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.


Adela Campbell said...

WOW what an awsome trip dowm memory lane. I think I still have some pictures too. Most of mine are from on the bus, up and back. But seeing the inside of the tabernacle was cool.
Remember when we took the van up? I think dad drove it up for us. I don't remember why we weren't on the bus that year.
I had forgotten about Steve's sisters. Have you heard anything about how they are? If you look close at Steve and my faces in the ping pong picture, it looks looks like we were both taking that game seriously. hehe too funny.
I agree with you that "Mac" McCrary was an awsome leader. His heart was in that camp and for him to remember each of "his kids" made me think so highly of him. You just knew he cared you know? He always took the time to talk to me every day when we saw each other. And THEN that ment a lot to me.
Can't wait to talk to Becca and see her pics when she gets back. After she tells you everything, her and I have a phone date. lol

Allana Martian said...

I remember going in the van. I have one or two photos from that somewhere, but I couldn't find them. I remember Rob and I laying down in the back of the van, me on the seat and Rob on the floor. We TOTALLY were not up to ANYTHING, but Dad pulled the van over and made me come and sit in the front. Protecting his little girl! And no, I don't know anything about how Steve's sisters are doing. Actually, Steve told me a couple years ago that Becky had a little girl who had eyes just like her mommy. Bet she is a total cutie!

JenLo said...

I LOVED those years!

Faithe said...

What memories these pictures revived!!! Rebecca is married to Daniel Newton and has 2 children; Carol and Danny. They live in Winfield. She works as secretary in an attorney's office. Deborah is married to Eric Gessner, son of singers Don & Shirl Gessner, and they live in Avon, Indiana. They have 1 little girl, Mirabelle. Steve is married to Diane and they live in Carlile, PA; they have 3 children; Tyler, Emily and Brian.

The guy Joy was with was Stephen Roach. (I think that was his name.)

I had forgotten the details on all this! Pictures are so great to keep memories alive. THANKS for sharing them. I trust Rebecca makes lots of memories of her own, and takes lots of pictures. In years to come you'll laugh at them just like I did at the ones you shared. My, how young John's sister Doris looks!!

Faithe said...

In talking with Joy (she hasn't seen this post yet) she thinks these pictures are of Allen Burton. When I described them, she thinks that's who they are. She will look at the blog tomorrow night when she's at work.

Aaron & Heather said...

Wow,....very cool to see some pics from yall growing up,... thanks for sharing! :-)

David & April said...

David took my to AYC a few times. We would always go the last couple of days for the baseball championship(or whatever it was) but it was always fun, then we would leave after they all went in for the banquet. We would go to see everyone, plus Jay and such would all be here from Florida. It was always so fun! David always LOVED it! Hope Rebecca had a good time!!!

CharleneOwensMomof2 said...

Allana, it was so interesting to look back at those pictures!! Those years were so much fun. I look forward to my kids being old enoguh to go.

The "Roach" guy you would be speaking of would be Stephen Roach, but that is definitely not him in those pictures. He had very blonde hair and was little. I don't recognize the guy in the pictures at all.

I will have to dig my AYC pictures out sometime and post them. Those were the days.

Kara Plank said...

What a blast from the past! I went when I was 12 with the Slagenweit crew. I can't believe the pic of Sam DeWolfe! He's my husband's cousin, and I will definitely be showing that picture around at Thanksgiving! lol