History of Tidal River Christian Camp
Tidal River Christian Camp came into being as the result of a felt need by members of the churches of Christ in Connecticut. Their children had been dependant upon Ganderbrook Christian Camp in Maine for their camping experiences. The distance factor meant that many children were unable to attend a camp.
While visiting with Mr. C. Elmore Watkins, Chairman of the Board of Savings Bank of Manchester and President of Watkins Brothers Furniture Store in Manchester, concerning the loan from the bank for the recently constructed church building, Eugene Brewer learned of Camp Bethel Association, owners of Camp Bethel in Haddam, CT. He also learned that the Watkins family were long time members of the Association, and that they owned one of the houses there. He asked him if they ever rented out the camp facility to other groups, and he said they had done so. Eugene then inquired about our renting it for one week in July 1972. He took it before the Association board and it was approved.
Eugene consulted with other members of the church in Manchester and found a readiness to commit to staffing our camp. He served as director with his wife, Barbara, assisting in various ways. We had a successful first year while learning the ropes. Most of the campers were from Manchester, with a few from other nearby churches.
In 1973 another one-week camping session was held. With growing interest among the Christians in Connecticut, it became obvious that we would need to expand our camping season. The facilities were made available to us for two weeks in 1974.
Since it became evident that a camp would succeed in this area an organizational meeting was held in the Meriden (now Wallingford) church building on Jan. 18, 1974 (with a freezing rain falling). It was a small but enthusiastic group that gathered. It was decided to incorporate as Tidal River Christian Camp with a 12-member board to serve for rotating three year terms. Four officers were elected at this meeting, with the remaining board members to be elected at a later general meeting. Eugene Brewer was elected President, Mel Thurston was elected Vice-President, Terry Timblin as Secretary, and Jim Dollar as Treasurer. Eugene Brewer was chosen to be Statutory Agent for the Corporation.
At a General Meeting of Tidal River Christian Camp on May 10, 1974 the remaining board members were added and a set of by-laws was approved. The growing enrollment made an overflow cabin necessary, and arrangements were made with Camp Bethel for eventually having four one-week sessions. By 1985 the camp had grown to the point that all four weeks were filled, with a waiting list for most weeks. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
Provided by Craig Pawloski