When Camp Was Camping


My memories of summer camp are fond, happy, and plentiful.

My first camp was up in the mountains. I loved getting up high where the air was cool and the pine forests were green and aromatic. I still love going up into the mountains. Summer camp was amazing!  


At least that’s how I remember it.

I also remember sleeping on cots, in big green tents, with ten campers per tent, and no indoor plumbing, not anywhere. But I don’t think any of that bothered me much, it was camp. Actually, it was church camp.

Military camp
Not Actual Camp Tents, But Close, Really Very Close

There were boy and girl campers. I struggled to understand why girls were allowed at camp, but over the years I warmed to it.


Camp is camp I suppose. It was get up early and go to breakfast. Then back to our tent to make things orderly for daily inspection.The mornings were filled with classes and then we ate lunch.

But after lunch! O man, after lunch was when the fun stuff started.

This was in the early 60’s and I’m not sure we knew how to have fun, or knew what fun was, but whatever it was, it’s what we did.


  1. Crafts using popsicle sticks and glue paste, limit 3 sticks.
  2. Fill a brown paper bag with as many pinecones as possible.
  3. Sit quietly on a rock and look for birds and small mammals.
  4. Stand still, raise our arms, spread our fingers, and be a tree.
  5. Craft bonus day: make a thing using popsicle sticks and pinecones.

There were awards at the end of camp. I won third place for best conifer. The highlight was when my cousin Eugene caught a squirrel with his bare hands. It bit him and the camp people sent him home. 


Our Church’s Children’s Ministry has a camp on Memorial weekend. There are 138 children and counselors at Camp Breakaway.

Here is a partial list of supplies gathered for their activities:

  • 700 water balloons
  • 50 cans of shaving cream
  • 30 pounds of colored powder
  • Four supersize buckets of cheeseballs
  • Three 25′ slip and slides
  • Two human bowling sets
  • One giant twister board

For three days.


It’s not all they do. There are groups and classes with spiritual content and singing and worship and praise. But if you compare what they have to what we had, I’ll take Camp Breakaway every time.



Someone has to plan, develop, recruit, sign up, organize, administrate, collate, originate, create, imagine, envision, and mobilize the entire event. For us, that someone is our Children’s Minister Janel Hopper and her excellent right hand, Melissa McAdams.

They are remarkable and are just the best!

Thank you friends.


Today we gather to lift up the name of Jesus and to praise him in glory. We will miss our 138 campers and counselors, but they will be singing and praising too; and will be home soon enough.

Father, keep them safe, please.

Thank you Lord for our freedom, our prosperity, and for our children.

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