An Exciting Announcement

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Dear Camp DeSoto Community,

We mentioned in our last letter that you would be hearing more from Camp before September registration begins, and we are writing today with an exciting announcement for Camp and for our family. The 2021 season will be Sarah Hurt’s first as the Director of Camp DeSoto!

Sarah is steeped in Camp DeSoto, and we are excited to invite her into this role of even greater responsibility and leadership. Sarah moves into the position of Director with deep respect and appreciation for the history of this place and its generations of girls and women who have spent summers here. She moves into this responsibility with the intention to lead with the prayer and care that DeSoto has always known. And she moves into this new leadership role with joy, energy, and vision for girls growing up today. We are so grateful to have not only willing but very capable hands into which we place the directorship of Camp DeSoto.

We, Phil and Marsha, will remain active as owners and Executive Directors. We will support Sarah in her leadership and decision-making as the Director, and we will continue to provide leadership for the Farm at Windy Hill. We are not going anywhere! All three of us are excited to continue working together to love and serve campers and their families. Many things will remain the same, even as Sarah begins to take on greater leadership of Camp. This leadership transition began happening quite naturally over the past several years and will continue as a gradual process. This is simply the next step in making Sarah’s leadership official and inviting the entire Camp community to begin to transition alongside us.

It is a great joy that we get to serve and lead Camp DeSoto as a family. As parents we feel reluctant to “brag” on Sarah, but as Executive Directors passing leadership into her hands, we feel it is important for you to know that we trust her as a professional, and not only as our daughter.

Sarah camped for nine summers (1996-2004) at DeSoto, and she was on Staff four summers (2007-2010). She has been working full-time for Camp DeSoto since she graduated from Wake Forest University in 2010, and she has been the Assistant Director since 2015. From 2016-2018, Sarah participated in a leadership course for young camp professionals from around the country, led by Bob Ditter, a noted camp professional with many years of experience with many different camps over the course of his career. In this course, Sarah joined a cohort of 10 others who were poised to transition their respective camps into the next generation of leadership (most of whom were rising Camp Directors). Through that experience, as well as annual professional development through the American Camp Association and mentorship from other Camp Directors (especially those in the Lookout Mountain Camp Association), Sarah has learned so much: beyond the ins-and-outs of running DeSoto, she has been learning about summer camping as a business and industry, developing vital leadership and interpersonal skills, and connecting with and learning from other camp professionals (who are not her parents!). While any young Camp Director has plenty still to learn, she has demonstrated a readiness for this position not only to us, but also to others in camping with whom we have consulted and in whom we trust.

This is such a good development for Camp DeSoto. Sarah brings to this new role a depth and wisdom beyond her years that we recognize and have come to rely on. She carries in her heart the life-forming and spiritually-grounding effects that summers at Camp DeSoto have upon girls who camp here – be they nine years old, nineteen, or ninety. She has lived the heart of Camp DeSoto’s mission, and she is ready to carry that mission into the future.

We write this letter with grateful hearts for God’s faithfulness through the years. Thank you for loving and supporting Camp like you do. Let’s unite our prayers for each other as we navigate the challenges of this year with hopes, dreams, and plans for 2021.


Phil and Marsha

We sent this letter to our Camp community by email this morning (Tuesday, August 25, 2020). We also wanted to post it here. If you did not receive this email and you’d like to be on our mailing list (or thought you already were on the list!) please do let us know. We try our best to keep everyone in the loop, and we want you to receive communication from Camp if you are interested.

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Sarah Hurt

About Sarah Hurt

Sarah Hurt is the Director of Camp DeSoto. She grew up playing in the woods of Lookout Mountain, swimming in Little River, and spending her summers as a DeSoto camper. She loves good stories, twinkle lights, her dog Riley, and Camp DeSoto girls most of all.

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