An Incomplete Glossary of Terms Relating to Calvary Camp

Any organization has its own culture, history and known colloquial phrases - an organization as old and tightly knit as Calvary Camp has many such traditions.  Below is a short list to help get you familiar with some of these terms.

Camping Sessions

The seven weeks of Coed Camp are divided into sessions that range in length from four days to two weeks.  Family Camp has two single-week sessions. The sessions are generally referred to by number: Coed I, Coed II, Family I, etc.

Coed Camp: The majority of the summer is spent in coed camp wherein approximately 200 children ages 8 - 16 come to camp for a week or two.  For more than 30 years, boys and girls have been coming to camp simultaneously, but in the sixties the summer was split between "Boys' Camp" and "Girls' Camp".  Thus the name "Coed Camp" for the regular camping season was born.

Day Camp: Sheldon Calvary Camp offers one week of Day Camp for children able to commute to camp.  Day Camp runs from 9am to 4pm and is designed for campers ages 7 - 12.

Ready, Set, Camp!: Ready, Set, Camp is a four-day and three-night program for children ages 7-12.  This program is designed for children and parents who may be apprehensive about a whole week away from home and one another, or may be challenged to schedule a full week of camp into their busy summer schedules.

Ready, Set, Lead!: Ready, Set, Lead is a program for teenagers who have completed 9th-11th grades.  This session provides hands on experiential training for young people interested in leadership.  The program is designed so that individuals may investigate their own leadership skills and styles, while learning about group dynamics.

Family Camp: For two weeks in August, the camp is operated for the enjoyment of families who live in the cabins and participate in electives and other activities.  Most, but not all, family campers are former campers and/or staff members.  Most come summer after summer.


This is a general term used to describe the activities of camp.  This includes electives as well as the morning and evening competitions, and other activities.

Picnic: On the Friday at the end each Coed session, dinner is served by the staff and campers can sit wherever they wish (at other meals they usually sit by cabin.)  Some campers choose to dress up for the occasion and to sit with a special friend or two.

"Beat the Heat" days: Special program activities are planned both for rainy days and for days when the temperature makes regular activities unpleasant.  "Beat the Heat" Days try to keep the campers having fun with cooler activities.

Campfire: On evenings when there is no chapel the campers and staff go to campfire which is held outside at the campfire circle or in the Mac Hall.  Rowdy songs are sung until it is time to "mellow out."  The camp says the Lord's Prayer together and the staff will dismiss the campers to get ready for bed by saying "Lights Out in 10 Minutes!"

Campers' Bank: Rather than carrying cash, campers turn in their money at the start of each session to Campers' Bank.  Campers may then make charges at canteen or in fine arts electives.  At the end of the session the staff totals each campers' charges and they are returned their balance.

Camp Songs: We do a lot of singing at camp: in the dining hall (pounding on the table all the while), at campfire, and in the chapel.  Usually the hardest adjustment for campers and staff new to Calvary is learning the myriad of songs that long-timers have memorized. Click here to go to the page on this site that has the words to some of our campfire songs.

Chapel: Every other evening all of the campers and staff members close the day in the chapel for evening Compline.  The service includes several enthusiastically sung songs, prayers from the Episcopal prayer book, and usually a talk by a member of the staff. Click here to go to the page on this site that has the words to some of our chapel songs.

Electives: During four periods each day campers enjoy activities that they have selected at the beginning of the week.  Each elective lasts approximately one hour although some are double electives lasting two hours.  Electives may include swimming lessons and pool games, athletic and recreational games, tennis, arts and crafts, photography, farm and environmental education, archery, sailing and kayaking, and experiential education with our low ropes course.

Evening Competition: Almost every evening all of the campers play a camp-wide field game such as Capture the Flag, Wells Fargo, or the very popular Green Eight.  Almost all of these games involve the campers chasing one another and trying to catch one another by pulling a piece of cloth from the other's waist band.  This cloth is called a rip flag.

Morning Competition: Each morning cabins play against one another in team sports such as soccer, softball, water polo, or Frozen Ropes, which is what we call Dodge Ball.  A Popular addition to morning competition is Topple Ball, which is a little like cricket but is played in a circle.

Ropes Course: A recent addition to camp, these "elements" provide challenge experiences for campers and groups of staff.

Special Activities: In addition to full-camp field games,  the program sometimes includes other camp-wide activities such as a Carnival (with game booths, snacks, face-painting, balloons), a Swim Meet (races in the pool), the Olympics (track and field events), "Campopoly" (an Calvary original that simulates Monopoly around campus), a Scavenger Hunt (in which campers seek items and answers to questions around campus), Treasure Hunts (in which teams of campers move around campus following a serious of clues), and "Woods Games" which are chase games played in the woods on the southern edge of campus.  Each session may also include a "holiday" or two, which have included Christmas in July, New Year's Eve, Halloween, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Groundhog Day, President's Day and, of course, the Fourth of July.

