Alumni Memories

“Waterfront activities – swimming, canoeing  hanging out with friends – reading and talking on the cots.  Evenings in the Lodge. Learning to play the ukelele. Singing in a circle…”

–Steffi Mooers – Camper in 1947 – 1955

“Sleeping outside, going to Fanny [now Gypsy] Falls, campfires, swimming in Lake Vera.”

–Alexandra Manolis Camper in 1974 – 1976

[I] Still remember all of the camp songs. Nancy Little was our favorite counselor. She invited Peggy Kincaid and I to watch the Miss America show when we got back. Put someone’s bra up the flagpole. Competition swimming held in the little frog pond. Riding canoes from the back while standing. Racing up the hill to breakfast to get the sugar pops cereal first. So sad when we had to leave – we could have stayed there forever.

Peggy Kincaid, Pam Robinson, Karen Peterson, Liz Seaton, Beeper Brown, Geannie Seigel, Annette Revel, Toni Reed and others.

Seeing the 9th graders like Katherine Watson and Wendy Rutledge, and Witter with their hair in rollers for us.  Camp fires and nightly singing  accompanied by guitars and then ghost stories. We had the messiest tent. Canoeing to the boy’s side of the lake?????? The morning bird sound. Walking to the Yuba and singing 100 bottles of beer on the wall. The very serious flag ceremonies – the folding and trying not to drop the flag and wearing the required white top with blue shorts. ( It was our group of mini-skirt thigh high boots that got rid of pleated skirt requirement in 7th grade 1969.) Eating apple-stix and fire-stix from the canteen.

Riding horses at a cantor when we were suppose to walk. Going to emerald pool and seeing how deep and cold it was.  Making boat-floats out of big pieces of bark and standing in the dark singing Wo He Lo and having it answered from the dark and then marching on to the water to let our boats float with candles on them on the Lake–very, very, moving.

Singing on a Lake Called Vera in a frenzy when we would round the curve and first see the Lake and then the camp. The hot afternoons reading comic books. Beating all the other tents at everything – Linda Ruled! Having your best friend ask if I wanted to be her bus partner. Stopping at the Milk Farm for vanilla shakes and having 300 Hell’s Angel’s pass by the bus. Giving each other leather bracelets with knots of friendship in them. Receiving letters from home. Singing at the outdoor breakfast tables and pounding with the silverware. Putting on the funniest skits. Singing Cookie Cookie to the cooks.

The 60’s were the best of times!!!!!!!”

–Toni Reed – Camper in 1966 – 1970

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
Jamaca Farewell
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

Swimming in a cement pool at the waterfront. Horseback riding on a horse that liked to try and bite me. Rode the same one 2 summers in a row. Earning the neatest tent award. Admiring all the C.I.T.’s
For example… the ‘On a lake called Vera’ song, receiving wood cookies, etc Buying Firestick candy at the little gift shop. Receiving a Camp Augusta Sweatshirt. Receiving letters from home.
Memories of counselors, some of the activities you enjoyed, perhaps some favorite locations around Camp, etc
Camper, 1968 and 1969

I directed Camp Minaluta from 1984 to 1993 when it belonged to the Sacramento Yolo Camp Fire Council. I worked in collaboration with Gemma Miner and Mary Ruth Cross, both past Camp Augusta directors when the camp was owned and operated by Piedmont Camp Fire. As far as Camp Fire, we are only one lone cmap left on the lake – Camp Gold Hollow. The loss of Minaluta and eventually the Camp Fire council was a deep loss for me but as we gathered in August at Camp Gold Hollow for CF’s cenennials celebration and I came together with past staff and campers after 17 years – well it was just magical. I will be involved in organizing a family camp next year for children with autism with some long time Camp Fire friends and past Minaluta staff at Gold Hollow. Would love to make a connection with Camp Augusta in some way and to meet you all. Here’s to the sunrise and sunset in all of us – best wishes for you 2011 summer – do you ever take 59 year olds???
Holly Bordwell, 1984 — 1993

As a camper: sleeping under the trees, swimming to Turtle rock, and singing camp songs (that I still sing to my kids now – my daughter’s favorite is Black Socks) As a CIT and counselor: leading games and songs with the kids, hikes to Fanny Falls, and one very long and rainy week where all we could do was sit in our cabin and yell, “Darn this stuff to Heck!!!”
For example… the ‘On a lake called Vera’ song, receiving wood cookies, etc Making wish boats? out of bark and a candle, then letting it float on the lake at dusk
My CIT camp name was ‘ Winter’, changed it to ‘Louie’ as a counselor
Kala Chandler, Counselor, 1980-1993

Learning camp songs on Guitar, Hurry Down Sundown was my favorite. Swimming in Yuba Frank’s swimming hole on inner tubes and feeding the deer and squirrels molasses oats. Learning French Enamel and other crafts. Getting roused for a “Snipe hunt” in the middle of the night with our counselor telling Spooky stories. Canoeing on the lake, and trying my hand at gunneling. I am a richer person for the experience.
Jasmine Tokuda, 1970

Even though I don’t remember the years, this was a GREAT time of my life, and would like to thank my godfather Charlie Sherwin for making this available to me! Thanks Charlie.
Jose Lima, Camper

Stopping at the Milk Farm. As a 5th year camper going into town to the movies. “Junior”, the CIT who played the trumpet. The night in the lodge when each tent was given a bag of ‘props’ with which to use in a skit. Being one of Little Bo Peeps sheep in the annual aquacade. Seeing a rattlesnake right in camp. Greenies during the week and whities on Sunday. Church in the glade. “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here…” Hot chocolate in metal pitchers. Using manzanita and plaster of Paris to make a ‘tree’ in Arts and Crafts that my mom used as a Christmas decoration for decades.
Sue Palmer Brady

Fanny Falls….. our tent on Bluebird Hill that was so old & full of holes that the night it rained they moved us to the lodge (and the resident bats). Watching the greased watermelon contest in the pool. Closing night ceremony when we lit our little bark boats & floated them out on the lake. Singing, singing, singing. My family did a work weekend before my first year of camp to make sure I’d be ok – I loved it!
Susan Ruhne, camper, 1975, 1976

One of my favorite memories from my first stay was the oatmeal fight. Getting to throw multi colored oatmeal at people and getting extremely messy was a blast. I also loved the casino night and how we got to bet on who would win the foot race . I’m also still really proud of myself for learning a hard breakdancing move in three days. It’s all really great , honestly , I never met a better group of people that were so supportive and accepting.
Amy Coffland, Camper, 2004

Hanging out in the staff cabin after getting the Campfire girls quieting down in their tents. Nancy Langer, Nancy Bradley, and I (another Nancy) signed up together and enjoyed exploring the area. We made up a song and set it to the Doors “Light My Fire” when another counselor accidentally lit her tent on fire. The kids we took care of were sweet.
Nancy Bailey, Counselor, 1967