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Brandon Armstrong hugs his cousin Rachel Weldy after baptizing her at Michigan Christian Youth Camp in Attica. Rising costs and increased competition challenge Bible camps nationwide

Readers share favorite church camp memories


In my time with The Christian Chronicle, I’ve enjoyed visiting a number of Christian camps across the nation, from Camp Yamhill in Oregon to Camp Manatawny in Pennsylvania to Central Florida Bible Camp in, well, Florida.
I’ve written about Bible camps lighting fires and fanning flames. I’ve shared anecdotes about tied-up counselors and sneaky skunks. I’ve sampled Dick Potter’s famous meatloaf at Gander Brook Christian Camp in Maine.

Brandon Armstrong hugs his cousin Rachel Weldy after baptizing her at Michigan Christian Youth Camp in Attica in 2009. (Photo by Rebecca Schad)

Last fall, I wrote a Page 1 story about baptisms at camp:

Across the nation, thousands of church members — young and old — trace the washing away of their sins to a river, creek, lake, pond or swimming hole at a summer Bible camp.
Roger Woods, minister of the Walled Lake, Mich., church, was 11 years old when he and best friend Steve Vogel made the decision to be baptized at Aloha Christian Camp in Hawaii.
The year: 1970.
“We called home to get permission and then were immersed in the camp pool surrounded by the whole camp as witnesses,” Woods said. “To this day, I remember how strongly I felt the Lord’s presence as the group of us who were baptized huddled together and sang ‘I know the Lord will find a way for me.’”

As I type this, I can hear the excited chatter of hundreds of young people attending Camp Impact and Camp Cornerstone on the Oklahoma Christian University campus.
In case you hadn’t guessed it, it’s summertime — which means it’s Bible camp time.
If you’ve read this far, why not take the time to leave a comment and share your favorite memories of church camp? Be sure to include the name of the camp and your home congregation in case we decide to quote you in a future Chronicle story.

  • Feedback
    While I could cite many memories, I continually come back to baptisms at both the camp I grew up attending (Bootheel Youth Camp in Missouri) and where I have counselled (Maywood Christian Camp in Alabama, and Valley View in Tennessee).
    There have been many nights of almost no sleep, but of nearly endless study and discussion. I still recall a friend of mine and I staying up until the “wee hours” studying with a friend. Finally, about 3 in the morning, he decided to put Christ on in baptism. My friend baptized him, but he wanted me to be “in the water,” too, which was a thrill that I won’t soon forget.
    Each year, as I head to camp, I pray that God will use those days to bring precious souls to Him, and that others will repent and return to their first love.
    Adam Faughn
    June, 29 2010

    Partly because I was raised Catholic I never went to camp as a youth. I had a great experience as camp missionary for senior high week in 2000 at Rock Garden Christian Service Camp in southern Missouri. Camp is a fantastic thing for young people. My daughter went to her first camp (Camp Manatawny in Pennsylvania) last year at age 11 (going on 12 at the time) and came back dead serious about being baptized into Christ. A high point of my life was baptizing her during the Brazilian Church of Christ’s retreat at the end of that same month.
    I’m a member of Central Jersey Church of Christ.
    Adam Gonnerman
    June, 29 2010

    When I was almost 12, my dad, Paul Brown, accepted the role of Camp Manager at Quartz Mountain Christian Camp in Lone Wolf, OK. We moved from Wichita Falls (gasp! They made me leave TEXAS!!) to that tiny little spot tucked inside the Quartz Mountains. I couldn’t imagine growing up in such a place…and now I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else. We did have an air conditioned house on the campus, but I spent most of my summers in those tiny wooden A-frame cabins with nothing but windows and box fans.
    Of course, being the camp manager’s daughter came with certain “perks.” Unlimited canteen privileges, a personal swimming pool whenever I needed to tan, and the option to go home and take a hot shower come to mind. And boyfriends? Let’s just say that I was the self-appointed leader of the welcoming committee each Sunday afternoon!
    But those devotionals up on the mountain or around the campfire…the baptisms in the swimming pool (I was 13 when my dad baptized me there)…the singing…the friendships I made that are still alive today…THOSE are the things that made camp what it was. To be allowed to experience that every day – not just for a week, but for an entire summer year after year – I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful way to grow up!
    When I was 17, I fell in love (for real this time!) with one of the counselors. I think there was a rule about counselor/camper relationships…good thing my daddy was the boss! I followed him to LCU and we married two years later. This November we will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. Without QMCC, I never would’ve found him. And to think it happened right under that Oklahoma sky.
    Shei (Brown) Wells, Richland Hills Church of Christ
    Shei (Brown) Wells
    June, 29 2010

