Camp Good News® was born in the heart of State Director Edna Sawyer Welbourn. She realized the value of an in depth camping ministry for the children of Maine. An opportunity came in the summer of 1970 to have our first week at Baptist Youth Camp in Charlotte, Maine. New Hampshire camp directors Velma Hagerty and Arlene Champioux Spearin gave Edna and helper, Barbara Lamson Harris, instruction on organization, philosophy, and programming. They also assisted Edna at camp that first year. Volunteers from many churches were anxious to help in every area from counselors, to cooks, to errand boys! Money was donated to rent the facilities.
There were 34 campers that first year, and the fee was $20. The “experiment” was a resounding success. The philosophy and format have continued to this day with each succeeding director proclaiming, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” always remembering that CAMP IS FOR THE CAMPER. Camp directors to follow Edna have been June Beal, Melanie Mulherin/Vernelle Fast, and John Romano.
From that time on, our prayers were for a permanent campground of our own. For over twenty years, we traveled each summer to rented campsites from Charlotte, to Long Lake in Naples, to Baptist Park in Mapleton, to Camp Fair Haven in Brooks, returning to Baptist Youth Camp many times in between. The time varied from one to three weeks, and two years we were at two different campsites. Each year we accumulated more equipment and supplies, using a station wagon and then pick-ups, and finally a U-Haul to transport all of the “stuff.”
In 1991, John Romano was asked to direct Circle L Camp in East Livermore for a six-week period. He agreed if it could be used as Camp Good News with Circle L campers attending with our campers. During that summer we were still looking for other property, not realizing that this is where God wanted us to be.
In December of 1991, the board of Circle L Camp voted to give their campground to CEF® of Maine. We are so grateful to God for this answer to our 20 years of praying. Now more than 700 children are taught the Word of God for seven weeks each summer. Approximately 100 teenagers and adults are trained in the Christian Youth in Action® program before the children’s camp begins. But more was yet to come. Under the visionary direction of John Romano, a new building for the state offices of CEF and camp dining hall was completed in 1999.
In the year 2000, a nearby 34-acre farm was purchased to make it possible for a more extensive ministry at Camp Good News. In 2003, property with housing was purchased which joined all of Camp Good News together, extending to the farmhouse property where our winterized log cabins are located.
Written by Barbara Harris, 2001
Amended in 2003