Beverly Cosby, a young seminary student, returned to Lynchburg, Virginia in the early 1950’s after World War II, during a time when small towns all across America were experiencing a boom in urban development. The city of Lynchburg was no different, and Cosby watched as surrounding farmland in the Rivermont and Boonsboro area was bought up as development took over.
Cosby worried that children would not have a place to play, and decided to do something about it. He began by providing a gathering place for a small group of neighborhood children in his home. Soon after, Cosbys’ father donated a piece of property adjoining his home for a playing field. Cosby’s idea for a place for children to gather for play and learning flourished.
Camp Kum-Ba-Yah began in 1950, with a few neighborhood children gathering together for friendship and games. Today, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah summer camp brings over 500 children, counselors, and camp friends together for a wonderful summer camping experience. Nestled in the heart of Lynchburg, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah offers 40 acres for campers to explore the natural world around them, experience personal discovery through new and challenging activities in a safe and encouraging environment, and an opportunity to cultivate friendships through shared responsibility and community. Campers join us from every part of the city and every walk of life. We celebrate the specialness of difference and strive to enable all children to find confidence and a sense of self-worth.
Since it beginning, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah has offered summer day camp for children of all racial, cultural, and religious affiliations, and economic circumstances. Those who can afford to pay, do so. Those who cannot, receive scholarship assistance so that no child is ever turned away. We teach our campers — the children of our collective community — how to lead a healthy life, to become self-reliant and confident. We are as relevant today as we were in the 1950’s.
With the help of countless friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors — and with financial help from grants — Camp Kum-Ba-Yah remains a safe, fun place for children to play, learn, and grow.