    I spent many, many years at Camp Manatawny as I was growing up, from the time I was 7 until I was a freshman in college … and then went back one year with my then 18-month-old son to help on staff. Now my oldest son is 9 years old and he has spent the last two years at High Rock Bible Camp, somewhere near Duffield, VA. Very, very southwest Virginia. Last week I had the privilege to be a counselor there, and I am ecstatic to have found a new camp for my children to attend. The majority of kids there were from east Tennessee and SW Virginia. The kids at my congregation, Blacksburg CofC, discovered it last year and I think we will be there for a long time! The classes and chapel services were excellent! The people there, amazing Christians!
    Lisa Leichner
    June, 29 2010

    I was fortunate to attend 2 great Christian camps as I was growing up. We were in Colorado 1955-1959 while my dad was getting a Masters at UofC Boulder. Circle C Camp as my first time away from home at age 10. I threw up the hot dogs and baked beans that first night, and a young minister, Jack Carter, came to sick bay the next day, played his guitar and talked me out of my homesickness. So, CC became part of our family’s life those summers – the friendships that were made there in the 1950’s, continue to this day – Norman and Jim Morrow, the Beaman girls from Littleton, Gayle Crowe, Henry Brown, Mary Ward, the Ashcrofts, the Wilkinson family who were also in Boulder with us at UofC, beloved Joe Malone who baptized me in that freezing cold Bear Lake. I still have a number of our camp newsletters if anyone is interested. My 2nd camp experience was at Rockford Christian Camp in Rockford, IL. I went there from age 12 to 18 and again, the friendships continue to this day. Being from the Chicago area, there were not many young people in our churches, so the opportunity to be with “church” kids was something I looked forward to each summer. We sang together, prayed for each other, swam at the pool (separate from the boys, of course -how silly that seems now), and had our teenage hearts elated and then broken by those “2-week boyfriends.” Those weeks at camp played a great role in influencing my life and the choices I made, and I will forever treasure the memories and life-long friendships that were made.
    Sue Giallombardo Walker
    July, 1 2010

    “Dear Old Sooner Youth Camp, I’ll remember you; When life’s evening shadows, hides life’s morning blue….”
    Still remember that song. Sooner Youth Camp – Lake Murray, OK. Serious summertime heat, outdoors in the dirt and rocks – and on the last night of camp we all dressed up – girls in long dresses and guys in nice slacks. Of course this was … See Moreback in the 70’s. Would this go over today? Probably not, but wow. Great Christian teachers and wonderful memories. 🙂
    My home congregation is Western Heights Church of Christ in Sherman, TX.
    Connie Deckard
    July, 2 2010

    Texhoma always rocked
    Paula Walker
    July, 2 2010

    Palmetto Bible Camp, Marietta, SC Senior Week! Worked in the kitchen for 10+ years. Home church…Rose Hill Church of Christ in Columbus, GA. Worth every minute of the 5 hour drive!
    Carol Reed Fonville
    July, 2 2010

    Camp Bandina in Texas – Swimming in the Medina River, crafts, softball, mealtime songs, nightly devotionals, skits and bonfire on the last night. Like Connie already posted, I also went to Sooner Youth Camp two years, and I do remember the song she quoted, and the “formal night.”
    Janice Milford Enlow
    July, 2 2010

    Ganderbrook christian camp in Maine.. my friend was baptized there in a lake with beautiful moonlight shining!
    Donna Murphy Blankenship
    July, 2 2010

