The name La Junta comes from an old Indian word which means “the gathering place”. The La Junta Experience began in 1928 with four campers and a program for camping excellence which has continued to date. Third generation campers are now enjoying themselves, growing, discovering their capabilities and learning good citizenship.
In 1928, Dr. Ferdinand Walsh of San Antonio, invited family friends to send their children to spend the summer with him at his Hill Country home. The two story rock structure still remains adjacent to the current stables. In preparation of the summer of 1929, Dr. Walsh built three small cabins to house nearly 30 boys who would spend 8 weeks with him. One of those original cabins still remains in the backyard. In 1931, Dr. Walsh with his son Ralph, bought the adjacent property and built what is still today the main grounds of Camp La Junta for Boys.
In the 1940s, the Walshes sold La Junta to Judge E.C. Gandy of Corpus Christi. In 1948 Luther and Tal Graham contracted with Judge Gandy to bring a string of horses and an exciting riding program to La Junta. They also brought their seven year old Larry to camp that summer. Luther and Tal Graham bought La Junta in 1956, and immediately set about the task of developing the program and improving the facilities. Luther’s passion was horses, horsemanship and a cowboy’s way of life. Luther added the fundamental’s of today’s outstanding riding program. Their son Larry returned home from the Navy in 1969 and gave the camp his flair for adventure, adding much of the waterfront program and Advanced Campers.
In 1968, Wrangler Dave Domingue began attending La Junta. He has been here ever since, marrying and moving to Hunt in 1987. Current Director, Blake Smith, joined the La Junta staff in 1982, and moved full time to La Junta in 1984. His wife, Cheryl, joined him in 1985. Together they have taken over the reigns of camp, fine tuning the awards program to ensure all campers their own brand of success and therefore self-confidence.
Growth and improvements have continued each year since 1928. As a result, La Junta has achieved wide respect for its high standards among campers, staff, parents and other camps. It has become synonymous with honor, integrity, good sportsmanship and good camping.
The La Junta experience remains a fun-filled, exciting time for a young man in his critical, formative years. The goal is to learn to laugh, to take life in stride and to acquire new and lasting values. Good citizenship and interpersonal responsibility are by-products of the close involvement with counselors and other campers. A successful La Junta Experience will give each boy a lasting brand of self-assuredness to carry forward in all of his endeavors.