Camp Northward has been around for over 80 years now. As you can imagine, this place has seen a lot of history, including multiple generations of directors, trustees, deans, faculty, staff and campers. It has weathered natural disasters, such as flooding, and it has gone through a few location changes over the years.
While we continue to move forward, we certainly don't want to forget our past. In fact, we want to cherish the memories and milestones that make Camp Northward culture what it is. We know our community to be especially generous, funny, creative and, most importantly, Christlike. Let's explore some of these pivotal moments in camp history together.
3 Campuses. One family.
Camp Northward officially opened on August 4, 1941. There were 33 campers. There were no buildings or accommodations save for an outhouse. The girls were housed in a barn on a hill east of camp while the boys stayed in tents. Campers were ferried in the Odors' horse-drawn hay wagon.
Someone wrote in the camp records: "In spite of the rains and, by today's standards, impossible facilities, a fine Christian spirit was maintained throughout." We cannot think of a better start to the camp story.
This is the site that most campers remember, as it is the site where most of the history took place so far. In June of 1969, Buford ("Uncle Boots") Odor was hired as Camp Coordinator. He worked there many years along with his wife "Aunt Tillie". Tillie is fondly remembered as handling the cooking and kitchen duties.
Between these years Camp Northward saw a succession of directors over time: Mike Flynn (1984-1990), Joe Epperson (1990-2009), Mark Campbell (2009-?), Clyde George, and eventually our current director, Nathan Derico.
154 Northward Drive
While the new site is still in the beginning stages of all the potential it has to offer, lifelong memories are already being made and lives are being changed. New buildings, such as the Cedar Lodge dorms, have opened. There are new activity sites that include a zip line and archery range.
At the same time, certain relics of the past remain to remind us of who we are and how far we've come. The carpetball tables moved with us from the old game room to the Pavilion. The historic "Camp Northward" arch leans against the barn at the new site, patiently awaiting to be assigned a permanent place in its new home someday soon. Perhaps most notably, the nostalgic "Jesus" sign that hung on a gazebo, where so many campers learned their memory verses, now hangs in the Pavilion, looking down over all.