Ontario UPC

What Camp Means to Me

“What Camp Means to Me”

by Nathan D. Maki

 

Heart beating fast, Super Soaker fully pumped, I stood poised for the bus door to swing open. The all-boys swimming trip was just a sideline. Now came the main event. Girls with buckets and water balloons gathered ominously along the road. Sis. Kelsey was manning a water hose. And was that a full wading pool for fast bucket refills? The bus coasted to a stop, the doors banged open, and the battle was on!

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Some of my best memories were made on Ontario UPC’s campgrounds. By day we were drenched with water, by night we were drenched in the Spirit of God. There was even the year where an overhead sprinkler system in the old Orlando sanctuary ensured that we got drenched with both water and Spirit simultaneously as we sang “I feel the rain, I feel the rain, I feel it falling down on me. It’s the Holy Ghost rain and it’s falling down on me!”

My memories of camp run together into a montage of Mounties and bandits, flying biplanes, games of capture-the-flag, frisbee, baseball, basketball, and eating way too much candy from the canteen. There was the year I slept in a dining tent with my friend Bryan and it got colder one night than any July night has any right to be. I woke up in the wee hours shivering and shaking to find my best buddy had moved camp into his parent’s van and quite literally left me in the cold! I still affectionately refer to that tent as the “icicle tent.” There were the times I got in trouble, and the services that pulled me out of trouble. I remember slapping mosquitoes and building monuments. The moments and the memories are still with me, still a part of who I am as a Christian.

Years passed, as they will, and I made some new memories, this time from the volunteer staff side. If anything, being a volunteer was even more rewarding than being a camper. I loved the dramas. There was the year I played a demon who got chased out of church by the people’s prayers one evening and then portrayed Jesus the next day. Those poor kids must have been so confused. Seriously though, there’s nothing more amazing than reading scripture with kids you’re counseling before lights out, praying with them at the altar, and seeing them filled with the Holy Ghost!

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For a century camp meeting has been a highlight for the church in Ontario. From time to time the location has changed, each time getting larger to accommodate the growth in the district and in camp attendance. Now, at Huyck’s Bay, a magnificent sanctuary and dining hall, boys and girls dorms, quads, motels, and mobile homes host camp in style. There is more air conditioning and fewer mosquitoes, more comfortable chairs, carpeted floors, leather couches, and even a chandelier in the foyer! Facilities change, update, and improve. Huyck’s Bay has been called the finest campground in the United Pentecostal Church by evangelists who have been to most of them. But most importantly, the common threads still remain stretching all the way back to the first canvas tent pitched at Outlet Camp. Powerful services. Challenging messages. Life-changing commitments. Life-long friendships. Unforgettable memories.

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There’s something for everyone at this year’s Family Camp, Junior Camp, and Youth Camp. The tremendous speakers and evangelists will include Rev. Raymond Woodward, Rev. Wayne Huntley, Jumping Josh and Crazy Kirsten, and Mikko Carter. For a full service schedule and list of speakers visit the Events page HERE.  You won’t want to miss this 101st year of Ontario camp!

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