Couple devotes 40 years to White River Youth Camp - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Couple devotes 40 years to White River Youth Camp


For decades, Russell and Nelda Wright have devoted six weeks out of the year to serve children at youth camp.

"Well, today we're having - looks like we're having ham sandwich," said Russell, 78, while putting vegetables in a slicer.

Forty years ago, Russell walked into the kitchen at White River Youth Camp for the very first time, and it didn't take long for his sweetheart to follow in his footsteps.

"She came back the next day and we've been back here ever since. We never stopped," he said.

But it wasn't always as easy as pie for him.

"I said, ‘I don't know how to make sloppy joes! He said, ‘I don't either. We're going to learn.' I said, ‘Not me!' He said, ‘Yeah, you are,'" Russell laughed.

But the pair says it's not just the good eats that keep them coming back.

"It's just part of our life. Every year, we come out here and look forward to it," said Nelda, 73.

Russell and Nelda feed about 600 campers each summer. That's about 24,000 hungry kids in their 40-year history. Although they may not remember every face that comes through the camp, the campers definitely remember theirs.

"The girl had a name tag on and I said, 'Jen-ni-fer.' And she said, 'Rus-sell Wright.' I ain't got a name tag on! She said, ‘No but I pot washed with you at White River Youth Camp for five years,'" Russell said. "I didn't recognize her. She grew up on me. Yeah, they all grow up!"

Whether it's the hungry kids that keep them coming back, or the family-like atmosphere, Russell and Nelda are confident that White River Youth Camp is the Wright Place to be in summer.

"We just don't know life without White River," said Nelda.

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