Summer Camp: Clay Mills Baptist Church Edition

Can anybody name that theme song? It’s right on the tip of my brain…

Update: About 30 seconds after I hit submit I recognized it. I’m sure they paid royalties to use it in their advertising.

Update 2: If you see nothing else in this video forward to about 3:40 and watch the kid in the tie and sweater with the sharply parted hair tell you how much fun camp is going to be.

148 thoughts on “Summer Camp: Clay Mills Baptist Church Edition”

    1. Yeah…not much up on slang, are they? You know a few teenagers forced to attend will get something different from that.

    1. The Magnificent Seven? I wonder if they’d be looking for new “American” music when they found out the movie was an adaptation of a Japanese samurai film… πŸ™„

  1. Funny, they kept promoting how great it was to have “devotions” there at the camp, how wonderful to be their working on their walk with God. I don’t remember any of the devotion time, or chapel time, from summer church camp. All I remember is fishing and pantie raiding the girls dorm. And spraying the bare light bulbs with bug spray to watch them explode. I made a piss-poor fundy even as a child!

    1. Yeah, I love the statement by the one girl about going out of the world. I think Paul said that was impossible to do: I Cor. 5:9-13.

      The IFB is a modern-day Manichaean cult.

  2. Random thoughts:

    I thought it was pretty amazing when Mr. Haney from Green Acres started talking at 3:16.

    I also was awed by the fact that they take their SUITS to a summer camp (1:16)! Who wears a SUIT (other than a swimsuit) to go CAMPING?

    I wonder if it says “Brother Dave Smith” on the dude’s birth certificate at :05.

    Note the obligatory “Pastor Worship” non sequitur at :14.

    What is it with kooky churches in towns with the name of Lancaster?

    My youth group got suckered by a slick marketing campaign in 1985, and so we drove for two days to go to Bill Rice Concentration Camp. Never again will anyone from my family attend an IFB camp. What a ripoff! What false advertising!

    1. “I also was awed by the fact that they take their SUITS to a summer camp (1:16)! Who wears a SUIT (other than a swimsuit) to go CAMPING?”
      Back a loooooong time ago, when I was going to Camp Fairwood (a baptist camp in central WI) guys were required to wear dress shirts and ties and girls wore skirts and nylons to evening chapel. Why, I will never understand but being good sheeple in training we did it (even if it meant tossing out at least 2 pairs of nylons because they got snagged on the chapel benches).

      1. I cringe at all the outward appearance stuff. I love quoting 1 Samuel 16:7 to those people “…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” That is from the New Living Translation (Perversion) so I guess that wouldn’t go over so well either!

        1. DeputyFife, I remember hearing in a sermon from Jack Hyles once that while God is looking at the heart, MAN is looking at the outward appearance, so we should make sure that our outward appearance is such that when man looks on it they will know {insert whatever it is we wanted man to know when he looked at us.} Simple twist. I can see how many miss it.

        2. Much as I dislike Jack Hyles, he does make a valid point — while the primary application (in context) is that God is looking at the heart, not on the outward appearance, it is still a truth that all man can see IS the outward appearance… that’s the whole point of James (I will show thee my faith by my works) Our outward appearance is a part of “whatsoever therefore ye do”, and should primarily be to glorify God, but the outward appearance is the first thing others notice about us.

      2. I also noticed the guys in suits. I also noticed that most of the speakers took their coats off while preaching.

      3. My wife worked at Fairwood a few summers during college, back before we met. It seems to have mellowed out quite a lot since you were there…

        1. When did she work there? ‘Cause I went to camp back in the early-mid 70s (yeah, I’m that old πŸ™ ).

    2. You caught the obligatory exaltation of the pastor… I was hoping I would get to point that out first.

      The suits thing doesn’t bother me too much – camp usually just has the young men wear dress clothes and a tie, so it’s a little odd, but not too bad.

    3. Another random thought:

      How about the silliness (in lieu of a harsher term) of requiring all campers to use sacred music in their contests, but using secular music (even worse, Hollywood music from the ee-ville motion picture shows) in their own promotional video?

    1. I love rule #4 about the competition:

      All music must be sacred.

      Can someone please give me the verse in the Bible that describes exactly what is “sacred” music?

