The 36th annual P.R.Y.P. Convention began with registration on Monday evening, August 23. Conventioneers signed up for cabins at Camp Geneva and young people from out of town were given lodging at homes around the Grand Rapids area for the first night. The rest of the evening was spent meeting new young people and getting reacquainted at Park Lanes Bowling Alley, after which refreshments were served at Hope School gym.
Tuesday morning we met at Southwest Church and piled the luggage in vans, cars, and several school buses. Upon arrival at Camp Geneva, we scattered in every direction to inspect the camp. It didn’t take long before young people were swimming and playing volleyball. After devouring our lunch, we were shown how to serve our own meals and clean up. It sure was surprising to see how fast things could get finished!
Tuesday afternoon brought something quite unique. Three teams from the East competed in the most ridiculous games called “Anything Can Happen.” Chickens were hopping, barrels were rolling, dust was flying, and much more. We all cooled off in the lake and pool and then met for a hamburg fry. After supper we quickly took a cold shower and then gathered for our convention picture. We walked to the chapel and heard our first speech by Rev. Slopsema entitled “Shining Lights.” We had two special numbers; Mr. Arnold Dykstra sang a solo and Mary Pastoor and Sheryl Peters played a flute and piano duet. After the mass meeting we gathered around a bonfire and sang. The rest of the evening was spent in swimming, strolling around the camp, and watching the moon on Lake Michigan. To everyone’s surprise we fell asleep quite easily.
Bright and early Wednesday morning we were dragged from our warm bunks to breakfast. After the first hour, most of us were wide awake, and we all met in the chapel to hear Rev. Veldman introduce our subject for discussion groups which was “Shining in Our Reading and Speaking.” These discussions were followed by our first business meeting.
After lunch we gathered to see three teams from the West compete in “Anything Can Happen.” Have you ever seen someone trying to run across a narrow bridge, fill a pail of water (the pail full of holes, of course), run up and down a ramp, and fill a bucket with any water that is left in the pail? Wait until you see some movies that were taken! After the workout, we once again had the rest of the afternoon to do what we wanted.
After our spaghetti supper, we got cleaned up and met at the chapel for an inspiring speech by Rev. Van Overloop on “The Calling to Shine.” Four girls from South Holland sang a few songs and Barb Van Voorthuysen and Janine Jabaay played a flute duet. We spent the rest of Wednesday evening singing around the campfire, swimming, and other sports activities. Lights went out a little later, but we still all fell asleep.
Thursday morning a room full of droopy eyes ate eggs, toast, and cereal. Breakfast was followed by an introductory speech by Prof. H. Hanko. We then split into discussion groups and discussed “Shining in Our Choice of Vocation.” We had another business meeting and then a delicious hot dog lunch.
Thursday afternoon the competition between the First/Southeast team and the Doon/ Edgerton team started. A boat race, a water balloon relay, a huge obstacle course were a few of the games which determined the winner—First/Southeast!! The whole group of young people then moved down to the beach where ten members from each cabin used their energy to participate in a tug-of-war. We got blisters on our hands and our clothing was covered with black sand. We sure hope Miss A. Lubbers got her white shorts and blouse cleaned after being dragged through the muck! The rest of the afternoon was spent swimming, playing softball, and starting to get cleaned up for the banquet.
It sure was nice to see everyone spruced up at 6:00 p.m. that evening. We had a delicious chicken and ham dinner, and best of all, we did not have to clean our tables! Jim and Jerry Vander Kolk played a beautiful piano and trumpet duet. We all walked to the chapel to hear our last speech of the convention. Rev. Bekkering spoke on “Our Shining and God’s Glory.” For our last special number a quartet of girls from Grand Rapids area sang several hymns. Our retiring president, Jon Bol, turned the floor over to Rick Noorman who presented the new Federation Board members. A thank-you was given to those who had worked on the convention.
After we left the chapel, many of us changed back into our jeans or swimsuits. The lights had a hard time going out especially since it is rather hard to sleep with frogs jumping around your cabin! The chaperones finally convinced us to shut off our lights and it didn’t take long to fall asleep.
Friday morning we had a pancake breakfast and ended our convention by singing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” Another convention was finished and we had to separate ourselves from old and new friends. But a special feeling was still left. We had a chance once again to share our beliefs, strengthen our faith, and especially to be reminded to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”