    Palmetto Bible Camp – 1972-77. Claude Beardon, Ralph Richardson, Brother Helen, Frenchie Faciane, the Thigpens – all wonderful Christian examples. I worked in the kitchen from 73-77. We had a camp clap that I soon learned was the same camp clap as Michigan Christian Youth Camp, and Ganderbrook in Maine! I love my memories from PBC!
    Leslie Robinson Landiss
    July, 2 2010

    West Ky Youth Camp – lots of fun times each year.
    Morrisa Watson Summers
    July, 2 2010

    Short Mountain Bible Camp, Woodbury, Tenn. Coffee Co. week is oh so good. Check out the fb group page (SMBC rocks my socks): http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2204618721
    Truman J. Carroll
    July, 2 2010

    See comment above about Palmetto Bible Camp -My home church in those days was Richmond Hill Road Church of Christ, which is now Central Church of Christ in Augusta, GA.
    Leslie Robinson Landiss
    July, 2 2010

    michigan christian youth camp os by far the best! sorry to burst ya’ll’s bubble =) camp is great for everyone!! Thanks Jerry & Rita Brackney 4 ur service to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! King of Kings! Amen & Amen!
    Sue Gillette
    July, 2 2010

    Pettijohn Springs Christian Camp in Madill, Oklahoma. I was a Counselor there. My dad, Cole Tidwell, was Camp Director at one time. Many, many, happy kids continue to love Pettijohn!
    Susie Tidwell
    July, 2 2010

    Sierra Bible Camp in Lake Almanor, CA!! My mother was a camper and then when we were old enough my siblings and I went. My nephews have attended also. Wonderful memories!! I was baptized in the swimming pool by my grandfather, Ordo Clothier.
    Lisa Vice Borden
    July, 2 2010

    Anyone remember Camp Takatoka?? NE Oklahoma.
    Teresa Kerr Lewis
    July, 2 2010

    Sunset in Groesbeck, TX. We concluded each session with “Beyond the Sunset” and it still brings a tear! Thanks for letting us reminisce for a minute 🙂
    Ethelyn Barnum Sharpe
    July, 2 2010

    Sierra Bible Camp, Lake Almanor, CA. Memories, precious memories, how they linger! Praise God for parents who cared about our being raised to love and serve a Risen Savior! North Highlands Church of Christ, North Highlands, CA.
    Diane Clothier Jewell
    July, 2 2010

    I’m another Pettijohn Springs camper. I went there about three or four summers or maybe more. I can’t remember. Had so much fun that my mom was one of the craft ladies when my little brother went. Wonderful memories.
    Angela Black Tillis
    July, 2 2010

    Yellowstone Bible Camp in Pray, Montana.
    Mick Smith
    July, 2 2010

    Georgia Bible Camp-Valdosta, Ga. At first, camp was held on the campus of Georgia Christian School-then later at the campsite. Wonderful memories of good times there–esp. when Jon Hazelip was the director!
    Linda James Markum
    July, 2 2010

    Every time we sing “Soldiers of Christ, Arise” I think of Camp Wyldewood in Searcy, AR. I loved everything about that camp except the cold showers. Then I was from Geyer Springs Church of Christ in Little Rock, AR. Now I worship at Cold Harbor Road Church of Christ in Mechanicsville, VA.
    Lisa Dalton Bishop
    July, 2 2010

    Camp Indogan near Angola, Indiana. The name stands for Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. My dad helped start the camp, so it was a huge part of our family’s life. Loved it! My best friends were from camp. My kids grew up going to Nebraska Youth Camp–which they loved about as much as I did Camp Indogan.
    Gail Welker Miller
    July, 2 2010

