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 La Junta for themselves, discovering their capabilities and growing in confidence as young men.
In 1928, Dr. Ferdinand Walsh, 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 fundamentals 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 the Advanced Camper Program.
In 1968, Wrangler Dave Domingue began attending La Junta. He has been here ever since, marrying and moving to Hunt in 1987. Current Executive 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 program to ensure all campers their own brand of success and therefore self-confidence. Our present Camp Director Scott Fineske and his wife Katie moved to Camp La Junta in 2006 and has continued developing programs and growing the La Junta experience.
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. The La Junta Experience remains a fun-filled, exciting time for a young man in his critical, formative years. Our goal is help boys build character, a sense of service, new life skills and an appreciation of the outdoors. Good citizenship, interpersonal skills and self-confidence are by-products of counselor relationships, group living and learning great new life skills.