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Our Story

In the summer of 1999, Miss Ellie Mae had 2 girls from church stay with her and 2 of her own daughters for a week-long sleepover. That week was full of tee-shirt decorating, the start of the Camp Ellie Mae song (loofah loofah every day), donut eating contests, relay races and s'mores over a small coal grill.

So how did that turn into the Camp Ellie Mae we know and love today?

Well, the next summer Miss Ellie Mae moved to our current "camp grounds," and had the second year of "a few girls at her house" for a few days; still not fully understanding the magnitude of what was to come.

Twenty-five + years and dozens, possibly hundreds of girls later, after word spread about that first week that was jokingly dubbed, “Camp Ellie Mae,” there are still tee-shirts being decorated, the same (but longer) song about loofah sponges, still relay races and contests and s’mores (tons and tons of s’mores), but just a lot more of everything...more tents, more volunteers, more games, more food, more love, more way-too-early wake up calls, more girls’ lives changed than we ever expected…more than we ever thought possible…

Since that first week in 1999 Miss Ellie Mae’s back yard has housed between 20 and 50 girls for almost a week every summer. This camp always has been, and always will be, free of charge. It always has been, and always will be, run entirely on donations and the love and dedication of the volunteers involved.

It always has been, and always will be, a camp where girls have fun, make life-long friends, get to know our Lord Jesus Christ a little better, and get the chance to just be kids. As they grow, they learn to love who God has UNIQUELY made them to be! They learn how to cooperate with peers and to be leaders. They learn respect and accountability.  They also learn to be encouraging, loving, and how to be a good friend. We knit, we sew, we even crochet! By doing these fun crafts we are introducing NEW hobbies away from screens, that can continue when they go home! 

These lifelong skills can be, and hopefully ARE, lived out throughout the year. Our volunteers strive to lead by example by displaying these traits as best they can. Our leadership team tries to  keep in touch with the campers all year long; we hope they know that we're there for them and that they have a friend in us! It's always sad to say "see you next year" (no good byes at CEM) but we all go home very tired, taking with us amazing life changing memories from what is - Camp Ellie Mae!


What if I've never been to camp before?
Oh we've ALL been there! You'll be just fine. All the other campers can show
you the ropes. By day 2 you'll be all up to speed.

What if I don't know ANYONE?
TOTALLY fine. You're going to leave camp with 15-50 new besties.

Do I have to be a Christian to come to camp?
Nope! Our camp is a Christian camp, and we have Bible time twice a day, but you don't have to be a Christian! Respect and attentiveness is required of all campers and volunteers who attend, as always, but everyone will feel welcome and loved when they come to camp.

What are the volunteers like?
(They range in age. All volunteers are females* (with an exception or 2 explained below). These lovely ladies give so much of their time and energy, throughout the entire year and especially during camp week, and they love every minute of it.
They love it because of the campers. They have everyone's faces in mind
when those long nights and early mornings get to be a bit tiring.
Each year we know it's worth it because of YOU, the campers!

What are the campers like?
They may be like YOU. And some won't be like you. They are young ladies age 6-18.
A whole BUNCH OF AWESOMENESS in one place!!!.
We have local campers and some not-so-local campers that travel from afar! One major   focus at CEM is on HOW each of US are YOUnique in OUR own way. We encourage you to LOVE YOUnique YOU JUST THE WAY GOD MADE YOU!!
We embrace each difference with a sense of excitement! 
How boring it would be if we were all the SAME!! YUCK!

Will I be safe?
Yes, you sure will. Safety of our campers is our number one priority.
Lieutenant Marky Doodle helps with the night shift. Please see note below.

What do we eat?
Mrs. Ellie Mae says that she thinks some campers come back just for the FOOD!  We eat a delicious healthy breakfast every day, snacks throughout the day, lunch, more snacks, and dinner. OH! And s'mores. Lotsa s'mores. (Be sure to ask your tent mates about the waste buckets..and what happens IF you SNEAK snacks into your tent?)

Where do we sleep?
Well, up until recently ALL campers slept in TENTS!  God has blessed us with a bunk house that sleeps 24 girls.  So, when we get 44 girls like we did in 2022, leadership decides who goes in bunks and who goes in a tent. Lots of details are considered when we make this decision and we PRAY!!!!

What's it like the day I'm dropped off?
You and your parent/guardian will check in at the registration table before heading into the amazing campgrounds. You'll get a few goodies and your bunk/tent assignment. You'll meet a thousand new people (well, not really a thousand) and if we do the 'name game' you will most likely remember their name game nickname before you remember their name! And by the way, pick your name game nick name wisely
.. sometimes it sticks forever!!!

What about when I get picked up on the last day?
You'll exchange numbers and Snapchats and Insta handles and hugs with all your new friends, pack your things, claim ALL of your crafts and clothing items from the infamous lost-n-found pile and once your parent/guardian arrive you will be on your way.
YOU WILL sleep for the entire ride home!  You will LOVE WARM showers and thank your mom and dad for your most beautiful bathroom!  But.. you will count the days until you return to Camp Ellie Mae!!!!

What should I pack?
We have a packing list here.

Are there rules?
Well, yeahhhhhh - but they're doable. (Please and thank yous, MANNERS,safety logistics, putting others first, MANNERS and all that fun stuff!) Did I mention Mrs. Ellie Mae LOVES good manners!!!  They go a long way!  She is also the 'keeper of the candy!'
No cell phones or electronic devices should be brought to camp. This will allow you to enjoy every minute at camp, and you'll find this is one of the BEST aspects of camp! You would NEVER do this voluntarily (not cool) but we make you do it so you can blame us! At the end of the week you will realize how great it feels. You will experience the freedom that you get from not having to always "share" what's going on but instead TRULY embracing, enjoying and Living IN each MOMENT! 
It truly is THE BEST WAY TO LIVE! Don't worry, we will take pics and share them.

Will I be able to update my Snapchat story while at camp?

But what if I have 724 streaks going...?
Still nope.

How about many selfies can I take per day at camp?
Um. None...

Can I at least track how many likes I get on Insta during camp?

Well what about Facebook...? Can I at least see what my parents are up to on Facebook?

Well what if I need to - NEED TO - text my BFFL 24/7 during camp?
...wanna take a guess at the answer to this one?
(Hint: Starts with an "n")

Okay, last one...can I take at least my minimum of 96 selfies per day during camp?
Okay fine - no :)
We'll take plenty of pictures for you!

*All of our volunteers are female except Mr. Ellie Mae (Paul Woods, our "Keep Camp Running Extraordinaire"), an amazing grill master volunteer, and Lt. Marky Doodle! He is a retired police Lieutenant.  He sleeps all day and stays awake all night watching the grounds and praying for each of us!  He does this so that Mrs. Ellie Mae ACTUALLY sleeps! You don't want a tired Mrs. Ellie Mae running the camp - Trust ME! 
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for the best week of your life! We can't wait to meet/see you!  

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