Mission of Camp Ton-A-Wandah
"Our mission is to create a community that encourages friendship and sisterhood that fosters our campers to become women of substance."
Ton-A-Wandah was founded upon the idea of women inspiring and encouraging other women. Our vision is to create an environment of opportunity for young women to come and grow. We surround our campers with role models of diverse backgrounds who demonstrate strong character, compassion, and leadership. Young women are encouraged to step out in strength and independence in a community fostered by friendship and sisterhood.
Camp Ton-A-Wandah has been a special place over the years for so many for so many reasons! Founded on principles in which to build character of girls from 5 years old to 16, it is a place you return to every summer that smells the same, looks the same and offers the same nature wonderland summer retreat year after year. Some things about Ton-A-Wandah is that it was founded by Captain Billy’s grandmother. Donnie Ballenger Haynes graduated from Converse College in the year 1900. She purchased the 500 acres by the falling water in the 1930’s. This land was originally a fish camp called Lake Falls, on the existing 10-acre lake, which is naturally spring fed. The dining hall and the Lodge were existing buildings. The Lodge was originally a boarding house and where Rhododendron is being the originally the stables. In 1950’s, before the Mohawks, Navajos and Cherokee Tribes, camper groups were separated into the Greenies and Whiteies.
Ernest Bane was the care taker of the property before Donnie purchased our beloved Ton-A-Wandah, and he originally had a rock quarry below the waterfall. The rocks he mined here on site for all the granite steps and rock walls you see around camp. Some of this rock was also used in the construction of the original Hendersonville County Courthouse back in in 1905. The courthouse had been under the architectural design of Englishman Richard Sharp Smith, who came to Asheville to supervise Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House. He later served as the residential architect for Mr. Vanderbilt.
Donnie ran camp with her oldest son Baxter Haynes, after his return from the Navy, along with two dear hearts, Elmina Wages, known to us as Goofus and Thelma Chambers, Doodle. Donnie retired as Director circa 1956/1957 and Baxter, Goofus and Doodle continued to run Camp until the late 1960’s when Morgan and Meg Haynes stepped in for around 20 years and then Captain Billy and Miss Judy moved to camp in 1989 and have been here ever since!
I believe in life as a great game.
I believe that I must uphold the colors in good faith,
never alibi, but play the game fair and square to win.
I believe in friendships and the joy of service to others.
I believe in the flowers, the sunshine and the clouds,
the glory of the sunset and in every beautiful thing.
I believe in the whisper of the leaves, the strength of the
trees, the call of the birds, the inspiration of the towering
mountains and in every great lesson nature teaches.
I believe in moments of silence and in nights of quiet
when a girl can question her soul and find herself.
I believe in love and I believe in faith to the highest.
I believe in the guiding spirit of youth that
looks upward and finds the best in life.
I believe in my better self because I believe in God.