Thursday, June 23, 2011


Have you had an event recently that you've looked forward to so much that you've talked about it endlessly to anyone who would listen? One where you have reminisced and shared memories with fellow attendees on facebook, memories that may or may not have included viewing ridiculous photos and completing song lyrics from back in the day? An event that you have imagined and felt downright giddy over every time you think about it actually happening?

Well, that's kinda how I'm feeling today.
Because tomorrow is the day.

Once upon a time, 1972 to be precise, my sister and I spent a week at a Christian camp for girls situated on a little river in the northeastern corner of Maryland. I couldn't know then, the role that little camp would play in my growing up years but I've got 20/20 vision now. I went back to that camp as a camper for three summers and then joined their counselor training program which was another three summers, and then worked as a counselor for three summers.

Nine summers.
Ages 12-20.

Those are formative years, aren't they?

I'm pretty sure when I worked as a counselor I was paid $50 a week, $35 when I was a 'relief chief'. Oh, and room and board too which consisted of an un-air conditioned cabin and a latrine style bathroom that had to be navigated in the pitch blackness and which I had to clean on occasion. The showers had to be surveyed for spiders and other creepy crawlies before stepping your flip flopped foot inside because good heavens, you'd never step in there barefoot.

No blow dryers, no cell phones, no television.

I so appreciate the fact that my parents recognized the value of camp and allowed me to work at a job that paid $50 a week when I was a college student spending more than that. ahem.They saw that camp was good for me in every single way...physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

I haven't set foot on that campground or seen the people who filled the spaces of those long ago summers since 1980.

Tomorrow is the day.

A reunion of former staff, organized some thirty years after I packed my trunk and took a last lingering look at the waterfront...

thirty years since I sat on a hard wooden bench in a chapel in the woods and sang Come to the Water...since I stood on the bluff and drank bug juice in the dining hall...

thirty years since I helped girls make candles in the sand, memorize a bible verse and flip a canoe...

three decades since I made weekly calls to my parents from a pay phone outside the camp office, cooked rice krispie treats in a No 10 can over a fire I'd helped build or slept in a bunk bed with a mosquito buzzing in my ear...

thirty + years since I had morning devotions under the shade of big ole' tree, slid under a cabin to avoid capture in a counselor hunt, leapt from a high dive to the cheers of 'my campers', brushed my teeth in a trough, or ran to 'capture the flag'...

thirty years since I talked long into the night about the meaning of life, our place in this world, and how God has a plan...thirty years since I've been in a place called 'camp'

And tomorrow...

I am there.


  1. Mom! I am giddy with excitment for you! Have the most wonderful time at the place that you so clearly love and miss!

  2. Oh Joyce, how wonderful! You know I went to a Christian camp myself, and met a girl there, that would become my lifelong friend! It's been 35 years for us and although we have never lived int he same town, there is that tie that binds us so very close.

  3. How fun! I'm impressed you had all those pictures, it looked like an amazing experience.

    I hope it's all you expect it to be! Have fun!

    Wait. Are you staying in there? In the same 'conditions'...? :)

  4. oh how fun! I can't wait to hear all about it.

  5. I can tell how excited you are. I hope you have just as much fun as you are expecting! And can´t wait to read about it afterward.

  6. I am so excited for you! I know you will have an absolute BLAST and I cannot wait to hear all about it!

  7. I am super excited for you, Joyce. They've updated it quite a bit since the good ole days of which you speak! It's a beautiful place and what a great thing to have a reunion and share the memories as well as the unfoldings of God's plan in your lives for these past 30 years. Sounds like a lot of gab and little sleep waiting to happen!

  8. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time.

  9. So excited for you...can't wait to hear the stories and see pictures!

  10. Can't wait for pictures and stories! Praying it's everything you hope and more!

  11. How exciting! Loved your pictures, look how tanned you were! What a wonderful experience, and now to go back, that is too cool. Can't wait for you to share pictures and stories with us! Have a wonderful time!
    until next time... nel

  12. Looking forward to seeing the pictures! Have a great time!

  13. I'm sure you'll have a great rime, take plenty of pics. Reunions can be so much fun. :)

  14. I loved the photos! Wow, that took me back to the days of when I used to go to camp. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Have an awsome time and we want to hear all about it!!

  15. What sweet photos! I can feel the vibe of your excitement. Anxious to hear about it!!

  16. How wonderful to have such meaningful memories. I hope you have an amazing time as you reunite with friends and remember back in the day! Blessings
    for reconnecting and remembering.


  17. Such wonderful memories. Have a fabulous time. Can't wait to hear about your return visit. Blessings, SusanD

  18. I don't see how it can be anything but a wonderful time. Enjoy!

  19. Yay, oh, YAY! This is really exciting, I'm SO glad you get to do this. I can't wait to hear all about it. I'm glad that camp is a part of your life, I can see how it helped shape you into the wise person you are today.

  20. I CANNOT wait to hear how it is! You're gonna have a BALL!
    :) Karen

  21. I loveeee camp memories! My kids talk about their years participating and volunteering for Young Life Camps. These photos and memories are magical...

    p.s. my boys went fly-fishing at a kinda local place called Callaway husband loves to go fishing in the North Georgia mountain streams and of course, dreams of going out west to fish!!

  22. Your photo brought back lots and lots of memories about my camp days - especially the bugs in the shower! I hope you had a good time.

  23. Have FUN! Sounds like some wonderful memories!

  24. This is so exciting. I never went to camp.
    I can't wait to see how it went. Love the pictures.