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Recurve... Camp Manakin

Thanks to all of you that have called, emailed, or mentioned your shared love of Camp Manakin after I mentioned it in a previous post.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks it's perfectly normal for a child to pursue in the course of a day: archery, riflery, survival swimming (Remember that? What a scream! We had to 1. tread water for 5 minutes and 2. blow up our jeans and shirts into floats, and no this was not some fundamentalist training camp!), riding, Hardyball (remember Hardy ball?), knife games and... oh yeah, crafts.

And the FOOD! Remember those long, long tables? They put Hogwarts to shame. Remember the butter and baloney fried sandwiches? I was always the kid everyone passed their pickled beets down to... and Evelyn scolding everyone? (She's in the picture above, I'm leaning against her... Gosh I loved that woman. Somehow I always ended up in the kitchen with her, where no one else was allowed to go, but she'd sit me on a stool and I'd "help" her and she called me "Little Kate" even that was not remotely close to my name.)

Long days spent fishing, walking through the woods to another activity, playing mumbly peg while we waited our turns... and we all had Indian names that indicated our tribe.

On rainy days we'd gather in the lodge to hear (very dramatic) TALL TALES... there was one Coach Hardy always told- Jack and the Beanstalk. Sure you've heard Jack and the Beanstalk. But NO ONE could tell a story like Coach Hardy. I don't think I ever heard that man NOT tell a tall tale. Then my uncle Fred would lean lazily on the porch & strum his guitar, playing Walbash Cannonball and '40s bluegrass on his banjo...

Those were days when summer was endless, days were long, and friendships were forever.

"Oh we like to ride the bus on the way to Manakin,
Oh we never make a fuss on the way to Manakin.
So we sing a merry song with a merry, merry tune-
On the waaaaaaay to Man-a-kin:
Hooray, hooray for Mr. Hardy!
Hooray, hooray we're never taaaaaaaaaaaardy.
Hooray, hooray for where we're goin' and we've been, and Hooray For Man-a-kin! Hooray!"

So, it won't surprise those that have contacted me regarding our shared enthusiasm for Camp Manakin that I have decided to take up archery again.

I got the itch last year, and, when stepping in to the big sports stores, was completely put off by the compound & cross bows.

No, I wanted the old longbows I recalled from my childhood. No matter what my cousins said, I was determined.

But I also wanted to have the option to use it hunting eventually, as there is quite an overpopulation of deer in our area.

So, after much thought... I've gone recurve.

I bought a gorgeous old Fred Bear "black bear" recurve... and it sits to my left, next to the computer in my office... inspiration for a mom, business owner, wife- chained to her desk, her children, her life... to break free soon.

Just for a little while, to do something on my own, by myself, aiming at leaves as they blow across the field, gaging the wind, the distance, the speed, to slowly sharpen my aim and strength, to then teach my children the quiet, the concentration, the beauty of archery.

P.s. If this interests you, then here's some summer reading:
The Witchery of Archery, by Maurice Thompson, 1879.

P.p.s: So many people have emailed or sent comments on Camp Manakin that I dug up a few more pictures and added them... hope you enjoy.

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At 7/7/08, 3:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for songs I used to sing, riding the bus to Camp Manakin, and I came across your brief mention of the camp. What a nice surprise to see the picture of Coach and Mrs. Hardy and, of course, Evelyn. I was a camper and then a counselor for many years and have many wonderful memories of that camp. Thanks for helping to bring those memories back.

BTW, I was looking for "There was a little Dutch Boy" and "My Gal's a Corker," both of which, through the miracle of the Web, I was able to find the lyrics for. We sang those songs a million times to and from camp, along with the classic Camp Manakin song you printed here.

At 7/7/08, 4:42 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

I've had several people email me regarding Camp Manakin- every time I get a nice comment about how much people loved it there, it prompts me to look around for more photos to put up... so I just added some more for you. : )

You might recognize a certain Kirk S. on the archery range; that's my little brother watching him shoot...
: )

At 7/8/08, 12:22 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I do remember a Kirk S. He and I, who are the same age, were both campers and counselors at Camp Manakin together. He appears to be tearing up the target at the "coolest" archery spot, "Archery Oaks."

Thanks for the additional pics. Wow! What memories. I'd forgotten about the big bell that signaled the change in activities. And the Arts & Crafts hut was where I made many a gift for my Mom out of popsicle sticks.

