BRADLEY, Maine — Christine Morrison, a mother of three who lives in Eddington, had a lot of summer camp options for her children, ages 12, 9 and 5. She chose to send them to Crossroads Christian Camp on Chemo Pond.
“This camp’s message about God reinforces what we teach at home,” Morrison, who also volunteers at the camp, said in June.
The facility, located about 15 miles from the Penobscot River off Route 9, also is an outreach mission of Morrison’s place of worship, East Eddington Community, a non-denominational church, located on Main Road. The camp offers transportation from Brewer and the church.
“This is an important thing that needed to happen,” Morrison said. “There are other camps that are popular and certainly well run but there wasn’t a day camp option in the area that filled this need [for Christian families].”
The church last year purchased the former Camp Molly Molasses from the Bangor Y for $500,000, according to the Rev. Roger E. Tracy, senior pastor of the church.
The decision to sell Camp Molly Molasses was “difficult,” Diane Dickerson, chief executive officer of the Bangor Y, said July 1. When the YWCA, which owned the camp in Bradley, and the YMCA merged in 2010 and formed the Bangor Y, they jointly owned three camps — Camp Jordan in Ellsworth, Camp G. Peirce Webber and Camp Molly Molasses.
Camp Jordan is an overnight camp while Webber and Molly were day camps, but the new organization could not support two day camps that previously had competed with each other for campers, she said. Because Camp Molly was farther away from Bangor than Camp Webber is, the decision was made to sell that property.
Buying the camp was a stretch for the congregation, but members contributed $100,000 toward the purchase, the pastor said. Another $50,000 or so has been spent on renovations to upgrade the facility inside and out.
Future plans include building cabins so overnight events can be held there marketing the camp as an event center for weddings, meetings and church retreats.
“The difference between secular camps and ours is a fundamental difference in our philosophy of life,” Tracy said. “For example, when secular camps talk about nature, woods and wildlife, they talk of some mythical notion of a non-extant ‘Mother Nature.’ When we talk with kids about those same natural wonders, we tell them about our Creator, our Heavenly Father, who made all these things for our enjoyment, and by the way, He made us too, and He loves us. The Bible says, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth shows forth His handiwork.’”
That is a philosophy that the founders of the YMCA and YWCA espoused when they were founded in 1844 in industrialized London, England. The YMCA in the United States was organized at the Old South Church in Boston on December 1851, according to the history page on the YMCA’s website.
Seven years later, the first association in the U.S. Ladies Christian Association, the precursor to the YWCA, was formed in New York City, according to the organizations website. As society, became more secular so did both organizations.
“We believe many parents want their kids to see the world from a spiritual rather than a secular perspective, and the difference as it relates to the natural world is dramatic,” Tracy said. “We see life through the prism of the Bible, and our entire worldview is centered in God, His love, and His creation of mankind, His purpose for our lives, both now, and for eternity.”
Each day at the camp begins a Bible verse and praise singing in the main building. The children then head out to a separate building or area for arts and crafts, archery, baseball, nature walks or time on the water.
Children painting wooden stools they’d made and weaving pieces of old T-shirts using a hula hoop as a frame at the camp recently did not articulate their camp experiences the way Morrison and Tracy did.
“I like being in the woods and fishing and all that stuff,” Myles Buswell, 10, of Clifton said. “It’s all fun and I’ve met some new people.”
Sophia Morrison, 9, said that painting and doing bead work during arts and crafts were her favorite activities but she also liked being outside.
“Almost every day I see a lot of animals,” she said. “I’ve seen a porcupine, a painted turtle, a loon and some hawks. I don’t see them at home.”
For information on Crossroads Christain Camp visit www.crossroadscamp.org of call director Bob 843-0682 email him at firstname.lastname@example.org