August 8, 2012 Edition

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Camp is place
of renewal

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

Each year our congregation gets to spend a weekend at Wayland Spring Methodist Church Camp. It is something we look forward to each summer. We all get to bask in the sun (code for getting burned to a crisp) and be a little bit lazy.

We start gathering at the camp on Friday and stay through most of Sunday. We swim, we eat, we pitch horseshoes, we eat, we swim, we eat, we put together puzzles, we eat, we play games and talk about how our lives are going and we eat. Each of us gains 10 pounds before the weekend is over and we look like the main course at Red Lobster.

There is something marvelous about those few days at Wayland Spring. I am grateful to the Rainwater family for the gift they gave all of us by creating a place for people to gather and commune with God, nature and each other.

The camp is definitely on the rustic side. The cabins are small and consist of bunk beds and nothing else. I believe the arrangement is much the same as it was a half century ago or maybe even longer.

The lodge has undergone some modest changes over the years but is essentially the same lodge it has been for decades. It's large and accommodating and it's walls ring with the sound of voices.

Plans are underway to build a new facility that will be much more modern and up to date. Even though I look forward to having a few more mod cons I will miss those old cabins lined up around the edge of the camp.

Wayland Spring is named for a spring, as you might guess, that runs cold and pure and a trek to the spring is a must for campers each year. The spring once fed a swimming pool, which was freezing cold even during the hottest of summers. Children with teeth chattering insisted they weren't cold and were having a great time, and they were, my own included. Now we swim in a newly constructed pool no longer fed by the icy water of the spring.

I can't fail to mention that the beds at Wayland Spring are notorious. I remember being told they came out of a century old army barracks and were stuffed with concrete. I've doubted this story, but a night spent on them is enough to make me believe.

By Sunday evening we are both exhausted and exhilarated. We can't wait to get home, but we don't want to leave. What a joy it is to have such a wonderful place to renew and refresh our spirits.

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