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Webster’s Dictionary defines a Jubilee as, “a special anniversary; especially: a 50th anniversary”. The term “Jubilee” comes from an early Biblical tradition celebrating the last year of seven sabbatical cycles or the end of 49 years. Now, 50 years in any one spot is a pretty big deal, but you know what’s an even bigger deal? 100 years. That’s right, Camp Story, located at 11 Presbyterian Road in Story, Wyoming, is celebrating their Centennial Jubilee or 100th Anniversary this year!
If you aren’t familiar with Camp Story, you should be. Here’s some background on how the camp started! Originally the Big Horn Conference Grounds, the First Presbyterian church was deeded the piece of property for $1 in 1917. The property was a gift from sisters Annabel and Susan Wolfe. On April 19th, 1921, Camp Story held its first session. The church initially wanted to use it for adult ministry retreats. However, when youth numbers started to increase after the late 1920’s, the Camp purchased the now 16-acre property adjacent to the original property to accommodate the increase of campers.
Camp Story held its first official Presbyterian youth conference in 1925 under the direction of multiple pastors from nearby areas; Dr. Sweetland of Sheridan, Reverend Samuel Ryland of Gillette, and Reverend J.R. Walter of Powell. The first cabin was built by Dr. G. H. Buffmun who used lumber from a fallen airplane hangar. In 1927, camp directors saw the need for more cabins as over one hundred attendees were signed up. Under the direction of Dr. J. Willis Hamlin, many facility improvements took place, land was acquired, and debts were payed off. Under the direction of Reverend Mcclure in the 1940’s, the camp was retrofitted with electricity. Reverend Washburn would see the facilities all repainted to the current green and the bathhouse was also given flushing toilets all within the years 1958-1964. In 1965, the new Sheridan Pastor, Reverend Robert Palmer, began the building of the bath house and remodel of the kitchen. Reverend Palmer then made additions to the kitchen, enlarged the dining hall, and in 1971, the bathhouse was completely renovated. In the 1980’s, many improvements to the cabins were made, more bunks were built, and a new roof was added to the dining hall.
The famous Camp Story Bell has been on the grounds since 1948. It was purchased by the Duffeyes family of Casper, Wyoming, from the town of Meeteetse, Wyoming. The town of Meeteetse originally bought the bell from Philadelphia for their schoolhouse after the end of the Civil War when the war for the west was ending. After the schoolhouse in Meeteetse was partially burned, the town sold the bell to the Duffeyes. In 1957, the bell was given a foundational uplift with the current steel rails and steel uprights set in cement.
Camp Story now offers camps for all age groups, ranging from pre-k to high school seniors. Its current mission is to help youth build and develop their relationship with Jesus Christ. The campgrounds are also available to rent for any event or retreat you have in mind.
This year, to celebrate the history of Camp Story, they will be hosting a Centennial Jubilee Celebration on August 25th through the 27th. The camp has cabins and beds that can currently accommodate 94 campers. The newly remodeled lodge has space for 150 attendees. You are also welcome to camp in a tent! Come join them for a great weekend of camping, nature, food, and friends! Attendees are encouraged to donate so that the camp can continue to impact people for the next 100 years to come!
Check out their website for more information or to RSVP at campstory.org!