My Camp Lawroweld Memories
Northern New England Conference Editor’s Note: We were pleasantly surprised when the following article appeared without warning in our inbox. The writer was a camper at Lawroweld some 60 years ago and the impressions that were made during her time at camp helped her establish a strong spiritual foundation. Though decades have passed, the mission of Camp Lawroweld remains the same: to introduce kids to Christ through nature and fellowship and to help them form lifelong friendships and memories.
My earliest days at Camp Lawroweld, near Weld, Maine, were as part of Junior Camp. This was in 1954 and I may have been 10 years old. I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in Richmond, Maine, and basically was raised by them in my youngest years. My grandmother wanted to be sure that I had a special camper experience and my summers were filled with camp meeting in June, then I had Camp Lawroweld to look forward to in July or August.
Days at Camp Lawroweld began very early in the morning. When we heard the sound of reveille, we jumped off our cots, and either chose to do calisthenics or go for a very cold dip in Lake Webb! For me, neither was a great option, but over the week, I would do both. Then, came breakfast in the lodge.
The “lodge” is the focal point of Camp Lawroweld. As I recall, it had a huge fireplace, whole-tree rafters, and big kitchen, dining, and meeting areas. It also had a stone exterior with a big porch. In my time, meals were always prepared by the Armstrong family. They were the stability of camp each year!
After breakfast we went back to our cabins to clean them and get ready for inspection. Beds were made, suitcases in place, and floor swept. Also, as I remember, our Bible was laid on our pillow. As I recall there were ribbons given out for the neatest cabin. Devotions were back in the lodge, with lots of singing and a talk. There was something so special, even to a young girl, about the devotion time.
Crafts were a part of the mornings—making whistle cords, painting ceramics, making pot holders, and whatever else—taking place in the basement of the lodge. These were “special” things to take home as reminders of our days at camp.
Also, mornings were filled with swimming lessons. This country girl was not much of a swimmer, but with patient instructors, I did learn the basics of swimming and, with the push of instructors, I learned to dive!
As I recall, our afternoon activities varied. One day that stands out is “watermelon” day when there would be lots of watermelons and everyone would just be outdoors munching on sweet, juicy melons to their fill!
Campfire time was the culmination of a full day. There was a lot of laughter, stories, and singing the best of the “campfire” songs. I well remember a girl from Hawaii (who even knew where Hawaii was at that time? This was before it was a state). She taught us “luau” campfire songs. After campfire we turned on our flashlights and trekked back to our cabins where our counselor would have us prepare for bed and have a prayer with us.
One day during our week at camp was an all-day hike up Mt. Blue or Mt. Tumbledown. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong always prepared special sack lunches for our all-day hike. To me, the hike up those mountains was like climbing Mt. Whitney! It was a strenuous hike and to reach the top was something to really brag about when I got home! Many years later in bragging to my husband about how high those mountains were, he looked on a map and laughingly explained that our current home in Yucaipa, California, is at a higher elevation than those mountains. Well, to a young camper they were high!
Sabbath was the grand finale of the week. This was the day we wore a special outfit we had saved just for that day. Campfire that night was the time we had our special reminder of the meaning of our time at camp—to learn who Jesus was, the joy of nature, the making of new friends and the desire to come back to camp again next year.
Sunday morning we had to get all our things stuffed into our suitcases. Somehow, nothing fit like it did when we arrived at camp. Breakfast was the last meal when we got to thank Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong for the good food they had prepared for us each day. Our final tears and goodbyes were said to all who had become so special to us throughout the week—our counselor, our leaders, Elder Nosworthy, Elder Whitlow, Miss Legare, and of course, all in our cabin who had become comrades and lifetime friends. We parted with promises of seeing each other the next year.
I was fortunate to spend several summers at Lawroweld, thanks to my grandmother’s generosity and love. Not only did she provide for my camping experience, she sent many children to camp over the years who, otherwise, would not have been able to have that opportunity. And she provided funds for many children to have an Adventist education.
I am thankful that Camp Lawroweld is still going strong, so that many today can have the experiences of growing closer to God through the ministry of the staff.
Rolinda Rhynus Luevano, former camper, Camp Lawroweld