Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Appalachian Youth Camp

The last year I lived in Pennsylvania, I was 12 and old enough to go to Appalachian Youth Camp, just a few hours from my home. I loved the experience! I remember being totally unprepared that first year, though. I didn't take enough clothes and had no way to wash what I did have! I survived just fine, though. The next Spring, we moved to Florida and I thought for sure AYC days were over. Surely people didn't travel all the way from Florida to Pennsylvania just for a youth camp! But that's exactly what they did, to my utter relief! I went every year after that, including when I was 19 and newly married. I went as a counselor. I was one of those kids who loved everything about camp. The early rising bell, the cafeteria food, Bible bowl, more cafeteria food, sports, the hot sun, cool drinks from the snack shop, evening services and after glow. AYC was the highlight of every summer for me. I thought since it is Rebecca's first year to attend, I would dig through my old photo albums and see if I had any of my pictures left from my teen years. I didn't have as many as I thought I did. Maybe I weeded them out over the years. I don't know, but I think I mainly took out my camera on Friday evenings at camp for the much looked forward to banquet. Most of my pictures are from that.

These first few pictures are actually ones that I found in Rob's old photo album from when he went. He has no idea what year these are from, but I'm certain that it was before I met him. Here is a picture of inside the tabernacle. They held all the evening services here.

This picture is of Kenny Hobbs and Oscar. Anyone who went in the 1980's would remember the infamous Oscar. He was special. A little off his rocker, but most of the kids were friendly to him. Some kids would amuse themselves with him, though. I remember kids stacking empty soda cans for Oscar to crush, which he did with all the drama and gusto he could muster. He was endless entertainment!

I don't know who these two are, but they must have been on Rob's team. Obviously this photo was taken during one of the After Glow games that always followed the evening services. Looks like some type of water relay.

This gal was one of my friends and her name is Rebecca Smeltz. Her and her sister came at least one year that I remember and we all stayed in the dorm above the cafeteria and sweated out the nights together. I have a memory of us singing lyrics to an old song that went "hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirt and gritty" or something like that. Funny what sticks in my brain. Must have been the heat!

This is Rebecca, Eric (my husband's brother) Rebecca's sister Deborah, a young man who's last name is Roach (can't remember his first name) and at the end is Joy Keefer. (maiden name) Joy is Deborah's and Rebecca's cousin.

If you brought extra money along, you could pay extra and bunk up in a cabin which was air conditioned. We did that a couple times. Seated is my best friend Angela Cancio (Perez, now) and she is laughing and pointing to the back of Angela Walker's (McCollum, now) skirt which was wet. I guess we thought it was funny! These two gals are still some of my closest friends.

In another room in the same cabin were these gals: Sandy Klein (maiden name), Joy Montgomery (maiden name) and in the far left you see the loooong locks of my sister, Adela.

Sam DeWolf and Jenn Sebastian. In the afternoon, all the teams had to play various teams and various sports. This was one of the pavilions we would sit in between games to escape the heat.

Me, by a creek.

Me and Becky Smeltz.

Becky and Eric waiting in line for FOOD!

On to the banquet pictures. This is Dana Allison and Todd Franklin. Everyone thought they would get married! They didn't!

Jeff Survance and his date named April. (if I remember right)

John Mark Keefer (Joy's brother) chillin' under a pavilion. (not a banquet photo! This one is out of order, sorry!) John Mark and his family moved to Florida in '86, I think. He was in my class during high school and was one of my favorite friends to be around for a couple years.

Back to banquet photos! Joy and that Roach guy again! Sure wish I could remember his first name!

My date for a couple years...Steve Smeltz. He is Joy and John Mark's cousin and Becky and Deb's brother. Nice guy, but after a couple years, God led me into the arms of Rob who I have been married to for 17 years!

Steve was very sweet to come visit me every night at camp. He didn't attend as a camper but lived an hour and a half or so away and would drive over every night after he was done with work to see me. In the background here, you can see the building with the striped awning which is the registration building.

This actually should have come first, but with blogger, you have to be pretty savvy to get the photos exactly where you want them! The first couple years Hobe Sound would send a group to AYC, we would leave some time on Saturday in order to get to Gratz, Pennsylvania before Sunday. That meant that there was a bus load of kids who needed a place to stay for 2 nights. The families at Gratz church would open their homes up to us and feed us. This one particular year, my friend Steve picked Adela and I up from the church Sunday morning and drove us to the church I grew up in in Penns Creek. Not thinking the plan through as to where we would go and eat afterwards, we ended up at Steve's house where his mother graciously put 2 extra plates on the table for my sister and I to eat Sunday dinner with them. the photo is of Steve and Adela playing a rousing game of ping pong.

Steve and his sweet mother who incidentally is a great cook!

Later that day, we headed back to Gratz. Hobe Sound doesn't leave on Saturdays anymore. They head out Sunday evening and travel all night, arriving in time for the kids to register and unpack.