      1. This is easy, I used to be a Fundie music director. Here is your verse: Exodus: 32:17

        And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.

        The noise of war must have included drums because the people were dancing (dancing bad). So therefore anything that has the drum is bad

        Also any music is worldly music if it is sung by anyone who has ever performed for an audience of 5000 or more (not including the holy shrine at FBC Hammond).

        1. I would think that any music featuring sackbuts is considered secular, as in Dan. 3. (I like sackbuts and I cannot lie. You other brothers can’t deny.)

    2. I’m surprised ladies don’t have to come in just wearing long, baggy robes with head coverings. πŸ™„

        1. No no, not as long as the color is an utterly washed out brown/grey, AND the hair is thoroughly untreated AND the feet are tightly enclosed AND the eyes are kept firmly cast down EXCEPT and ONLY EXCEPT when the MOG deman–erp, beseeches all to dwell upon his gidly presence. 😈

    3. I’m having a good laugh at the modest sleepwear rule…… We are sending camper X home for sleeping in immodest sleepwear- underwear. ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓

    4. Why is the code of conduct almost nothing but a dress code? Theoretically, kids could call each other “sh*thead” all day and yell that it isn’t against the rules. πŸ™„

      1. These camps love their dress codes. Bill Rice Ranch specifically banned “gaucho pants.” None of the kids in my youth group even knew what those were!

        1. So, you can dress like a North American cowboy, but South American cowboy attire isn’t welcome at the Ranch. That seems a bit too separated even for Fundies.

    1. Yes! The green screen, because we have access to cool technology we must use it so the world will know we’re relevant.

      In the opening seconds, I couldn’t help but think, “Could these people not be bothered to shoot on location for this?”

  3. Looks like skirts only for the girls, and no shorts for the guys. Even my fundy summer camp wasn’t that crazy.

    1. And most of the video shots of physical activities were of boys. I don’t see how the girls could do most of that stuff– modestly, of course– in skirts. 😑

      1. I was thinking the same thing. Notice that they don’t show ANY girls doing the physical activities. While they show girls from the waist up for interviews, you really have to look for an image of a girl in a skirt.

        1. I also noticed the lack of girls In any activity that looked even remotely fun. It reminds me of a youth pastor I had. He had explained the rules to the game we were going to play. These directions didn’t include girls, when I asked what the girls were supposed to do while the boys were participating in the game. he. πŸ˜› told me girls were made to decorate not participate. πŸ˜• That was the beginning of the end for me.

      2. Some IFB church camps are starting to limit the number of physical activities for the girls. At the camp my siblings went to (I forget the name), they made the girls cheer the boys on while the boys competed and then pastors would make comments in the services when they were announcing who won competitions like “the girls are losers because they didn’t do any activities today.”

  4. The IOC has trademark rights to the use of the interlocking rings.

    I’m sure they got the IOC’s permission to use them and to display them in this broadcast on the internet. 1:20 – 1:23.

    1. The IOC is very, very possessive of the rings and the name “Olympics”. AWANA had to change the name of their inter-club competitions to AWANA Games instead of AWANA Olympics because of it.

  5. Something to think about Darrel: I’ve enjoyed your site, but this might be we’ll part ways. The comment about the child at 3:40 is a bit out of line. Making fun of what fundamentalist children’s parents make them go through? Totally appropriate. Making fun of a poorly put together video about fundy camp by adults? Completely fine. But anything that could be construed as you actually making fun of any child and his or her appearance (being raised fundy or not)? Unacceptable. Children are the closest people to the heart of God. Let’s not let anything we do in our satire toward fundamentalists resemble child bullying at all. But give the adults all you got!

    1. A fair criticism I would think.

      Although in Darrell’s defence, he might be assuming that the child’s dress is 100% the work of an adult, and not the child’s choice. Therefore, in that case, the criticism might in fact be of the adults…

    2. Yes, my comment was directed at the adults who thought it was a great way to promote camp to use this kid dressed this way.

      It’s definitely not the poor kid’s fault that they’ve given him lines to say and I didn’t intend it to sound as if I was somehow blaming him. He’s just doing what he has been told to do.

