COLOR Youth Camp History
Welcome to a look back at COLOR Youth Camp, covering fifty years between 1950 and 2000.
By Geneva Begeman
Youth Camp--fifty years worth of memories. How blessed we are to have been able to experience these years and these campers! We pray that what we have written will perhaps jog your memory of something that happened the years you could be with us. Our records are incomplete of all you campers so what we write will only be a sampling of many, many other campers' memories.
In 1948 David and Ruth Charles went out to Auburn, WA. with Richard and Laura Cooke and attended a youth camp already well-established there. They started to dream of one in the east where children there could attend. They enlisted the men in their own area to dream their dream. A committee was formed (David Charles, Oliver Rowe, Richard Cooke, Joe Vasil and Don Hepburn) to start a youth camp! Plans started--a camp site had to be located and a staff enlisted and finances considered. Teaching the gospel always had to come first.
Everything finally came together in 1951. The place was Mountain Lake, Bellefontaine, Ohio. F.P. Rowe promised to underwrite the expenses in case the project went in the red. Elder Walter Wilkinson's talent to teach young people kept the committee motivated to push ahead with the plans. Little did these men know what they were starting. We owe them such a debt of gratitude for their efforts and having this vision. Many times first steps are taken without even fully realizing the many lives that will be touched through the years.
Special accolades must go to our first spiritual director--Elder Walter Wilkinson. (He was the spiritual director out west also.) He taught for forty years. He was a gifted teacher of young people and most of us that are still inspired to work at camp remember his charts and demonstrations that made us grow in the Lord. One example was a borrowed egg from the kitchen supply, a tin can, and a hammer. He placed the egg on the podium and declared that that was each of us. The can was placed over that egg and was declared to be Christ's robe of righteousness. I will never forget the sound of the hammer (God's judgment) hitting that can! I was so thankful for His Righteousness that protected me. I am still grateful for that! We may have been a small group but we had the power of God in our teaching and the fruit followed.
Each year starts with the smiling kids, anxious kids and concerned parents. They carry all their bags in and get settled and meet the Cabin Captain and adult staff in cabin. Old campers are anxious to renew friendships and new campers are wondering if they will find a buddy or get homesick this week. First questions "Will there be candy sales tonight?" "Can I be in the cabin with my best friend?" "What's for supper tonight?" We try to answer these questions and reassure each camper that the whole camp is there just for them. We specialize in the personal touch.
This history was written with love and wishes that it will continue another 50 years at least.