Camp Story | Dave & Elaine Harder

Camp is a special place for the Harder family for a bunch of reasons!

Elaine Bormes grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where her family attended First Baptist Church, one of the Cedar Lake Baptist Assembly churches that owned Camp Lebanon. Her dad, a carpenter and all-around handy man, was called upon from time to time to work on projects at camp. Elaine recalls, “He always took us along, and from an early age I loved the camp, the grounds and the buildings. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to spend a week there. At that time you had to be eight – for me that was 1956. Herb Hazzard was the camp director, and his daughter, Miriam, was my first counselor. It was a magical week for me. I went to camp every summer and worked there during my high school days.”

Meanwhile, Dave Harder of Crystal, Minnesota was attending Robbinsdale Baptist Church and had never been to Camp Lebanon. The summer he was 16, Dave was invited to camp by his friend John.  Dave asked, “Why would I want to go to Bible Camp?” John quickly replied, “Well, Dave, there will be girls there.” So, of course Dave went to camp!

Elaine Bormes (Graduation)
Dave Harder

Early in the week, fourteen year old Elaine and several other girls were standing by the canteen as Dave and John approached. Most of the girls turned to gaze dreamily at John. When John decided to move on, all the girls but Elaine followed! Elaine turned to Dave and said, “That’s disgusting!”  A conversation begun and Elaine spent the rest of the week talking to Dave. They were swimming buddies, sat together in chapel and went together to the traditional Friday night banquet.

“We wrote letters to one another and met at camp again the next summer (‘64). We remained friends and wrote more letters when he left in ‘65 for his time in the Navy. In ‘67 he was home on leave and we met again, purely by divine intervention, at Lebanon at a college age weekend. I helped drop a guy off at camp and ended up staying. Dave showed up about mid-morning and we had a great reunion on the beach!”

Elaine went on, “He visited me several times during his leave and when he went back to his ship, we were pretty committed to each other. He belonged to the Navy until November of ’68, but we were engaged and married in 1969 and have now been married 53 years. We are blessed to have two married children, Don and Sara, and five teenage grandchildren.

Wedding Day, 1969
Harder Family (1979)

“Looking back, we brought our children into camp life, where they flourished. Sara was there, sleeping in a tent at 5 weeks old. We spent years with our kids at family camp. Don and Sara both grew up going to camp and now Sara’s girls have spent some weeks there. We continue to make our trek to Lebanon every spring and fall for quilt retreat, which now includes Sara’s daughters Hayley and Hannah.”

Why is Camp a special place for you?

Dave says, “Camp has always been special as ‘A Meeting Place with God’ – as a retreat to refresh spiritually. I rededicated my life to the Lord my first night at camp as a 16 year old and it’s been life changing. And two young teens met later that week, became friends and years later reacquainted ourselves with each other and married.”

And for Elaine, “Camp has always been special to me. I treasure the memories of times spent alone, sitting in a tree or down by the point with my Bible and my God. I mostly treasure the life lessons I learned and the friends I made all those summers.”

Share your Camp story!

We’d love to hear your Camp Lebanon story!  Whether you met your spouse at Camp, gave your life to Jesus, or just have a fun memory to share.  We’d love to hear it!  Just follow the button below to a quick story form.

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