Those words may bring different memories to different people. To me, they bring the memory of Burr Camp, nestled on and into the valley of Burr Ridge in Vernon County, Wisconsin.
Burr Camp is inextricably woven into the tapestry of my life. My mother was born there on a Sunday morning during Family Camp. From the womb on I spent weeks each summer on that hallowed soil. It was "home." We looked forward to camp with greater anticipation than we did Christmas. Just the word Burr brings a golden wash of warmth and light over my soul. I have shared some of those memories here and here.
During our summer Wisconsin ramblings, Sister Pam, Dad, and I revisited Burr Camp. It is no longer "ours" having been sold. But the hands holding the deed to the land, do not hold the deed to our memories - - - there in our neurons and synapses, we still "own" our camp and none can wrest it from us.
The Pump House. In my lifetime, this was never the source of the camp's water - - - though when I was young one could still prime the pump and a crystal clear, icy fount would gush forth. Oh the fun we had splashing and drinking in that fount!
This little building housed more than water - - - it was the very social center of teenage camp life. These wall benches were crammed with kids, more hanging in from the sides, as fellowship happened - - - ghost stories, laughter, games of concentration, and romance. How many hands were held or lips were touched with first kisses? - - - Only these white arched walls could tell.
It is still the icon of Burr Camp.
The new owners now call "our" Burr Camp, "Rustic Ridge Resort." Let me take a moment here to say how glad I am that it is these particular owners who now have "our" camp. They love it too, and soak up the history that those of us who wander in for a visit have to share.
They are keeping the grounds up in the manner we cherish. They really want to make it a rustic retreat for family reunions, group gatherings, and other events. Why not contact them for a booking?
Known to us "old timers" as the boy's dorm. Do not be fooled by the serene setting - - -this was NOT a quiet place.
I remember often as a teenager I was a counselor for kids camp. One year, as I was trying to get my girls to settle down for a good night's sleep, I heard squeals and peals coming from the vicinity of the ball diamond.
I looked out the window, across the road to the ball field. My friend Marty, a boy's counselor, had his young charges up there running lap after lap in an attempt to wear them down for the night. Wonder if it worked? Perhaps on that ONE occasion, Brannon Inn WAS a serene place.
The "New" Tabernacle.
This view may look odd to "old timers" visiting this post - - - it's because Missionary Building, 16 Room Dorm, and several private cottages have been removed. It's hard to picture now how they ever fit in the space, though fit they did and we never felt crowded in the least.
I remember when this was built. At teen camp that year, all that existed of the new tabernacle was a concrete slab floor and steel girders. No walls. No windows. No roof. We had evening services there anyway, with the starry sky as our cathedral. It didn't rain us out even once.
The visiting speaker was not impressed. He referred to it, from the pulpit, as a "unique" place. I didn't like the tone he put on "unique", and he lost me with that very first "hello."
The Dining Hall
As seen from the county road running along Burr Ridge. I was sitting in this very spot, watching a tiny black and white TV brought in for just that one MOMENTOUS occasion, when I saw Niel Armstrong step onto the moon surface and utter those immortal words - - - "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I will never forget it!
As teens, we spent hours working in the dining hall serving, doing dishes, and washing pots and pans to "earn" our way through Family Camp. Water fights were not allowed - - - but of course we had them.
This is the same dining hall looking up from the valley drive. The rooms above the dining hall were sleeping rooms used by families who didn't enjoy the "bare board" roughing-it upon which the REST of us thrived.
This was the newest building "we" built on the grounds. It is a lodge with a fireplace at one end. The current owners have also equipped it with a kitchen at the opposite end.
Camp Valley Road
Restrooms on the right. Again, small cottages and other buildings are missing from this view.
If you are a REALLY "old timer," you don't even remember this building. That is because, though it isn't a new little chapel, it was moved onto the campgrounds sometime in the late late 70's or early 80's.
If you are one of my bloggy regulars, and never experienced Burr Camp, thank you for indulging me this ramble down memory lane.
If you are a Burr Camp "old timer" who found this post via google or some other search method, know that you have come "home" to someone who loves camp every bit as much as you do - - - - maybe more. ;-)
I am linking this post to Vintage Thingies Thursday - - - everything ABOUT Burr Camp is vintage!!!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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Awe I love campgrounds like these! P.s. you and the fisherhubby are featured in my latest post :)
I sure enjoyed taking this journey down memory lane with you! Sounds like a wonderful time was had there and that wonderful time was had lots of times:)
If I am ever around those parts, I would like to see it with my own eyes!
Have a blessed day! HUGS!
Here I sit with tears in my eyes even after getting to visit Burr Camp two times this summer. It feels like home to my heart!
I only got to go to church camp once growing up. I'm not sure why except that there were so many of us that we probably couldn't afford it. Our camp was at Panama City Beach if you can believe that! We went 15 minutes from home and felt a world away! I loved it and wish I could have gone every summer!
