Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Harg families held summer camp

"Two of ours have part-time jobs hauling hay, and they need the money."

"My Sallie has never yet been away from home."

"We’re planning a family trip that conflicts."

Then the choir director, Frances Stice, said, "Our children are all grown, but you could have your summer camp on our farm." Some thought she was joking, but everyone who knew Frances and Maurice Stice knew that they would actually enjoy having about 35 Harg Hustlers 4-Hers for three days - camping at their lovely farm back from the highway on Fulton Gravel Road, east of downtown Columbia.

It’s timely that we are reviewing the generosity of these former owners just now. The beautiful pasture is scheduled to be a large golf course, in the rolling hills between Columbia and Harg, in about another year. The new owners have decided that the Stices’ farm will become a big new golf course on Route WW.

It will always be Stice’s Lake to those who staged a summer camp there about 50 years ago. Several experienced 4-H members volunteered to help with games, crafts, art, fishing and outdoor cooking, and it was a joy to hear experienced older members of the Harg Club teach first-year members the 4-H pledge of their "Heads, Hearts, Hands and Health."

A club mother volunteered to keep our little Nancy, and another neighbor "sat" with her and watched while I taught boating, canoeing and first aid. Older boys and girls who had attended regular 4-H camps at the Lake of the Ozarks were reliable helpers in leading games, songs, crafts, races, etc.

We decided that swimming should be done in the Columbia Pool, where the water was chlorinated, a lifeguard was on duty and there were showers, water slides and diving boards.

By starting each of the three camp days at the Columbia Pool - gone long ago - on the south end of College Avenue, each camper paid his own admission to the pool, had the required shower and climbed the ladder over and over to slide down into shallow water. The result was more than 30 clean, hungry and worn-out campers before noon.

Betty Jean Brown brought her sister, Emily, who was Nancy’s age, and the little folks played in the shade. Maurice and Frances kept their distance, to see and not be seen. By noon, parents had brought food for all, taking turns providing lunch, as planned by about four camper mothers. As planned, campers brought their bed rolls on Day Two and met again at the pool.

After the swim and lunch on Day Two, ballgames, fishing and crafts ended with wood-gathering for a supper of hot dogs and marshmallows. They were followed by singing till the fire burned down. The tired campers were then off to bed on the Stices’ second-floor sleeping porch. In stocking feet and sleeping garments, I bunked down between the rows of girls and boys. My husband took Nancy home; a few parents stayed.

Most of the third day, after the swim, was for eating, resting, finding odd socks and towels - then food and awards for best workers, winning ball team, biggest fish, etc.

A roar of applause greeted our hosts, Maurice and Frances Stice, when they said, "You must do this again next year." Guess what? We did just that!

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