Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Stayin' At Camp

Family Camp is a tradition that is part of my life blood - - - so familiar to me that I forgot others may not have a CLUE what I'm talking about. When I say Family Camp, I am not talking simply of a local church congregation having a camping weekend. Those are wonderful - - - but this isn't that.

Family Camps grew out of the really really old tradition of Camp Meetings. Originally Camp Meetings were days or week(s) long preaching events held under a tent or a brush arbor and people drove in by covered wagons or other animal drawn conveyances and literally camped around the preaching shelter.

Later groups developed slightly more permanent encampments. These consisted of a permanent structure called a tabernacle which housed the preaching. Eventually shelters in which people could sleep were also constructed.

Our denomination, the Wesleyan Church, is divided up into regions or areas called districts. Historically, most or all districts built a campgrounds for the purpose of holding annual camp meetings and youth camps. (In this district we annually have a kids camp, a junior high camp, a senior high camp and family camp.) Back in the days before easy access to entertainment, these camps boomed.

In many places now, the cost of maintaining a campgrounds, insurance and health regulations, and changing of people's interests have made Camp Meetings go by the wayside. Even many of our own Wesleyan Districts have sold their campgrounds and ceased holding camp.

In our district, Camp Meeting evolved into Family Camp. We still have the spiritual emphasis of group worship times, be we have incorporated family-friendly activities into the schedule as well. I'm happy to say that during my LONG tenure on the Family Camp Committee, I helped to initiate that change by suggesting we were going to lose our camp if we didn't change from a Camp Meeting into a Family Camp. I was promptly made the chairman of the programming committee - - - for which I have my big mouth to thank.

I was very short sighted, however. I was only envisioning KEEPING what we had by making it more family friendly to folks who already enjoy camping in state parks etc. I will tell you, that when I returned this year I was quite SHOCKED at the popularity our camp now enjoys - - - but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Camp is a place where life long friendships are forged, and old friendships are renewed. It is a place where people who worship God and wish to instill godly principles in their children gather for encouragement and help on that journey.

Many of my friends met their spouse at camp. Many, myself included, put down spiritual roots at camp - - - committing their lives to the Lord. Some, including my own mother, were BORN on the campgrounds DURING camp. For the length of camp, BEING a christian and GROWING spiritually IS the POPULAR lifestyle. There is that short time of drawing away from the rest of life - - - and the results can be amazing.

The main purpose of my post today is to show you where people stay at our campgrounds in Fairmount, Indiana.

The first option is a dorm room. The fee for staying in a dorm is very minimal - - - I believe it's $3/night. We have dorm rooms available to teens, with counselor supervision, and to families as well.

The teens in our district love camp so much that many of them return, without their parents, for family camp. Other teens, not wishing to be under their parents nose for the week (uh, that would be MY kids when they were still living at home - - - what am I talking about, that was ME back in the teen day) also choose the dorm option.

Families may also rent dorm space at a family rate. There are enough dorms on this grounds to have separate dorms for families so they don't have to share in the noise and exuberance of the teen dorms.

Other families have purchased small cottages on the grounds. You own the cottage itself, but not the land upon which it sits. You pay a small annual maintenance fee and then you may use your cottage whenever during the summer you so wish. (Most are not winterized.) We have rows - - -

And rows of family cottages at Fairmount. Some are old, having been passed down in a certain family for generations, and are dearly loved. Others are brand new and just beginning the family tradition.

I love to wander among them and see all the cuteness. Some people have gone to great lengths to make their cottage a tiny, decorated home.

For several years one of the camp activities offered was a "Cottage Tour of Homes." It was AWESOME!!! If they were having that THIS year, I'd go around with my trusty little digi-cam and show you some cute interiors. I do have some friends with cottages - - - I'll see what I can do about getting some interior pictures for all of you who are saying, "I WANT TO SEE THE INSIDE!!!"

Then we have people who bring their own camper or tent and actually CAMP right on the grounds.

This is the part that SHOCKED me when I returned this year. Our camp sites are literally JAMMED full!!!!

