The peppiest camp around

Warm memories of Goodall Cedar Point Camp swirl high in my mind this summer like the smoke from the campfire we sat around, singing all kinds of songs under the Milky Way.

One favorite, which always got our adrenaline going, was this song:

“The peppiest camp I ever saw, it never came a pokin’.

If were to tell the pep it had, you’d think I was a jokin’.

It’s not the pep in the pepper pot or the pep in the popcorn popper.

It’s not the pep in the mustard jar or the pep in the vinegar stopper.

It’s good old-fashioned PEP, pep you cannot down.

Cedar Point pep, Cedar Point pep, peppiest camp around.”

We also chimed in on more mellow songs like “There Are Suitors At My Door,” “Barges” and “500 Miles,” the notes bouncing off cedar dotted hills and canyons.

Two of the counselors I admired most were from Omaha and strummed guitars while we sang. They had pretty long hair and wore saddle shoes with their shorts. Too cool, I thought to myself, and I wanted to be just like them when I became a teenager.

Most of the counselors had cool names like Cheetah (who told us she became the fleet-footed animal at night and we believed her) and Pokey (a not-so-cool name).

During the day, we swam in nearby Keystone Lake and hiked and took overnight canoeing excursions. Tornado warnings sent us to the lodge where we spent the night in our sleeping bags, watching for twisters across the lake during lightning flashes, and telling ghost stories.

I remember how one camper wanted to become Dr. Spock from the popular television series “Star Trek.” She’d ask for the rinds of watermelon slices which she promptly ate to turn herself green. She also slept with specially shaped cardboard in her ears to make them pointy like the Vulcan human she so admired.

During rest time, the counselors delivered mail and sometimes goodies from home. We gave our parents strict orders to send the homemade delectables in nondescript packages since the sweet booty was forbidden in our sleeping quarters because of mice. My bunk mates and I would hide the treats and have feeds late at night by flashlight.

Homesickness engulfed me only once and I was taken to the nurse’s quarters.

After a hot afternoon cooped up inside there, gluing Popsicle sticks together, I yearned to return to the action.

That included making new friends, spending time outside, cooking up tomfoolery in our cabins and tents and crooning around the campfire.


Footnote: Cedar Point Ranch, near Ogallala, hosted Girl Scout events from about 1949 to 1971. The owners of the ranch, with support from Mrs. Robert Goodall, built a camp in 1960 that included a two-story lodge, an infirmary, a director’s cabin, 10 cabins and several tents and two central wash houses. By 1971, the Girl Scouts no longer used the camp and the University of Nebraska later bought the land and buildings and operates the Cedar Point Biological Station.