Camp Palmer 2018
In an age when cell phones beep, Twitter tweets, and life can look a whole lot more glamorous with the right filter on Instagram, there is something refreshingly nostalgic about unplugging from the modern, digital world and retreating into a simpler, slower way of life.
For the past 50 years, Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) in Memphis, Tenn. has invited the children of Palmer Home to step away from the hustle and bustle of life and step into the tranquility and splendor of Camp Palmer in Mentone, Ala.
In 1968, IPC began taking the students of Palmer Home to camp as a creative way to provide respite for their dedicated and deserving caregivers. Fast forward 50 years and you will still find buses winding along mountain roads full of soon-to-be campers craning their necks to get the first glimpse of Camp Palmer. Nestled atop Lookout Mountain in the southern foothills of the Appalachians, Camp Palmer opens its arms wide and welcomes in our road-weary (and sometimes life-weary) travelers and cradles them in fresh mountain air, breathtaking sunrises, and star-studded night skies.
For one incredible week, members of IPC and their families join together to fund and staff Camp Palmer, all the while building important and lasting relationships with the children. The children from Palmer Home and the children of IPC members are given the opportunity to develop their archery skills, race each other in canoes on the river and gain confidence while horseback riding through the lush landscape. Arts and crafts are available as well and more than one lucky houseparent has been the recipient of a special piece of handmade jewelry at the conclusion of camp!
For Misha Embree, Utility Houseparent at Palmer Home for Children, Camp Palmer holds a very special place in her heart. After attending Camp Palmer as a student and now attending as a chaperone, she sees great value in this time-honored camp tradition.
“I have always enjoyed camp,” Embree said. “I love everything about it: friends, ropes course, swimming, riding horses, dances. I believe this was my 14th year, maybe 15th. I enjoy being able to keep in touch and pick right back up with friendships I have made with IPC.”
Throughout the week, the children of Palmer Home bond with the members of IPC and their children, forging relationships that extend well beyond the hallowed grounds of Camp Palmer and into their lives back on the Palmer Home campuses. Through the thrill of white water rafting and the hushed awe experienced while hiking Little River Canyon, the two groups of children reach the sweet conclusion that they aren’t as different from each other as they initially thought and that there is truly just one group of children at camp – God’s children who are all loved unconditionally and unrelentingly. Sometimes unplugging from the busyness and demands of daily life encourages us to plug back into our true Power Source and find peace and rest in His creation.
A special, heartfelt thanks to Independent Presbyterian Church for 50 amazing years of partnership, joy, relationships and memories. Here’s to 50 more!