By Julie Hart, Potos Pines Camp Site Team Chair and member of the Desert Southwest Conference Camping Board
Potosi Pines became a part of my heart and my family’s traditions back in 1996 when I first went up to the camp. I was new to Methodism and brand new to the church camping world. That was before the retreat center, before electricity in the cabins, before gaga ball, archery, and gold rush days! That was even before the beloved camp cat, Rocky. Girlfriend was the camp cat who ran the show at that time. Well, Girlfriend and John & Phyllis Murray.
The first camp staff that I served on was under Dr. John Blackwell – my pastor and boss at the time. I immediately fell in love with camp because I witnessed first hand the way that God works in the lives of children on top of the mountain. Everything is different at camp. Where else but camp can you see your pastor stuff 20 marshmallows in his cheeks or sing “Pharaoh Pharaoh?” A week at camp is more time than a year of Sunday school. Friendships and relationships are built and deepened at camp. Year after year after year.
When Tracey Brown came to be the camp director, she started the tradition of having campers complete one sentence at the end of camp: Because of camp…For me, because of camp, my children have grown up being a part of the Potosi family and we have shared many wonderful memories.
I do have one favorite memory for a lot of reasons. It was in the year 2000. I co-deaned a camp called “God’s Love under the Big Top.” I agreed to dean the camp and then became pregnant. So my friend, Marie, agreed to help. That’s before she knew that she too was pregnant. A third friend, Stacey, agreed to help us dean camp since she knew it would be challenging with us being pregnant. Well. You guessed it. She got pregnant too! We were the three pregnant deans that summer!!
I actually come from a performance background and my family once owned a small circus. So, of course, we gathered up some of our old circus stuff (including our ringmaster and juggler) and the campers put on a fantastic circus at the end of camp. Kids learned about how much God loved them. Counselors learned how to lead. And God was so so good that week.
There were many highlights that week of camp. But the biggest highlight for me was actually after camp. Marie (one of the other pregnant deans) and I were finally heading home after raking up the remnants of camp once the campers had gone home. One of the 17-year-old counselors, Michael, was riding home with us. When Marie went to open the car door, she announced that her water had just broken! Of course, I found this to be quite amusing and I was on the dirt ground rolling in laughter – literally! Michael quickly announced that he would not be getting back into my van! I’m not sure how he got home from camp that day, but I can tell you that I got Marie to the hospital in time to deliver the baby. Too bad the doctor didn’t make it in time, but I got to be there to welcome Cameron Meyer into the world. One month later, I gave birth to my future camper, Giovanni. Little did I know then, he would grow up to be a camper, counselor, and member of C4C (Counselors for Christ) and thus a part of the Potosi tradition.
Because of camp, I get to be a part of passing traditions on to future generations.