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Huawni History

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In 1965, Earl Adams, or “Daddy Earl” as you’ll soon know him, strolled down a school hallway and said to himself, “Hmmm…I wish my students could experience something where they weren’t so tied down - a place where they truly could be themselves.” So, he and Retha (a.k.a. Mimi) cut some logs, built a few cabins, dug a huge hole for a swimming pool…and their kid’s camp, Camp Huawni, was born. We continue to celebrate Mimi and Daddy Earl and their vision of creating a legacy of youth development. Their dream continues to impact youth from all over the world.

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Mike & Pam Adams, Founding Family

Mike and Pam have faithfully served at Camp Huawni for five decades. Mike is a gatherer of people with a big heart. From organizing the East vs. West Football Game to producing and narrating feature films with his brother Pat, Mike loved getting people together at Camp. Mike was instrumental in recruiting and caring for staff. One time Mike, along with Pat, David McGinnis, Rusty Marshall, and Gary Patterson, dressed in their staff shirts and served crepes to the entire counseling staff. They played fun music and served each person as if they were their only customer. Mike loves exploring nature and has a true love for land, which he shared regularly at Huawni. Mike is infamous for leading Sunday hikes where he’d point out and identify trees and plants, animal tracks, rich lighter pine kindling, Sassafras root, and more. There were few Sing Songs where Mike didn’t point out the Big Dipper or North Star, tying it all back to God and us being a part of His creation. When in nature or on a tractor (which was many times his way of getting regular therapy), Mike was at home. Huawni also brought out the fun in Mike. Dumping counselors into the Snake Pond after a hike, belly-laughing at his brother Pat impersonating Filbert the Frog, or laughing at Pat anytime Pat was laughing were quintessential moments of pure fun for Mike and those around him. Some would say that the Story of the Blue Wolf was really Mike’s story, as Mike has the gift of perseverance and reliability. Mike shows up. Whatever it took– fixing a sewer line, staying up to the wee hours of the morning burning Christmas tracks for campers, or providing for his family when times were tough, Mike hung in there. Mike is also very much a visionary. In fact, through Mike dozens of Huawni Traditions came to life, including the Camp Song, Initiation, and the 8th Fire. In the early 90’s Mike also wrote the Summer Tree poem and started the Summer Tree ceremony. Summer Tree continues to be an outlet where campers can share emotions and verbalize who they were made to be. Through Mike Huawni Pond also became a reality. Mike dreamed of a bigger body of water that could be enjoyed by campers, friends, and family. Over the years Mike also resourcefully pieced together tracts of land to make Huawni Pond and the surrounding campus a reality. Mike was willing to sacrifice so that Huawni could continue for generations to come. He was also willing to sacrifice for the love of his family. Mike was often seen hauling Austin and Travis off to baseball games and football camps during the middle of the summer. Further, Mike was a timely encourager and knew just when to encourage each of his children. When his daughter Michael Anne was twelve, he debuted at Sing Song the song “Michael Anne”, which spoke of identity and love for his daughter. Before Travis’s first big senior football game, Mike showed up to the locker room before traveling to the game to let Travis know that he had what it takes. On two occasions he faithfully talked Austin out of quitting the TCU Baseball Team. Mike also sent encouraging letters to Austin during his Baylor Two-A-Days when he knew Austin wanted to give up. These moments greatly impacted the trajectory of Michael Anne, Travis, and Austin’s lives. Mike stepped up in these big moments. Pamela Utley Adams is best described as a selfless host, servant, and friend. She has been a ray of sunshine and given incredible charity to Mike, her family, and the Huawni Tribe for a long, long time. Pam is also very versatile and loved Huawni from the get go. Cleaning bathhouses, umpiring Wiffleball World Series games, jumping in to serve in the kitchen, or recruiting campers from her hometown of Lubbock were just a few of the ways we got to see Pam love Camp. Pam was a timely encourager and listener. Homemade ice cream on the 4th, care packages to her kids from famous Huawni Legends, Wal-Mart runs for camper toothbrushes, and kitchen time with Ms. Ada were all ways in which Pam cared for and enjoyed people. Everyone at Camp considered Pam to be a good friend. Pam also loves to have fun and was a great person to laugh with. In fact, she is living proof that the Wild Woman is real. One summer she and fellow counselor Gary Crawford had planned to scare campers on the truck ride. As the trailer of campers approached, Pam and Gary heard something in the woods, and low and behold it was the Wild Woman! Pam and Gary ran as fast as they could and jumped on the trailer with the campers. Pam has and continues to be a cheerful encourager and avid fan of her children. She enjoyed fiercely cheering on Austin, Travis, and Michael Anne as they competed on the field and court. Her presence and loud voice were constant reminders of her support and care for her kids. Pam continues to have a passion for loving and investing in her family. Family trips, a TCU Baseball Game, or watching her grandkids compete are all things Pam loves being a part of. Likely Pam’s biggest contribution to Huawni came in 2009. The Adams Family had gathered together with the purpose of shutting down Camp. Just before that meeting on a flight back from a mission trip, a cool breeze came across Pam’s face as she heard God’s prompting to keep Camp open even though there was no clear plan on how to do so. Because of Pam’s courage and faith and God using Pam in this defining moment, thousands of campers and staff have had the privilege of experiencing Camp Huawni. Lord willing thousands more will be able to do the same in the future. Mike and Pam believe that it was more important in life to know and share Jesus’ love and to love family. Many of us got a glimpse of this seeing Mike faithfully lead staff devotionals early each morning. Mike and Pam chose family many times over doing other things. Showing up to games and matches, coaching many of those games, playing catch with their kids (which sometimes included suiting up in catcher’s equipment on occasion), or providing the best possible education for their children were just a few examples of how they loved their family. Mike is known for saying, “It’s not where you are, but who you’re with” and “I’m the richest man alive” referring to his relationship with Jesus and family. We will forever be grateful to God for using Mike and Pam Adams to plant seeds of growth at Camp Huawni.

