History

The Tar Hollow Camp of Sidney First United Methodist Church is God's Camp. The idea was first presented by Him. Each thought that was incorporated in the camp was His thought. We, who instituted the camp, simply followed the ideas He presented, and they yielded the results that have taken place in the lives of those who have experienced the life of the camp.

Some who have come to the camp have been skeptical, but before the week was over they had become firm believers. Something had taken place in their lives.

Those of us who were responsible for putting God's ideas into the life of the camp simply tried to live the camp motto: "God first, Others second, Self third;" and it was very contagious.

The idea grew into realities; each one it seemed was just supposed to be a part of the camp. The camp personnel, the teachers, the supervisors, the kitchen staff, the representatives from other nations and various sections of this nation, all seemed to automatically catch the idea and spirit of the camp and join in promoting that spirit in camp, carrying it away with them to share it with others wherever they went.

The first Christian Adventure Camp of Sidney First United Methodist Church was founded by Dr. Ross Wilhide in 1952, and held at Camp Evergreen, close to Sidney, August 19 through 23, with approximately 150 campers and faculty. The age was fifth grade through twelfth grade. Then in 1953 the camp was moved to Tar Hollow State Park Group Facility and “Tar Hollow Christian Adventure Camp” has remained there ever since.

Always a part of the camp has been the practice of signing the camp plaque by all in attendance, The very meaningful Consecration Service in the open-air Chapel in the woods, the individual camp book, and a communion service.

A great many members of the faculty of Ohio Northern University, including Dr. Oscar Darlingtron, Dean of the Liberal Arts College, have served as teachers, as well as many of our foreign representatives that have come to us from the University. The practice of inviting a number of representatives of foreign nations was also begun that year.

In the summer of 1965, for the 13th Christian Adventure Camp in our church, Sidney returned to the idea of having its own camp, inviting in addition to the foreign students, young people from the Shelby County Children's Home, the Worthington Methodist Children's Home, several young people from the Ada, Ohio community (some of whom later returned to camp as counselors), and two young people sent to us by the Shelby County Juvenile Court. The camp personnel numbered 160.

The founder of the camp, Dr. Wilhide, conducted and directed the camp from its institution in 1952 until his retirement in 1966. After that time, the camp was promoted and carried on, for the most part, by former campers and staff members who had their training under Dr. Wilhide's leadership.

Several changes have transpired in these recent years, including the method of voting for Camp Representative, taking the group photo, and many variations in the scheduling.

In 1977, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. In 1981, we took on additional responsibilities by opening the camp to any eligible youth in the Dayton North District of the United Methodist Church. Also in 1981, the Tar Hollow Committee funded the refurbishing of the Green Cathedral, which had fallen in disrepair. In 2002, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary. In 2017 the tradition of Tar Hollow, and making Christ known to campers continues as we celebrate our 65th year!!

But regardless of the changes in staff, schedules, rules and regulations, we of the Tar Hollow Committee and staff look forward to future camps, steadfastly believing that there is a . . . "Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this place, and we know that it's the Spirit of the Lord!"