Hortense Camp

in the Wesleyan tradition

100 Years Celebration: 1904 - 2004

Misty Strickland Rowell

(Camp secretary)

When I was younger, my favorite thing about the Hortense Wesleyan Camp was the talent shows.  Each year Lori Mathis (Moody) and I would perform in the talent show as a team.  One year we put on a skit where I went into Lori's "shoe store".  I pretended to try on a lot of different kinds of shoes.  In the skit, I was supposed to act like some high heeled shoes were too big and fall down.  At the end of the skit, I put some empty boxes on my feet and walked out of the store.  Mrs. Ruby Batten was sitting in the second row closest to Lori and me.  During the skit, she laughed so hard I thought that she would fall off of the bench.  I do not remember anyone else in the audience, but I will never forget that she was there.

My least favorite thing about Hortense Wesleyan Camp when I was younger was wearing dresses.  Every year, it was mandatory that girls wore dresses ALL day long on Sunday.  I hated wearing dresses, but I wanted to stay at camp.  I can't remember when that changed, but I am glad that was. 

Another thing that I remember about Hortense Camp is that we always had chores to do during the day.  We had fun, but we always did the chores first.  I liked helping clean the dining hall after lunch.  One year Mrs. Batten gave me a key chain that she had made because I helped clean the dining hall.  We also had to sweep the tabernacle and clean up the bathrooms.  Sweeping the Tabernacle wasn't too bad if you could get the wide broom first, but the older kids always managed to get to those first.

The first preacher that I really remember at Hortense Camp was Coyte York.  I remember thinking that he was such a big man.  He was probably the biggest man I had ever seen at the time.  He wasn't just a big man, but he was a wonderful man.  I was only about 14 at the time, but I remember that he was a good preacher and full of the Holy Spirit.  At the same time that Coyte York was at the camp, Rev. O.W. Willis was at the camp.  I don't remember anything that he preached that year, but I do remember his hair.  He would get fired up, and his bangs would go flying into his face.  He would take his hand and put his hair back in place, but it wouldn't be long before they were in his face again.

Sheldon Rowell, Jr. and I "officially" got together at Hortense Wesleyan Camp in 1992.  We were already friends, but our friendship grew into a lot more that year.  One night Sheldon and I sat in front of the workers' cabin talking for a long time.  I am sure that the workers were ready for us to go home that night.  It was that night, unbeknownst to me at the time, that he told his mom that he wanted to marry me.

Our son, Jacob, was less than two months old when he visited the camp for the first time.  I want him to have as many good memories of the camp as his father and I do.