Mama Kat Thursday: 4-H Camp Memories

The Mama Kat topic of choice today is,
"Summer Camp Memories."

My sisters and I were in 4-H many years. Our parents were also
 4-H leaders for the our local club many of those years as well.
A perk of being in 4-H was the annual summer 4-H came held at Lake Shakamak State Park, Indiana. 
We'd meet up to board a school bus, then enjoy a jostling hour and a half ride to the park.

My memories of 4-H camp are from the 70's.
Some things, like the Mess Hall (pictured)
look pretty much the same.
There's actually a wide circular field of grass in front of this Mess Hall with a ring of cabins
that were pretty utilitarian. Just bare cement floors, unfinished walls with 2 x 4's visible
 and rows of metal frame bunk-beds.

I have two high-light memories of 4-H camp: the Mess Hall singing and evening entertainment at the Vesper Bowl.
In the 70's, the Mess Hall was filled with long lows of tables with long wooden benches for seating and every meal included singing.
Some of it was group sing-along, like "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," we'd all straddle the bench, place hands on each other's shoulders and rock back and forth like waves as we sang in unison.
The camp counselors also taught us to sing,"Shaving Cream," and "A Little Hunk of Tin" also known as the Ford Song. 
I thought Shaving Cream was hilarious!
The long benches are apparently gone and modern campers sit at the long tables in folding chairs. I can't see that makes singing "My Bonnie" as effective.

The Vesper Bowl was an outdoor amphitheater a short walk down a trail from the Mess Hall. Surrounded by trees, it was a semi circle of about 4 levels of log-benches with a central area at the bottom and in the evenings after dusk, we'd file down there, fill the seats and laugh and chortle at skits.
I recall one year the adult leaders, along with our Mother & Dad, dressed like hillbillies, formed "jug band" with a washtub bass, a washboard, a moonshine jug and guitar and sang a song. (I think it was Sweet Georgia Brown.) 
There was a really long skit called "Pass the Pepper," I remember that involved a line of about 8 people and the 8th person would say, "Pass the Pepper," and everyone would repeat that up the line to the first person who'd then ask, "What kind of Pepper? Black Pepper?" and "do ya want black pepper?" would be passed back to the 8th person who'd say, "No, pass the pepper!" This process would be repeated with several types of pepper options until finally the first person would say, "Well, ask him what kind of pepper he do want?" and that would be passed back down the line to the 8th person who then replies, "Pass the Toilet Pepper." Ta-da-dum.

We also swam in Lake Shakamak daily, but nowadays 4-H campers have it nicer then a sandy, weedy lake with fish nibbling on your toes. They have a pool with a water slide!

I've included a video of modern Lake Shakamak 4-H camp. The cabins and the field look the same.

Thanks for Visiting!


John Holton said…
Mary was a member of 4-H even though she was a city kid like me. While she doesn't talk about it much, I get the sense that she enjoyed it a lot. Sounds like you had great fun and got a lot out of it.

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