This year was Rebecca's first, as I said earlier. They almost didn't go! The greyhound they were taking broke down. They thought they had another bus from another church, but it was broken down, too! After rounding up enough vans and suv's to hold all the kids, they got off to a late start. I was at work for the weekend, so I didn't get to see her off. I had a grand time packing for her, though and was SO relieved that they worked out the transportation problem. She would have been broken hearted if the trip had been canceled.

So, she is there and having a total ball! She took my cell phone and calls every night. I can't wait till she gets back and I can hear all about her experience. She took her camera, so I hope I can post some pictures sometime next week.

I want to add a little about the man who began and headed the camp all the years I attended. His name is "Mac" McCrary. From the first year, he remembered my name. Every year I would go back, he knew my name, and my brother's and sister's names. My sister's birthday always fell during AYC and he never forgot! He even had everyone sing to her in the morning or evening assembly. That left a big impression on Adela. :-) A number of years back, I had a yard sale here at my home and he pulled up in his car. He still remembered me as on of "his kids". He was an awesome leader and I will never forget him! His son, Ray, now heads up the camp.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Moo for your Supper!

Today was "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chick-fil-a. If you dressed like a cow, you got a free combo meal. If you had on a cow mask, spotted tie, purse, etc, you got a free sandwich. Rebecca decided that she would cut out black spots for everyone and make ears and horns for us to wear on our heads. She even made a couple of tails. So, about the time I figured the restaurant wouldn't be slammed with people, we headed off to Stuart. A van full of cows. We pulled up to the parking lot and noticed that inside there didn't appear to be anyone dressed as a cow. Becca said "I'm taking the spots off. There's no way I'm doing this!" But a couple cars pulled up and a bunch of kids tumbled out with painted faces and yarn tails. That was an encouraging sight and we all went inside together! Turns out we missed the big show! Two school buses full of summer camp kids all dressed like cows showed up for free food. I'm glad we came later, even though it meant that we didn't blend in as easily! Since we were dressed head to toe, all of us got a free combo meal. I figured it was almost $40 worth of free dinner! It was worth the humooooliation!

Rob was a good sport and kept his horns on his head the whole time. What a guy! The bummer of it all is that Rob is allergic to peanuts and Chick-fil-a cooks all their food in peanut oil. So, he ate dinner when we got home. Chick-fil-a is the only restaurant that Nate can eat at, because he is allergic to soybean oil, and most other fast food places cook in that.

James can moo to scare a cow, but he wouldn't moo today when we asked him to. I guess that's a good thing.

Zack handed out balloons to all the kids. I was talking to the mother of the little girls you see here in the picture. They are the ones adopting a little boy named Benjamin (from China, I believe). You can purchase a raffle ticket at Chick-fil-a to win a red Volkswagon and the proceeds go towards the adoption. She was a very nice Christian lady and I enjoyed talking with her. I can't remember how many children she said they have, but I'm pretty sure they have more than I do! She has a couple grown kids (one of whom is having their first baby) and several young ones and soon they will have Benjamin.

Chick-fil-a is number one in our book for good food and awesome company values! It's just too bad Rob is allergic to peanuts!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

If you have a moment...

Copy and paste this link to view a short video that will be sure to touch your heart. Click on the video in the bottom right corner that says "stop for just a minute". My hat is off to all our service men and women. I am deeply grateful for those who serve our country and I pray that they all come home safe.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Snapshots of our 4th of July

We had a beautiful 4th of July weekend. My parents came down from Orlando (not Pennsylvania as was announced in church Sunday morning!) and made the weekend lots of fun! We spent several hours on the afternoon of the 4th at an event hosted by our church. Unfortunately, I have NO photos of our time there because I was either juggling my umbrella and one of my kids drinks or was under the smoky tent serving food. My mom has pictures, so when she emails them to me, maybe I'll post them then. The event was great fun even though it rained nearly the whole time. There were half a dozen bounce houses, pony rides, petting zoo, and tons of free food! I don't even want to know how much popcorn, or how many slushies, snow cones and cotton candy my kids ate! The community was invited and we had a great turn out in spite of the rain! The older kids enjoyed the ditch full of water and they were all taking turns on Elijah's skim board. (They were soaked head to toe, but were very happy, so I didn't care. I just hope there weren't any disgusting germs or worms or anything in the water. But, it's Monday morning and everyone seems healthy enough.) Around 6pm, we headed home to get showers and head to Stuart for fireworks. I was concerned that it would be too much all packed into one day for Nate and James, but they were SO well behaved! The day couldn't have been more perfect! The fireworks display was good. We have spent the last several years at my sister's house for the 4th, and out in the country, the fireworks displays are either non-existent or very small. It was a nice change for the kids, even though we would have had more fun if Adela and her family had been with us! :-) On Saturday afternoon we took the kids to a private beach where I work and got some family photos. It was a beautiful day, and I don't think it rained at all! Come to think of it, I don't think it rained yesterday, either! I love it when we can celebrate a holiday without some major meltdown with the kids, or something going awry. That's what this weekend was: perfect in every way!