I have been intrigued and very interested in Victory Junction, the camp that Kyle Petty and his family established, since its creation. It is located in the area of North Carolina that I call home. I recently had the opportunity to present Kyle with some questions about the camp, its inception, and its success. I hope you will see his passion, his mission, and the blessing Victory Junction brings to kids such as these.
Lili: The Victory Junction Camp is well-known to the communities here in central North Carolina. It is also identified as a “Petty” accomplishment. Can you briefly touch on why this camp was established, and why you chose the Piedmont Triad as its home, versus a more popular and well-known area?
Kyle: My family and I built Victory Junction in the early 2000’s in honor of my son, Adam, who was killed in a racing accident at practice in New Hampshire. He had visited a similar facility, Camp Boggy Creek, when we were on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America one year and had always had a dream of creating one for kids in North Carolina just like it. When Adam passed away in 2000, we knew this was the best way to honor him – to build a camp for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses and allow them to come at no cost to their families.
We built the camp in Randleman because that’s where we all grew up. My parents own a good bit of land up there. They gave us 84 acres to build the camp on, and it just seemed like the perfect fit.
Lili: What types of conditions/illnesses qualify a child for attendance at the camp, and is there any charge to the camper’s family?
Kyle: All campers and their families attend free of charge. Typically, it would cost a child $2500 to attend camp, but because of generous organizations, groups, and supporters we’re able to accommodate them at absolutely no cost.
Camp serves a wide variety of chronic and life-threatening illnesses, from genetic disorders to physical disabilities, burn survivors, heart disease and cancer – the list goes on.
Lili: Are there specific therapies offered, and if so, what type of medical personnel are on site to manage these and any unexpected emergencies?
Kyle: Camp has a fully equipped medical facility and pharmacy, as well as a medical team that is on staff year round, to accommodate each camper’s daily needs and any emergencies.
Lili: Tell me about the fun activities the camp offers, any celebrations and parties!
Kyle: If you’ve never been, you’ve really got to go experience it. It’s funny, sometimes you think you’re the one doing the good deed for these kids, but after spending time with them, you realize they’re the ones doing the good deed for you. It’s incredible – it will change your life.
I can’t imagine going to a camp like this when I was growing up. Kids can enjoy bowling, archery, boating, fishing, stage nights, farm animals, and a water park. Tuesday’s are always the big nights. Every Tuesday during the summer camp, Victory Junction hosts NASCARnival, and it’s a great time. A couple of race teams will come out and perform live pit stops for the campers – they go nuts over that. They get to take hot air balloon rides, get their faces painted, enjoy Krispy Kreme doughnuts, cotton candy and ice cream all while hanging out with professional NASCAR drivers and teams. It’s really special for these kids – they get to do things they will probably never have the opportunity to do again.
Lili: Do you have any special stories from your years at the camp that you can share?
Kyle: That’s a good question. Every year you meet a kid and he comes back year after year and you get to see how he’s growing up. Every kid that comes through the gates of the camp is special to me. But my favorite part about attending camp is just observing. You see these campers smile after trying something for the first time or making a gift to take home to their parents and laughing with a new friend – it always hits home with me. I love watching that kind of stuff.
Lili: Please share how Victory Junction has blessed you and your family’s lives!
Kyle: Just through the kids – being around them is such a blessing. I think we all get caught up in our own day-to-day lives, and then you go to camp and you realize that your priorities are out of whack and you see what’s most important. Camp and these kids, they have a way of keeping you grounded.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)
For more information on this incredible camping experience, please go to www.victoryjunction.org.
Part two of A Chat with Kyle Petty will be published one week from today. We will be talking with him about the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, and about Kyle Petty himself!
Loved it, Lilli. Thank you!