January 19, 2023

Dotty’s Gilmont Story

This is the time of year when we send out giving statements to our donors along with notes about how their partnership with Gilmont is transforming lives.

Philip and Dotty Smith show up as volunteers, retreaters, and most recently one of our Battle of the Bags SWISH Underwriters! Gilmont has been special to Dotty since she was a young child. Her story as a lifelong camper and donor, inspired us and we hope it will inspire you too!

Dotty writes:
After more than sixty years of the Camp Gilmont experience, it’s hard to sum up in a few words what Gilmont means to me. Mostly what comes to mind is the feeling of “Family” in the Piney Woods of East Texas. At an early preschool age, our Dallas church Family made the trip one weekend out of the year to worship, fellowship, and relax among the tall pines, with the fresh outdoor smells and sounds, and the starry nights. The closest to Heaven I felt we could live on Earth! As a summer camper at Camp Gilmont from elementary through high school age, the focus was on our Family groups, making new friends and sharing in outdoor cooking, hiking, and Bible Study, all highlights of my week at camp. Always surrounded by Gilmont’s beauty.

Keeping it in the Family, my father’s love of Camp Gilmont influenced my decision to volunteer as a camp counselor during my college summers. For many, many years, my father took several weeks of his vacation time to be a volunteer counselor and camp director. In those days, both the adult counselors and weekly camp director were strictly volunteer from churches all over the Northeast Texas Presbytery. He LOVED Camp Gilmont! So, I got to still get to go to camp, and share my love of Camp Gilmont with a new generation of campers, still in a Family Camp setting.

And today, as an older adult, it still feels like I am coming home to “Family” when I return each year for the annual Women’s Conference. Just getting to renew my experiences, surrounded by the same tall pines, sights, smells, and sounds, along with the fellowship and the spiritual inspiration during this special weekend, I know will keep Gilmont close in my heart and memory for many years to come. Nothing could be more special than Camp Gilmont.

Do you have a Gilmont story to share? We would love to hear it! Email [email protected] to share your story.