Northwest Seniors Celebrate Fun, Fellowship, Patriotism

By Joe Rothrock –

The “Spirit of ’96” Senior Camp at Camp Arnold in Eatonville, Wash., was the scene of fun and fellowship for 70 seniors from across the Northwest Division.

The theme marked a year filled with the presidential elections and national pride in hosting the Olympics. Local politicians were guest speakers at the camp, and patriotic decorations such as flags and copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution covered the walls.

The Christian message of the Army was also emphasized. Bible studies and devotionals were held to keep the message of God strong in the hearts of those attending.

Campers’ only requirement was that they be at least 55 years of age. “It’s a unique camp because there’s such a variety of seniors represented,” said Senior Camp Coordinator Major Bonnie Lynch (R).

Washington State gubernatorial candidate Ellen Craswell talked about government history and current events. She also testified about her Christian beliefs and how they guide her life. Washington State Representative Grant Pelesky spoke of his memories as a young camper at Camp Arnold and his days as a counselor there before pursuing his political ambitions. Mt. Rainier National Park Ranger Loren Lane recounted the first harrowing trip up the mountain by two enthusiastic pioneers, and described the scenery and environment around the park.

Tacoma Commanding Officer Major Gordon Helms discussed The Salvation Army’s work in other countries and displayed many of the souvenirs he picked up during his time in Africa.

A favorite with the campers was a costume parade and talent show, with many seniors displaying red, white and blue outfits. Ethel Adams delighted the audience with her ukulele. Virginia Carpenter told of 50 years with The Salvation Army, and June Lesle gave a poetry reading.

Swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, camp fires, games and an ice cream social put smiles on the faces of all seniors who attended.

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