Camp Woody 70s Year by Year 1970-1974
Camp Woody 70s Year by Year
Part One: A Photo Diary of 1970 to 1974
Celebrating 50 Years of Camp Woody: 1956 to 2006
When I wrote the other articles in this series on Camp Woody, I wrote from the perspective of a “camp kid” who first came to Woody as a kid of three, and finally grew old enough to be a camper. But from 1970 to 1977, I was a staff member in various capacities, and in 1978 I served on the camp board. It is not easy to write about myself as a camp staff member, because I want to avoid sounding like I am patting myself on the back for my service there. I will limit my comments to what I learned from serving at camp, and how it felt to be there working with the many wonderful volunteers who kept the place running. It’s up to someone else to describe what it was like to be on the receiving end of the ministry there during that time. So I will try to write down what it was like at Camp Woody in the 70s from the perspective of a full-time summer volunteer there for eight years. This article covers my first five years officially on staff, from 1970 to 1974. For part two, please see: Camp Woody 70s Year By Year 75-77 and for an overview of some of the memorable features of camp in the 70s (plus a few secrets) please see Camp Woody 70s Memories. For even more photos, see the Camp Woody scrapbooks, organized by decade.
Midnight on July 4, 1970: the view across Mirror Lagoon from just in front of the main camp building at Camp Woody. From the only roll of slide film I ever shot.
I first became a counselor in the summer of 1970, at a Junior camp, with a cabin full of rambunctious 5th and 6th graders. Although all the operations of Camp Woody were familiar and natural to me, this was the first time I was responsible for my own group of kids. There’s nothing like the sudden onslaught of responsibility to change one’s perspective, and those guys were a fine bunch to initiate me. The much vaunted “Eager Beaver” award (best decorated and cleaned cabin) and the dreadful “Skunk Hollow” award took on new meaning as I tried to persuade my boys not to leave their dirty socks on their pillows. It should be noted, I suppose, that the presence of dirty socks indicates the possibility that someone in the cabin had actually changed some clothes, so all was not lost! We received the first “Skunk Hollow” award very publicly in the dining hall, and had to hang that ego-affirming reminder on our cabin door for a whole day. However, by the end of the week, the boys were running to the meadow and the forest for flowers and ferns, and had put forth a pretty impressive effort at decorating a vastly improved cabin. We never got to the “Eager Beaver” status because the girls in Cabin 7 were Amazons in the decorating department, putting up daily displays worthy of a floral wonderland, far too cheery to look like a funeral, and at least as elaborate as a good wedding. But at least the boys in the next cabin got “skunked” and not us the next time, after their attempt at playing in the surf left more sand on their floor than Chabitnoy beach!
A beautiful worship center made of alder branches, moss and wildflowers graces an “Eager Beaver” winning girls’ cabin. Many cabin groups really got into the competition for the “Eager Beaver” awards.
My boys had enough adventures on Mirror Lagoon for ten cabin groups. No gang of pirates ever terrorized the high seas with as much vigor as those guys! I had gotten permission from the camp board to film the summer, to use as a publicity movie for local churches (ages before video cameras made such things effortless) so I tried filming using a tripod propped in the bottom of one of the rowboats. I captured a few of their exploits, since they instinctively knew that I couldn’t holler at them very well while peering in the viewfinder of my old Keystone 16mm. We all made it safely to shore, of course, and after bailing a bit, even the rowboats were none the worse for wear.
Campers enjoy the rowboats during free time at Camp Woody. The lake changed to a lagoon after the Tidal Wave, but it remained a great place for rowing. A section of tan old Kodiak boat harbor float, washed over to Woody Island, was pulled ashore right down the bluff below the main camp building. This gave the camp a great dock to use for rowboats for many years. 1970 Travis North photo.
That was the first summer I ever had to do cabin devotions, and answer spiritual questions. A neighboring counselor was Travis North, in his second year on staff at Camp Woody, and we tended to combine our cabins and work together on this, which was a relief to me. I had only recently been baptized (by my father, in the Community Baptist Church) and although steeped in all things Christian since infancy, had never been called upon to share my faith in any appreciable way before. It was a wonderful and sobering responsibility.