I love these posts of yours. I do. It's so much fun going through your past with you, laughing with you, seeing the romance, the spirituality, the memories. You remind me of things in my own past that I had forgotten or bring up something that my Mom told me about the camp she attended in Nebraska.
Kristin - The Goat
Keetha, you are so lucky that the present owners have maintained the camp so nicely. One day I would love to get back to your part of the country..it looks so beautiful.
Miss Keetha, it is so nice to read about your camp experience. I never was afforded the opportunity. However, this year I sent my 13 year old for the first time. Well he LOVED it. It was through the YMCA, and it was a wonderful experience. He too wants to be camp counselor someday. I was so worried all week about him. There was nothing more rewarding to me than picking him up and having him run up to me and give me a big hug, and tell me how AWESOME it was. Thanks for your input on the cursive thing. My son had a melt down over it yesterday.
Even though most of my camp experiences happened at Fairmount Wesleyan Camp, I do have lots of memories here at Burr as well. In fact...I am pleased to announce MY first kiss happened in The Pump House. :) You may not be so pleased to learn that, Mom. hehehe :)
I should have known you are "camp." (do you know what that means?) And I love the phrase "do not hold the deed to our memories." I understand your emotions on this ... great post!
I loved reading your memories of church camp! I only went one year - it was an Episcopal camp and the boys were on one side of the lake and the girls on the other. Never the twain did meet except in the morning when three of them would row over to raise the flags on the flagpole (now why the girls couldn't beats me!). Afraid I only have two memories of camp though - one good and one absolutely horrible. First the good - I came from a very tiny town whose schools weren't integrated until I was in 10th grade. I was 12 when I went to camp and my very best friend there was an African American girl. I truly cried when we had to leave and go home. But the horrible came on the last day. It was a tradition for a girl to steal another girl's bra for the boys to raise on the flagpole the last day of camp. Yep, guess who's TRAINING BRA (probably 29AAA) went up the pole. I was totally mortified and wouldn't come out of my cabin until my parents came to pick me up LOL It seems funny now but it sure wasn't then!
Every time I went to church camp I fell in love!
Ahh, indeed all the memories. Being a first time camper, and working as a teenager and adult!
It always amazes me the community feeling that develops in only a week or two of church camp!
What a beautiful camp. I can only imagine the fun you had. The grounds are awesome with great buildings. So glad that you have those special memories.
What a wonderful childhood memory! I loved this post.
Burr Camp sure is a beautiful campground! I'm sure many people have fond memories of staying there over the years.
Have a Great Day!
Thanks for taking us on a walk down memory lane at Burr Camp! I've never been there, but we'll probably be close if we visit the western part of the state this fall. It's on the agenda!
I am not familiar with the area that means so much to you. I truly enjoyed taking a trip back in time with you. A very interesting post and I enjoyed it.Thanks always for y our visit.
This reminds me a lot of the campground that we keep our trailer at.
I am glad to see that at least they are retaining the old buildings and you got a chance to revisit!
it was great reading your memories! took me back to my own memories of camp.
Hello neighbor, I surely enjoyed your camp story. I went to a girl's camp in Carrolton Ky. many times but never to a camp for the entire family. When our children were small we did camp a lot. Years ago when I was a visiting nurse I a patient at one of the family church camps in a neighboring county. I was always impressed with the set up. Thanks for stopping by for a visit.
Thank you for following my blog. I am originally from IL and this brings back church camp (Springfield, IL). Your daughters are beautiful and look like so much fun. Ah, those were the days. Blessings, Janet
Wonderful! I'm committed to taking some pics of my old childhood camp now, Camp Elkanah in Eastern Oregon. What a great post!
Have a wonderful day! Be sure to visit my blog for a great giveaway!
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Thank you for sharing such a sweet memory. Enjoy your weekend.
Thank you for taking me down this very cherished road of memories. I grew up at this camp and still hold it very dear to my heart! I was completely heart broken when I heard they were selling the camp. I was there that LAST Year the camp was open and was able to take my than 18 month old son to this sacred place. I still struggle finding a 'place' that he can experience the same wonderful things I did! It's a shame that the Wesleyan Church and representatives did not fight to keep this part of our rich history. I hope that ALL understand what a true loss this was to not only the organization, but to all of us who will forever have a hole in our hearts because of it. Thank you again for sharing the updated photos and helping all of us relive the Glory days of 'Summer Camp'
Fort Atkinson, WI
It was 1939-41 the last time our Quaker (Valton Society of Friends) family drove to Burr from Valton, WI for a camp meetng. I'm pretty sure it was a canvas tent affair with folding wooden chairs but a 5 year old in 1939 might be imagining that. But it's not too hard to recall the smell of wet grass and the fields of crops and woods that surrounded the camp property.
The WI Methodist Church is putting on a 1900 era Camp Meeting re-enactment at Pine Lake, Westfield, WI October 24-25 and this almost octegenarian will be there with extra camera batteries.
The Fort Atkinson WI Methodist Church is planning their 175th anniversary next fall (2014) and we hope to have a genooine "big tent" camp meeting and revival so come on down!
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