Written by: Marianne Augenstein
In June of 1948, a pastor by the name of Walter S. Dobbie filled his car with teenagers and brought them from Canton Methodist Church to a brand-new camp called Aldersgate. One of those kids was Sherry (Thompson) Theobald, who had just graduated from 8th grade. She remembers working alongside other children and adults from different churches, preparing everything for the first summer of camp. They swept sawdust from the newly-built cabins, stacked lumber, and helped make everything neat and inviting.
My time at Aldersgate has been one of transformation. I started going when I was about six years old. Camp was just a fun thing to do when I was that young. I loved the swimming and the campfires. I wasn’t a great swimmer in my first year, so I had to stay in the shallow end. That pushed me to get better at swimming so I could get into the next section. Sure enough, I moved up a section the following summer.
“Where is Aldersgate”? I asked our boys. I was looking at the camp brochure that was handed out in church. Bridgeport United Methodist has been an avid supporter of the camping program for many years, paying half of each child’s fee. Previously Pat and Sean had been attending Casowasco, and Aldersgate was new to me. My church friends had gone to Casowasco, so I sent my boys along with their children. I had grown up in the old Wyoming Conference and had gone on MYF retreats at Sky Lake.