Popular Kids Camp Creates Lasting Memories For Campers
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
It was her first time at an overnight camp, and she was nervous. She had been told about all the fun activities she would do over the next few days at the Geneva Center — like swimming, hiking, crafting and enjoying bonfires —but being away from mom for four days was just, scary. But while setting up her bunk in her cabin, she made fast friends with the girl who had chosen the bed next to her. With her new best friend, the next few days flew by. She enjoyed every activity she was told about beforehand and then some, like canoeing, tie-dying her own camp shirt and seeing deer and wild turkeys while on a hike. When her mother came to pick her up, she was sorry to leave. But she knew that she’d come back next year.
Fast forward 10 years and that little girl is back. But this time, she’s a counselor welcoming the shy campers on the first day of camp. She can’t wait to show them everything that she loves about this camp. As she watches the cars pull in with little faces peeking out through the back window, she’s reminded of how much she developed personally through the camps and retreats she has attended here. And now, she has the opportunity to pour into them.
For Executive Director, Cathy Adley, watching that kind of development is one of the best parts of working at the Geneva Center. This interdenominational retreat, camp and conference center is dedicated to providing “a place that serves all God’s people by providing a ministry of Christian hospitality and nurture,” according to their mission statement.
They offer old-fashioned hospitality in many ways. Every group is served by a maintenance staff who is dedicated to helping them have a good time. The Center is fully equipped for groups up to 160 with a main conference center, lodge, and six cabins. For mealtime needs, they offer a full-service kitchen as well as kitchenettes in some of the cabins for groups who prefer to make their own meals. And of course, there are plenty of wonderful activities for campers of all ages.
The Geneva Center is a perfect environment for what they offer.
“We have a lot of church groups that do couples’ retreats or ladies’ retreats. We have high schools that come and do retreats and choir groups from colleges,” Adley says.
Adley adds that the Geneva Center represents a new lease on life for camps that have been displaced.
“There are other groups that bring their camps to our facility,” she says. “There are a lot of other camps that have closed down. A lot of people are needing a place, so we offer that too. If someone already has a program in place, but they just need an area, we would welcome them.”
One kind of group for whom the Center is well-equipped is crafting and hobbyist groups.
“We have a lot of quilting groups and scrapbooking clubs,” Adley says. “We have big rooms where they can set up their stuff during the day. It’s just really nice that everything is under one roof, if they stay in the main conference center. Whereas, a lot of other places they go, they have one building where they work in and one building they sleep in. But with the accommodations we have here, they can do everything in one area.”
On top of hosting retreats for outside groups, the Geneva Center offers camps for children age five through high school in the month of June and public events throughout the rest of the year, like a Fall Harvest Celebration that will be held later in October.
For those who grew up going to the Geneva Center every summer and those who just found this camp recently, the facility offers a myriad of opportunities. Some learned to swim in the camp pool. Others appreciate the good food and comfortable beds. Many enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. But most would agree that the Geneva Center is a wonderful gem tucked away in the backwoods of Fulton County.
The Geneva Center is located at 5282 N. Old US 31, Rochester IN. You can check them out on Facebook, visit them online at genevacenter.org or give them a call at 574-223-6915 for more information.