Recently retired Don and Sue VerMerris first visited Camp Arcadia in October of 2020 as volunteers for Camp’s annual closing weekend. Their daughter Kimberly and her husband Randy Arnold, along with their family, had been attending Camp Arcadia for several years and encouraged them to come volunteer.
Having first heard about Camp through friends themselves, the Arnolds have attended alongside other couples and invited friends to check out Camp over the years. They had been trying to convince Kimberly’s parents to spend a week in Arcadia for some time.
During Closing Weekend, the VerMerrises noted Camp’s organized, upbeat, and enjoyable atmosphere and began to understand what their daughter and her husband had been raving about for years. “It was even fun cleaning,” said Sue.
A couple months later, when the Arnolds and VerMerrises got together for Christmas, Kim and Randy presented Don and Sue with a photo of Camp Arcadia and an offer to pay for part of their week at Camp. After seeing the beauty of Camp in person that fall and hearing about helpful staff, delicious meals, and innumerable activities from the Arnolds, Don and Sue looked forward to spending a full week in Arcadia.
When they got to Camp, one thing that immediately stood out to the VerMerris Family was the friendly and caring community. Not only did the couple find the staff’s enthusiastic energy contagious, but they were struck by the number of families who had been coming to camp for many, many years–some even for generations. “As ‘rookies,’” said Don, “and despite our inexperience, we always felt welcomed and included in conversations and activities.”
Grandparents to four Arnold kids, Don and Sue also spent their week with Arnold family friends, the Thies and the Racek families. They soon adopted nine new grandchildren, and were affectionately referred to as “Nana” and “Papa” at Camp.
Among the VerMerrises’ favorite aspects of Camp was the chance to relax at mealtimes. “A true vacation is when you don’t have to worry about buying, preparing, and cleaning up from meals,” remarked Sue.
The couple also enjoyed that there were activities for family members of all ages. They made a great team playing shuffleboard throughout the week. “It felt like you were a kid back at camp,” said Sue.
Equally impactful was time spent in the morning Dean’s program and during worship at the Chapel on the Beach. They were pleasantly surprised by the in-depth and enriching lecture and worship opportunities. “We grew in our Christian faith because of that week.”
Don shared a meaningful experience while reflecting on his first week at Camp. In a quiet moment with God, as he looked out over the waters of Lake Michigan, he heard two young girls laughing and singing “I’m a Priceless Treasure” at the top of their voices.
As he looked back on this moment, “two things came to mind,” Don said. “We are all a priceless treasure of God, and Camp Arcadia is a priceless treasure from God. Don’t ever lose this precious treasure—a treasure not discovered, but a treasure given to you by God. Steward and cherish this treasure for years to come.”
“We are all a priceless treasure of God, and Camp Arcadia is a priceless treasure from God. Don’t ever lose this precious treasure—a treasure not discovered, but a treasure given to you by God. Steward and cherish this treasure for years to come.”
Registration for Camp Arcadia’s 2022 Season is now open. Click here for more information.
Want to make a yearend gift to sustain the precious treasure of Camp Arcadia? You can do so by visiting www.camp-arcadia.com/give.