    ahhh nothing beats Yosemite Bible Camp Cali….went there two or three times a summer…it was awesome and had stuff that made it the most all around great camp…my bro went too and my kids went…it is one of the things that runs in a family…of course I went with Hanford,Cali and Arlington Heights,Fresno.,Cali and East Bakersfield,Cali…it was… See More great even when we were up to no good it was light hearted and part of the camp adolescent thing..many kids went through there..the Fraley Family (my moms) even rented it off season for a family reunion camp and wow was that fun as most of us were prior campers and showed our kids all the “right” spots to sneek out to..lol..like a set of small falls we played in after taking watermellon the night before and hiding it in the falls so it would be cold the next night…ahhh the wonderful sometime foolish memories..lol…it was the best part of being a young Christian..sure there was youth forums and devotionals but nothing and I mean nothing surpassed life at camp…God Bless all who worked so hard to give us a lifetime of memories and gratitude…lot’s of you have gone home to be with our Lord but for those left you are awesome encouraging Christians
    Peggy Freitas
    July, 2 2010

    Camp Ganderbrook in No. Raymond, Maine Work and Worship Week wonderful time for the whole family..
    Dawn Zwicker Lowe
    July, 2 2010

    Beechwood Hills, Hopkins, Michigan 🙂 I went there, my brother went there, and now, my kids are going there!!
    Lennie Fox
    July, 2 2010

    Hail dear old Ganderbrook, all hail to thee our dear old Ganderbrook! in Maine. I was a camper 6 years, counselor 3, all more than 30 years ago. Still have many precious memories of a physically beautiful place where Christ was the center.Ganderbrook is one of the strongest cords that binds the churches of New England closely together.
    Patricia Mohundro Bliss
    July, 2 2010

    Rockford Christian Camp in Rockford, Illiniois. Our camp was called RCC but was held at a location called “Camp Rotary”. I will never forget it. A bugle was played every morning, we went to the flag pole for prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance,then to breakfast, Bible class, canteen time,over to a large building for singing, sports, lunch time in … See Morethe “Mess Hall” never forget that time of the day when it was “Mail Call” and we would be eating and a cabin group would start singing and request that a certain camper stand up and sing, tell a story, or do some kind of physical activity, then it was “quiet time” where we had to go to our cabin, lay in our bunks, study the Bible and our do our workbooks, write letters home, or take a nap, when quiet time was over we went to the canteen and always got two tickets for two treats, then we did our crafts, there was ping pong, groups of singers, games being played, then we had the pool time it was great Camp Rotary had a very, very, large underground swimming pool and there was a deep end and a shallow end, you had to prove to the lifeguards that you could swim to earn a red strning that tied around your wrist, after sports we went back to the cabins and prepared for dinner at the mess hall, we always had a movie at night in the mess hall and after the movie everyone went to their cabins for lights out. You would hear a bugle in the distance at the close of the day. I will never forget the girl’s water faucet area it was like a long metal trough like thing with several old-fashioned water spickets. One night I remember setting my cup down to brush my teeth when I went to rinse there in the bottom of my drinking cup was a major grasshopper! Great memories Doyle Dean Davis was one of the camp leaders and my minister who baptized me in 1964.
    Debbie Honeycutt
    July, 2 2010

    I just got back from teaching another fantastic week at White River Youth Camp in Crosby County, Texas (about an hour SE of Lubbock)! 144 kids that week and still three sessions to go. WRYC alumni, 2011 will be our 40th anniversary. Make sure you get in contact with us via Facebook or WhiteRiverYouthCamp.com so that we can let you know about the plans we’re making to celebrate 40 years of training in Christlikeness on the South Plains of Texas.
    My father preached in Kailua, Hawaii when I was growing up, and I remember Aloha Christian Camp (he was director and co-director for several years). My best memories as a camper are of Camp Prince’s Pine, just north of Colville, Washington – Music Camp 2002 was when my mind and my heart got in sync with one another to serve God. Having been a camper, counselor, teacher, and camp board member, I want to say “thank you” to all directors, Bible teachers, counselors, cooks, other support staff, and donors for all you do to show the love of Jesus to kids and one another.
    Levi Sisemore
    July, 2 2010