Celebrate Calvary Camp: Each winter, between Christmas and New Year's Day, the camp holds an event at Calvary Church open to campers and staff from the previous summer.  Campers, parents and friends are invited to join us for a slide show from the previous summer, games and a cookie reception.

Important Names

Bishop Thomas: The Rt. Rev. William S. Thomas founded Sheldon Calvary Camp in 1936.  The Assistant Rector of Calvary Church in Pittsburgh at the time, Bishop Thomas used money donated by the widow of Harry E. Sheldon to purchase the campsite of an old YMCA camp in Conneaut, Ohio called Camp Porter.

The Reverend John P. Thomas: The son of Bishop Thomas, Father John was Director of Calvary Camp from 1961-63, 1971-73, and 1985-96.  Father John's visionary leadership brought Calvary Camp into some of its best years.  Beloved director of the camp for many years, Fr. John has been given the title Director Emeritus.

Anne Muhl,  a.k.a. "Mom": Administrative Director and staff member for more than 30 years, Mrs. Muhl has been a constant in the life of the camp for many years.  Chiefly in charge of the camp's finances, Mrs. Muhl has four children, all of whom have been campers, and six grandchildren.

The Reverend Leslie Reimer: Director of Spiritual Life, Leslie is the Priest-In-Charge of the camp and is responsible for all spiritual matters as well as registration.  When not at the camp, Leslie lives in Pittsburgh and works at Calvary Church.

Tim Green: The Camp's Executive Director, Tim lives on the campus year-round. He takes the lead in training and supervising staff, overseeing the program and the campus, and serving as the principle visionary for the camp.

American Camping Association (ACA):A national organization which Calvary Camp joined in 1991.  The ACA runs workshops, produces several publications, holds an annual national convention as well as several regional conventions, and publishes standards that serves as the rubric for the triennial accreditation process which certifies that the Camp is operated in a safe and healthy manner.

The Tribes: (Tribal competition). At the beginning of each session the campers are divided into four teams or tribes for competition throughout the session.  The four tribes are the Panthers, Dragons, Tigers, and Falcons. Occasionally the staff will choose to change the traditional names for a change of pace.  One session they were Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water, for example.

The Campus

Calvary Camp is located in the northeast corner of Ohio, on the border between the towns of Conneaut and North Kingsville, overlooking Lake Erie.  The campus covers about 60 acres, one third of which are covered by forest, and includes 42 buildings.

The Camp is currently viewed in four sections.  The property across Lake Road from the lake contains woods, the caretaker house, the stables and riding program, the low ropes course, archery range and maintenance/storage buildings.  A ravine divides the Camp's lakeside property into two areas, commonly known as the Cabin and Dining Hall sides of camp. The Cabin Side contains cabins, showerhouses, athletic facilities, the campfire circle, and the pool.  The Dining Hall Side contains the Matthews Activity Center (MAC), dining hall, office, tennis courts, infirmary, and staff housing.  A road and a footbridge connect the Cabin and Dining Hall sides of campus.  The West Property resides to the west of the Dining Hall side and is the location of the Executive Director house.

Cabins: Campers and counselors live in one of 22 cabins.  Cabins can accommodate up to 10 individuals.  Each cabin contains bunk beds and shelves and has electricity.  The cabins are numbered 1-22.  Generally, the boys reside in cabins 1 - 10 (bordering the ravine), and the girls reside in cabins 11 - 22 (bordering the cliff above the lake,  perpendicular to the boy's cabins).  The campers are placed in cabin according to their age and gender.  Cabin 10 is the oldest boys' cabin, cabin 22 is for the oldest girls.

Typically, the 5 cabins on each side housing the younger campers are referred to as the "junior" cabins and the 5 cabins on each side housing the older campers are the "senior" cabins.  Some activities are scheduled by "junior" and "senior" cabins.  In recent times, cabins are referred to by cabin number.  They also all have names, many of which honor an important figure at or connected to the Camp(e.g., "Father John").  In the early days of the Camp, the cabins were known by their names, and the names continue to have sentimental, as well as historic, meaning.

Canteen: Canteen is a time when campers can purchase items to eat and drink after evening competition.  The canteen offers a variety of candy bars, chips, bottled water, fruit juice, as well as postcards and stamps.  Campers are limited to three items each night (two to eat and one to drink or one to eat and two to drink).

Cathedral Woods:  A fifteen acre tract along the western border of the south campus protected by permanent easements. It is a conservation effort by the DiVittorio family (former camp neighbors and donors of the property), the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Sheldon Calvary Camp and the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. It is a place where "The trees are so huge, you can reach up and touch God." It is a place of vegetation, birds and insects and a place of peace for campers and the larger community.