      1. I understand where you’re coming from. I guess my heart for him was just one of concern if he ever were to happen across this video. And I think I said something out of line. I don’t intend to “part ways.” You’re my brother, and if I disagree with you, I can work through it with you. That was the old fundamentalist in me talking.

    3. I tend to agree with you, although I also strongly suspect that Darrell was poking fun at the parents and camp leaders for requiring such a stringent dress code. I used to be humiliated at the way my parents forced me to dress — drab, shapeless clothing and drab, shapeless hair, no makeup … These fundy girls are, quite honestly, quite lucky that their parents at least allow them to be attractive. My parents were determined to have me be a frump. It didn’t help that I wasn’t particularly blessed in the looks department. I got teased. If I’d come across comments like this, I’d have definitely taken it personally.

      It’s fine to want kids to look nice, neat and well-put together. Forcing your kid to look and act like a mini-adult = not fine. It’s summer camp. Let the kid have fun.

      1. I was embarrassed plenty, but my sisters bore the real brunt of it. We don’t talk about it to this day, but forcing young teen girls to dress like little house on the prairie etc. is psychologically damaging.

        1. When my sisters and I started to ride the bus to get to the middle school/high school, we were literally called “the Little House on the Prairie girls”. (This was in the 1980s.)

  6. On their brochure, I’d suggets they are in breach of two trademark laws:

    1. Using an obvious visual allusion, if not outright reproduction of the trademakred olympic rings
    2. Coupling the above with the Olympic torch is a clear and obvious associated with the above items, and represents a possible further breach of trademark.

    It’s odd (hypocritical?) also that they are at pains in their “code of Conduct” to ban “inappropriate advertising”, all the while being potentially in breach of advertising rules themselves.

    Does anyone care to email them and ask why they have co-opted these trademarked symbols to sell their camp?

    1. And isn’t it funny that they call themselves “Circle C”, which evokes the symbol for “Copyright?”

    1. Philip, I can tell the Spirit isn’t in you. Your negativity is counter to all the embiggening we are trying to do here. I don’t think you’ve got the Lord in you, and I think you need to repent right now. I’m also going to instruct all the other boys to make homophobic comments to you in order to remind you of what a man should be.

      (Sarcasm beam! Pew pew!!)

      1. lol!

        Your reply was quite convincing, I thought for a second you might have been the real thing.

        Thanks for including the bracketed comment at the end, otherwise I might have responded with some temple-table-turning! πŸ˜‰

  7. Why must this place look a bit like some sort of boot camp? I really do deplore the militarism that seeps into everything fundy.

    1. I’m currently at Ft. Jackson, SC and going through some minor militarization. The team building exercises and methods these people use are very similar. They break down individuality with these exercises.

    1. Ditto that. I was thinking the same thing. I grew up in a very fundy home. Homelearned all the way, etc. I would have liked to get out of the house and be around other kids, even if they were just like me. πŸ™

    2. My parents were really, really into so-called discipline. I would have viewed this camp as a whole week without beatings. Yay!

    3. We went to the Bill Rice Ranch and my mother would hold it over my head until literally the minute I got on the church bus.

      Story number 1: One summer, when I was 14, she made me a behavior chart where I got points each day for a month for five vague categories such as “attitude,” “character,” “behavior,” etc. I had to get 100 total points to get to go to camp. She very carefully gave me just enough points to keep me hoping that I would get to go to camp, but not enough that I had any certainty until the last week. I finally emerged with 103 points. While driving to the church to get on the bus she then told me, “you barely got 100 points so I don’t think you deserve to go.” But for some reason, she let me go anyway.

      Story number 2: Another summer, my mother decided to spend the last couple of weeks before camp lobbying my father to not let me go. No particular reason, she is just a hateful person like that. I took advantage of a peculiar loophole that always worked with dad: “keeping my commitments.” Usually used as a weapon against me, “keeping my commitments” meant that if my parents could twist facts to somehow construe that I had made a “commitment” to the church, I had to keep it no matter what other circumstances might come up. Well, that summer I had volunteered to play piano for the youth choir so I convinced dad to tell my mom that even if I didn’t deserve to go I had to “keep my commitments.” Yay for dad and his stupid rules!!