Evelyn Pratt is about to dig into a foil stew at Camp Woody in the early 70s. She taught us a lot of the songs that became important during the years I led the singing. She also was one of the former campers who came back as staff for many years of dedicated service.
Evelyn Pratt (who is now Mrs. David Heflen) was one of the lady counselors that year. She was one of the first Charismatic Christians I ever knew, and her quiet influence on the spiritual life of the camp was profound. Ev loved to sing, and always had her baritone uke with her. I was still very reticent as a singer and guitarist, but I learned a lot of her wonderful songs that year. She and some of her friends taught us the first wave of contemporary Christian songs: Day to be Redeemed, There’s Been a Great Change, Seek and Ye Shall Find, Keep Me True, One in the Spirit, and others that became regular camp fare in the years ahead. Evelyn, having discovered a rat in the storeroom at the beginning of the season, began drawing cartoon rats on kids’ tee shirts, much to the chagrin of the cooks, who would have preferred the rat incident to have gone unreported. (For the record, we trapped the rat, and never saw any more after that.) Evelyn Heflen is one of my lifelong friends. We chat from time to time and swap CDs of music we’ve made.
The SES Chinook Sea Scout boat makes one of its last runs with a load of campers, entering Kodiak channel in 1970. When it reappeared in 1973, it was back to its original name, The Evangel, and owned by the Smith family. It served five more years as camp transportation. Mab Boko photo.
The 1970 season was the last year of the SES Chinook (formerly the Evangel). By the following year, the engine had failed, the boat was sold to my Dad, Rev. Norman Smith, and we began the process of restoring her and getting a new diesel engine, a process that would take two seasons. The Evangel reemerged in 1973, restored to some of its former glory, to serve Camp Woody for five more seasons. The Baptist-owned mission boat had been sold to the Sea Scouts at the end of the summer of 1964, and became the SES Chinook. It had been ably captained by Vern Draper, who ran the Sea Scout program, but after several successful years, the Drapers moved to Washington State. There was no one else to run the Sea Scout program, and when the boat's engine died in 1971, it was sold to the Smith family. The Sea Scouts had the same difficulties that we would have a decade later. It is hard work and costs a lot of money to maintain a wooden boat. Vern Draper was able to make some improvements and modifications to the boat and keep it in working order, but when he left, no one else took responsibility. So when the Smiths got the boat, it had no engine and a rotting superstructure, which took two years to restore.
The summer of 1971 was phenomenal for me, because it witnessed the convergence of several major influences which had a strong influence on camp for years to come. The first of these influences was a direct result of the kids who had met Jesus the summer before at camp. They started a Bible study group that soon outgrew the homes they had been meeting in, and moved to the basement of the Community Baptist Church for frequent, exuberant praise, prayer and Bible study. This phenomenon lasted all winter, and prompted a local couple to open up a coffee shop and Bible bookstore to give us our own space. Along the way, the group attracted several Navy men, whose own faith was strengthened. It was quite a revival (very familiar to anyone associated with Camp Woody, but this time it lasted all winter). Hank Rosenberg, one of the believing Navy men, became a leader of the group, and I came into my own in singing and leading Bible studies. Another of the Navy men, John Hicks, experienced a personal revival in our midst, and began writing and singing some great new songs.
John Hicks (left, with guitar) wrote many great songs in the summer of 1971. He and Larry Shelton (right) made a great music team, which I sometimes joined. (colorized photo)
When spring rolled around, all the kids were abuzz about going to Camp Woody, and when the camps started, the Navy men came over, too. Another reason for their participation was that the Navy base was being closed at the time, and the base chaplain was able to arranged extended duty for them under his command. He promptly loaned them to us at Woody! Several of John Hicks’ songs (No One May Come, This is the Man) were written that summer at Camp Woody.
The 1971 camp staff (flashing the popular Jesus People “One Way” sign): Nan, Nancy, Larry, Craig, Travis and Anne (foreground). My brother Kelly sits at the top of the hill. Joyce Smith photo.
