Owned by the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Camp Glisson is located in the beautiful north Georgia mountains, near Dahlonega. I have many happy memories of Camp Glisson. I attended from the summer before I began sixth grade through the summer before I began 10th grade.
Sunday afternoon we arrived at camp and were checked in and given our cabin and counselor assignment. Right away we began making new friends. The girls’ cabins were up on the hill and the boys’ cabins were by the baseball field. The cabins all had names. Every year I was assigned to a cabin named “Stormy Weather.”
Cane Creek Falls and vespers
We went swimming in Cane Creek Falls, although years later they added a swimming pool. We played games and had activities on rainy days in the ol’ rec hall. We had worship services in the beautiful chapel. We went hiking on “Scorpion Hill,” and went on creek hikes in Cane Creek. The creek bed was somewhat rocky so we had to wear tennis shoes. The Holland Building is where we had a talent show Friday night.
We had vespers at sunset at the lakeside amphitheater. We watched the sun go down and then went to the dining hall for supper. After supper, the entire camp gathered on the huge dining hall porch for singing. The dining hall, built of stone, had ledges we could all sit on and there was a ledge that went around the entire porch so there was plenty of seating. Many times there was a fire crackling in the fireplace while we sang. Sometimes we would make s’mores after we sang. That porch was a wonderful place to gather.
Home in the woods
The program at Camp Glisson was delightful. There was a group of five boys with a male counselor and group of five girls with a female counselor. Those small groups were combined to form a larger group for the week. For the forthcoming week, we ate together in the dining hall. After breakfast every morning, together we hiked to our “home in the woods.”
The first day we took supplies for the week so that we could set up our camp site. This is where we spent the day. We had Bible study and learned to apply the Scriptures to our lives as well as to the contemporary issues of the times. I remember looking at the trees and the sky while I listened to those lessons. Those lessons culminated with lively group discussions.
After those lessons, we built a fire and had lunch. After lunch we had arts and crafts. One year I learned how to lash and made a planter. I lined it with peat moss and made a macramé hanger for it. When I got home, I gave it to Mama. She put a plant in it and enjoyed it for many years.
After arts and crafts, we had a closing session during which we sang some great songs before putting out the campfire and hiking back to the main camp.
On rainy days we couldn’t go to the woods so we went to the crafts cabin for arts and crafts. The camp counselors would play the music of the day — Simon & Garfunkel, Cream, The 5th Dimension, Ravi Shankar, and Three Dog Night. We made things like a collage using Coke bottles. For many years I had two that I made, one of which had bits of torn tissue paper glued on the bottle and shellacked. The finished product looked like a mosaic. I made one with zany sayings cut from magazines, glued on the bottle and shellacked. I took those projects to college with me and used them for bookends on my desk. As for all that great music we listened to, every time I hear “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, I am immediately catapulted to Camp Glisson.
The summer before I began my senior year in high school, Daddy and I went to Camp Glisson together to be camp counselors for the week.
We were in separate groups but it was fun going there together. We drove up Ga. 53 to Dahlonega and enjoyed the scenery, especially the famous Tate mansion. Made of pink marble, it has since been opened to the public, I believe.
My children followed
When my children were in the fifth grade they went to mini camp at Camp Glisson. It was just for the weekend but the program was exactly the same as when I went there. When I picked up my son the year he went, he got in the car and said, “Mama! I can see why you loved Camp Glisson so!” Indeed. When something works, like the “home in the woods,” don’t deviate from it. Camp Glisson is a very special place that I will always remember. I am exceedingly thankful my children and I had the opportunity to attend.