      Story number 3: My parents decided to drive us to camp because we were on a family trip (to a Bill Gothard conference) the week before. We sat there for about an hour on the long BRR driveway waiting for our church bus to pull up. The moment that they arrived, I said, well time to go get on the church bus. My mother said, not so fast. While all my friends and people from our church sat there and watched, she made me change the baby’s poopy diaper and walk down to a trash can to throw it away. I told her that was embarrasing and she said that if I didn’t have a good attitude that they would just leave and take me with them. I was so desparate to get to go to camp and have a week away from my family, I went ahead and did what she demanded while my dad sat silently in the front seat and didn’t say a word.

      It wasn’t until later that a very basic question occurred to me: what kind of horrible parents use not getting to go to IFB CHURCH CAMP as a form of punishment??? But, as apathetic said, they knew that it was an escape for me from their abusive home and they resented every minute of it.

      1. I don’t really remember my parents ever holding church camp against me, but the fun and games all ended when I was 12 and got a mild tbi the very first day of camp one year. So that was that. Clearly, I was not the type of proper young lady who deserved to go to summer camp. No more camp for me!


        1. Traumatic brain injury. Let’s just say heads were never made to be put through concrete walls. I got knocked out for a few minutes, threw up a few times, and promptly got sent home in disgrace, lol. Ah well.

      2. This was the most depressing thing I have read in a long time. Based on this I don’t think I like your mom.

      3. I meant to post this here. Some of my best making out time was in the back of the bus to the BRR. 😳

      4. That’s the saddest thing I’ve read in days, D.C. If your parents are still living, do you have a relationship with them?

        1. I don’t have a relationship with them at this time. Like many other commenters on this site, my experience was that the physical abuse stopped eventually because I grew up and left home, but the verbal and emotional abuse never stopped. When I got married, and my mother tried to extend her abusive behavior to my wife, we put our foot down and said no more. We see them as little as possible. The hard part is that I am the oldest of 7 children, with 4 of them still at home (there was a 17-year spread between me and the youngest) and it has been really tough trying to maintain relationships with my siblings in spite of my parents, especially because the second oldest, my sister, idolizes my parents, does everything they want, and believes that they have done no wrong. She is on staff at West Coast Baptist “College” and my parents have recently announced that all of their remaining children will be required to go there under the watchful eye of big sis (who is rapidly becoming a clone of my mother). So, unfortunately for them, I fear that the cycle of abuse won’t really be over for many years to come. πŸ˜₯

        2. This is to Deacon’s Son: sounds like we have a lot in common. I’m the oldest of ten children and there are 17 years between me and the youngest. The 5 youngest all attended WCBC; two sisters are on staff (one is Dr. R’s secretary), one traveled with the Summer Tour Group, and the youngest brother is still attending. Fairhaven was the school of choice until dad found out about WCBC. My youngest brother traveled with Dave Young for a year as his assistant; then he wanted to study computers, but “honored dad” by going to college “for a year to study the Bible.” Of course, he has now “surrendered to the ministry.” πŸ™„

        3. Wow we do have a lot in common. My sister is undersecretary to the dean of women (at least that’s what I call her to make her sound like Dolores Umbridge). She initially lied and told people she was the Assistant Dean of Women (and my parents started telling people “our daughter is a dean at a college”) and then the truth emerged that she was the assistant TO the Dean of Women (BIG difference there, sis).

          My sister was also a Dr. R girl and adored and worshipped him the way she does my dad. He made another of my sisters uncomfortable because when my parents went to the older one’s “graduation,” he took the younger sister off alone and basically tried to browbeat her into going to West Coast. Thus far, she is holding out against my parents and refusing to go there so she is 19 and still living at home because they won’t make it possible for her to go anywhere else. Younger sis finally paid for herself to take the SAT and now is applying for an associate’s degreee program in her field of choice. I hope she makes it and gets out of that home!

          So, anyway, don’t know your sisters’ experience, but my impression of Dr. R is not that good.