Another major influence that impacted Camp Woody that year was the influx of the largest group of South 48 young people yet who arrived to help staff the camp. They were college kids from Southern California and Arizona, and all of them had experienced some of the revival we had been seeing. Nan Greer and Larry Shelton both brought a lot of great new tunes with them, and Nan taught us Calvary Chapel songs like “Come to the Waters” years before the records ever reached Alaska. Larry, with his clear tenor voice, balanced John Hicks’ baritone perfectly, and when I could muster up the courage to sing lead, they would chime in with harmonies. The kids and staff that year were electrified by the great new music, some of which was being created as we sang it. Suddenly, Camp Woody was on the cutting edge of Jesus Music (although Evelyn Pratt had been paving the way for several years). Overnight, camp songs of the “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” variety were replaced with “Thank You Thank You Jesus,” “Come to the Waters,” “Thy Lovingkindness” and dozens more praise songs. This trend toward new, guitar-based, youth-oriented praise music continued for the rest of my time at Camp Woody.
A circle of prayer at the Arch summarizes the spirit of the summer of ’71. The kids, staff and visitors that year all experienced a genuine revival. Travis North photo
One of the most significant influences on Camp Woody that year was more subtle: the fact that the adults associated with camp were all in the middle of their own revival. Through a Bible study led by Morris and Lois Burnham, many of the adults at the Kodiak Baptist Mission, the Community Baptist Church, the Bible Chapel and even the Navy Base had been impacted by a “Spirit-filled,” Charismatic Christianity which supplemented, rather than supplanted, the local congregations. My father and mother, Rev. Norman and Joyce Smith, were greatly encouraged by the new emphasis on the life of the Spirit, and experienced their own spiritual renewal. All of this had a direct impact on the camps at Woody that year. Any other group of adults in the early 70s might have tried to quash our youthful exuberance, but Norman and Joyce participated in it, helped to lead it, and were there with their years of Bible knowledge and Christian experience to help keep us on track. It was a marvelous relationship, and a great testament to the vision of that crop of adults that they guided and nurtured the younger generation into a new and vital walk with Christ.
The greatest thing the adults did that year may have been to pray for us and for the camps. One couple, the Richardsons, shared with me a vision they had before camp ever started that spring, of a great spiritual battle being fought over Camp Woody. They began to pray fervently for the campers and staff that summer, and we certainly felt their prayers. Bob “Rich” (as we called him) came to serve as pastor at one of the camps, and his rapport with the kids and his quiet wisdom were simply amazing. I do not know whether the summer of 1971 was really more spiritually blessed than other summers (likely not), but I certainly know that I was blessed as never before. I got the sense of being part of something earthshakingly real and vital, that the Kingdom of God could be infectious and that its furtherance could be an enterprise of incredible joy. The effects of that summer have stayed with me and in me ever since.
More images of the summer of 1971:
Summer 1971 memories: My “oil can” bass thumping along behind John and Larry’s guitars. I could get five or six reasonably accurate notes by playing up the neck of the pole. The can always made a little “ping” as I first put pressure on the lid. Mab Boko photo
Summer 1971 memories: The remodeling of the camp chapel (Marianne Boko's design). In the dedication service, the Glory of God was tangible in a way I’ve rarely seen. This paneling and paint remodel was a vast improvement over the previous water damaged, faded yellow walls. The Bokos cut crosses and other Christian symbols out of plywood and stuck them on the old power plant’s air intakes, and had nifty sections of paneling that exactly fit each window for use when we showed movies. The acoustics in the chapel were always terrific, which makes me wonder what it had been like when filled with diesel-powered generators. (The building had been moved in 1961 from the mid-island site of the three towers) Travis North photo
Summer 1971 memories: The wonderful fellowship with Father Sean O’Donohue, a Catholic Priest (right), who got along beautifully with all us Baptists! Here he leads a Bible study near the volleyball court.
Summer 1971 memories: The great fellowship the staff experienced between camps. Gabie Boko is in the high chair, and I’m the first person on the right. (photo from Travis North collection)
Summer 1971 memories: The whole staff repainting and repairing the Evangel, which Dad had bought from the Sea Scouts after seven years of being the SES Chinook. It took until summer of 1973 to raise the funds to buy a new diesel engine and install it.
The biggest memory for me of the summer of 1972 was that I took on the role of music leader for the first time. In 1970 I had hummed along with Ev Pratt; in 1971 I had provided tepid assistance to John and Larry and Nan. But in 1972 I was on my own, and apparently rose to the challenge, because we sang a lot!