    It was the summer of 1982 at the Young Bee-Livers camp at Lake Cisco just outside Abilene, Texas. For the three summers prior it camp was about learning about the Lord, watching others grow in their faith, enjoying the best singing, and making friends. But this particular summer, it was more about me and my decision to follow Christ. There were no cell phones back then and I didn’t know that the camp counselors called parents and grandparents back home.
    Being a very private person, I never brought it up about being baptized. Instead I went on about my business until my grandparents church presented us with Bibles upon our return. Little did I know that my grandparents knew the whole time. Today, at 42, I like knowing that there has always been a safety net to catch me in my earthly life and the one that really matters in my spiritual life.
    Anne Englert
    July, 2 2010

    Pettijohn Springs – memories: Cole Tidwell, Jana Smith, the Burnett kids from Tulsa, Sherri Reed and Sally Husband, The Garner girls, Wayne Monroe and his sidekick Mike Peters, Jamie DeArmon, Mary Hughes, softball till we dropped, swimming, sneaking out of the cabins (Kent), “round the mess hall you must go, you must go”, camp pictures, Friday night banquet, Dub Burnett, David Maynor, Vance and Amy, running with Steve Yeakley, teen angel skit, the Ethingtons, bible studies that stuck, hating to leave, always looking forward to coming back, plastic trays in pastel colors, 6:45 a.m. jumping jacks, the greatest singing ever, You Are My All in All, Blue Skies and Rainbows, There is a God; He is Alive, unity as we all knew pretty much where we all stood, love, and the list goes on!
    7th grade through my second year in college; some of the best years of my life!
    Chris Ishmael
    July, 2 2010

    Let’s see:
    Camp Sunset (Texas)
    Sooner Youth Camp (Oklahoma)
    Camp Yamhill (Oregon)
    I guess my next camp will be in Alaska.
    Found memories. All have many things in common – Bible classes, food, crafts you only find at a camp, funny staff, baptisms, little sleep, segregated swimming (boys/girls), bugs, devos, finding a girlfriend for the week, and the list goes on.
    Phil Drew
    July, 2 2010

    My Bible camp memories are new ones. I never attended a Bible camp as a kid, but my children, Hayden, Lawton, and Jolly have all been blessed by their time spent at Camp Wamava, in Linden, Virginia. After watching my sons come home filled with smiles and great stories of their weeks at Camp Wamava for the last several years, I decided last year to volunteer as a Bible teacher at Camp Wamava. I loved it so much – the relaxed environment, the spirit-filled staff, the beautiful, delightful children whose hearts were so open to God, I immediately signed up to come back again this year. Today’s the last full day of “week one,” and we had a baptism here today…one of the other Bible teacher’s grandsons. What a blessing! This will be another new and wonderful memory of Bible camp for me.
    Aimee Crane
    July, 2 2010

    My first church camp experience was at Palmetto Bible Camp. It was terrific. Then my family moved to South Georgia and I started attending Georgia Bible Camp each year. Those camp sessions remain some of my favorite summer memories! In adulthood I’ve been privileged to serve as a counselor at Camp Manatawny which was just about too much fun. CHURCH CAMP IS THE GREATEST!
    Beth Heffington
    July, 2 2010

    Southside week at Green Valley Bible Camp with Jackie Chestnutt was a highlight of each summer visit to my grandparent’s home in Rogers, Arkansas. My nieces and nephews still go each year and I look forward to the day my children are old enough to go. One of the unique aspects of Green Valley is that it is close enough for local Christians from the area to drive out and worship with the campers in the evening. If I am ever in Rogers during camp season I love going out to hear the beautiful singing, enjoy the sweltering heat!, and see so many young people being encouraged and matured into young Christian men and women. Thanks to the Southside C of C and so many other individuals who make this camp a possibility, I hope that it continues for many future generations.
    Jeffery Forbess
    July, 2 2010