        4. DS: Yes, my sister is a Dr. R girl all the way. She quotes him a lot, and even wrote an entry in his book “101 Tips for Teachers”. I joke that she writes his sermons (she doesn’t disagree lol) and I call her his “work wife.” He called me several months ago and said that the Lord had spoken to him that morning and revealed that I was supposed to move to California to teach in his brother’s school. They provide housing for single teachers!! It’s God’s will!! While he was talking to me, my sister was texting me from her office, saying how excited she was that God had revealed this to him. Well, God didn’t reveal it to me; I’m in Guatemala now. And even though the school does provide my housing, I can’t imagine them trying to control my life like they would if I lived in IFB ministry housing. It would be like the dorms all over again 😯 😯

      5. Okay, you win…but not really, right? This is sad, and so much more overt and blatant than the manipulation and abuse in my family. I agree with Michael (not the angel)–I don’t like your mom now…but then again, I don’t like my mom either, because she sounds a lot like yours.

      6. DS, I sure hope your mother-in-law is a sweet lady. I feel sorry for the kids of strict ifb mothers. I wish everyone could have a mother that was a loving, encouraging influence. My dad was very strict and opinionated and not very encouraging, but my mother was the grace factor in our home and sometimes felt our church was majoring on the minors, and even our father wasn’t so bad that we didn’t desire a relationship with him. I, too, was a deacon’s son, and one of several children, with a wide age span from youngest to oldest. I just feel so badly for you.

      7. Such a sad story!! Shows the resiliency of children, though…you managed to turn out a fine human being in spite of all that.

        Question: Is it fundyism that leads to stuff like this? Or is this (partly? mostly?) just a case of really bad parenting? A friend of mine was recently telling me about her hyper-critical mother, who really damaged her. But her family attended a liberal Methodist church, a far cry from a fundy one. Some people are just really bad parents, no matter what their religion, I guess.

  8. I knew I couldn’t watch the whole thing, so I skipped to 3:40 to see the kid with the sharply parted hair. Instead, I ended up few seconds before that at about 3:35 watching a kid who was about 10 say that at CircleC, you get to have fellowship with all your friends. Poor little guy.

    1. I bet those kids were reading off of cue cards. I bet IFB’s in Kentucky want their kids to go to this PTL Club “Lite” camp instead of the Kentucky Derby.

  9. “you get to have fellowship with ALL your friends” Literally, this kid probably isn’t allowed to have friends outside of this group.

    “it’s full of fun activity you’re always busy.” Busy puts the B in Baptist.

  10. This camp looks like paradise compared to Jerry Purtell’s S.M.I.T.E. camp. This is from their home page at And this is no parody; a nearby IFB church boasts over sending its kids there every year.

    At S.M.I.T.E. there will be no sports activities, swimming, or any kind of activities that would be associated with a youth camp. S.M.I.T.E. is designed for young people that have a desire to be trained in the work of the Lord, especially in the field of child evangelism. The preaching is direct, and very HOT! Those that are easily offended don’t need to come. Only the King James version of the Bible is used throughout the camp. S.M.I.T.E. stands against all forms of rock, country western, contemporary, and so called honky tonk bar room gospel. We do not allow immodest dress and contemporary styles and fads. We also stand against β€œdating” as it is practiced in our culture. We teach and preach that young people should find the right mate through courtship

    1. Yep, gotta love the music genre popularly known as “honky tonk bar room gospel.” πŸ™„

    2. The very name “Smite Camp” sounds like a bad joke. The description sounds straight-up Poe. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Why on earth do people think that “doing the Lord’s work” means doom, gloom and no fun-having on pain of death. Seriously. God gave us a sense of humor, He invented fun, so for God’s sake, let’s have fun!

        1. I wish I *hadn’t* checked it out. I wear a 34h bra, which is rather larger than average, and pretty much every top — even the super-extra-jumbo-large tops cup under like the top on the left. So basically, I’d be seen as an immodest, indecent whore of Babylon simply because of my natural body type? Well, gee, thanks a lot.

          This is just one of many problems with the ifb: body shaming. If you don’t fit into the particular body-type that is acceptable, then you’re out. It’s ok to look like a pre-pubescent boy when you’re a teen girl and then become an apple-shaped, overweight woman once you get married. But there will be none of that curvy nonsense in between! Curvy is reserved only for whores and sluts! And if you have been naturally cursed with curves, well, then may God “smite” you if you don’t figure out some way to hide it (although good luck because even baggy clothes just don’t cover it up) because every man and boy will act like it’s open season on you.


