Renewal of Body

Campers can renew their bodies by enjoying physical recreation, good food, and fresh air. The founders of Camp Arcadia saw physical activity as an important part of a healthy, Christian life, and sports became central to the RKD experience. Over the years, Arcadians have been able to participate in over twenty different organized sports and many other non-competitive physical activities.

In addition to programmed sports, RKD also offers a number of physical activities that guests can pursue during their free time. Tennis, swimming, and boating are the oldest of these and continue to be very popular. Camp has had many different kinds of watercraft over the years, including wooden, metal, and plastic row boats; a small sailboat; paddleboards; and kayaks. Despite the relative chill of Lake Michigan, swimming has always been popular, especially on big wave days. Shuffleboard was introduced in 1932 with courts moving around but always located north of the Assembly and close to the tennis court. From 1930 to 1940, Camp had a handball court, but it was unfortunately destroyed by a storm that also completely buried the merry-go-round swing in sand. In its place, Camp built a badminton court, which then moved to what is now called the “kids’ courts” before being phased out entirely.

Of course, one of the most important ways campers’ bodies are renewed is through meals. Camp meals have always been served “family style,” with groups of six to eight at one table, sharing food with one another. This way of eating embodies all three of the categories of renewal—spirit, mind, and body. Spirits are refreshed by spending time with family or friends without the worry of meal prep or clean up. Minds are renewed through wonderful conversation, perhaps with new tablemates. And bodies are renewed through the fantastic food that comes to the table, prepared with care by the kitchen staff and delivered cheerfully by the servers. These meals are important community time; the dining room is the place where all campers are bound to be three times a day, and announcements, devotions, singing, and jokes have become part of the mealtime experience. Some of the best Camp Arcadia relationships have been built around a dining room table, breaking bread together.

Sunset Overlooking the Pocket Beach Walkway and Fire PitThe final aspect of physical refreshment is rest. There are so many program opportunities at RKD that some campers take no time during the day to rest. If that’s the case, they certainly feel it when they lay down on their beds at night, letting that “Camp Arcadia tired” hit them at last. At night, the sound of the lake combined with a cool breeze creates what some call “sleeping weather.” There’s a reason the Inn was constructed where it is; the founders knew that “waves lapping softly on the sandy shore” make for “nights of quiet rest.”

Dean Caemmerer summed up Camp Arcadia’s approach to its program like this:

Camp Arcadia never just existed or drifted. Its objectives . . . were always articulated and evaluated. The facilities of the Camp were always devoted to the realization of the objectives. During the years the “camp” character of the program, with some ingredients of “roughing it,” shifted to the idea of a “balanced week,” with the components of rest and refreshment uppermost in view of the fatigue with which guests both young and old arrived at the place—this refreshment for the total person to be compounded of full nights of sleep, good food attractively served and consumed in jolly but not hilarious surroundings, and a spiritual interpretation given by devotions, the conference program, and companionship with Christians. (Caemmerer 1953)

This is an excerpt from Days Filled With Sunshine: 100 Years of Camp Arcadia, the new book written by Dr. Stephanie Jass for Camp’s centennial. You can order your copy by calling or visiting the office OR stopping by the Trading Post this summer. (We’re hopeful they arrive soon!)

2 Responses

  1. I am looking forward to getting the copy of the book that I ordered soon.

    I agree that the outdoors and recreation make for a “good tired”. The first year our family came (1977) we went home refreshed but had to rest up from vacation, as had to try everything, “do it all”!

  2. Members of the Kienman family have been attending Camp Arcadia since the 1930’s. Over the years, four generations of Kienman’s have been volunteers for opening weekends, closing weekends, on summer staff, fall staff, confirmation retreat, youth counsellor, LCA Board member, Lutheran Laymen’s League retreat, LLL Men’s Retreat Committee, attended Walther League reunions, and many family weeks. RKD has been an important part of the Kienman family history and we are looking forward to receiving our copies of “Days Filled With Sunshine.”

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