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Our History

Reverend Johnson

Camp Thunderbird was founded in 1947 by Reverend Harold E. Johnson (far right). Johnson’s dream was to build a camp to serve God, the community, and New Mexico's youth. The Camp was originally started as a Boy Scout camp. “The Reverend” as he was called by his Scouts and fellows, was also Scoutmaster for Troop 105 of Santa Rita, NM for over 40 years.



Through the fellowship and hard work of the community, Boy Scouts, local churches, and Reverend Johnson; construction of Camp Thunderbird’s main lodge began in the spring of 1948. Logs were harvested right here at the Camp and today you can still hike up through the hills and see the stumps cut with handsaw and axe.



The cabins, caretaker’s house, and other outbuildings have been added over time as Camp Thunderbird has evolved. Many generations have had youth camps, family reunions, church retreats, weddings and more here at Camp Thunderbird. We are currently collecting more historical information to put on display here at the Camp and on our internet outlets. If anyone has old photos, articles, or firsthand stories, please feel free to contact us via phone or email.

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