Tim Smith (the author) leads singing in the summer of 1972 in the dining hall. I bought the guitar from Gerald Wilson, my high school Russian teacher, in the fall of 1970. Norman Smith, back from one of his many errands, is silhouetted in the doorway. (Travis North photo)
More songs at Chabitnoy Beach, summer of 1972. (Travis North photo)
That summer was also the last time that Travis North was a volunteer at camp. He was unique at that time, because he had been able to come to Woody for four years in a row. That kind of consistency was previousl unheard-of for an out of state volunteer. Travis was the very model of a great counselor. His rapport with the campers and his solid competence as a staff member made him more indispensable every year. He was also a great photographer, which was also one of my interests. Most of the color photos from 1969-1972 in these articles are his. As a reenlisted staff member, he also became a de facto member of the Smith family.
Travis North (the tall one) with Margaret Jongeneelen, counselor from Los Angeles, summer of 1992.
Tim, Travis and a group of boys gather in a 1972 portrait (with Oscar the Camp Dog). The anchor and chain, later removed by persons unknown, were decorative touches of Marianne Boko. “Lurch the Van,” which Dad managed to drive without a clutch (hence the name) is at the left. North collection
Travis was a sympathetic ear when I was recuperating from a crush, and that happened rather frequently in the early 70s. But even more importantly, Travis introduced me to the idea of going to college in California, and helped me apply to Biola and Azusa Pacific (APU wrote back first, and the rest is history…Go Cougars!) The circles of that relationship grow ever wider. Travis and his wife Carol returned to Alaska to work at the Kodiak Baptist Mission in the summer of 1976. They produced two very fine sons, Joel and Drew, both of which have served multiple years at Camp Woody and the Kodiak Baptist Mission. It’s a North dynasty now! Debbie and I are godparents to the North boys, and Travis and Carol are among our closest friends. Woody does that to people.
Margaret, Carla and Tim make some music at Sawmill Beach, summer of 1972. Travis North photo
Jennifer and Carla (with her trademark braids), were great counselors, and loved camp so much they came back to visit us the following year.
Other outstanding staff that year included Jennifer and Carla from Washington State, who came back a couple more times, and Margaret Jongeneelen, from Los Angeles. Carla played piano and recorder (wooden flute), and Margaret also played the recorder. I taught both of them some guitar that summer. One of the guy counselors went on to become a Kodiak police officer. It was a summer of fun and growth, in which (for me) the initial excitement of the Jesus Movement translated into more mature service.
Jennifer and Carla praying together at Chabitnoy Beach the day the last camp ended in 1972, before they headed home. Camp has had a way of profoundly affecting so many of the people that have attended or worked there.
More memories from the summer of 1972:
Joyce Smith in a long-standing tradition in the 70s: reading a Narnia book to the campers. Mom got the books first from Lois Burnham, and they became Smith family favorites. At camp, Joyce carried on the tradition of reading them aloud, originally as an activity on rainy days. But the Narnia stories were such a popular feature of the camps that we even included reading time at rest stops on our hikes!
Jennifer and Carla explore the tidepools below Chaffin’s cabin at low tide. Travis North was an expert in the sea creatures of this reef. The campers and staff always enjoyed wading through the kelp to find anemonies, octopuses and hermit crabs. Travis North photos
A beach, some #10 cans, and campers equals an impromptu splash war, Junior High camp, 1972. Rudd Wasson and Mimi Bonney are on the left.
Sandy’s birthday, June, 1972. The cooks always enjoyed putting together something special for whoever had a birthday. The old World War II picnic benches had linoleum glued to their tops to make a smooth surface. The benches are still in use today.
Margaret’s cabin group poses in front of the craft house. Two girls from the village of Ouzinkie are in her cabin. The net with its curled blue butcher paper Jesus People message “One Way” stayed on the building for many years.
The Janice T, a Ouzinkie-based tender, takes campers back to town in this 1972 photo. For two years, the camp depended on local fishermen for transportation as the Evangel was being restored.
