Camp has new twist on New Year's party

December 31, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Camp Joy El took a new twist on an old Pennsylvania Dutch tradition Wednesday by serving chicken with sauerkraut.

But for believers that only the combination of pork and sauerkraut brings luck for 12 months, the camp offered plenty of steaming containers full of that to 225 guests enjoying a free meal.

Guests said they enjoy talking with old friends and meeting new ones as they celebrate the close of 2008 and start of 2009.

"The fellowship is great," said Martha Haugh of Waynesboro, Pa.

Jeanette Biesecker, who does public relations for the camp, said the New Year's meal has been served perennially for decades. It originated with the adult ministries, then continued when that program ended.


Many of the guests were people involved with Camp Joy El through its various year-round initiatives, while others said they saw advertisements and made the meal an annual event.

"It's kind of been carried on as a tradition for our volunteers," Biesecker said.

Dakota Maldonado, 13, served water to guests as part of the camp's leadership training program. He became involved in leadership training after hearing his brother speak favorably about it.

"Throughout the year, they give you things to do like read the Bible and memorize verses," Dakota said.

Faith Kauffman, 14, helped set up the dinner and dining room. She has visited Camp Joy El for seven or eight years and joined the same leadership program.

Faith was excited to help with the dinner for the first time.

"I get to see everybody and how happy they are with the meal," she said.

"It's good food and fellowship," said Bud Leatherman of Hagerstown. "You can't beat the food, the fellowship and the price."

"The pork is scrumptious," said Sonja Davis of Hagerstown.

It's "just a good way to end the year and start another one," said her husband, Bob.

"It's all good," said Paul Wise of New Franklin, Pa.

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