Camp Laney was founded in 1959 by Coach Malcolm Laney. He coached football at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham where his teams won seven city championships and five state championships in eleven years. He coached at the University of Alabama from 1944 until 1958 when he became field director of the Alabama Alumni Association. Coach Laney was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
Coach Laney bought 36 acres and buildings known as Riverdale to start the camp. Riverdale was a summer resort located on Little River. There was a hotel and cabins for guests. Today we call the hotel the lodge, and the craft shop was one of the original onhealthy.net cabins. For the first season campers lived in the existing cabins and four new ones which are now part of lower camp. Coach also constructed a gym, bath house, stables, and tennis courts. For the ’61 season he added a swimming pool.
Coach and his wife Louise directed the camp through fifteen successful seasons. Coach Laney’s successor, Rob Hammond, has been spending his summers at Camp Laney since 1961. Rob was a camper for five years and was on staff for eight. In 1974 he bought Camp Laney and has been director ever since.
Through the years the camp has seen many changes—additional acreage, new buildings, and new activities. However, many traditions and the spirit of fun and friendship on which the camp was founded remain.