Camp Woody 70’s Year by Year 1970-1974

Introduction to Parts One and Two:

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 patting myself on the back in any way. 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 70’s 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 more Camp Woody memories and lots of great photos, follow the Camp Woody logo link at the bottom of this article.

A Beautiful Summer Location!

Top: Camp Woody buildings peek through the trees from a long-abandoned garden. Right: 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 at camp, since I had my own darkroom for printing black and white.

1970 – First Time as Camp Counselor

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 at Chabitnoy beach!

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. 

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 (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,” — all songs that became regular camp fare in the years ahead. Evelyn Heflen is one of my lifelong friends.  We chat from time to time and swap CDs of music we’ve made. One of her friends, Ron Burnham, also brought his guitar over to Camp Woody, and his forceful style of playing and singing was an inspiration to me to become more useful with my music.

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 for the next decade: 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. Thankfully the boat was at our disposal for the 1970 season.

A Scrapbook of Early 70’s Camp Woody:

Left: The SES Chinook (The once and future Evangel) approaches the Woody Island dock. Right: A  round-the-island hike that went all the way to the north side had to wade across the lagoon’s outflow by the dock. Bottom: a girls’ cabin group lines up for lunch.

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

Wonderful New Music Everywhere:

Top: 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. That summer I began to gain confidence as a song leader. Mab Boko photo  Left: Nan and Larry lead singing around the tables in the dining hall. They both brought a lot of songs that “Tim and Kelly” (my brother and I) used for the next six hears as song leaders. Right: My colorized photo of John Hicks and Larry Shelton. Bottom: Nan Greer leads a spontaneous camper sing time at the Arch, in a photo that beautifully summarizes the spirit of that summer of 1971. (Mab Boko photo)

Want to hear some of that great music? I used Dad’s little portable cassette recorder to tape a lot of our songs that summer, and I have sung them ever since. For a bit of my testimony (with sound samples), and an entire soundtrack page including many of the songs from Camp Woody through the years, click on the links below:

Summer 1971 memories—Top left: 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. Top Right: What great fellowship the staff experienced between camps!  Gabie Boko is in the high chair, and I’m the first person on the right, my parents, Rev. Norman and Joyce Smith, to my right, and brother Kelly is across the table in the striped shirt (Travis North photo). Bottom Left: Dad leads a morning “Alone With God” time for the staff at Inspiration Point (Travis North photo).

The Evangel gets a new start! Top Left: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, but we began the restoration in 1971. Top right: Travis North and Mom remove the rotted top deck beams. Bottom left to right: Travis scraping, Dad, Mom and I fixing the superstructure, and Kelly pretending to nap on the new deck beams.

1972: A Summer Of Service

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! The returning campers remembered a lot of the songs, and learned the continual flow of new songs quickly.

That summer was also the last time that Travis North was a volunteer at camp. He was a unique summer volunteer at that time, because he had been able to come to Woody for four years in a row. That kind of consistency was previously 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 a huge interest of mine.  Most of the color photos from 1969-1972 in these articles are his. As a reenlisted staff member, he also was a de facto member of the Smith family.

Other outstanding staff that year included Jennifer and Carla from Washington State, who came back a couple more times, and Maud, from Los Angeles. Carla played piano and recorder (wooden flute), and Maud also played the recorder. I taught both of them some guitar that summer. One of the guy counselors came back to town 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.

1972 Camp Photo Album:

Songs on the beach, summer of 1972. We seemed to sing almost everywhere! And it was fun to jam with the other counselors just for the heck of it.(Travis North photos)

Left: Maud’s cabin group included two girls from Ouzinkie. They put up the net and “One Way” sign on the craft house, and it stayed there for many years. Right: Tim, with Travis and his group of boys gather (with Oscar the Camp Dog).

Snapshots of  a summer on the go, top to bottom: A shot of swimmers at Ehuzhik Lake through the branches of a spruce on the shoreline; a group of crazy girls try swimming in the ocean; we constantly wear out Oscar, the camp dog, and a nice hot dog roast at Sawmill Beach, undeterred by a light mist falling. (Travis North photos)

Joyce Smith started a great tradition in 1972: reading a Narnia book to the campers. Mom got the books first from Lois Burnham, and they became Smith family favorites. At camp, Joyce read them aloud, 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! (Travis North photo)

1974: Lasting Friendships

Top Left: Bruce Adams. Bottom Left: Larry Le Doux. Right: 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 a 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 days.

Left: 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 small cabin cruiser. (Mab Boko photo) Center: I try out the 1963 Gibson 12-string, 1973. Right: I visit with the late Beryl Torsen, one of the most dedicated, dependable, and resouceful cooks camp ever had, in Kodiak in 1998. From 1953 to 1977, then 1998, 2006, and 2007 I was at Camp Woody. Hopefully I contributed in a lasting and meaningful way. It’s been a blessing to start out as a camp brat, and grow through being a counselor, worship leader, chaplain, and now unofficial historian for Camp Woody through my website,

To access more camp articles or return “home,” click on the links below:

Camp Woody 70’s Year by Year

Part One: A Photo Diary of 1970 to 1974

Written by Timothy Smith in 2006, Revised 2020

Fun close to camp — Left: A group of girls row in Mirror Lagoon below the main building. Right: The author on the famous buoy swing in this Mab Boko shot taken from the trees across the road.