Camp staff at worship between camps, 1972. Back row: Lori Weisser, Rev. Norman Smith, Tim Smith. Foreground: Travis, Jennifer. Mab Boko photo
The summer of 1973 marked the triumphant return of the Evangel after two years of refurbishing (including a new diesel engine). The boat was a sentimental favorite for many people; from 1953 to 1978 it served as camp transportation, and was part of the experience of Woody. The two years (71, 72) when it was not in operation were hard on Dad, who had to try to scrounge various tenders and crabbers to ferry the kids back and forth. It was a blast taking kids to camp on the Evangel again, and going on journeys to Long Island with the older campers. Besides, after years of pretending it was the Evangel (it had officially been the Sea Scout boat the Chinook) there it was in fresh white and green paint, with even a Jesus People IXOYE on the pilot house, courtesy of yours truly.
Rev. Norman Smith installs a new diesel engine in the Evangel in the late spring of 1973, in time for the camping season. The money for the engine was raised mostly by donations from Baptist churches in West Virginia and New Jersey.
Two counselors enjoy a boat ride on the newly restored Evangel, summer of 1973.
Camp season of 1973 marked another fine year of summer volunteers: Myron from Vancouver, Washington, Tim Genung, Shelley Preece (whom Travis and I had recruited from Lompoc, California) and Margaret Constantine among others. Margaret went on to great things after her summer with us: she and her husband, Duane Grasman, are directors of Operation Mobilization in Mexico, and are training Mexican missionaries to go all around the world, to places where your average white American wouldn’t be welcome. Tim Genung and his wife later managed a children’s home in Nevada. Camp Woody seems to attract top quality help throughout the years!
Myron, Margaret and Tim G. at Sawmill beach in 1973.
Shelley Preece holds some dried pushki stalks as she watches kids on the swing. I’ve always thought this was a really fine, artsy photo, shot with my Yashica 120 and developed and printed at Camp Woody between camps.
Margaret went on (with her husband, Duane Grasman) to be the directors for Operation Mobilization for Latin America. They have lived in Mexico for over two decades, and have seen their own children grow up and become missionaries as well.
The survivors of a pie eating contest, 1973. Daniel Benton is on the near right. Mab Boko photo
For me, the biggest treat of 1973 was the development of my younger brother Kelly as a first-rate musician. In 1971 I had bought a bass and amplifier (to play in a presentation of the “Tell it Like it Is” musical in local churches). I was pretty awful at it, and stuck to guitar. But since I had it hanging around, suddenly Kelly picked it up and started backing me when I led singing at camp. Thus the “Tim and Kelly” sound was born, becoming a staple of the Camp Woody experience for the next five years. One of his first songs was a complicated bass riff to “Ser Como Cristo,” a song I’d sung in Azusa Pacific’s Mexico outreaches. Music was now a team effort, and a family effort, as two second-generation Camp Woody kids took over the music ministry. Kelly and I arranged John Hicks numbers, recent Jesus Music tunes and praise choruses into a hodgepodge sound that kids seemed to enjoy. I could do different and more complicated songs with his help, and he always made it look so easy! Kelly went on to be Worship and Praise leader at the Anchorage Vineyard for many years, and easily escaped my countrified, folk-y style (all those Vineyard bar chords are beyond me!)
The summer of 1974 brought new staff from Southern California and some new musical experimentation, as well as some exciting trips on the Evangel. We truly enjoyed the freedom that having the Evangel brought us, and this time, the boat was not even under the control of a mission board, but was the property of Norman and Joyce Smith. It’s hard to describe how important that was to us, not to have to depend on various fishing boats, plus the freedom to pack up and go wherever we wished.
Camp as viewed from the big tree across the road from the
BOQ. Climbing trees to take aerial photos was a big kick that summer.
Dad (Rev. Norman Smith) peers up at the dock in 1974, as
the campers get ready to go to Long Island for the day. I have no idea where
he got those huge sunglasses!
