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Jerusalem Western Salisbury
3441 Devonshire Road
Allentown, PA 18103
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Office: 610-797-4242 or 610-791-4979
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July 2014 marks the 45th consecutive year of holding a church sponsored camping program known over the years as Choir Camp and currently operated as Church Camp. I thought it might be timely to write a short history of the camp since the camp has reached this milestone. A special thank you to Mr. Neil Moyer, Camp Director Emeritus, who has faithfully kept records of the camp over the years and helped in filling in details for this short history.
Originally, the first Western Salisbury Lutheran Choir Camp was sponsored by the Lutheran Choir and was held as a reward for the choir members. The camp was organized by Mr. Louis Peters, Lutheran Organist and Choir Director, Mrs. June Laudenslager, and Pastor John Kline, the Lutheran pastor. The first camp was held Sunday July 5 through Sunday July 12, 1970 at Camp Kline, RD 1, Cresco PA. The staff was mostly made up of choir members and children were invited from both congregations, though it was sponsored by the Lutheran Choir. Over the years, the camp changed its focus from a music oriented camp to a bible study camp. Today, the camp has adopted the church's mission statement and is known as the Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church Camp.
The camp was held at Camp Kline for two years and then in 1973, the camp moved to Group Camp #1 at French Creek State Park in Elverson, PA. For several years, campers swam at the creek on the Persol's property and also at Six Penny Lake. In 1982, Calvary Jubilee Park in Wescosville was the site of the camp because swimming facilities were unavailable at French Creek. From 1983 until 1993, the camp was held at French Creek State Park Group Camp #1. For the 25th year of camp, camp was held at Group Camp #2 at French Creek, a smaller facility. That year, the camp organizing committee held a camp reunion and many former campers attended the celebration. The camp stayed at French Creek, Group Camp #2 for two more years.
A group shot of the campers and staff in the 1970s
From 1997 through 2001, the camp was held at Camp Laughing Waters, a Girl Scout camp near Gilbertsville. From 2002 through 2006, Camp Harmony Heart near Jermyn PA was the site of the camp. In the years of 2007 and 2008, the camp was held at Robin Hill Camping Resort in Lenhartsville. In 2009, the camp returned to French Creek State Park, Group Camp #2; the camp continues to be held at French Creek.
Over the years, the camp has continued to serve the next generations. Mr. Neil Moyer has attended 43 years of the camp, more than anyone else. He, as well as his sons Steve and Tony, continue to attend the camp, as well as his grand daughters Harmony and Mary Lou. Mrs. Debbie (Reichard) Fink attended the first two years of the camp. Her son, Joshua had attended the camp since 1988 and today serves as the Camp Director. The Hoffman and Bergstresser families, who were involved from the very early days, still continue to help support the camp in many ways.
Three generations of campers
We thank God that many individuals over time have helped to support this camp for the young and old of our congregation and invited friends; it is a great opportunity to be in God's creation for one week a year. The camp organizing committee looks forward to the 50th year in 2019.
I have appreciated the positive responses to my articles and I am pleased that people are interested in the rich history of our church. If you are curious about our church and its history, please contact me through the church office or at Finkyx@aol.com.
Joshua Arthur Fink, Historian