As summer fast approaches, the camp’s new manager Dennis Dull and his team are getting ready to welcome their guests

HERSEY - A lot of things have happened since Albright Camp was born in the imaginations of Methodists way back in 1895, and pioneers and farmers turned the spot along the Hersey River between Reed City and Hersey into a showpiece.

It was a place where people could gather for many reasons. Sometimes to pray, to sing, to worship, to just sit and enjoy the silence, or to camp. There were times of refreshing one’s spirit, resting one’s soul, gathering together to move forward again. There was laughter. Sometimes tears.

It was a safe place. One where you could hear the birds sing, and sometimes see them nesting in the rafters as services were held.

There were great times and good times. There were tough times and sad times. There were bad times, but throughout it all, the camp stood, and the people who loved it stood behind it. Prayed about it, prayed for it, came together and moved toward a fresh start, one of new beginnings.

It’s happening again now.

As summer fast approaches, and various special camps and gatherings get ready to converge on the area, the new manager and his team are getting ready and ever more closely set to go. “Sort of,” Dennis Dull, that new manager says as tours with friends throughout the campground.

Right now the big tabernacle on the grounds is sort of a rest home for one project as groups get ready to descend on the sight and start making up bunk beds. Oh, not putting sheets and blankets on them, mind you, but rather building them.

Understand that building bunk beds is no easy chore. They have to be sturdy and safe. Able to withstand the onslaught of children and teens, and others who will come to camp. Camp New Day is coming back. Special people camps. Possibly computer camps. And there are going to be Nerf Wars. Possibly a karate camp. Emphasis on safe fun. Fun fun.

Dull said his goal is to restore the camp to what it was and needs to be again. A safe place where people can gather, and spend time alone or with others, and to grow closer to God.

He said a group called the Nomads soon will be converging on the camp to help build those bunk beds and get them set for summer. The group of mostly retirees will spend time at the camp, putting in six hours a day per person. They will volunteer their time in exchange for a place to camp during that time. He said they go all over the country doing good, and “they will be doing good for all of us when they come here.”

Dull has numerous groups returning to camp this year, and many things in the planning stages. Among them painting and restoring buildings, putting up a climbing wall and he has secret hopes of making it over a period of time one of the…no, not one of…but THE biggest around.

And while the improvements are being made and things not needed, things not wanted in keeping with the atmosphere of the Christian Camp it was founded to be, Dull is overseeing a crew getting rid of the things that take away from that goal.

May 17-20: NOMADS Work Week (at least 30 members of this nationwide group will converge on Albright and put in at least six hours of service each day. Their major project will be to cut and assemble the 70 beds, “and all they ask is a place to camp the nights they are here. They got it,” Dull said.)

May 27-30: Trinity UM

June 19-20: Clare UM

June 25: Nerf Wars (organized by My Spot, Reed City, for 40 kids and expected to grow to 60 next year.)

June 26-July 1: Family Bible Camp

July 11-15: Camp New Day for children who have an incarcerated parent(s).

July 18-22: Special People Camp

July 25-29: Summer Games

July 30-31: Tentative date for the 110th Celebration for Camp Albright.

Aug. 1-4 Reed City Area Christian Sports Day Camp

At least one church plans to have its Vacation Bible School at the camp, and there is some thought being given to having a karate camp at Albright this summer as well.

The camp will be getting a “Gaga Dodge Ball pit,” Dull said, explaining “it has these really weird rules and the kids love playing it.” And he’s looking into interlocking panels for shuffleboard so it can be disassembled in the winter and taken inside for other games as well.

A Frisbee golf course is also in the thinking stages.

“All the camps are coming back,” he emphasized again, “and other churches are rallying behind us to get things ready.”

Jared Groulx and his wife, Michelle, will be living on the grounds with their three children. Groulx will be the new program manager.

The wind in the trees sounds much like a sigh of relief, perhaps a Mighty opinion about the changes now underway.