Favorite Memories From Your Time Spent Here:
The music. We sang ” ‘Enery the 8th I am I am” on the bus, “I oony oony I Ki oony” (giggle giggle), “Harmoney My Baby, Harmony,” “Dreamland Opens Here-er-er,” Thumper singing special lunch graces, “Hurry Down Sundown Be On Your Way,” and international songs in our beach towel costumes on International Day, Yuba Frank, etc.
Are there any Augusta traditions that you remember experiencing?
My campers’ unit (5th graders) were able to hike to the Yuba River for a camp out – we had to gather our own fuel, make our own dinner, clean up, make a fire, have an evening activity, and sleep under the stars by the river. (The food, etc. was vanned in by a Class II driver.) The C.I.T.s had removed the poison oak before camp began. Swimming and tanning at the Yuba was the BEST! (There were little flakes of gold in that water.) Campers below 5th grade had lunch hikes to the wishing well and Fanny Falls. They were too young to really hike down to the Yuba.
Whatever evening activities we did, the evening was very special. We gathered around the huge bond fire and sang “The Call of The Fire” while we put our arms around each other. There was such a feeling of peace and happiness! The last night was the best of all. We had a council fire (on the other side of the docks) where we walked singing the council fire song. The C.I.T.s had torches as we walked. We gathered and received all kinds of awards and patches. Then the C.I.T.s and counselors sang to us (“Little Did We Know When We Met You, We Would Learn To Care for You So …”), Then,at the end, we would let our dream boats float off into the lake. They had candles, and by the time they were all lit, the lake looked so pretty with the stars and moon reflecting on the calm water with little candle sparkles all over it. (The C.I.T.s retrieved them later.)
We woke to reveille, ran around like crazy trying to find our blue shorts and white tops to appear at the flag pole in a u formation. Counselors wore thin blue scarves, and C.I.T.s wore red ones. After the flag ceremony (one tent per ceremony). Then it was off to breakfast. If it was particularly good, we sang “Cookie, Cookie … etc.” to thank our cooks. Grace was sung before every meal, and was really, really neat. (I loved all the graces.) All the tables (tents) had minions – a different pair every day (posted on the tent schedule), who were responsible for setting our tent’s table, bringing the food, clearing the table, and helping with dishes. Some lunches were special days – international day, carnival day, etc. Sometimes we packed our own lunches for a hike. Dinners were fun … and we were usually excited about the night’s activities – a skit we were to perform in front of everybody or something. (I think each unit – grade level – had a night.) I remember there was a “game night.” One night we had a sing-a-thon with other camps across the lake (Camp Okizu was one I think.) We all sang to each other. It was really neat hearing voices float over the lake.
Bear Scares (leather bracelets with 3 knots – a wish for each knot) that you could not take off for one year, knot tying, arts and crafts, horseback riding, decorating our dreamboats for the last night, hiking to the Yuba, skits in the lodge, getting to decide which activities I wanted to participate in – or just sit and read comic books and talk, washing my own clothes for the first time with a washboard and lots of suds in Manzanita Claim, Fanny Falls, The Wishing Well, making our own lunches, flag ceremonies, TAPs at night and reveille in the morning, nice counselors and new friends, archery, horseback riding, telling fortunes on carnival day, etc. etc. etc.
Songs We Sung
Dark Brown is the River
Dreamland Opens Here
Hurry Down Sun Down
Walk On Little Girl, We’ve Had Good Times Together
We Welcome You to Camp Augusta, Mighty Glad You’re Here!
Walking Along The Open Road (hiking song)
Little Did We Know When We Met You, We Could Learn to Love You So,
Flicker of a Campfire, Warm and Bright
God Gave to the Wiseman their Wisdom
Cowboy Lullabye (Desert Blue Beneath the Pale Moon Light)
If All the Raindrops Were Lemon Drops and Gum Drops
When I First Came to This Land
Um Um I want to Linger
Kookaburra Sits On The Old Gum Tree
Walk Sheperdess Walk
Dona Dona (“On A Wagon Bound For Market, Sits a Calf With a Mourful Sigh)
Whose Woods These Are I Think I Know (Robert Frost)
Liberty (“One Day I Was Walking, Down A Country Road”)
Three Kids in a Sandbox
Ash Grove (Down Yonder Green Valley) … a round
And It’s One for The Money and I’ll Sing for A Penny
I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart
The Mountains High, Bring Peace and Joy to All
The Gypsy Rover
Land of Oden
“The Call of The Fire” was the main song. I think, respectfully, the two young women have the words slightly incorrect. (It was SO good to see Mrs. Hooper again! She was my older sister’s best friend’s mother.)
(We put our arms around each other)
“The Call of the Fire comes to us through the shadows.
That follows the end of the day.
It’s flames bring us peace, and the calmness of spirits,
That chase all our troubles away (…a way).
We’re thankful for days, and the joys that they bring us,
For nights and the rest that they bring.
May we go on believing, in this love we’re receiving,
Just now ’round the fire as we sing.
Good night. Good night. The taps are about to blow.
Good night. Good night. We’ll see you in the morning.
Though we must part for tonight, our love will burn as a light.
So it’s good night. Good night.
Camp Augusta bids you good night.
(Sung to taps as we take our arms off of each other:)
Day is done. Gone the sun.
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky.
All is well. Safely rest.
God is nigh. So good night.
(Shouted: “Good night! Good night!” etc.)
Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share?
That last night, about two hours after we left the council fire, our counselors and C.I.T.s would walk around to the various units and serenade us! They were really good guitar players and singers and it was wonderful. Sitting around at the bond fire by the lodge waiting for the busses to arrive with the next group of campers was torture! Our luggage was by where the busses were going to stop. It was hot. We didn’t want to leave. The new campers were “herded” to their tents and outdoor metal cots, while we said good-bye to our counselors by the fire area. There were lots of tears. The counselors sang to us as we drove out of there. We were wondering how in the world we were going to adjust back to real life! No singing? No hikes? No friends? No counselors? No swimming?
“Thumper,” “Debbie” and “Miss El” were big names back then. “Thumper” and “Miss El” were Assistant Directors who sang and played the guitar a lot, and “Miss El” (Eleanor) was A Camp Director. (I remember because she got really, really sick one summer, and so did I, and we were in quarantine together in the nurse’s hut, and went to the hospital together. I had the flu I think, and she had a tooth infection that traveled to her brain! She lived, but it was scary. My mom had to come and get me.
I remember learning about myself… when to be a leader and when to be a follower, what I enjoyed doing, and what I didn’t … how to be a team player and appreciating being an individual … patriotism … self-confidence … sticking up for fellow campers … learning things I didn’t know I was learning … and having fun while I was learning!
Karen Kelly, Camper, 1960’s
Unit Director, 1974