Nature Camp Inc. News

Our Deep and Abiding Connection to the World Around Us

By September 20, 2008 2 Comments

From Afterglow #73 Sept 08:

Those of us who have spent more than a few sessions at Nature Camp might all too easily have come to take the serene beauty and sublime simplicity of the chapel for granted, to consider it just another spot in Camp, where we gather on Sunday morning and evenings and hold our Closing Ceremony and an occasional class. But as I asserted at the service, I believe that the chapel is indeed a sanctified spot on these grounds and that Nature Camp would be all the poorer in its absence. No doubt the chapel means something different to everyone. To some it remains, as it was originally intended, a holy sanctuary in which to worship God. To others it may constitute a place set aside for special events, an amphitheater in which we may all commune with nature as a community, or simply a quiet retreat from the busier and noisier byways and social hubs of Camp. And to many who have come before us, the chapel serves as a tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to Nature Camp and its eternal spirit. The chapel has even inspired at least one musical composition; my band teacher in high school, some 25 years or more ago, stumbled upon Nature Camp during a desultory drive in the country one day and wrote a piece he entitled, “Little Stone Chapel on Big Mary’s Creek.” I have had the distinct pleasure of attending two weddings in the chapel, and I have no doubt that others have also taken place there over the past half-century. Whatever your beliefs or feelings, I hope that for each of you the chapel holds a special place in your heart and represents our deep and abiding connection to the world around us and to one another.

During the service we also took occasion to recognize ten individuals who have made extraordinary, nonmonetary contributions to the life of Nature Camp. These new members of the Nature Camp Roll of Honor have donated their time, talent and creative energy to the betterment of Camp, and their names will appear in perpetuity on the plaque that hangs just inside the outer office of the staff house. Those inducted as the class of 2008 honorees are Nancy Feil Lowry, for years of service as the head chef at Adult Session and for graciously hosting innumerable meetings of the Board of Directors of the NCF; Powell Hutton, for stellar, patient and visionary leadership of the NCF since 2005 and in particular during the transition of ownership of Nature Camp from the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs; Anna Lowry, for designing brochures for the youth and adult sessions of Nature Camp; Michaux Lowry Hood, for design and maintenance of the web sites for Nature Camp and the Nature Camp Foundation (NCF); Connie Sancetta, for tirelessly serving as editor of the NCF’s almost quarterly newsletter, The Afterglow, since 1989 and for organizing the annual Adult Session since 2002; Dot Spates Wilbur-Brooks, for reestablishing Adult Session in 1990 and developing it into a flagship program of the NCF; Chuck Story, for invaluable service without complaint as treasurer of the NCF since 2002 and for cooking at the Foundation’s biannual Service Weekends for many years; the late Charles Thornton, for selfless generosity to Nature Camp during the last decade of his life (see separate story in the previous Afterglow); our own caretaker Charlie Truxell, whose unfailing commitment and dedication to Nature Camp have been simply invaluable; and Doug Woodworth, for two terms of service on the Board of Directors of the NCF and for generously holding the position of Nature Camp treasurer—without pay—for the past 18 months. Let us all be grateful to these and previous inductees to the Roll of Honor for all they have done to ensure that Nature Camp continues to thrive and provide us with the opportunity to experience the magic of this remarkable place.

— Flip Coulling, Director