Camp Koinonia (pronounced Coin o nia) is a residential outdoor camp held annually in the spring to provide a camping experience for more than one hundred young people (aged 7–21) with disabilities in the Knoxville area. The camp transferred from VPI to UT in 1984 when Dr. Gene Hayes, an internationally known authority on therapeutic recreation for persons with disabilities, left VPI to join the UT faculty. The camp began at VPI in 1977. Its name, a Greek word meaning fellowship and caring community, was chosen as a result of a contest at VPI to select a name for the experience.
The camp—organized, planned, and conducted by 150 UT students as part of a course requirement in Therapeutic Recreation—has been located at the Clyde York 4-H Center in Crossville. The campers are drawn from Knox, Anderson, Union, and Blount County Schools, as well as Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) and various special education programs. The camp, supported by camper fees and fundraising activities, has a one-counselor to one-camper ratio and medical personnel on the premises at all times. UT students also operate Camp Koinonia II for disabled adults who are too old to attend the original camp. The weekend camp for disabled adults is held in the early fall. In 1993 Camp Koinonia won the Saturn Award ($1,000) for outstanding community service accomplishments by student teams.