For a number of people, I imagine there are lots of fond memories of Summer Camp. The summer for some begins the annual pilgrimage to their chosen Camp. A place where you would meet up with friends, and also make new friends, and experience the great outdoors. I had not experienced this in my life, Camp was not a family tradition for me in Scotland. My first experience of this great tradition, was when I was a camp counselor through an organization called Camp America, through their program. I had an interview in Edinburgh Scotland, fulfilled the requirements, and before I knew it, I was on my way to America. They organize flights, paperwork, and give a little pocket money, and after Camp, some time was allowed for the individual to travel and explore the US.
It has come to my attention that 20 years have passed since my first encounter with camping ministry. I was a camp counselor at Camp Asbury in the East Ohio Conference, with the United Methodist Church.
It certainly was a summer to remember, and a lot of first-time experiences. A week before the campers come to camp the staff for the summer goes through their training, experiencing everything, that you as a camp counselor have to allow the kids to experience. These were camping outside under a tarp, and the rest of the time a basic cabin, or if older out in the woods all week. In Rustic there we would fend for ourselves, by building a campfire and this time would require us to cook over it, for every meal. There was a lot of hiking on the various trails, wade through the creek, go down a mud slide, swim in a pond with fish, leeches, and goose poo, and an occasional snake.
There were Bible studies called vespers, it was mostly a time of quiet out in the beauty of creation, under the canopy, or in the cathedral of the forest.
I wrote my first poem during this time:
Liberty and Freedom In the peace of God’s creation, under the canopy of the beauty of a forest. I hear the bird’s sing their worship to the one who made them, God. I hear the wind blow, it reminds me that God blew into us the breath of life. And the Spirit is like the wind, a liberty and freedom as the wind has no limitation. Mark Condy 1997.
All these experiences, such as around the campfire, working together, doing the high and low rope challenge courses. (The photos below are me ready to do the Powerpole and having accomplished the challenge) These were times as a group that was rewarding and life shaping, making lasting friends, or just for the summer, but memories were formed.
H – hour, a time when all had to be quiet in a horizontal position, when you could read or sleep but was also a given time to relax and recharge. There were also opportunities to go to the Camp store and buy your keepsakes, such as a T-shirt, hat, or the favorite soft toy, and got your free pencil or pen if I remember correctly. The merchandise took a change after a few years and had a different logo, the one I will always remember is the cross and tree.
There is an opportunity for those who have had contact and connection with Camp Asbury to get together once again.
60th Anniversary Celebration
We made the journey to Camp Asbury for the 50th Anniversary and hope to do the same for the 60th Anniversary. This time we plan to stay overnight and allow our sons have a taste of Camp Asbury, with the hope they would desire to go also one day. Let all who are able to come, make the decision to enjoy this reunion and build further memories by catch up with each other.
A lot has happened in 20 years, let’s use this time to learn how life has been, and to share the paths that we have taken in our spiritual journeys. How have we been “touched by the light”?…
I hope this post floods you with memories, of how your life was impacted for the good by Summer Camp and for the good you experienced. Also, may it remind you of the impact you made when contributing, by being there, having had an impact on a person, touching with your presence, if they were younger or older.
I know Camp changed the course of my life forever taking a turn I would never have expected changing the trajectory of my life. I met Susan my wife-to-be at Camp. One of the many reasons why I live in the USA, with my family.