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Camp Conoco is a tradition

July 26, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

With glitter still sparkling on her cheeks and eyes from an earlier craft project, Kayla Jacobs spent Friday afternoon outdoors at Conoco Day Camp with wet hair, no shoes and a wet bathing suit under her clothes.

For a 10-year-old girl, this was very nearly a perfect summer day.

But there was more.

"We did a lot of crafts this week and learned some Bible verses," Kayla said as she and the nearly 50 other campers spent their last day at the camp sponsored by the Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

"The camp has been held every summer for more than 30 years," said Nancy Shank, program director at the mission.

The campers' time is divided between the mission at 125 N. Prospect St. and the campsite west of Hagerstown along Conococheague Creek.

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In three sessions that each last one week, youngsters ranging in age from 6 to 12 spend their days in a variety of activities. Some are purely fun while others have a deeper purpose.

"There is singing, crafts and Bible lessons designed for youngsters all during camp," said Jami Resh, serving her second year as director of the camp.

The granddaughter of the late Jimmy Resh, founder of the mission, Resh said she finds her work at the camp a labor of love.

"I'm getting ready to start my senior year at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where I am studying youth ministry," she said. "I would like to go into some kind of youth camping field or perhaps mission work."

Children from all backgrounds are eligible to sign up each summer for the camp, Shank said. The camp is free, lunch is served free and there is free transportation available within Hagerstown city limits.

This year, Conoco Day Camp was July 7-11, July 14-18 and July 21-25.

Swimming in the nearby creek is a major attraction whenever children are at the campsite. There also are hayrides, a water slide, crafts, outdoor and indoor games, soccer, group sessions, model rockets and a field trip.

The final day of each session featured a Super Slide and Undersea Adventure, two large inflatable attractions provided by Phantom Shadow DJ Services.

"My sister came before but this is my first summer," said Jalenn Williams, 8.

He said he preferred swimming pools over creeks, but he had been in the Conococheague before and seemed eager to return.

"It's great here," he said as he headed back for the water.

Donald Nisewarner was glad his mother had gotten a form about the camp and signed him up.

"Swimming in the creek is really fun but it is cold," the 11-year-old Hagerstown boy said.

Wearing goggles and carrying a makeshift net, Josh Jacobs, 9, was heading back to the creek to catch minnows and crayfish.

"When I get them, I feed them to my snake," Josh said.

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