When I first started camping out here with our family - - - there were empty sites all over the place. Oh, my dear friends, that is NOT the case any more. There are campers in every nook and cranny. I heard we've had RECORD attendances this year - - - and I can BELIEVE it.

Of course, I am one of those campers. Here is my little home away from home - - - this time with no SUV in my living room!!!

I have MORE camp stuff to share - - - so tune into this station again!



Cath's Pennies Designs said...

Oh that place sounds wonderful! Growing up as a Methodist, I remember going to church camping getaways at the Methodists camps. Both our daughters went to summer camps every year at church camps but the camps aren't as built up and wonderful as yours! It's the friendships and fellowship that are so wonderful though, and I'll always have great memories of that.
Nice to meet you! Thanks for adding me.

Jessica Morris said...

*jealous sigh* I loooooove family camp!! I grew up going to it each summer with my parents and siblings - we actually went to a camp 8 hours away and it was soooo fun!!
I miss it!

Paul and I hope to go with our kids when they're a bit older :)

KBeau said...

Sounds like great fun to me. Have a wonderful time.

Lori E said...

This sounds like a great community of people. How is your traveling son doing?

Cass @ That Old House said...

It's wonderful that Family Camp is full this year -- it gives me hope that families are sticking together and choosing more personal and spiritual retreats for their vacations. It sounds wonderful.

There is a very old camp meeting grounds near here, with old Victorian houses (that grew out of the original platform tents) on land owned by the association -- I may do a blog about it sometime. It's fascinating. You can buy the house, but not your land. It's a wonderful community, and the big auditorium is still there!

what do you hear from Kyle? Is he speaking Swedish yet? Has he gone native, eating nothing but fish and cheese?


Shannon said...

Oh Fairmount! I wish we would have taken the chance while we were there to go and stay at the camp. Looks pretty fun- and funny that you first met Brian at a family camp years ago!

Connie N. said...

I must admit, I am jealous...wish I was at camp with you! It looks lovely, and I can remember so many fun times growing up at camp! Do the teens still work in the kitchen?

Nancy said...

It's great to see family camp is packed. I also loved camp. We went to a campgrounds near Waupaca. I stayed at kids and teen camp, and sometimes family camp with friends, but my family did not stay there overnight -- we were close enough to drive each day.

I agree, it is a special time for worship, family, and fellowship.
How many days do you stay?

Martin LaBar said...

Great. South Carolina's Table Rock Camp and Conference Center is also doing well, thank God.

nancygrayce said...

Wow! I went to Church camp as a child, but never a family camp! It sounds wonderful....what a time of refreshing!

Gerson & Betsy said...

Keetha, how I wish I had such roots! It's wonderful to see that family camp is packed. I'm sure you're having a fabulous time. We're in Texas this week, learning a LOT. Can't wait to see you when we get back.

Tonja said...

What a wonderful tradition. And it looks as though it is alive and well. Do you think this is because we are finally realizing that 'family' is the way God intended it to be and we are trying to get back to what it should be? Whatever the reason, these are the relationships that last. I was raised and still am Southern Baptist. We had camps for kids, and youth, and then mission trips. Mom and I even started nd ran a cmp for girls Grade 1-6 for about 7 years.
I think this is a wonderful thing! Enjoy!

A. Monk said...

I lived two cornfields away from the Wesleyan Camp in Orleans Indiana growing up and could hear the "Rise and Shine!" announcements on the PA from my bed in the summer during Family Camp.

When I was a student at IWU I road my bike from Marion to Fairmount on a few occasions to catch camp there and see some family (Haneys and Huffmans). Nice to know it's still active and then some.

Vickie said...

Ahhh now I feel like I've been to family camp. Thanks Keetha.

lifepundit said...

I've not heard of this before. The photos and your descriptions are wonderful. And I'm glad to hear that it's jammed -- great news for the Good News!

Jewel said...

Having worked in the nursery every evening this past week, and having participated in the young adult track this week, I can promise you that camp WILL keep growing if people keep giving!!!

I can't find my blog said...

Sounds divine! Wish we had something like that around here. Maybe I should look into it!