    I went to Camp Tanda in Big Bear, California for 5 or 6 years as a camper and counselor. My dad was Maurice Meredith who preached the gospel for 60+ years in So. Cal. One of his best preacher friends was Brother Walling, father of Jeff Walling. Brother Walling was always the camp director. He preached at the Redlands Church of Christ for many years. Jeff and his sister Judy fast became two of my best camp buddies. I’ve lost contact with both of them, but I am signed up on Jeff’s Facebook page and I know he’s doing great work for the Lord. The Christian Chronicle has run some articles on him.
    Another good friend I met at Camp Tanda is Dale Moreland who is also a preacher in Yuma (I think). He went to the Southern Calif. School of Evangelism where my dad taught for many years in Buena Park.
    My story is about the same as everyone else’s. Campfire, songs (Pass It On), great men and women of faith watching over us, teaching us and serving our Lord.
    I got my heart broken one year. It’s exactly like one of the other posts says. The end of camp was always hard.
    One of the years I was a counselor Brother Walling decided that his daughter Judy and I would get the ‘difficult’ kids. I had this one little girl who would just rock and rock when it was lights out. Now, as a mature woman I know the Lord was helping me and the Holy Spirit was guiding me to help this little lamb. She was about 12 years old and you could tell she had a difficult life. The glory to God was that me and my campers talked her into singing at the campfire session Tuesday night. She was always singing “Angry Words”. That, by far, is my favorite memory of Camp Tanda!
    I live in Ellensburg, WA and attend the church of Christ here.
    Renee Shapiro
    July, 2 2010

    Huh! I haven’t thought about Camp Wyldewood near Searcy, AR in I don’t know how many years. Had some fun there, thought the girls were all cute and the female counselors were beautiful. I think Summer Church Camp is a great thing for teenagers, as it gets them away from their daily distractions and gives them a chance to really think about themselves.
    Steve Brown
    July, 2 2010

    Indian Creek Youth Camp in Alabama! This year, I got to be a co-director and enjoyed watching our campers have fun and grow spiritually. What a great week!
    As a kid, I went to Camp Lujo in OK, Camp Gmunden in Germany, Camp Wamava in the Maryland area, and Camp Bandina in Texas.
    Paul
    July, 4 2010

    Love Christian camps. I went to Short Mt. Youth Camp in Woodbury, TN. My children went to Valley View Christian Camp in TN and Gulf Coast Bible Camp in MS. Now I’m looking forward to sending my granddaughter to a good Christian Camp as soon as she is old enough. How time flies ! !
    Dorothy Musselman
    July, 4 2010

    Sooner Youth Camp – Lake Murray State Park, Ardmore, OK.
    I was an 8 year camper during the Second Week of Dear Ole Sooner from 1974-1981. Directors during that time included Olden Cook, Don Taylor and Leon Sharp. I returned in 1983 as a counselor and have only missed one year for a total of 34 years camping and counseling. There’s not enough room in this blog to state all of the reasons that I continue to serve at Sooner Youth Camp … but let me name a few of the people that greatly impacted me as both a camper and a counselor and whether you’re an SYC alum or not, you’ll recognize some of these names — and then you’ll KNOW why the heat, dirt, mosquitos, mice and lack of sleep have no impact on my decision to return year after year!
    Jim (Flagpole) & Juanita Moore; C.L. Satterfield; Bill Griffin; Bill & Barbara Ballard; Richard & Robbie Jones; Leon & Billie Sharp; Don & Lois Taylor; Sally Walker; Tim Denton; Sandra Shephard; Nancy Burleson; Betty Chambers; Mark Phillips; Don & Martha Stafford; Bob & Rosemary Harrison; Gary & Debbie Elrod; Connie Mashburn; Sherri Sweetman; Stephanie Smith; Debby Smith; Robbie Moore; Kenny & Elaine Shaver; Wayne, Debbie & Dana Cary; Rick & Shirley Wood; Grady & Karen King; Bryan & Mary Sharp; Kara Cobb; Dan & Meridan Warden; David & Karen Bridgewater; DavaLynn Bridgewater Sullivan; JanaKay Bridgewater McHam; Tim Henderson; Terry Kitson; Jason & Jill Wooten; Kyle & Marna Wewe; Jamie Boiles & Jennifer Boiles Coffman; Doug & Jennifer Crum; Jerry Dan, Rex, Timothy, Debbie & Jonathan Warden; Thomas Aduddell; Tracey Petter; Kelli Powell; Dillon & Talan Cobb; Sherry Joplin; Kimberly Stringer; Tiffany Greene Wynn; Rachel Shaver Gibson; Karen Timaeus Smith; Katie Johnson Dudley & Piper Johnson.
    I always have and always will love Sooner Youth Camp and have jokingly told my children to have my ashes spread over Lake Murray! I can’t imagine a better place for campers and counselors to spend a week every year growing closer to each other and to their God!
    Lisa Willis Johnson
    July, 4 2010