More importantly for me, summer 1974 marked the beginning or solidifying moment for several lifetime friendships. Larry Le Doux, someone I had gone to high school with, became a very close friend that summer, and has remained an important influence in my life for the last thirty plus years. No one can elicit energetic, intellectual and passionate debate better than Larry, and he and I loved the growth we experienced around each other. Bruce Adams (who then went by his step-dad’s name) joined our staff in 1974, and returned for several years thereafter. Bruce is one of the best friends, a solid, stable, loyal, hard working guy who is always there for you. Bruce greatly admired the music that Kelly and I did, and after he returned to California, learned to play both bass and guitar. He was my bass player for four of the informal albums I’ve recorded since 1981. He also taught me how to drive in California traffic, in his little red Sunbeam convertible. That life-long friendship began in the summer of 1974. Bruce says of his first season at Camp Woody: “It was magic.” He speaks of the people, the island, and the environment of the 1974 season as one that profoundly affected his life. Carol Chapman, one of the lady counselors that year, has been one of my favorite pals ever since. Her mom’s house in Pomona was one of my favorite hangouts throughout my college years, and I got to know her brothers (especially Dave) very well after many hours of joking around their dinner table. Carol and I have sung in several weddings together ( I don’t ever want to hear “You’re a Gift” again, although we did it well), and she has been a frequent guest at (our) Tim and Debbie’s house through the years. She even came up from California to attend our wedding. I got to return the favor, because years later I sang in her wedding.
These people are all special to me. The usual camp pattern for most years was that we would have a fine staff, and I would make many new friends, and then they’d all go home and we’d never see them again. It was always a depressing time for me when the camp staff would leave for the summer, because the good times we’d had would be gone for good. Travis North broke the pattern by serving for four years straight, and then Larry, Bruce and Cody Custer (who came up in 1975) also repeated their service at Woody. I chose to attend Azusa Pacific University in large part because it was close to Pomona First Baptist Church, the source of so many of our great counselors through the years. And because of that, I got to see Bruce and Carol (and later Cody) and many others during the winter months. But it was always special when a friend would come back to serve at Camp Woody, and that service together always served to strengthen the bond between us.
Larry Le Doux and Bruce Adams caught a lot of fish in
1974. Here they show a salmon caught off the dock, and some rainbow trout
bagged in Tanignak Lake. We filleted and fried the salmon, leaving the trout
for later in some water in the big sink in the kitchen. During dinner we heard
a little thump thump, and found the revived trout swimming peacefully in the
sink. We did a record water-to-skillet job on him, and he was delicious! By the
way, neither of these great guys was any good at smiling for cameras in those
Honor Claussen, another of the lady counselors, was a deep, fun and friendly person, but I lost touch with her after that summer when she got married and moved. That summer, she, Carol, Kelly and I made an informal music group, and sang for the campers. We had a repertoire of only about five songs, but they had good harmonies, and marked the first occasion since John and Larry that I was able to get a “group” sound. My favorite songs we did were Dallas Holm’s “Let My Light” and the Gaithers’ “Get All Excited,” which we managed to pep up a lot. Kelly’s bass lines were getting better and better, and that was a cooking year for music. Unfortunately, the only cassette recorder we had on hand was a machine with the fidelity of an Edison cylinder. But the campers definitely enjoyed our special numbers.
Honor Claussen, Cy Jones and Carol Chapman, three of the
great staff we had in 1974.
Kelly helped Dad and Bob Boko keep the camp running. We
teased him constantly about his hair.
Carol Chapman and Gabie Boko in the dining hall in the
summer of 1974.
One very special staff member that year is still unique in the annals of Camp Woody history. Cy Jones, a very wise, deep Christian man, was a craftsman in all things involving carpentry or electricity, who made some wonderful, much-needed improvements all over camp. He divided the chapel benches in half, making the seating arrangements much more flexible. He then built a proper porch for the chapel, with stairs that faced the main building. He rewired the entire dining hall, completing the task the day he flew home. Cy Jones was also 81 years old at the time! He was a wise, funny and friendly presence at camp, and everyone, from Norman and Joyce Smith to the youngest camper, loved him. After eyeing the buoy swing a few times, he decided to try it out. His jump from the tree went fine, but when the time came to dismount (a tricky maneuver for most people) he jumped and rolled down the hill a bit. He sprang up, undaunted, but said, “Don’t tell Joyce, now! Mum’s the word!” He was rightly afraid that Joyce, camp nurse every summer, would be horrified. At supper that night, Mom got wise. She noticed the dust on Cy’s shoulder and being an honest man, he confessed. But I have rarely seen anyone who could confess his faith in Jesus with more confidence or credibility. I remember one chapel service when Cy Jones stood up and quoted Psalm 23, changing the words slightly: “Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life…” What a tremendous testimony he had. By the way, he also made mission trips to Haiti and Thailand after he had served with us!
