Children, counselors soak up the fun at Camp Tohiglo

July 16, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Camp Tohiglo campers from left, Novalee Deimler, Sara Snyder and Leah Hunter take part Monday in a class to learn basic sign language.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — The center lawn of Camp Tohiglo is a hub of activity as children play soccer, laugh with friends, run back from the shooting range and line up for lunch.

“It’s really fun, and I love it,” Sophia Ridge, 9, said as she darted off to a cabin.

Ninety-two campers ages 9 and 10 are participating in the Christian camp’s junior week through Friday. Other ages will be participating in camps throughout the summer at the 54-acre campus, which hosts retreats in other seasons.

Founded in 1978, Camp Tohiglo (short for “To His Glory”) features 10 cabins and a swimming pool, multipurpose hall, snack shop, volleyball court and softball field. The facility is off Pa. 75 southwest of Mercersburg.

“On any given day, we have a dozen activities the kids can do,” said Dwight Morgan, junior week organizer.

Youths — who hail from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — receive biblical instruction throughout the week. They review the previous night’s lessons before lunch each day.

Morgan leads “hydro hikes” through Licking Creek and discusses analogies to life.

“If you go with the current, it’s a little bit easier,” he said. “If you go against the current, buck the current, it’s harder but makes you stronger.”

Derek Johns, 14, is a junior counselor this week. The Cumberland, Md., teenager first attended Camp Tohiglo at age 7. Now, he is helping campers move from activity to activity.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good, Godly camp,” Derek said.

Adam Shafer, 21, of Middletown, Md., also started his experiences with Camp Tohiglo at age 7. He has been a counselor for six years and taught sign language Monday.

“I like working with the kids. That’s always a blessing,” he said.

Staff members from the Fellowship of Bible Churches, none of whom are paid, are well-grounded in their faith, Shafer said.

“It’s a really good atmosphere,” he said.

Karis Edwards, 9, said she already decided she wants to return next year. The child from Upper Marlboro, Md., enjoyed crocheting and was looking forward to swimming.

Hillary LaLone, 29, of Duncannon, Pa., is in her 11th summer as a counselor. She enjoys getting to know the girls, talking with them and keeping in touch after camp.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

“People say camp is for the campers. It’s also for the counselors,” said Lynda Morgan, Dwight’s wife.

Junior week costs $145. Some campers receive sponsorships from churches.

For more information about Camp Tohiglo, call 717-328-2784 or go to

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