        2. I am a 38H, which not only makes it really hard to find a good bra, but yes, good luck with shirts that don’t “cup under”. And if they don’t, then you look completely shapeless. I’ve got a “donk” as well, and now that I’m not in all that mess, I can wear clothes that show that I actually have a figure. If God made us this way, why must we hide it? Very thin girls (at least in our school) wore clothing that showed their shape; why is that acceptable but if you have curves you have to hide and be ashamed?

  11. I couldn’t watch this video because as soon as I clicked on it, I had a physical, anxiety-driven response to hearing “Bro. Dave’s” voice.
    In 1991, I was 15. My family had been attending Cedar River Baptist Camp in Letts, IA, which was a ministry of Larry Brown’s church. Bro. Dave was the director.
    I memorized Provers 31 for the Scripture memory competition and said it perfectly. We had been working on it for months in our girls’ SS class. Not only did I not win, I didn’t even place.
    The next night, we were all standing outside the dining hall, waiting for prayer so we could go in. Details are sketchy, considering what happened next, but there was a dog, and Bro. Dave was kicking it. I turned to the girl next to me and said, “That looks like animal abuse.” Bro. Dave came over to me and, in front of 200+ campers, berated me using the megaphone. He said that I was disrespectful. Then he said that the real reason why I didn’t win the Scripture memory contest was because I was more like the woman in Proverbs 7 than Proverbs 31. (I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up lol. The Proverbs 7 woman seduces a man while her husband is away.) Bro. Dave’s problem with me was my dress. Keeping in mind my strict and conservative upbringing, all of my clothes had been approved by my mother before I left. However, I was already “developing” and had a fairly good sized chest and “bubble butt.” The dress was belted, and gave the illusion that I had a shape. (GASP)
    It only gets better: When I got home, I got a spanking for my “bad attitude” and then I had to write Bro. Dave a letter, apologizing for my behavior. He responded with a letter thanking me for my humility, and for the opportunity to minister to me and my family. Looking back, I wonder if maybe my dad didn’t quite agree, but had to save face. There were some hard feelings between him and Larry Brown because “Dr. Brown” had said that there were no “good IFB churches” in our town, which obviously upset my dad. Either way, we never did go back, so I give my dad credit for that.
    S.M. Davis was a popular speaker at this camp, and preached every year about “courtship.” There were girls who would wear buttons that said, “Sorry, guys, I’m betrothed to…” Teenage girls! Bro. Dave’s daughter was “betrothed” to one of Ron Williams’ (Hephzibah House) sons, but apparently God changed his mind, because they never did get married.
    And Bro. Dave’s wife, OMG could she scream when the girls weren’t quiet after lights out. That woman could give DIs in the Marines a run for their money.
    I’m guessing very few people on SFL would consider sending their children here, but for those who are on the fence, please do not subject your children to this man.

    1. Wow… for some things, I feel grateful that I did not grow up in a fundamentalist home like yours (moral, but not Christian parents).

      Wow… I feel for you.

    2. Good grief. I thought the Mean Nuns in grade school were bad, but they were pussycats compared with this guy. Yikes.

    3. This was strange for me to see as well – I went to Cedar River Baptist Camp for several years as well, though in the late 90s. I hardly ever think of it any more, but this brought back so many memories. Interestingly enough, it was at a point in time when I think there were some cracks developing in the relationship between Dave and Marion Ave. Baptist Church (crazy place in itself), so Jeff Fugate spoke at every camp I attended. I guess that’s how this new camp got started. The bizarre thing is Jeff Fugate made Dave seem like a teddy-bear pushover.

    4. It did the same to me, when I heard this Bro. Dave ‘s voice and saw his face. This camp is very abusive to their staff. I worked on the staff for a summer in the mid 90’s 95/96… I believe. The memories are horrible. I remember him being so angry and calling us girls “whores” for talking with boys, he then proceeded to pick up the table bench where we girls were seated and throwing it down. I remember the staff boys, most who where underage, standing out in the blazing hot sun for hours for punishment, because someone had a rock music CD in their belongings. The stories can go on. They almost killed my sister by purposely giving her food she was allergic to. Her throat began to swell and she was taken to the E.R. I wouldn’t send my dog there if I had one.

