Karl Shininger’s Story

“In 1999 I showed up at Camp Arcadia for the first time as a college student who wanted to do something different with his summer. Little did I know how much the rest of my life would be connected to Camp Arcadia and the people I met there. My six summers on staff were some of the greatest times of my life. I met the most amazing people, on staff and guests, including my future wife. We cherish our moments at Arcadia like moonlight walks on the beach, my marriage proposal on South Bluff, our wedding reception in the Assembly, and mini staff reunions at opening work weekends. This past summer, Katie and I were able to share the Camp Arcadia experience with someone new: our son.

Katie, Karl and A.J. at the Square Dance in 2011

“As staff members, we could never fully understand what our service meant to the families that stayed at Camp Arcadia. Now, as a father, I get it. The sunsets, square dances, and chief shakes are amazing, but it is the people who make us want to return. Fellow guests are people just like us who want to enjoy time with family in an environment that encourages friendliness, fair play, and most importantly, faith. The staff members are young adults who are willing to work the endless hours with smiles on their faces for a chance to enjoy that environment in a different way. I return to Camp Arcadia to belong to something that I, and others, believe in.

“When I am not at Camp Arcadia, what do I miss the most? Without a doubt, I miss the nighttime at Camp Arcadia. At home, I tidy the house, prepare for the next day, watch a few minutes of television, and get to bed at a decent hour so I can survive the following day. At Camp Arcadia — during my time on staff, as a teen week counselor, as a volunteer, and as a guest — it’s different because I always anticipate the upcoming evening.  Whether it be a bonfire on the beach, relaxing in the Inn lobby, playing a game of Catch Phrase in the game room, enjoying refreshments at the Big Apple (now Rigger’s), or simply walking around the town of Arcadia, I can’t wait for nighttime to come.

“At Camp Arcadia the laughter is always louder. The conversations are always more meaningful. The friendships are always more special. Thinking back, my favorite memories of Camp Arcadia always started with a beautiful sunset.”

View from Camp Arcadia, 2011.

One Response

  1. Thanks Karl for sharing your wonderful years at RKD…meeting your wife….and now a beautiful son. God is GREAT and RKD has been in my heart for many years…..when my mom (who was a single mom) took my sister and I on the Greyhound Bus…working a full time job….making “special” crafts that she could sell in her office to save for our wonderful week at RKD for many summers. Once I was married my husband and I took our son’s there and now on occasion when they can they take their families there. It gets into your blood…that RKD….but how wonderful it is.
    Last summer at the end of season I worked on staff, in the office , and also taught a little art for Senior week, then was a guest over Labor-Day week-end when one of my son’s and another dear friend who use to come often also came. A great time. I look forward to some more time at RKD when I can. We use to drive 300 miles from Chgo…but now my distance is a bit longer from Georgia….about 3000 miles or so…but worth every mile to get there.

    Eunice Nichols

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