Mary Hopper cooked breakfast for 17 people Monday.
She has attended White Oak United Methodist Campground's annual summer meeting with her family since she was a child - and the family keeps getting bigger.
Hopper used to come to the eight-day spiritual retreat with her parents and three sisters, then her own children. Now, there are three generations in the Hoppers' six-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin.
"It is a blessing for us," Hopper said while preparing lunch for the crowd Monday. "It is just a good Christian spirit here."
The camp, which runs through Sunday, includes daily 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. worship services held by guest preachers and musical leaders at the historic campground on White Oak Road about a half-mile north of the McDuffie-Columbia county line.
According to Mildred Wright, chairman of the board of trustees for the event, nearly 1,000 people from as far as Texas, Florida and South Carolina will have come and gone by the end of the camp.
A White Oak Camp booklet rest in a pew in the open air pavilion where church services are held.
06/23/03 JIm Blaylocvk NEWS-TIMES
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"During the camp, you see people you don't see any other time of the year," Wright said. "Many of them come year after year to make more tender memories."
The campground is believed to have originated about 1820, according to a reference in The Life and Letters of James Osgood Andrew, written by George Smith in 1882. He reported that Andrew preached to crowds of 5,000 to 10,000 people at the campground in 1820 and 1821, and the camp attracted thousands to the week of spiritual renewal and family fun.
Hopper, who traveled from Pitts, Ga., but grew up in Thomson, attended all but two camps during her life and hopes to pass the joy of it along to her children and grandchildren, many of whom attend with the Hoppers.
"We are Christians and we want to make sure our children and grandchildren have every opportunity," she said.
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