Rustic Youth Camp was begun about four decades ago by Jackie and Bunny Richardson in the northwestern area of Jefferson County, Alabama. The facilities consisted of one small three-room cabin, an outhouse, a fairly good well, and an antique gas refrigerator (yes, gas) and stove. All this finery was in the midst of a 40 acre burned-off strip mine. The heat was hot and the ground was dry — summers were hot then. Did we mention there was no electricity?
Shortly, the state of Alabama offered a blessing in disguise when it wanted to build a maximum security prison on the property.
Then, the camp migrated north to Franklin County, Alabama. The camp has continued to grow and the facilities now consist of a full commercial kitchen and dining hall, multiple bunkhouses, classrooms, a woodworking shop, sports facilities (including a softball field, a volleyball court, and a disc golf course), an outdoor stage theater, and a multipurpose building which will seat 200-300 people. The camp is so successful because of the people — the wonderful, all volunteer staff.
The camp is located at 3170 Shady Grove Road, Russellville, AL 35653, on the northern banks of Cedar Creek Lake, one of several TVA lakes in the area. The camp now hosts hundreds of young people from across the world each year in multiple camp sessions. But don't worry, the summers are still hot.
On Friday night parents and family are invited to a hot dog and BBQ supper at 5:00 PM followed by a program at 6:00 PM where each class will perform a skit of some kind and awards will be given that have been earned throughout the week.