Paul Grist camp gets a facelift

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2008


Paul Grist’s legacy in Dallas County got a facelift Saturday.

About 100 people gathered at Camp Grist near Selma to clean up the YMCA camp.

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“The reason we came together today was to rebuild and restore the Paul Grist Camp for kids,” said Jerry Wang, executive director of the YMCA of Selma-Dallas County.

The camp was established by Paul Grist, who worked as a physical director at the Selma YMCA during the 1930s. During World War II, Grist served simultaneously as the director of the YMCA and the USO/YMCA Club in Selma. It was then that he established Camp Grist, which opened in 1946.

Work started in 1941, but stopped because of WW II. Now, it’s considered a haven for boys and girls camping activities.

Saturday’s work included picking up around the camp, and its buildings and blazing trails. A couple of volunteers with Americorps, Josh Mock and Paul McPhee, said they had blisters on their hands from using shovels, hoes and chainsaws working on trails around the camp buildings.

Volunteers who participated in the cleanup included members of the Selma Rotary Club, Leadership Selma, the Paul Grist Alumni Association, Americorps, the Freedom Foundation, Prattville YMCA Leaders Club, Selma YMCA Leaders Club and independent contractors Jim Youngblood of Industrial Electric, DeWayne Alday Construction, Cosby Carmichael Sand and Gravel and Alabama Dumpster.