The adults that were always there:
Bob Boko kept the old camp truck running and used it to
ferry kids across the island or to haul luggage to and from the dock. He’s not
too happy with it in this photo! He also helped with the water system, and
served as dean for at least one camp each year.
Rev. Norman Smith (my dad) ran the camp skiff to town to
ferry passengers and supplies. Later in the day he was just as likely to serve
as pastor for the evening campfire. The Smiths helped to set the spiritual tone of the camps each year. Their love of kids and Christ surely helped to keep Camp Woody a fun and spiritually healthy place year after year. As their son, I am honored to have served with them. Mab Boko photo, mid-60s
Marianne Boko (holding some shells at Sawmill Beach) was responsible for the great maps that graced the dining hall walls, and for most of the organization of the kitchen and storeroom, besides being an expert in the features and flora of Woody Island. She also was one of our best craft people, devising creative art projects for the campers. She was a girls' counselor every year, and still keeps in touch with some of her campers. Marianne and her cabin groups was responsible for the painted wood signs that still mark the trails in many parts of the island, and her groups installed and repaired benches and crosses at Inspiration Point. Her crew also built a cool raft for the swimmers at Ehuzhik Lake, among many other camp improvements through the years.
Joyce Smith (my mom) served as nurse and manager of the
daily operations of camp, and often led Bible studies for campers. She and
Norman were responsible for the spiritual health of the camp, and were actively
engaged in all aspects of its ministry for over two decades. Here she shows an
“apple star,” an apple cut sideways that was used in one of the Bible lessons
she gave at camp. There just wasn't any aspect of camp life that Rev. and Mrs. Norman L. Smith were not actively involved in for Woody's first two decades. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that the camp could have survived during those years without them, and the succeeding generations are clearly in their debt. Mab Boko photo
Keeping camp running was constant, hard work. Except for work projects between camps, I was usually tied up with counseling duties, but behind the scenes was a dedicated group of adults who kept the place going and set the spiritual tone as well. Dad Norman was always on hand to serve as a pastor, and loved to conduct the morning devotions out at Inspiration Point, or give a short talk at a campfire. But often most of his day was spent running back and forth to town bringing supplies or ferrying passengers, keeping the water system running, or fixing some broken piece of equipment. Mom was always available if needed to lead a Bible study or (which she dearly loved) read a Narnia story aloud to the campers. But she was also the camp nurse, and was usually the only person on staff who could play the piano or the pump organ. She also was often needed in the kitchen. Bob and Marianne Boko, Camp Woody hands since the beginning, served as deans of many camps. Marianne was a counselor every year, guiding campers in improvement projects that can still be seen on the island. She also was largely repsonsoble for keeping the kitchen and storeroom organized (no small task) so that any cooks or helpers could find everything, even if it was their first time as a volunteer. Bob assisted Dad with the camp upkeep, and did unglamorous but necessary tasks like making trash runs to the FAA dump. These Camp Woody pioneers did all these things while cultivating a sense of family and fellowship that was inspiring to those of us of the younger generation. You could sense their joy year by year as they witnessed the campers make decisions for Christ or grow up from campers to staff leaders. It was a rare privilege to work side by side with my parents, but the Bokos were like family, too. And their daughter Gabie’s arrival at camp in 1970 was a wonderful opportunity for me to watch another youngster grow up at camp as I had done.
Gabie Boko and Tim Smith, two kids who grew up at camp. This photo was taken in 1971 on the way to Long Island in a borrowed catamaran. (Mab Boko photo)
I should also mention the dedicated camp cooks, people like Dee Dee Bailey and Beryl Torsen and Bonnie Jarvela, who showed up year after year, creating glorious meals for hungry campers on an often meager budget. They worked long hours, yet still found time to join the campers at chapel or on hikes. They were there because they loved kids, loved the ministry of Camp Woody, and loved the Lord.
Beryl Torsen stands with the author, Tim Smith, in the Community Baptist Church in 1998. Beryl is one of the most dedicated, dependable and resourceful cooks Camp Woody ever had.
Please go on to part two of this year-by-year diary, to my last three years on staff at Camp Woody.(link here)
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Written by Timothy Smith, web author. See the About Me page for more information. Always feel free to send me comments, suggestions or corrected information about this article or any of the articles on this site. (Write to: Tanignak@aol.com)