  12. Back in the day, there wasn’t a fundy summer camp within easy (cheap enough) travel distance, so the kids in my church were allowed to attend the local SBC summer camp, although with great reluctance from the parents and pastor. Those SBC kids were just too worldly, ya know, with their CCM and NKJV Bibles.

    At this camp, I got to wear shorts for a whole week (down to my knees, of course)! No swimming allowed, even though the camp was on a lake, but it was still like heaven to get away from my home church and hang out with other kids, even though I felt terribly awkward and self-conscious around them because they talked about popular songs and wore makeup and some of the girls had even (gasp!) kissed a boy 😳

    Those two summers I went to camp–after that it was forbidden–literally changed my life. I realized that there was a world outside of homeschooling and Gothard and courtship and long denim jumpers with Keds, and the people in that world seemed HAPPY. It was mind-boggling, and I am so grateful for it.

    1. Double wow… never, ever went to a church camp of any kind.

      My mother was a pretty good mother; my father didn’t really take a hand in rearing any of us (3 boys, 2 girls), but we turned out more or less ok.

    1. And here I’ve been thinking of that tune as being from the Marlboro cigarette ads. Yes, I’m old enough to remember those. πŸ™„

  13. I have heard Jeff Fugate’s voice on the radio. Before I saw a picture of him, I thought he was about 70 years old. He always sounded like an old man.

  14. I have to say that church camp was actually pretty fun when I was a kid and teenager. I was a Bus Kid at FBC Hammond and camp was always fun. I don’t even have horror stories. They made it really fun for us. The only time we weren’t allowed to wear shorts was to chapel, besides that they didn’t care.

    When I got a little older and my dad was “in the ministry”, we moved abroad to “serve” as a youth and assistant pastor, our youth group went to Mt Salem Revival Grounds in West Virginia. I have to say it was pretty fun as well, but not as loose on the dress code where shorts were concerned.

    They both did have the normal indoctrinating activities, but the games and activities were fun.

      1. @Tiarali,
        Still no shorts for the women at either camps.
        You should know by now that women don’t mean anything to IFB churches besides cooking meals, cleaning the house and washing dishes, and making babies. Although I personally never held that belief.

    1. Like Aaron, I also feel lucky to have had a more positive experience. My parents were moderate, and I always felt loved by them. My pastor was also moderate, though we often had more extreme guest preachers come in. I reckon we all just ignored the extremism, even though it was always there under the surface. Anyway, I feel deeply for all of you who have really suffered.

      I may not be recalling correctly (hey, it’s been 30-35 yrs.!), but at the camp I attended, a Baptist camp in Wildwood, FL, I remember shorts being allowed for both sexes, swimwear–normal swimwear, not 1920s model–being allowed, and I seem to recall even mixed bathing being allowed. I know we had chapel every day, but I don’t remember too many other planned activities. It seems we were actually allowed to have fun, fishing, swimming, buying snacks at the snack hut, being regular kids. What the hell? What kind of fundamentalists were we, anyway?!

  15. The lessons from my pastors and evangelists are indelibly stamped in my memory. No “mixed bathing” means that the boys and girls could not swim together. And the swimming attire had to meet certain standards lest someone hiding in the woods be exposed to temptation.

    1. There is only one summer camp within easy travel distance of my hometown; it’s run by Baptists. The more I learn about fundamentalism, the more I realize that they were a bunch of wild-eyed hippie liberals at that camp. The only dress code I remember was, “If you don’t plan to get it dirty, don’t wear it to camp, and if it won’t protect you from road rash or thorn bushes, don’t wear it to camp.” If you wanted to swim you had to bring a suit and everybody was expected to wear a T-shirt on top because of leeches and sunburn and mosquitoes. They had Star Trek episode books and piles of Readers Digest on the shelves in the common room. Sometimes they had weirdos like that one guy who spoke in tongues over a camper’s twisted ankle and scared her half to death, but even he was rather hairy for a true IFB man of Gid. And the one year we were pushed to say the canned salvation prayer, they sent us off to say it by ourselves, in private!

  16. My daughter and I watched this video together. She was removed from the IFBx church in the “Other Lancaster” while still young enough not to be horribly damaged. She does a lot of stuff that would have been forbidden at that place (Thank God!).

