Getting my camp fix


Just say the word “camp” and a whole slew of memories come flooding back. Polar bear swims, kayaking on Shavehead Lake (and, once out of view of the guards, tipping the kayaks over and back again), campfires in Mosquito Hollow, ringing THE bell to call others to dinner, running down the steps to the chapel, skinny dipping at midnight (this under adult supervision) — girls only, and oh yeah, that long bus trip from Bluffton with the bus driver singing his obligatory round of “Back home again in Indiana” as we cross the state line. Once we hit the Michigan line, we knew we were close. The road started to dip up and down until we finally spied the rickety “Camp Friedenswald” sign.

The ride to camp still takes 3-3 1/2 hours, despite better roads, and the anticipation still produces butterflies of excitement in my stomach. So it was that we found ourselves heading up to camp at the crack of dawn (5:30 a.m.) for church conference board meetings. Seems that every October visit there is the same — rainy and chilly. But midway through the meeting, the sun peeked out, and I thought I might actually be able to take a walk through the grounds.

We’d taken Ike along, since his favorite dogsitters weren’t available, so after two hours of waiting patiently in the car, he was ready for a stroll. I decided to introduce him to all of my favorite spots:

The bell, the chapel, kayaks on the beach, diving board and slide in Shavehead Lake.

It was an all-too brief stay and just made me ache for a longer one in the near future. But still, I got my camp fix. And for now, it’ll have to do. Besides, it’s just a place. The memories and feelings are with me forever. Maybe my photos will help you get a faux camp fix.

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3 responses to “Getting my camp fix

  1. Mary, that is lovely! I grew up on Lake Michigan – from school out to school back in, we lived there. My camping took place when I was Camping Chairman in our Boy Scout District (Miami Valley Council, Dayton). I usually camped alone…..not Bob’s thing, though we did some camping as a family with our son (Eagle Scout eventually). Those mornings when the guys (old and young) would come past for a taste of Mrs Long’s sausage, or eggs or……
    Thanks for jogging sweet memories!
    hugs,
    Jean

  2. Rachel Diller Harder

    This brought back wonderful memories for me with your great descriptions. I have so many fond memories of Friendenswald. There are times I wish my kids could create memories there but I enjoy watching them create memories each year at Silver Lake Mennonite camp in Ontario. Camp is a wonderful place to grow and discover so many things about ourselves. Thanks for the memories and the photos.

    • Pannabecker Steiner Mary

      You’re welcome. Sometimes I wish we could go back as campers — maybe a fun week for just adults. Not family camp. Just adults.

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