It rings to send girls to and from activities, to invite them to meals in the dining hall, to signal time for a rest in the middle of busy days, and to welcome them to their cabins for devotions and a good night’s sleep. And the bell schedule becomes a familiar friend, guiding Camp days and protecting our rhythms of rest and play.
Starting the day at Morning Watch and ending in Cabin Devotions helps us bookend each day by turning our attention to God, in expectancy and gratitude. Scheduled meals keep us going, scheduled downtimes helps us recharge and reconnect. Daily routines proved stability that campers need and help us tune into the natural rhythms around us.
Thank you for another unforgettable month at Camp DeSoto! I always love every second of it! There was never a dull moment! I’ve been singing camp songs every day! I love learning about God’s glory every day! Thank you again for the best time at Camp DeSoto!
Sundays at DeSoto are marked by true Sabbath rest. After a week full of scheduled activities and high-energy fun, on Sundays we adopt a slower pace of worship, rest, and unstructured play. This rhythm gives everyone at Camp a chance to reflect, express our gratitude, confess our need of God’s grace, and begin a new week with God, refreshed and ready for more.
Girls sleep late on Sunday mornings, and the day begins with a big breakfast and a thorough cabin clean up. Sheets are changed, trunks are reorganized, and order is restored to girls’ “queendoms” to ensure a fresh start to the week.
This Protestant worship service is led by Camp DeSoto Staff, the choir is made up of a different age-group each week, and the oldest girls at Camp serve as ushers. We take up an offering of quarters (which girls withdraw from their accounts each Saturday) to give to an organization or person who working to love God’s people in a specific and tangible way. Worship at Camp DeSoto is designed to be an experience that girls can easily understand and comfortably participate in. We want girls to begin to experience worship on Sunday mornings as an intentional acknowledgment, as a community, of the love we’ve been given, the need we have for God’s grace, and the truth of God’s word.
Catholic campers may attend worship at Camp, or they may attend Mass at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in nearby Fort Payne, AL (accompanied by Camp DeSoto Staff.)
Sunday lunch is a favorite meal for many campers, and everyone must write a letter home as their Sunday meal “ticket.” Most campers will write their families more than once a week, but this ensures that parents hear from Camp at least on Sundays! After a delicious meal of baked chicken, green beans, and the traditional dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter and honey, the community joins together to sing simple songs of worship and praise.
Sunday afternoons are marked by cabin time, a long rest hour, and a cookout on the playfield or a picnic at The Farm at Windy Hill. We often describe this time at Camp as “holy play” – a time when girls are unselfconscious and free to be silly together, worshiping God through their laughter, playfulness, and simply being girls.
On Sunday nights we gather in our whites again to sing Worship songs in the gym, then we split up for Vespers by age group.