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Carnival Funds Camp At Findley Summer Program

Face painting was a favorite stop for visitors to the Camp At Findley Spring Thing Carnival. Photos by David Prenatt

FINDLEY LAKE — The Spring Thing Carnival held in late May brought people of all ages to the Camp at Findley.

“We’ve had a really great turnout — lots of people from all over,” said the Rev. Amber Shearer, camp executive director. “Everybody seems happy. It’s great to see families come together to have fun together outside.”

There was plenty of fun to be had, as the event offered free admission that included a fishing derby, local bands, a scavenger hunt, hiking and a magic show. Or for the price of a few tickets, visitors could enjoy carnival games, hayrides, kayaking, paddleboats, canoeing, bounce houses and face painting.

The event, which is a fundraiser for the camp’s summer program, started out as an open house, Shearer explained.

“Our fundraising team expanded it to be more family friendly,” she said. “We decided to go with the carnival theme.”

Three bounce houses offered plenty of fun at the Camp At Findley Spring Thing Carnival.

The Camp At Findley is a non-denominational Christian camp set on 150 acres, located on Findley Lake. Founded in 1936, the camp has long been an important part of the Findley Lake community.

In 2018, Shearer said, a local nonprofit group purchased the camp to prevent it from being sold in parcels. Shearer was hired as the program director for the camp in May 2021. In January, she was chosen to be executive director.

When she was hired, the camp was just being released from COVID restrictions. They only had one week of camp in the past summer, Shearer said. However, all that has now changed.

“This summer, we are gearing up full blast. We have three weeks of youth camps and one half-week of a full family camp planned,” she said. “We have been very blessed. Our calendar is quite full.”

Shearer and the staff received unexpected help for the Spring Thing Carnival in the form of three Girl Scout leaders and 13 teenage girls from Washington, Pa.

The obstacle course was a game that drew a lot of action during the Camp At Findley Spring Thing Carnival.

Scout leader Linda Brison of Troop 51945 and Troop 53563 explained that the group was planning a trip to Niagara Falls and was looking for a place to stay along the way.

“We’re staying this weekend and helping out,” Brison said. “The camp gave us good accommodations and fun stuff to do, but also an opportunity to help.”

Assistant scout leaders Amy Lolley and Debbie Sandoval said the experience was wonderful for them and the Girl Scouts.

“It’s been nice — a little crazy at the bounce houses,” Sandoval said.

Both assistants said they felt experiences like this help the girls to grow.

“We’ve been with this group since they were little,” Lolley said. And Sandoval added. “I think the best experience is just to watch them grow and to turn into leaders themselves.”

Those who came to the Spring Thing Carnival certainly had a lot of fun. Many families stayed well after the carnival closed at 4 pm to swing, play on the climbing tower, or to bat the tether ball around. It was almost as if they did not want the day to end.

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