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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Russellville Community Church marks 50th anniversary retreat

Saturday, July 7, 2012

(Photo)
A sign as you exit the gate of Cledfelters Pond says, "Take Only Your Memories, & Leave Only Your Footprints."

For campers of the 50th Anniversary Russellville Community Church Retreat it might just as well add "Bring Only Your Imaginiation."

For one weekend each year area youth enjoy the solitude of a spiritual nature and rejoice in the beauty of the simple things in life.

Community Church Camp at Clodfelters Pond has become a known retreat for many a youth. One that is free from smart phones, computer games, Internet and TV.

More than 100 area residents gathered at the pond on Sunday, June 24, marking not just the camp anniversary but also the 61st wedding anniversary of one of the camp founders, Maurice Fordice and his wife, Darlen.

The event has grown, and technology has changed.

The first few years the participants, mostly boys from the scouting group, camped on the ground.

Then it grew to include the church community.

Today it continues to grow, with area youth between the ages of 8-20, numerous volunteers, sponsors and interested church members work hard to make one weekend in June a memorable one.

The camp has always been about getting back to nature.

This year that means going 48 hours without electronics. In the past it meant taking a shower out in the open, with the assistance of the towns fire truck or walking to the edge of the woods to use the primitive toilet.

"In the early years we borrowed funeral tents to use for cover here at the pond," Gene Clodfelter said.

The kids would sleep on the ground or in tents.

The first bunk houses, which doubled as machine storage sheds, were built out of scrap timbers recovered from an area storm.

For one weekend at the end of June, for the past 50 years, Clodfelters Pond has been busy with activity.

"It's a modern retreat with old fashion values," Fordice said.



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