The 20th year for Church of God regional youth camps at the Heritage Reservation is history! Thirty-four campers and 30 staff enjoyed a fine week Aug. 9-16 at this veteran location for COGWA youth camps.

This was one of the best years ever at Heritage in many ways. After two years of cool and rainy weather, the weather this year was sensational. We had a few pop-up storms Tuesday, but every other day was rain-free and mostly sunny with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Overnight lows in the 60s made for pleasant sleeping conditions.

Monday’s activities introduced the week’s routine and included high ropes for the Challenge-level campers (aged 15-18). Other scheduled venues included softball, riflery, archery, volleyball, basketball, soccer, kayaking and swimming.

Wednesday the annual whitewater rafting trip down the Youghiogheny River saw 26 participants (17 campers and nine staff members) challenge 7.5 miles of class III and class IV rapids. Thursday all campers enjoyed “tubing” behind the Scouts’ powerful ski boat. The campers won the traditional Thursday night camper/staff softball game 15-10, their third victory in 19 games (the game was canceled one year due to wet and unplayable grounds).

Daily Christian Living classes amplified the theme of “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It.” A special life skills class was presented Wednesday evening by camp director Doug Johnson and his wife, Janel. After the life skills class, 12 campers and two staff members headed out for overnight tent camping, while the rest of the camp enjoyed a rousing game of bunco.

Friday night saw various Bible games as campers and staff welcomed the Sabbath. The Sabbath had the usual brunch, hymn sing, opening of Sabbath notes, and services. The last scheduled activity was the Saturday night dance, with deejay Allen Holl keeping the camp hopping. A beautiful slide show of the highlights of Heritage 2015 was presented during the evening dance by camp videographer and photographer Kait Black.

The year 2015 was the 11th and last year for the Johnsons to serve as Camp Heritage director and wife. Scott Lord and his wife, Monica, will begin serving in that capacity in 2016. The Lords organized a beautiful slide show of the first 20 years for Camp Heritage and a presentation of tokens of appreciation to the Johnsons Friday evening. The thoughtful gifts included a lovely matted and custom-framed photograph (the original photo was taken by Mrs. Johnson!) of sunset over Lake Courage, a well-known and much-beloved spot for all who’ve attended Camp Heritage over the last 20 summers.