Yellowstone’s Golden Age Camp offers sweet fellowship, inspiration
Then, nearly 100 people stood and sang “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Deeply inspired, I had goosebumps on my neck and arms.
We were concluding the Golden Age Camp at Yellowstone Bible Camp, and the week had been a successful retreat from everyday business for all.
In June, when many days above 100 degrees were making us miserable, Joyce and I learned of the Golden Age Camp in Montana. The principal speaker was Kent Allen, a man whose teaching had touched our hearts and minds for many years. Joyce and I read all the information about the camp and immediately e-mailed the director to see if he still had space.
A really great opportunity related to the camp is a bus ride for about 50 people — picked up in Springfield, Mo., Bartlesville, Okla., and Salina, Kan. The bus travels through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park before arriving at the camp. When camp is over, the bus travels to the site of Custer’s defeat at Bighorn, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and on to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands of South Dakota.
The bus trip allowed us to see sights we had wanted to see but never wanted to drive that much. About half the people on the bus had made the trip many times and enjoyed the fellowship so much that they kept returning.
Directing the camp were Mike and Gail Brazle, an amazing couple who have given their lives serving the Kingdom. Mike grew up in Montana and Canada, where his father helped plant churches. Gail grew up in Oklahoma, where her devout parents were church leaders and strong supporters of Oklahoma Christian University.
Mike and Gail had served many churches before they began ministering for the church at Kimberling City, Mo. In 1988, they set out to help older church members have a life-changing experience.
The camp drew people from 11 states and Canada. Some drove campers or fifth-wheels and slept in their vehicles while sharing all the activities of the camp.
A family from Texas prepared all the meals, and all campers had cleanup duties. Campers slept in the log cabins that had once been part of a dude ranch.
The mornings had two hours of teaching and nearly an hour of singing in a relatively new assembly hall. The afternoons were free, but Brazle led different excursions each day — two hikes and one mountain climb for those interested. Many of those who did not go on the hikes played cards or dominos. The dedicated gamesters also played at night after another hour of teaching and singing.
The atmosphere of the camp was relaxed as people learned about each other and shared stories about churches and mission work. Several widows have attended since they first came with their husbands. I was inspired by several campers who are approaching 90 and still remain very active. Complaining was rare.
Many men were songleaders who would help lead songs we had known all our lives. Many of the songs I had not sung in my adult life. I was moved by the words of those songs, which I now comprehend as I never understood before. The songs, the teaching, the examples of faithful devotion to God moved most to seek a closer relationship with God.
Brazle says of the Golden Age Camp, “While sweet fellowship, inspiration in a wonderful place of natural beauty and good Bible study and singing all took place, the real purpose of the Golden Age session at YBC is to equip and challenge senior Christians so that they return home to ongoing and increasing service to God in the Kingdom during their Golden Years.”
For information about next year’s sweet fellowship and inspiration, contact Mike at [email protected].
CONTACT [email protected].