11 July 2008

Friday Five: Summer Camp

Closing Worship at Inspiration Point, Camp Carol Joy Holling, Ashland, NE, June 2007

A great Friday Five from the RevGals: CAMP!!!!!
We're settling into our new new apartment, and after a
lifetime at Montessori Katie is having a fantastic summer at YMCA day camp.
Meanwhile, Nicholas is packing up for a week at Camp Julian, shared by the
Episcopal dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego. His lists of supplies and
rules--except for the ropes course available to the teenagers and the ban on
IPODs and cell phones--bring back memories of my own happy times weeks at Y camp Ta Ta Pochon, funded by selling countless cases of butter toffee peanuts. So, in celebration of summer, please share your own memories and preferences about
1. Did you go to sleep away camp, or day camp, as a child? Wish you could? Or sometimes wish you hadn't?

I went to two camps as a kid: church camp at Carol Joy Holling Camp in Ashland, NE, and Camp Cedars Boy Scout Camp near Fremont, NE. Both were incredible experiences, but the more lasting impact came from my time at CJH, definitely. I went for five straight summers, and every year I'd come home and be "camp-sick" for a couple of days afterwards. Loved it loved it loved it!

2. How about camping out? Dream vacation, nightmare, or somewhere in between?

Kris and I have done some camping since we've been married and generally enjoyed the time together. We have different ideas about camping in some ways: I like to get into the woods and hike, while she'd rather find a ranger and do a guided tour, but we both enjoy doing the activities our partner enjoys. We haven't camped in the past two summers due to little ones, but in three or four years we'll be back in the woods with our tents and backpacks. My DREAM vacation is to packpack the John Muir Trail in California - I'm hoping to make that a sabbatical experience sometime in the next ten to fifteen years (provided I can find someone to accompany me, since you don't do stuff like that alone, and Kristin has no interest in that level of backpacking whatsoever).

3. Have you ever worked as a camp counselor, or been to a camp for your denomination for either work or pleasure?

Oh, the five summers I spent as a staff member for Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries were both work and pleasure! Really, anyone within 200 miles of Carol Joy Holling should take advantage of it - it's one of the best camps in the country in my ever-so-humble (and, of course, completely un-biased) opinion. For me, that time in camping ministry was life-changing; I wouldn't be a pastor today if it weren't for those experiences then.

4. Most dramatic memory of camp, or camping out?

Nothing REALLY dramatic for me in my memory. Oh, of course, there were the thunderstorms and tornado warnings every midwesterner learns to observe, but nothing really threatening ever happened. The most bizarre was the rapid temperature change around 3:00 one morning in 1997. I was site manager at Tipi Village that summer, so since I was sleeping outdoors I woke up sweating and scared because the light was weird. Got outside my tent to see an orange sky, really strong winds and the temperature rapidly rising - from 65 to 85 or so Farenheit in the space of 30 minutes. Crazy weird weather. But nothing else happened, so I just kept an eye on things and waited for morning to come. There's a meteorology term for what happened - I read about it in the paper that weekend - but for the life of me I can't remember it, of course. The most dramatic thing that ever happened to me & Kris was setting up our tent in the rain at Tettegouche State Park along the north shore of Lake Superior two summers ago - inconvenient, yes, but not dramatic - we've been lucky, I guess.

5. What is your favorite camp song or songs? Bonus points if you link to a recording or video.
As I think back on my days as a camper, Day Is Done was always my favorite "camp" song. Which is funny, since as I look back I realize that most of our camp songbook was actually '70s folk songs: Free To Be, Day Is Done, Pass It On, etc. Makes me wonder what my campers from the 1990s think of the songs we sang.

Let me also add my least favorite camp song here: if I get to heaven and the angels are singing Pharaoh, Pharaoh, I'm going to be one very unhappy saint.


  1. I love that picture. Great play with some wonderful memories and thoughts.

  2. I liked reading about your memories.
    The goal to do the John Muir trails sounds wonderful. Have you ever walked (an easy walk) the trail to Fern Valley in Northern California? It's beautiful.

  3. Beautiful reflections on the power of church camps, thank you.

  4. I'm so with you on the Pharaoh, Pharaoh! And now, I must search for my ipod on my desk so that I can get it erased out of my mind....Have a great weekend!

  5. you'll be singing... "oh Saint Peter let me go. ugh! ya ya ya ya..." hee hee hee

    ya the camp songs are SO date it isn't even funny...

  6. I don't know that Pharaoh song -- sounds like it's just as well missed. Thanks for the link to Day is Done and also for pointing out that states some of us think of as boring and flat do have spots of great natural beauty!