In 1968, the Junaluska Associates (Associates), a support group dedicated to enhancing and promoting the programs and outreach of Lake Junaluska, was established by persons from across the southeastern jurisdiction.
In 1977, the Associates honored the first recipient of the Chief Junaluska Award, Bishop Paul Hardin, for significant contributions and service to Lake Junaluska. Since then, 43 persons have been recognized as Chief Junaluska for their dedication to Lake Junaluska during the Associates’ annual business meeting, Associates Weekend.
“The passion and commitment the Associates have for Lake Junaluska is an inspiration,” said Jack Ewing, Lake Junaluska executive director. “We are deeply appreciative of the dedication of every Associate, and the Chief Junaluska Award is a meaningful way the Associates recognize the dedication of individuals who support Lake Junaluska.”
In 2010, the Associates honored James W. and Frances Cobb Hart as Chief Junaluska for their longstanding service to Lake Junaluska. James accepted the award before family and friends, Frances having died in 2008.
The Hart and Cobb families first came to Lake Junaluska in the 1930s, and both James and Frances grew up and worked during many summers at the lake.
“In 1950, Frances was elected Junaluska Queen, and she and James were engaged that same weekend,” wrote Bill King in the Junaluska Associates newsletter. “After serving appointments in the Holston Conference, James retired to Junaluska to become Director of Services, then Special Assistant to the Director, and finally official greeter for the many conferences and visitors to the grounds.”
Frances managed the Taping Office in Stuart Auditorium before becoming Director of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Commission on Archives and History and the SEJ Heritage Center from 1987 to 1992. She revitalized the historical commission and moved the archives from the Liner warehouse to new quarters in the expanded Harrell Center. The major transfer of archives was with the assistance of James.
“Few individuals have contributed to the wellbeing of the (Lake Junaluska) Assembly over such a long period and in such a variety of ways,” concluded King.
As Lake Junaluska nears its 100th anniversary of service and ministry, the Junaluska Associates are eagerly planning centennial events, and they hope to increase their membership from their current membership of over 800 to 2,000 members. It may be a challenge, but the Junaluska Associates are determined to continue their efforts to contribute to the Lake Junaluska community.
“In forty-three years, the organization has raised 3.2 million dollars, primarily for beautification purposes at Lake Junaluska,” explained Dr. Ernie Porter, the Junaluska Associates President. “Anyone, group or church that wants to support Lake Junaluska is invited to join at any level.”
There are four membership levels: Annual Members ($100); Life Members ($1000); Founder Members ($1913) and Centennial Members ($2013). Life, Founder, and Centennial Memberships are one time payments, and all funds from these are placed in the endowment. The endowment earnings fund most of the projects that the Associates have provided for Lake Junaluska.
Restoration of the amphitheater, the reconstruction of the Rose Walk, paving and improving the walking trails, and the purchase of the trams and trolley are all due to the generosity of the Junaluska Associates. The Associates also funded the construction of the Turbeville Pedestrian Bridge, give yearly support to the Junaluska Singers, and provide scholarships for first-time visitors to Lake Junaluska. Current projects of the Associates include the establishment of a Biblical Garden at the Bethea Welcome Center and the rebuilding and resurfacing of the shuffleboard courts near the playground.
The Junaluska Associates are preparing for their annual Associates’ Weekend, August 5-7, 2011. The weekend features the Junaluska Singers in concert, a Memorial Service for past Associates, a Golf Tournament, the annual banquet and award presentation for Chief Junaluska, and much more. For more information on the Junaluska Associates or joining procedures, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/associates.