Mike Wall's childhood was spent coming to the annual summer meeting at White Oak United Methodist Campground.
"I was raised out at White Oak as were many of the trustees," Wall said. "I grew up in one of the tents out there during the summer."
This year, as chairman of the board of trustees for the event, Wall is in charge of making sure the eight-day spiritual retreat goes smoothly.
"It is such a collaborative effort," he said. "There are so many people - there are 18 trustees - that make this thing happen, and each one contributes in a very distinct and meaningful way."
The camp, which runs from Sunday through June 27, includes daily worship services at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. lead by guest preachers and music leaders.
This year's weekday speaker is the Rev. Steve Dodson, senior pastor of Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta. Dodson enjoys portraying a colorful character he calls "Pastor Paul" in statewide speaking engagements during which he promotes the healthy healing effects of joy and laughter.
The Rev. Gregory Hatfield, Congregational Care Pastor of Trinity on the Hill, will lead each evening's song services under the open-air tabernacle. Country and gospel music performer Terri Gibbs-Daughtry will sing several selections during the evening service Monday.
Preaching at the evening service Sunday and daily at 11 a.m. will be the Rev. Bob Gillespie, a retired United Methodist Church minister. Other guest speakers will preach throughout the camp meeting.
The camp, sponsored by the Augusta District of the United Methodist Church, attracts hundreds to the campgrounds off White Oak Road near Harlem each day.
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 at the campground in 1820 and 1821.
Campers spend the week in tents, which are actually cabins, or on RV sites. A few RV sites may still be available, Wall said.
What goes on between worship meetings?
"A lot of eating and talking and visiting," Wall said of the campers who often make the camp an annual family tradition.
The camp pool, open camp sites and worship services area are all open to the public, Wall said.
For more information, call Wall at (706) 595-5122.
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