AppState’s Department of Education. The program covered an array of academic enrichment activities, including art, science, mathematics, literature, music, and cultural experiences. Aside from the academic experience, the program also offered adventure programs in the traditional camp atmosphere. Adventure activities offered included rock climbing, canoeing, caving, high and low ropes, and hiking. The camp also offered a day camp program, as well as one week and two week residential sessions.
In addition to summer programs, Camp Broadstone also offered year-round programs to local and statewide school groups, as well as to church youth groups and scouting groups. These programs gave many AppState students their first opportunity to serve as a teacher and counselor to young people. Camp Broadstone also held AppState-sponsored programs throughout the year.
In 2010, Camp Broadstone developed a partnership with AppState’s Outdoor Programs to share use of the now extensive challenge course events on the property. In 2012, the management of Camp Broadstone was transferred from Academic Affairs to Student Development, specifically the University Recreation Department. The transfer of management ushers in a new era for Broadstone, specifically regarding the new mission for Broadstone and the purpose that it will now serve for students and the university community.
In 2017, wellness initiatives were introduced as an integral component of Broadstone Programming. In the years to come, Broadstone will strengthen outreach to create a healthier and more mindful community.