Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Campers celebrate 75th anniversary of N-Sid-Sen

Worship and sharing included singing favorite camp songs

Joy Peterson remembers coming as a child with her father, Charles Randall of the Vera Congregational Church, and a group from area churches who decided to accept an offer by Arthur Ford for the property that is now N-Sid-Sen.

Jean Payne and Joy Peterson
Jean Payne and Joy Peterson share memories and stories.

Her sister Jean Payne, who turns 90 in October, remembers when she was 14 and attended the first camp in 1935 in primitive conditions.  She plans to donate her scrapbook of that camp.

Both were among 40 attending the 75th anniversary celebration of N-Sid-Sen Sept. 5 and sharing their memories.

Randy Crowe, managing director of N-Sid-Sen, said the State Conference of Congregational Churches in Washington and North Idaho used the original seven-acre site before the Rev. Arthur and Margaret Ford deeded the land to them in 1937.

In 1939, volunteers built Forrester Lodge, named in 1985 for Franklin  and Mimi Forrester of Ione and Metaline Falls who helped choose the site.

“Cabins 1 to 6 were barracks brought after World War II from Farragut Naval Base.  They were barged across the lake and winched up the hill to their locations.  The bunks were also from Farragut,” Randy added.

Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point is the goal of many hikes.

The property now includes 270 acres and 4,780 feet of waterfront on Lake Coeur d’Alene, nine miles north of Harrison. In 1953, the Schrader family gave (for $1) the Iris Farm property across the road.  In 1963, Mrs. Ford gave seven more acres, land on which cabins 7 to 12 were built from 1964 to 1966. 

John Eisenhauer, who played camp songs for the 75th anniversary morning worship and afternoon sharing, said his parents, Phil and Pat Eisenhauer helped build those cabins.

In 1967, the conference purchased the balance of the Ford property with waterfront, their cabin and the cove.  The Fords originally bought the land in 1918 and built a log cabin in 1925.

Randy said the Ford cabin has two chimneys.  One is for the fireplace inside.  The other is for a cook stove in the basement, where camp food was first cooked.

Over the years, Joy said, she was a counselor, lifeguard and “did every job at camp but cook.”  She often brought youth groups other times of the year. 

“The spiritual atmosphere here is important.  I often brought boys who were in trouble, and they would discuss questions here they would never ask anywhere else,” she said.  “I’ve grown spiritually here.”

John and Faith
John Eisenhauer and Faith Ikefuna

Randy first came in 1951 when he was four and again in 1954, both times as a tag-along with his mother at a women’s camp.  The boys’ cabins south of the lodge were Matthew, Mark, Luke and the John.  Girls cabins were down the hill.  

His wife, Linda, pastor at the Veradale UCC, first came in 1961.  She lived in North Spokane and attended Westview UCC.  Cabin windows were shutters.  There were no heaters in the cabins, and the showers were only cold water.

Volunteers were responsible for improvements, such as building Forrester Lodge, cabins, manager’s house and maintenance cabin, said Randy. 

A contractor built Spirit Lodge, and volunteers worked with a contractor on Stillwater Lodge.

The first full-time camp managers, Amel and Elise Wittwer, came in 1969 from Nebraska.  Amel was ordained, and Elise was a commissioned minister. 

Randy said Amel’s journal told of straightening nails and scavenging wood for projects to save money.  He typed one or two paragraphs a day, until the day he wrote only “bone tired.” The next day he resigned. 

Amel made the clock over the kitchen counter.

Eric Johnson served as camp manager for 14 years before going to manage a UCC camp in North Carolina.

Randy, who has managed the camp and conference center since 1990, said that more than the UCC family love and use N-Sid-Sen. 

Other regular users include the Spokane Folklore Society, a Sufi group, Palouse Patchers and an HIV/AIDS group.

Les Harder said he brought his daughters to camps when he attended Covenant Christian, which was part of the United Ministries regional ministry for the UCC, Disciples and Church of the Brethren.

Dee Eisenhauer, who helped with worship leadership for the 75th, said she and John brought their children every year to family camp, from diaper-ages on up. 

“Now, no matter where our children go or where we live, here is home,” she said.

For information, call 208-689-3489.

Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © September 2010





Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share