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Bring back those memories ... those good ol’ summer camp memories

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Phyllis Cochran Roche

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 7:49 am

As parents are making plans to pack up the kids for cabin and campfire adventures this summer, many Lodians remember their own days at summer camp, where they admit boys will be boys and girls will go to great lengths for cake.

Phyllis Cochran Roche braved the scary night for lackluster cake

In 1948, I was one of two Girl Scouts chosen from Region 8 to attend the Good Neighbor Camp in Canada for two weeks. There were 20 girls from the U.S., 20 from Canada, one from England and two from Bermuda.

The Scouting women in my home town (Mount Pleasant, Iowa) thought I should have prior camping experience, so they also sent me to a Pioneer camp unit (Camp Moingona) near Des Moines for two weeks. We slept in pup tents, dug our own latrines, etc. The biggest memory from there was the rainy weekend when we couldn’t do anything outside, so I read five Nancy Drew mysteries from the camp library over the weekend.

In August, I went to the Good Neighbor camp near Parry Sound, Georgian Bay, Canada. A bonus to this was spending a day in Chicago and one in Toronto for sightseeing. I loved the evening campfires and swimming at camp, but the outstanding memory was when Betty Ann (a Canadian Girl Guide) and I snuck out after lights out, made our way through the forest to a little store on the lake shore and bought a cake and returned without being caught. It was a real scary experience; I was scared to death of encountering a bear or other wildlife and being lost. Funny, the cake didn’t taste all that good and we actually had to throw some away.

In reading the camp diaries, there was no mention of that harrowing experience — no incriminating evidence.

Larry Cooper liked the girls and laughs at Silver Lake

I worked at Camp Minkalo in Silver Lake as a dishwasher back in ’67 and ’68.  As a 16- and 17-year-old boy, this was a fantastic job — it was a Campfire Girls camp! There were 150 girls between the ages of 8 and 18, and then there were the counselors.

One of the funnier moments was when some of us staff went skinny dipping before stopping by the nurses’ cabin to say hello. One of the nurses said she had heard us down in the cove swimming and knew we were skinny-dipping. When we asked how she knew, she said, “Well, some of you have your tops on inside-out!”

Another time, one of the campers who was a bit of a troublemaker had the misfortune of setting her retainer next to her plate, and it was accidentally thrown into the trash. After about 35 minutes of searching it was located and returned to her. From that point on, she was known as “Trash Mouth.”

Those were probably a couple of the best summers of my life as a young man.

A local family raised at summer camp

Doug Seed’s four sons were practically raised at family camp. Every summer since 1990, Seed has conducted summer camps at Sierra Camp, just south of Yosemite. A non-denomination minister, Seed coordinates the camp, which is a mingling of Bible teaching and activities.

The Seed family spent summers with other families in the picturesque setting with granite outcroppings and natural swimming holes they call “the potholes.”

“It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my whole life,” Seed said.

On hot days, the campers will hike to the pools to cool off and slide down the natural rock slide. Many conquer their fears by jumping off a 15-foot-tall rock into deep waters.

It’s also been a family affair. His third son is now married to a woman he met in children’s camp, and are expecting their first child.

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