Another week at Golden Bell

Since the usual operator is in Australia waiting for the birth of a grandchild, I’ve been running the gift shop at Golden Bell for the last two weeks. I’m thankful for two other volunteers who have taken a few shifts. I really don’t think retail is my calling! This week the summer staffers, college age kids from all over the country, will all be gone and camps are over with the start of school so the gift shop won’t have to be open. Next weekend the shop will be open for Prime Time, a camp for senior citizens, so I should be right in my element.

We have been impressed all summer with the summer staff, who seem to move effortlessly from counseling kids to running the zip line to housekeeping, all with a servant’s heart. Our nurses, both nursing students, have handed out meds several times a day and mended scraped knees and split chins as well as providing comfort for scared kids who may be away from home for the first time. All these young people have my admiration! They accept us older volunteers as part of the team and we have really enjoyed that.

Speaking of older volunteers, we’ve met some terrific ones this summer. Wayne and Mary Reiff from Greeley have been here for many, many years. Mary serves in the office and Wayne has been in charge of various construction projects on the campus. Jere and Sue Bates from AZ were here early in the summer but have been gone to Hawaii and on a Mediterranean cruise since mid-July. Kansas friends Chuck and Mavis Parnell are landscaper, laundry helper and just nice to have around. Mavis grew up in Cedar, KS, just a few miles from Alton where I grew up! More Kansans, Dale and Judy Foster, are leaving tomorrow for home, leaving just Reiffs and us here in the RV park. There have been a couple of families who came for shorter times throughout the summer, too, and we feel blessed to have met each of them. Facebook will help us keep in contact as we all separate.

We’ve had a campground full this weekend, mostly tent campers, which means a lot of trash and bathroom cleanup. Having tenters has been a real surprise to us. We are used to staying in RV parks that have few, if any, tents, so that’s what we expected here. This is really more of a campground than an RV park. It was laid out for the tents, pop-ups and small travel trailers that would have been popular 30 years ago, so it is difficult for big motorhomes and fifth wheels to maneuver the angles to get into the campsites. The bathrooms are relatively large and, thanks to the camp hosts, mostly pretty clean. Many of our campers each weekend have come multiple times this summer and many years before, so we know people love Golden Bell, whether or not they are Nazarenes.

One day this week there was snow on Pikes Peak and I think yesterday was the first time all week that we haven’t had rain here. Just up the road yesterday we saw signs for two weddings and as it turned out, the weather cooperated to provide a beautiful wedding day. We even saw the bride and groom in a horse-drawn carriage coming down the county road toward the wedding, escorted by a Sheriff’s car with flashers.

I’ve been taking pictures around the Golden Bell campus and maybe one day we’ll have consistent enough internet coverage to be able to post them.

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