Earning Her Place

Bunny Johns became a paddler mostly by accident.

As a college freshman in the early 1960s, she’d lined up a summer job in her hometown outside of Atlanta but returned to discover the position had fallen through. Then a friend of hers called to say she’d been offered a job teaching swimming at Camp Merrie-Woode in Sapphire but didn’t want to go — maybe Johns, who had been a competitive swimmer in high school, would want to take her place?

Johns accepted.

“It’s one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the earth,” she said of the outdoor camp near Cashiers. “I had never traveled anywhere. My parents lent me a car so I could go to North Carolina, which I had never been to.”

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