Fun away from camp — Top three photos: The Natural Arch (Bridge) is a favorite playing spot across the island from camp. Bottom three photos: scenes of a cookout and sleep-over at Sawmill Beach, including a view across the water at midnight.

Mentors and Music! Below: a songfest at Sawmill Beach. Notice I’m hiding in the back in 1970. Below Left: Evelyn Heflen and her baritone uke. She taught me many songs and has been a lifelong friend / older sister. Below Right: Travis North, my first California friend, the source of dozens of these lovely color photos, an example as a counselor, a multi-talented craftsman and sports coach, and lifelong friend, who worked at Woody from 1969 to 1972. (But it’s not advisable to ask him to sing, or to tell a joke!)

1971: The Summer of the Jesus People

The summer of 1971 was phenomenal for me, because it witnessed the convergence of several major forces which had a strong impact 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 help 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 that winter in singing and leading Bible studies. One of the Navy men, John Hicks, experienced a personal revival in our midst, and began writing and singing some great, meaningful new songs.  

The spiritual renewal (and our new music) which spilled over from Kodiak to Camp Woody that summer profoundly affected many of us for the rest of our lives. 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. Their participation was made possible because the Navy base was being closed at the time, and the base chaplain was able to arrange extended duty for them under his command. He promptly loaned them to us at Woody for several weeks! Many of John Hicks’ songs “One Lonely Man,” “The Lord is My Savior,” “No One May Come,” “This is the Man”) were sung regularly that summer at Camp Woody. And a few of them were written there while John was on loan to us!

Another major factor 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 “I’m Gonna Sing,”  “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,”  “Seek Ye First,” 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.  

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. One of the great blessings and examples of humility I can think of was the decision of my parents to let us do a lot of the leading, especially in the area of music. They were blessed by the new songs, just like we were, and taught us many of the scripture songs and Spirit-themed worship choruses that they had been learning.

Any other group of adults in the early 70’s 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. But 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 felt led to pray fervently for the campers and staff that summer, before camp even began. 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 “spiritual” than other summers (likely not), but I 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.

A Scrapbook of the 1971 Season:

After several summers of strong music leaders at camp, I found myself the only one ready to lead in 1972. Luckily I knew all the songs, and the campers were eager singers! I bought the guitar from Gerald Wilson, my high school Russian teacher, in the fall of 1970. If you look closely at all photos of it, you will see a yellow flower that says “Christ is Peace,” as we all were deep in the “Jesus People” revival. (Travis North photos)

Jennifer and Carla, from Washington State, were terrific counselors, and came back the next year to help again. Travis caught them having a great time in the tide pools with the campers.

Silliness and Celebrations!

Left: Norman and Joyce Smith in the middle of a skit in the dining hall, probably the old song, “’Neath the Crust of the Old Apple Pie.” Right: Norman Smith and a camper named Sandy celebrate their birthdays thanks to the work of the wonderful camp cooks.

1973: The EVANGEL Returns; New Music Team

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.

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 paint, with even a Jesus People “IXOYE” symbol (Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior) on the pilot house, courtesy of yours truly.

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 that summer: 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. Who knows what great stuff others came up with to do with their lives. Camp Woody seems to attract top quality help throughout the years!

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!)

Scenes of the 1973 Season:

The return of the Evangel was an exciting improvement in daily Camp life. The boat had been a memorable part of camping since the days on Long Island in 1953, right up to the 1970 season. Its return, not as a Baptist controlled asset or an ill-maintained Sea Scout boat but as Dad and Mom’s private property meant fun excursions and transportation when bad weather meant using skiffs would not be advisable. And most importantly, Dad did not any longer have to go “hat in hand” to ask some fisherman to play taxi. Campers always loved crowding on the decks for the two mile journey across the channel to Woody Island.

Photos clockwise from top left: Dad puts the new Isuzu diesel engine into the Evangel (bought mostly with donations from churches in places like West Virginia and New Jersey), Oscar the camp dog watches with interest from our runabout, the staff braves an outside view on a breezy day, and Margaret and Myron sit on the bow. I painted both the lettering and the “IXOYE” fish logo.

Part of the fabulous 1973 staff. Left: Myron, Tim Genung, and Margaret Constantine at Sawmill Beach. Right: Shelley Preece, holding dried “devil’s club” stalks, watches campers on the buoy swing. The back lighting makes this one of my favorite photos from that year. By 1972, I had brought my entire black and white darkroom to camp, to develop and print the photos I took within a few hours of taking them. (It’s so much easier now, with all digital cameras and computer software / printers!)

Staff of all kinds! Above: My Junior Camp cabin group. Top Right: Gabie Boko and Oscar hang out at Sawmill Beach. Right: Margaret and Shelley dry their hair between camps.

