50 Years at Lake Agape: Remembering Memorial Day Weekend Reunion Camp

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Today is day 38 of our 50 Years at Lake Agape and countdown to the start of Camp Meeting. Click here to read other articles.

As a camper at Delanco Camp in the ’90s, there was no better camp than Memorial Day Weekend Camp. Advertised as a reunion camp, it was a way to reconnect with camp friends from Junior High and Teen Camps without having to wait all the way to August.

These were the days before the internet was widespread and cell phones were anything but a big box people with money had in their car to show off so it wasn’t quite so easy to keep in touch with camp friends beyond landline telephones and snail mail.

Beyond the reunion factor, the long weekend made Memorial Day Camp much longer than a typical camp. It was like a miniature week of Junior High or Teen Camp with a mixture of people you knew and people you’d never met.

Many of my fondest memories as a camper and later as a counselor happened during Memorial Day Weekend. Whether it was meeting people like Dink and the VandeVaarst sisters for the first time as a and hearing Prof. Lauter’s Ezra and Arze stories for the first time as a camper or squeezing all of the boys dorm campers and staff into my brother’s Volkswagen Bug, Memorial Day Weekend Camp was where it was at.

Join us at camp for the Lake Agape 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, June 6, at 5 p.m. Click here for more info.

 

50 Years at Lake Agape: Great Things He Hath Done

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Editor’s Note: Today is day 39 of our 50-day countdown to the start of Camp Meeting and our series of articles celebrating 50 Years at Lake Agape. The following article was written by the Rev. Gary Turk for the camp’s centennial in 1998. Click here to read other articles.

My memories of Delanco Camp begin in the late 1950s, at the old Fletcher Grove camp grounds in the town of Delanco. In those days there was only one summer session and it was the camp meeting session. I went with my parents and we stayed in one of the family cottages that lined either side of the tabernacle. Three of those cottages would be brought to the present camp grounds, where they are still in use for other needs. The one known as the “junk shop” retains most closely the appearance of the old cottages.

I spent several years in the boys dorm, where Mr. Raymond Green was the boy’s counselor. In the evenings, following dinner, we would walk several blocks to the bank of the Delaware River, where we would have a time of devotions and prayer before the evening service. I remember one time we set

up a primitive telephone system between the second floor boys dorm and the girls dorm, which was above the dinning hall. It was a piece of string between the buildings with tin cans attached to each end. I don’t remember how, or if, it worked.

Though we did not think about it at the time, the whole camp grounds was a very small area. We had to go down the street to the city park to play ball, and, until we got a camp swimming pool, we had to take a bus to a public pool for swimming.

My relationship with the camp has continued across the years, being a part of the development of the camp and program since we moved to our present location in 1965. I have been privileged to serve as a director across many years, have served as dean of junior camp, dean of the camp meeting youth program, and as president of the Camp Meeting Association. But the real significance of Delanco Camp in my life is spiritual. There are people in the life of Delanco Camp across the years, too numerous to mention, who have had a deep influence on my life. I thank God for these precious people who have been living examples of holiness of heart and life.

The Camp Meeting has always been the heart of Delanco Camp for me. Year after year it has been a place to go for renewal. I have always enjoyed the adult Bible study where the evangelist lead us in a study of God’s word, and where some of the saints of the camp shared their spiritual wisdom and knowledge. I have had the privilege of sitting under evangelists like Maurice Stevens, Jimmy Gibson, Herb McComas, Delbert Rose, and Frank Stanger in the past, and more recently the likes of Victor Hamilton and Roy Lauter, to name a few. There was the ministry of Lela McConnel and her students from Kentucky Mountain Bible Institute.

I have precious memories of sacred moments at the altar in prayer. Many have been the times when the Spirit of God has come down and done a marvelous work in the hearts of young people and adults gathered around the altar rail. At other times the Spirit has moved people to shout, to wave their hand or handkerchief, or to get up from their seat and move around in joyous praise.

Delanco Camp has played an important part in the forging of my spiritual joumey. The camp has always nurtured my spirit and provided underpinning for my faith. I am grateful to God, not only that I have had the wonderful experience of drinking at the spiritual well of Delanco Camp’s ministry, but that I have also been able to raise my children under that ministry. I pray that influence may always be realized in each of their lives in a heart for God.

In the words of a great song, which I first learned at Delanco Camp many years ago, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”

Join us at camp for the Lake Agape 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, June 6, at 5 p.m. Click here for more info.

50 Years at Lake Agape: Lifetime of Memories

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Editor’s Note: Today is day 40 of our 50 Years at Lake Agape countdown. Click here to read the other articles.

I would think everyone who has had the opportunity to spend any time at Delanco has those special remembrances of those new friends made, favorite counselor or dean, a favorite night game, a favorite message or even a favorite horse they liked to ride during free time.

While I have so many of those same memories of going to camp each summer I think there are three memories that stand out for me. The first was the summer after my Mom passed away I was 12 and it was my second year attending summer camp, I recall feeling excited and apprehensive at the same time. I was very blessed to have had the best counselor and while her name escapes me the feeling of love and compassion is what I remember the most.

During the middle of the week after service I felt the tugging at my heart to go to the altar but I was too scared to get up. After the service while most had filed out I remained in my seat and my counselor came and sat with me, she invited me to pray at the alter and let go of all the fears and sadness it was one of the most liberating feelings I have ever felt. That night God filled me with a peace that I had never known and even as a young child I knew my life would never be the same.

Fast forward 17 years and the second memory is when my home church had a weekend retreat and Rev. Wilbur (Hoppy) Hoffman was our guest speaker. My husband Tom and I had been married for seven years and had been unsuccessful in conceiving a baby. After several miscarriages and heartbreak we were both ready to be content with whatever God had in store for us. During that weekend retreat Rev. Hoffman knowing of our desires had us come to the altar and with our entire church family laid hands on Tom and I and prayed that whatever God’s plan for us that we would be obedient to it. Three months later I was pregnant with our first daughter.

My third memory was when we prayed to God after Tom’s retirement that “Wherever, Whatever and Whenever” he was leading us we would be open to his plan, little did I know his plan would bring us to Delanco and have us be part of the bigger picture. These are just three of the memories that were very instrumental in my life and like many others Delanco has helped mold my life personal and spiritual.
I give thanks to God for allowing me to have had such impact from Delanco and hopefully we can help to bring impact to many others lives for years to come.

Join us at camp for the Lake Agape 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, June 6, at 5 p.m. Click here for more info.