NBA All-Star, and Co-Founder of Whispering Winds Catholic Camp, Don Kojis, left a large footprint on the community of San Diego and beyond. Today, Whispering Winds Conference Center and camp is one of the largest and most successful camps in the western part of the United States. 11,000 people go through the camp each year. Eighty-five percent of the campers are young people, young children, young adults, millennials, and those beginning their millennial years who are profoundly touched by their experiences at the Whispering Winds Catholic Camp. Through the goodwill of Don Kojis, his co-partner, and their spouses, Whispering Winds was established in 1978 on 161 acres in the mountains east of San Diego. Answering God’s call, Don rose to meet it by building a refuge in the mountains near Julian away from the stresses, distractions, and noise of daily life.
The beginnings of Whispering Winds were as humble as they get, there was nothing out there except trees, thick brush, and dirt. A perfect metaphor for how to live a truly fulfilling life is if we place our complete trust in the Lord, completely surrendering to his will, not knowing where the path is going to lead us, he’s going to take us on an adventure and reward us beyond measure. Through joyful faith in action, Don’s vision and inspirations of hope helped his supporters begin to see each step forward and feel the call of the Holy Spirit as Don did. Don often quoted, Colossians 2:2 “that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ”. Don Kojis made any situation that was tough, or hard, better. He had that “can’t lose” attitude that made him the man that he was. As one NBA star to another, Kobe Bryant was quoted saying, “leave the game in a better place after you leave it, than when you entered it”. Don Kojis grew up with an amazing family surrounding him, he worked hard, became an NBA legend, an amazing husband and father, a Co-Founder of a game changing camp, a professional grandfather, and left a legacy; an example of man given a task from God and seeing it through to completion.
Together with the staff, leadership team, and treasured volunteers and visitors, we invite you to ensure that future generations can grow in their faith, strengthen their relationship with each other, and meet with the Lord on the mountain through a powerful experience on the holy grounds of the Whispering Winds Catholic Camp. Let us all, as a collective, carry-on Don Kojis’s legacy in our hearts and honor him by following his example, by leaving everything out on the court, keeping the faith, always loving sacrificially, and trusting in God’s divide plan for our lives. Don’s legacy is a reminder, especially during the downtimes, that nothing is impossible with God.
The same power that split the Red Sea, that rolled away the stone at the tomb in the garden, that against all odds built whispering winds, and rebuilds it ever better than ever after a devastating fire, that same power as it is alive and at work today in our community and inside every one of us.
Don often played the lottery and talked about what he would do with the millions. First on the list, of course, was always the camp. Yet the irony is, collectively as a community, we each makeup a piece of the jackpot. Community contributions to Whispering Winds support their leadership’s ability to provide premium Catholic programming to reach children, teens, and families of all ages with their family camps. While annual revenues exceed $ 2 million, Whispering Winds is grateful to remain debt-free.
If you feel compelled by the story and legacy of Don Kojis and would like to learn more about how you can help continue to positively impact the formation of over 11,000 people, annually, who travel to Whispering Winds, please click the button below.