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Tar Hollow Camporee slated

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A 60-plus-year tradition continues this month with the annual community “Camporee” event at Tar Hollow State Park.

This year’s event will take place May 17–19 — and as always, though the event is organized by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs, all are welcome and encouraged to come out and enjoy a weekend of community fun with family, friends and neighbors.

Longtime UUF member Nancy Lineburgh spoke and emailed with the News last week about the history of the longtime camping event, which she said has “been going on for 61 years.” Originally beginning as an event sponsored by Antioch College, the Camporee was transferred to the UUF after a few years, with the help of Paul and Jewel Graham, the latter of whom was a faculty member at the college.

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Lineburgh wrote that, although the Camporee event was “more an event for the Fellowship” after its transfer from the college, it eventually “evolved into a community event organized by the Fellowship.” For years, former longtime villagers Jeanne and Hardy Ballantine — the latter refers to himself as “Old Tar Hollow Dude” — organized registration for the event.

“Jeanne felt [the Camporee] was a unique experience, because there were so many different age groups and everybody could just do their own thing,” Lineburgh wrote. “She said her kids still talk about the fun times they had at Tar Hollow when they were growing up.”

In years past, the event attracted more than 150 participants, with families coming to enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing and kayaking, board games and sports. Post-COVID, however, Lineburgh said fewer people have attended the community event — last year it drew about 80 participants.

Nevertheless, those attending look forward to the community spirit of the Camporee, in which folks either stay in cabins with bunk beds or pitch tents in a shared open space. With the exception of Friday evening arrival, when folks take care of their own meals, everyone eats meals together in the lodge, and everyone is assigned a job to help with meals or serve as ad hoc lifeguards on the lake. Saturday night,  folks will gather in the lodge for music, singing and playing and, later, enjoying s’mores around a bonfire.

“People just come and have a good time outside and enjoy each other — it’s really quite a community gathering,” Lineburgh said.

Registration for the Camporee at Tar Hollow State Park is open to all local residents through Monday, May 13, and those interested in attending are asked to RSVP as soon as possible so organizers can make plans for purchasing food. Call or text Lineburgh at 330-618-0892 to register or to sign up to volunteer.


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