    When I went to camp on the 26th of June, I got unpacked and we ate dinner and played tetherball,football,basketball,and volleyball. I made new friends and saw old friends. some of my cabinmates were getting on my nerves the next day. On Sunday we had church. I helped with communion. The rest of the week we had church ate and played. At the end of the week we had the midnight hike. We hiked to the lake and sang and looked at the stars. When it was time to leave we packed,cleaned up and had fun. Some of us cried because it was their last year. But I plan on becoming a junior Counselor when I turn 18 in 2 years.
    Your friend
    Eddie Coats
    Edward Coats
    July, 4 2010

    Sooner Youth Camp!!!
    When I was a little girl, my mother was sure that I would never attend with her because of the heat, the lack of air conditioning, the bugs, and the sweat. Little did she know that this camp would bring me to tears every year during our first praise time. From showering in the lake to staying up late and talking about our past year, Sooner Youth Camp has become a part of my heritage. I am excited to welcome the first young member of my family to camp this year in hopes of God moving in her like He did in me only 10 years ago.
    Katie Dudley
    July, 5 2010

    I’ve been to Christian camp myself and it truly is a powerful experience to be baptised with so many other followers.
    Lynn Kristle
    July, 5 2010

    Church camp was the closest thing to Heaven for me growing up. I flew across the country to Camp Yamhill to attend camp with my cousins and began counting the days till I could go back next year on the ride home. Camp was the most beautiful place I had ever been but the people (directors, counselors, and other campers) were really what made my camp experiences faith-forming. Many of my camp friends are still my closest friends, especially the ones I reconnected with at Harding University. As a graduate student on a low income, and without a real connection to a “home congregation,” I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of giving to “my” camp and helping young friends at church go to camp, too. A camp scholarship is a lifelong gift.
    Emily Stutzman Jones
    July, 8 2010

    Camp WEBE (held at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Pikeville, TN) truly changed my life. I spent 3 years as a camper and several years as a couneslor and staff member. There is nothing like hiking to swim under waterfalls. I was baptized following my first year as a camper at age 12. Every year I returned God challenged and encouraged me in a variety of ways. WEBE will always hold a special place in my heart. My one regret is that I missed Jim Bill McInteer serving as Camp Director by a single year.
    Renee Gibbs Crawford
    July, 8 2010

    Camp Wyldewood! I loved everything about Camp Wyldewood, Searcy, ARK. I know that it had the absolute most influence in my life in becoming and remaining a Christian. I was baptized there by Calvin Conn. John Lee Dykes was a true visionary in establishing the camp and I’m sure many more godly men and women were and are involved than I could even imagine. I remember the preachers, the friends, the counselors, the games, the hymn singing classes (a true highlight of every day), the cabins, pancake breadfasts, the scavenger hunt, the silly songs, cold showers, Bee Rock and the awe inspiring closing services at Bee Rock and the burning cross that will forever be burned into my heart. I am so thankful I was able to go there for 8 years and be a counselor for 1. I went to Harding because I was so familiar with it after visiting campus for 9 years.
    Carole Rhine Campbell
    October, 21 2010

