- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Camp St. Charles, nestled on a small parcel of land north of the Potomac River, gets ready to host a celebration on Oct. 6, marking 60 years of providing memorable camping experiences for children six to 15. Camp Director Laura Hall can speak about how much the camp has affected her personally.
Hall joined the camp in 1999 as a counselor, and she loved it so much she left her teaching job in 2001, when she was named camp director.
In 1999, she met her future husband at the camp and the two were married at Camp St. Charles in 2000.
Then, in 2006, when Hall’s second child was just four weeks old, she took him to camp for his first camp experience.
During the summer, both of Hall’s children, who are now six and eight, were old enough to stay in cabins with the other campers.
“Camp St. Charles is an integral part of my family’s life, and being its camp director is a wonderful career opportunity,” said Hall in a news release. “I see children who arrive uncertain about what to expect from their camping experience. Then, I watch them expand their horizons by trying new things, making new friends and enjoying God’s nature up close. It is so inspiring. When they leave, they have a new level of confidence, a stronger faith in God and greater appreciation for the little things in life.”
The Rev. Glen Willis, chairman of the board, echoes Hall’s thoughts.
He began working at Camp St. Charles as camp cook after completing his Salvatorian Novitiate in 1961.
Not aspiring to be the camp cook forever, he became a certified water instructor and quickly took charge of the dock, swim area and boating activities. He says his camp experience was also life changing.
“Camp St. Charles is an amazing place that brings out the best in children. It strives hard to help children develop an appreciation for God’s creations by showing them how to take care of the world around them, and helps children learn how to get along with one another. It is such a special place for children to explore the world around them and to learn more about themselves,” Willis said.
“After my 49 years of being associated with Camp St. Charles, I never get tired of meeting parents, former campers, children of former campers and staff members, and hearing the same comments,” he added. “Simply put, Camp St. Charles has made a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of their children.”
In its 60 years, Camp St. Charles has hosted tens of thousands of campers. Before 2001, the camp was strictly for boys.
Since 2001, more than 2,000 girls have enjoyed the camping experience as well. Salvatorian priests and brothers own and operate the camp.
“This camp is blessed to have many Salvatorian Priests, Brothers and Lay who have a great connection to children and are able to make camp not just fun but memorable,” Willis said. “Children learn so much about themselves and how God is present in their everyday lives.”