Do you remember how you got to take home the fish you caught(brim, I think) in a white envelope for your parents to ooh and aah over then quietly dispose of? I remember, as a counselor, baiting many a hopeful camper's hook with a ball of stale Wonder Bread supplied by the kitchen. I also remember being hooked by many a camper who decided to yank his bamboo pole away before I had quite finished attaching the bait. OUCH!

At 8/4/08, 11:13 AM , Blogger G said...

I also remember Kirk S. It's hard to believe we were ever that young. I can recall many a day with Coach hardy standing as he is in the picture, always uttering that famous last line : "FRED TAKES THE GARBAGE!" Poor Fred, he always looked so upset after that. Does anyone remember when hurricane Agnes came through on Parent's Day and we were all crammed into the lodge, and all the cars that got stuck in the mud heading down the driveway? Allipossums? Making dams in the creek?

At 8/4/08, 11:33 AM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Thanks for more memories! I just emailed your comments to Fred, who, by the way, is STILL taking out the trash.
; )

At 8/4/08, 12:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe no on has mentioned the toilet paper stuffed peepholes in the changing rooms...and thanks copeland for reminding me (with the photo) of all of the times i actually passed out from heat exhaustion at the arts and crafts table, and awoke while being carried by a running teenager to grandad on the porch. lets not forget, there was ONE pump for water to drink in the entire camp...crazy!

At 12/16/08, 3:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was sitting at my desk this afternoon and I randomly decided to "google" Camp Manakin. I couldn't believe I found this site. My parents currently own the Camp Manakin property. They have owned it for 20+ years and I live just down the street. If anybody has any pictures(of the property during camp years) or funny stories you would like to share, please email me at
I would like to try to put together an albumn for them. The property means a lot to our family and it was great to see all of the stories posted here. Thanks a lot!

At 12/16/08, 4:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

M-A-N-A-K-I-N. That's the way to spell Manakin. That's the place where we have such fun - shootin' our arrows and shootin' our guns.

Okay, so I don't remember the last line completely - were there really two "shootin's"?

Jane, I'd forgotten the TP peepholes until you mentioned them!

I still have those green patches in the attic!

Sure do wish Camp Manakin were still around for my kids. At least the Y still teaches archery.

At 12/16/08, 5:35 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

That's tha way you spell Manakin!
That's the place where we have our fun,
Rowin' our boats and
Shootin' our Guns!

Now the meals are fine and they taste just right.
Keepin' us strong and feelin' sprite...
We're so sad when the bell does ring,
We must leave Camp Manakin!

But that's not all there's something more-
The next day comes and spirits soar-
And then there's more-
'Till 'bout Four!


THAT'S the way you spell "Manakin"
THAT'S the place where we have our fun-

Come back next year EVERYONE!

At 12/31/09, 9:13 PM , Blogger Forcke said...

Holy Cow... I CRIED when I stumbled upon this web site... GORGO - If that's Gordon Bell, then I'm aboslutely astounded... and BUDDY? Is that really YOU, BUDDY? And if it is, then whatever happened to LUCY? OMG... The memories are just pouring back...
"From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Manakin
We will fight our counselors battles
With orange-flovired gin.
We will fight for more, more free swim,
And the keep our lockers a mess
We are proud to claim the title
of Paige's little Pests."

That was - of course - penned by our beloved Beth Sullivan circa 1978. Beth being the cousin of Andrew Dudek (I think).

Cheers to Coach Hardy, Fred, Mrs. Hardy, Page, Kent, Mug, Ed, Joel, Lucy, Kirk, Paige,and Coach Jordan. Thanks to all of you for the love, the memories and education which I'm doing my best to pass on to my son 30+ years later.
-Kember Forcke

At 12/31/09, 10:57 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Are you any relation to LISA Forcke?

Coach/Mrs. Hardy were my grandparents, Fred is my uncle, and Page, Kent, Mug (oh the camp bus songs we would sing about his feet), Kirk, Paige and of course, the Jordans all, all are part of my family memories.

Thanks for your words.
I'm actually doing some fun things with my own kids in a similar vein, let me know if you want to trade ideas. (NO fancy camps! Practical sailing / swimming / shooting / riding!)
: )


At 1/16/10, 8:29 AM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

FYI, I totally forgot:
There's a Facebook Camp Manakin Page now:

At 8/15/11, 12:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The counselor sitting on the side of the Craft Hut is Chris, isn't it?

At 5/29/16, 1:50 AM , Blogger Zorak65 said...

I do remember making dams in the creek !


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