    As we watched this video we kept saying “More boys playing” and “More boys’ activities” while wondering what the girls actually did. Then we saw a boy eating and my daughter said, “I bet the girls had to cook that”.

    LOL! She already has this all figured out.


    And NO, she will NOT be doing the obligatory one year at West Coast Baptist College. No way, Paul.

  17. My husband had good memories of the Wilds but his home life was pretty bad (apart from the fundamentalism) so he welcomed any chance to get away.

    Our Pastor pushed a certain summer camp but for whatever reason the youth group never followed through. We did our own camping activities during the summer and that was enough for me. I’m glad I escaped that.

    1. I feel only pity for the kid stating that the Wildcat slide was awesome. Has he never had the opportunity to ride a real water slide? Probably not because that would require going to a water park with the heathens that dress immodestly, so his idea of an awesome water slide is a blow-up slide. πŸ™

      1. exactly! My daughter pointed this out also. She goes to the real water parks and thinks it is sad the kids at this camp consider this one “awesome”. They obviously have never compared it to the real deal.

  18. A statement made by a young lady says it all in this video. She says β€œand you’ll be away from the world which is the most important thing.” Yes teach them young to separate from the world we live in the world that the god created and died for. I won’t be surprised if ifb in the future start founding their own towns and building compounds like the crazy fundamental polygamists Mormons do. When I was young I was forced to go to church camps in KY NOT FUN LET ME TELL YOU. The only awesome thing that happened at church camp is we had some really good catfish. We were allowed to swim with shorts and shirts though but we swam segregated of course. I remember once we were at youth conference at Hammond and we were staying in a nice hotel in Chicago that had a sweet pool. Well all us boys was ready to go to the pool and our preacher who saw himself as a mini KY versions of jack hyles noticed an middle aged lady at the pool in a bathing suit so he said the swimming was off because a lady was down there. I was mad because I wanted to swim and I yelled out” that’s not fare we aren’t going to lust after that old lady let us swim.” I got into so much trouble but I think I proved a point that day of the ridicules rule of no mixed swimming. I feel bad for calling her an old lady now looking back as a man approaching 40.

    1. Ahhhh, the fuga mundi.

      Um, wasn’t that largely the impulse behind the rise of (gulp, gasp) monasticism?

    1. And then Sean did read the video description, and seeing the link, he did click, and his heart was filled with fail.

  19. The music is clearly by Aaron Copland, probably part of Rodeo or Billy the Kid. It doesn’t matter to me, but given the usual opposition, what would these camp folks think if they read a part of Copland’s biography, the part about him being a closeted gay man?

    1. The first part is definitely from Copland’s Rodeo, second section (after 0:46) is The Magnificent Seven theme, aka the Marlboro Man commercial tune. 😎
      Never knew about Copland’s being gay until recently, does it really matter? πŸ™„ Then again, my non-fundy mother still wonders how “this little Russian Jew” (yes, that’s what she calls him) could have written so much wonderful music. She believes that talent should be paired with beauty, she worships violinist Joshua Bell.

  20. Loved all the fun activities for the girls. Guess they were in the kitchen making food for the boys. πŸ™„

  21. Why do some many fundie summer camps have a western theme? I once stayed at River Valley Ranch in Maryland.
    I guess fundies would never have a space camp. Why dream of visiting Mars if is only 6,000 years old.

    1. I’ve seen IFB churches with a space theme for VBS. I think there is already a built-in nostalgia with camping and a connection with a simpler, out-doorsy lifestyle than fits with a Western theme but doesn’t with a space theme. The typical architecture of simple log cabins and split rail fences would have to be totally redone for a space theme.

  22. I always loved summer camp but it was always a challenge to figure out what wordly device I was going to give up that year

  23. Fun video.
    Comments? Wow. Just… wow!
    I wonder if any of the so-called Christians commenting on this site have ever thought about what Glory will be like, and who they will be living next door to in Heaven.
    We can’t pick our parents nor how they bring us up. But, nobody else chooses our savior for us. Nobody else died on the cross for us. Nobody by force makes us type words on public facing blogs. Nobody forces us to hinder the cause of Christ. We do all of these things our self, with no help from anyone.

    “For if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves…”
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
    Everlasting life begins the day we get saved. Let’s live like it the best we can, even through our faults.

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