Fun Where You Find It! Top Left: on a hike across the island to the Natural Arch (Bridge), campers discovered a fallen tree bleached by the tides, and invented a splendid bounding game. Bottom Right: My brother Kelly and counselor Myron get ready to bounce the tree, while the campers hang on for dear life! (It’s harder than it looks)

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. As the property of my parents, Rev. Norman and Joyce Smith, the Evangel gave us the freedom to pack up and go wherever we wished. And as always, campers loved the trips to camp and back. 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 more than four decades. 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 well. He was my bass player for four of the informal albums I’ve recorded since 1981, and played on many of the cuts of our one official CD. 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 the summer of 1974. 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 in 1977.  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 over several years.  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. We formed a “Woody Gang” and did a lot of fun stuff together in California. But it was special when a friend would come back to serve at Camp Woody, and that service together always served to strengthen the bond between us.

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 back in 1971 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.

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!

1974: Photos of a Fabulous Summer

Top: Two photos spliced together of the main camp building and neighborhood from the top of the big tree across  the road from the boys dorm. Taking photos from trees was a big deal that summer! Bottom left: Same tree, camera pointed toward the swing. The two tree trunks on the lower left are the ones holding the rope, so it gives you an idea of the height the swing could achieve! Bottom right: My Dad, Norm Smith (and his enormous sunglasses) prepares to take the senior high campers to nearby Long Island for a day trip in this shot taken from the top of the Woody dock. All the black and white film from 1972 onward was developed and printed between camps in one of the inside bathrooms of the girls’ dorm. I was able to take portraits of the Middler kids (youngest campers), print them, and send them home as a gift/craft project.

Left: Carol Chapman and Gabie Boko in the dining hall in the summer of 1974. The piano was loaned to the camp for a couple of years. Right: Carol and two girls from her cabin group examine a sea creature they found in the tide pools.

Above Left: Cy Jones was 81 when he volunteered at Camp Woody. He did many repair and upgrade projects, basically by himself, to help out the camp. Above Right: He gave the chapel a proper porch and landing (see inset). He also completely rewired the dining hall for the first time since 1956, correcting a lot of mistakes and incorrect switches. Bottom Left: Cy poses with Honor Claussen and Carol Chapman, the counselors who joined Kelly and me for some fantastic music that summer.

Long Island high school camp excursion, 1974: Thanks to the availability of the Evangel, it was relatively easy to go exploring the neighboring island, which had been a WWII fort. Top Left: staff help to make sandwiches at the south end of Cook Bay. Top Right: A lot of vandalism was taking its toll on the barracks (identical to the camp’s main building). Bottom: Two of the staff explore the Deer Point ammunition bunker. It is now totally obscured by medium-sized spruce trees!

Long Island could easily capture our imagination. The following year, Larry, Bruce, Kelly and I (plus Oscar the dog) explored the island for five days, camping on the beach. Left: The radar tower still showed its radar antenna (Kelly is looking down). Top Right: Carol, looking very nervous, approaches the platform. It’s a marathon climb! Bottom right: this serial plate is now in the collection of the Kodiak Military Museum. Note the low serial#.

The Ones Who Were Always There

Worship and Growing Faith—Left: a rare photo during a service in the restored chapel (year unknown - Camp collection). Below: a lovely shot of High Inspiration Point above Tanignak Lake, 1974. It’s been a repeating pattern that campers and staff feel that the camp experience shaped and inspired their lives for years to come.

Bob Boko, of Fairbanks, had first visited Camp Woody in 1956, when it opened. He and Marianne were soon volunteering, and when they moved to Fairbanks, would spend at least a month every summer at camp helping out. Dad and Bob split up the maintenance responsibilities, to keep things running. Bob also served as dean of the Junior Camp (grades 5 and 6) almost every season. Top photo: Bob and Dad lean on the old camp truck in this mid-60’s photo taken by Mom. Left: the old Camp truck, got from FAA surplus, served  throughout the 60’s and died in 1974. This may be its demise, from Bob’s body language! Right: Bob as camp dean directs a tug of war between cabin groups.

Marianne Boko served at Camp Woody every summer for at least fifteen years. She was responsible for a lot of the science discussions, camper craft projects, and camp décor (including drawing the enormous wall maps), helped in the kitchen and with cabin maintenance, and did whatever was needed. She and her cabin groups blazed new trails, sprinkled the woods with direction signs, and even built a swimming platform at Ehuzhik Lake. I truly appreciate her historic slides which are sprinkled through these camp articles. Top Left: Marianne holds some shells for a craft project on what looks like Sawmill Beach. Top right, she poses for me with her legendary Pentax (poses because the lens cap is still on!) Right: Marianne laughs while her daughter Gabie enjoys a fun moment on the beach.

Above: 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

Photos of Dad in action are sprinkled through these articles!

Above Right: 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  read a Narnia story aloud to the campers (which she dearly loved to do). 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.

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.

Left: My younger brother Kelly helped Dad and Bob Boko keep the camp running.  We teased him constantly about his hair. Right: Here’s his 1974 birthday photo in July (he turned 15), and a couple of years later driving the skiff. As also mentioned, he was the second half of our music team, creating a memorable and meaningful environment for the campers and staff.

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