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Pat & Linda Adams, Founding Family

One of Pat Adams’s greatest gifts to the Huawni Family is his laugh. Not only does his laugh make you laugh, but you immediately feel cared for and at home the first time you hear it. Pat loves making people feel good, even if he can’t quite hear what you said and he responds like he did. Pat is very thoughtful and caring, as he would encourage folks at Camp in all kinds of ways. He still sends his three daughters (Kara, Dana, and Lesa) thoughtful texts on a regular basis. Before texts existed, Pat would send thoughtful messages at Camp through his laugh, smile, hugs, and genuine care for people. Pat brought the love of parasailing to Huawni, as he and David McGinnis piloted the activity by trying to land in the pool. Camp benefited over the years from Pat’s green thumb and love for the outdoors (and snakes). Whether it was mowing on the tractor, working in his garden, cleaning the pool, shooting a feature Huawni Film (Pat starred as the lead role of course), or riding bikes into the Snake Pond, Pat loved being outside with his friends. In fact, anything Pat was doing with Rusty Marshall, Gary Patterson, David McGinnis, Tutor Carrol, Fred Jackson or his brother Mike, it was sure to be fun. Pat has such a genuine and humble respect and love for other people, and it was infinitely felt at Huawni over the years. Pat accredits that to Kyle Fields, who taught Pat that you respect your fellow man no matter how different they are from yourself. Pat’s respect and love for people was infectious at Huawni. Pat devoted nearly five decades of his life to Camp Huawni to ensure that Mimi and Daddy Earl Adams’ dream continued. Pat’s love for God and his family are what matter most to Pat, and his legacy of love, devotion, respect, fun, and laughter vibrantly continue today. Pat will always be remembered for saying, ‘Never lose the kid inside.” Linda Mims Adams is a humble servant who dedicated much of her life to Camp Huawni. Linda was a counselor and owner and cared for the Huawni Family like it was her own. She gave of herself and learned diligently under the wings of Retha “Mimi” Adams, her mother-in-law and co-founder of Camp Huawni. Linda made sure that everyone was well fed, she was often found cleaning and tyding up all of camp, and she was a talented arts and craft teacher. Linda would spend hours preparing first-year camper certificates using her gift of calligraphy. Linda’s love for Pat is evident with how much she poured into and supported Camp. Linda is all about serving and teaching others, and she certainly did so for her daughters Kara, Dana and Lesa. She gave the girls swimming lessons at the Camp Pool before the girls were of camper age. Linda worked hard to give her girls the best life possible, which included taking care of her girls at Camp. Linda is also passionate about teaching, which she did year-round for many years. Linda played a key role in continuing the Huawni Legacy. Linda embodies her utmost beliefs to love God and love family, not to sweat the small stuff, be a friend to everyone, and do things with excellence. Pat and Linda’s legacy in many ways is their family and passing on a legacy of love through their daughters Kara, Dana and Lesa, son in laws Matt, Sean, and Steve, and grandchildren Grant, Ty, Chase, Logan, Evan Kaye and Faye Eddie. We will forever be grateful of how God used Pat and Linda Adams to plant seeds of growth at Camp Huawni.

It Sure Is A Funky Word For A Kid’s Camp

Here’s a cool fact: the name “Huawni” comes from a small Cherokee Indian tribe that at one time called the camp land their home. In fact, you can even trek through the Piney woods past the Pinson Creek and see two original Huawni Indian ceremonial mounds.

What Is The Huawni Magic?

Over the years, kids just like you have caught the “Huawni magic,” a fancy term for having the summer of your life - so special that it’s nearly impossible to explain.

The Huawni kid’s camp experience provides you with a unique bond – an experience shared by numerous others who have spent summers at Huawni, including National Football League coaches, songwriters, college athletes, business people, and even actors (like Matthew McConaughey).

A Select Few

As a special way to commemorate your time at Huawni, you will be given custom jewelry, personally designed by James Avery, after years 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8. Only those in the Huawni Tribe are allowed to wear it. No one else…

James Avery has been exclusively making custom Camp Huawni jewelry since the 1970’s.

As you move up in the tribe your jewelry shows off your dedication.