    Over a year ago an article said, “God designed the bapistry at Camp Yamhill.” Couldn’t agree more. Can still feel the brisque waters as they engulfed my skin, and changed my life in August 1967. The word was the river was polluted and only used for baptism. We had to walk several miles for our daily swim through God’s beautiful creation, since the river was reserved for only one thing. Went to camp for 5 summer sessions, but also went to several retreats, and special events during the 4 years lived in Portland, OR. Was treated to great speakers like Frank Pack, Otis Gatewood and several missionaries. One session many of staff were in Columbia Christian or Pepperdine choruses, so we had a mini song school, and even recorded 2 songs. Recall meeting campers from all over the west coast; and had several classmates at ACU who attended.
    In the following years went to camps in Kansas City area, and usually remindered director that was not as good as MY camp. But one of Co-directors must have known what he was doing, because Andy Benton is now leading Pepperdine. Served on staff at camps there, near St Louis, near Williamsburg, Va and now Central Florida Bible Camp.
    This past summer heard a presentation at Northwest in St Petersburg, FL, where attend, by another PK-preacher’s kid. He was baptised at CFBC. He too was continually asked if was ready, and wanted it to be special. It reminded me of how for many of us raised in church, church camp became the unique way/place to be baptised. The right moment was so important. It is amazing all these years later to be reminded of how perfect my place was. I was asked what song wanted to sing following, “I know the Lord will find a way for me.” with the line, ‘won’t it be grand to have Him say well done.’
    Agree csmp was a ‘slice of heaven.’
    Phil Kitchens
    November, 11 2010

    I attended Short Mountain Youth Camp (Woodbury, TN) for years back in the ’50s with my four brothers and little sister. Loved the hikes, cave explorations, horse back riding and swimming. That’s wear I first lead singing. The highlight was climbing the mountain for a campfire with ghost stories.
    In later years, I directed Tidal River Christian Camp in Connecticut for about 10 years. There I loved the luaus, baptisms in the Ct. River, Friday night skits, canteen and more.
    Both camps have made an eternal impression on me and my family. Long live Christian camping!
    Steve Holt Sr.
    December, 11 2010

    Regarding the above photograph, Brandon Armstrong and Rachel Weldy are my grandchildren. Rachel’s sister, Megan, was also baptized that day. Brandon is the oldest grandchild and Megan is the youngest, so that added to the joy of this wonderful occasion. Another interesting fact about all of this is that my husband and I met at the first winter camp held at Michigan Christian Youth Camp in 1959. Of course, this lake was frozen over at the time, but Dale was going to teach me to ice skate. Only problem was……he didn’t know how to ice skate, so we both fell flat. As you can guess, I gave him another chance to “impress” me and this year we celebrated 50 years of marriage. Needless to say, Michigan Christian Youth Camp holds a special place in our hearts for more reasons than one!
    Frankie Perry
    December, 16 2010

    Michigan Christian Youth Camp, the French family, Jerry and Rita Brackney and family, all the other people over the years that have impacted so many lives for Christ. From 3 buildings in 1959 to a beautiful camp with great facilities and horses. Many people dedicated many years and gave their very best. I always felt an immediate calm as soon as I arrived and sorry when I left. From camper to counselor and nurse, every experience was a great blessing. There were all the usual camp activities, and so much more. The influence of great Christian men and women who influenced us all over all the years. May God continue to bless all those who continue the great work. The influence of the past will live forever in the hearts of those blest to have been there.
    Diana McArthur
    December, 16 2010

    Palmetto Bible Camp. Not only my baptism, but the formation of friendships that have lasted throughout the ages, and thanks to facebook we have been reunited and keep in close contact.
    Tina Pearson Rabun
    February, 5 2011

    Iron Springs Christian Camp in Whitney, TX. Many, many great memories as both a camper and counselor.
    Jef Cozortf
    April, 28 2011

    Our family loves – Indian Creek Youth Camp – in Pleasantfield, Alabama. My daughter, who is now 10, would stay for every session if we allowed her to!
    Kim Strange
    June, 21 2013

    Michigan Christian Youth Camp (MCYC)in Attica, MI continues to be a great camp. Generations have grown up at camp and continue to work and volunteer. I was a summer camp volunteer counselor when my girls were growing up. Our older daughter first met the boy who became her husband at MCYC. Our younger daughter was a Wrangler in the horse program and would have lived at camp, if that was possible. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for MCYC. My favorite memory is the love and bonding that occurs each year for Christ and with each other. I pray God continues to strengthen MCYC and all the other Christian camps.
    Gale Litrichin
    August, 20 2013

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