There will be no pictures with this story.
Back in the late 1980’s we were moving to Raleigh, North Carolina for a new job at the State Archives. A lady from our church was recommended as a realtor and as she showed us around the city we talked, and it came out that she was looking for a Girls Camp Advisor as the old one was not able to do it. I love Girls Camp and had gone for many years, so after our move, a phone call or two and there I was, in charge of the whole thing.Having gone to Girls Camp since I was twelve, in Michigan, where the leaders had an excellent system, I knew how it should go down. I set to calling meetings with the older girls and planning all the activities.
The camp they had been going to for a few years was a primitive Boy Scout Camp up over the Virginia State border on Kerr Lake, a large reservoir in the boonies.
I scheduled the camp and went up to get a feel for the area, one old cement block building that hadn’t been used in years, in a forest, a very nice beach front with no running water. I liked it.
The girls planned the music, we had fun arts and crafts people coming to teach, we rented canoes and brought them up from Raleigh. Each night a speakers came and talked to the girls on assorted subjects, two men were to be on hand each day in case they were needed for anything.
Each congregation brought their own leaders to watch over the girls and brought in water and food and set up their tents and latrines and fire pits.
The days were full of swimming, laughter and hard work.
A few days into the camp I had to drive into town to get a few items, as I was the only one going in I had a nice list of things to do, so I took the teen leader with me to help and also to discuss how she thought camp was going.
As we returned to the camp we pulled down the dirt road into the camping area and were greeted by two sobbing girls.
As remote as this camp was from any other campers, boaters occasionally could be seen on the water and apparently a couple good ole boys spotted a couple cute girls in a canoe and talked to them. One of the girls let it be known that there was an entire camp of about 50 teenage girls they were a part of. More questions were asked and arrangement was made for them and their buddies to drive in that night to check out the situation. The girls who were upset were quiet passengers in the canoe.
We had a chat with all the leaders and it was decided we would be on the lookout but thought the men could handle a couple kids.
The night time speakers came, it was a couple who were going to talk about marriage to the girls. During craft time, the girls had made little boats with cake candles that would light the boats up in the water at night, called dream boats. The girls were to think about what they want in their futures and set their dream boats out in the water after dark. Kind of like a message in a bottle.
As the speakers began to talk to the girls, a whole bunch of jeeps with drunk guys started to drive up around the lake towards the camp and we had to gather the leaders to decide how to handle this new situation. We had the girls continue to sing several songs and after a prayer we adults decided to go with the plan the two men came up with.
When the music time ended it was explained to the girls that we had no way to protect each of them and that was our priority, so they were asked to leave all their stuff and return to Raleigh with their leaders, where in the morning the men and young men from the church would return to the campground and pack the girls things and bring them back to the Stake Center Building, where they might retrieve them later on.
The leaders were escorted to their tents and got their purses, keys and cars and soon a line of cars, filed out the woods and down the dark highway back to home. It was late at night by this time and looking back at the car lights following behind me, I couldn’t help but think of their ancestors, leaving everything they held precious behind and traveling on to a new day.
Girls slept in their leaders homes that night with whatever was to be had at the different homes. Stories were had later on all the different feelings that accompanied each girl.
After the men brought the tents and personal items back, they had to be sorted out as girls aren’t always perfect housekeepers at camp… better not to go into that, but imagine what you will.
The sorting done and girls feelings taken care of, we met in the chapel for a chance to talk and everyone who wanted was able to let each other know what they learned from this experience.
Many learned how much they cared for their journals that had been left behind, some learned, when you are not sure of safety, better safe than sorry, a couple of the older ladies thought we had made up the whole situation on purpose.
I would never intentionally put people through that to teach any lesson.
The men decided from then on they wanted a couple more men to help out in the future.
Would anything bad have happened to the girls had we stayed?
We will never know, thank heavens, for we left.
The next year we went to a camp down by South Carolina instead, a beautiful camp with cabins and electricity and running water and we were the only ones on the lake with a gated property.
The new girls planned the songs, the activities, the speakers, the arts and crafts for the younger girls.
Girls Camp went on, there are always little problems at camp but that one year, that one week, that one night we all shared an experience like no other.
I always wonder what those guys thought when they arrived to find an abandoned camp?
Nothing was missing.
(need to re-word this in a bit)