The Chicken Coop: A small building located in the middle of the cabin-side of campus, an earlier version of this building was actually a chicken coop. Now the building houses the athletic equipment and serves as an office for the staff in charge of recreation.

The cliff & the beach stairs: The northern border of the camp property is Lake Erie.  The campus itself is located about 90 feet above the level of the lake, although there is a beach at the lake level we also use.  The campers are kept back from the edge of "the cliff" by an attractive fence.  To access the beach and the water (for swimming and canoeing), the beach stairs were built behind the dining hall.

The KYBOs: (pronounced Kigh-boze) Our euphemism for the bathrooms or shower houses at camp.

Lake Road: The state road that runs through the campus.  Although most camp activities take place north of Lake Road, a few are on the south side; there are long-standing, deliberate safety procedures for children crossing Lake Road.

The MAC Hall: Named after the late Father Donald Matthews, former director and board member, built in 2000, this building houses the fine arts elective, the campfire fireplace, and four elective storage rooms. (MAC stands for Matthews' Activity Center).  The MAC Hall combines the uses of two former buildings, the original craft hall (which it replaces) and the Rec Hall, both of which were demolished when the MAC Hall was built.  The Rec Hall was last located on the cabin side, near Lake Road, but for many years stood between the bridge and Cabin 1 until lake erosion threatened its foundation requiring it to be moved.

Modules, Gabions, and Erosion Control:  The weather on Lake Erie, combined with water-runoff through the camp site have caused cliff erosion over the years.  About fifteen years ago, funded by a capital campaign, the installation of an elaborate system of cement modules placed along the beach and a series of gabions (wire cubes filled with rocks) have limited the erosion of the cliff along the entire lake side of the camp.

Staff Housing: In addition to the caretaker's cottage across Lake Road, several buildings house staff on the Chapel side of the Camp.  The Shakarian Lodge (aka The Shak) houses female staff and the Bishops' Lodge houses male staff.  Both buildings are large, winterized and have modern dormitory-style baths.  There are additional buildings housing staff on the Chapel side, including Thomas Lodge (aka the Director's Cottage),  Mrs. Muhl's house, the Matthews cottage (aka the Honeymoon), and the KGB (Ken Green Building).


About 75 full staff and SIT's are employed by the camp each summer.  Most are college-aged young adults.  The camp also employees a registered nurse each week or session, and local adults provide food service.

Maintenance: A collective noun designating the staff who work to clean and repair the camp.  Maintenance has a reputation for being a fun staff of which to be a part; more apply to be on maintenance than are accepted.

Non-Counseling Staff: The staff members who are not living in the cabins in any given session are known as the Non-Counseling Staff.  They serve as substitute counselors, work in different program areas (as do the counselors), and staff special activities.  Some staff are non-counseling for the whole summer, others rotate in and out of the cabins at the change of sessions.

Staff in Training (SIT's): 17 year olds are too old to be campers but too young to be regular staff members.  Each summer, 8 to 12 SIT's are chosen to work as a team helping in the kitchen, on maintenance, and at some elective areas.  The SIT's frequently return in as regular staff. Being an SIT is not a prerequisite for joining the regular staff.


About 180 boys and girls attend each coed session, ages 8 - 16.  We draw campers largely by word of mouth and reputation.  Most of our campers come from Pittsburgh, but we do draw children nationally as well as locally. Occasionally we will have an international camper.

EGNARTS Award:  "Strange" spelled backwards, the EGNARTS award is given at any time to someone who does something accidentally that causes him or her (and everyone else) to laugh.

Junior Counselors (JC's): 16 year-old campers may choose to participate in the JC program, lead daily by the Head Counselor(s).  The JC's undergo some training about what it is like to be on staff, and are paired with a particular cabin as a big brother or sister for the session. Reports from the Head Counselor(s) about each JC have great bearing on future staff hiring.

The Outstanding Camper Award (OCA): At the end of each session the staff gather to discuss whether to award an outstanding camper award or two to campers from that session. Although there is no official criteria for this award, the staff generally try to select a camper whose love for camp, selflessness, and enthusiasm are models for all of the other campers.  An outstanding camper is not selected every session.  It is quite an honor to receive the Outstanding Camper Award.

Rugrats: This Calvary term pre-dates the popular Nickelodeon cartoon and is used affectionately to refer to the youngest campers, who typically reside in Cabins 1 and 11.  There is general recognition that the Rugrats have special issues and challenges and there is a corresponding spirit reflected in staffing, programming, and other ways to keep a special eye on the Rugrats so that their first camping experience is a good one.


The Calvary Chronicle: The camper-generated weekly newspaper of Coed Camp.

"C that's the way it begins": The occasional newsletter produced by a subcommittee of the board and mailed to all past staff members. Be sure to register on this web site under ALUMNI to receive the "C that's the way it begins" newsletter!