Vespers for these times… June 28, 2020


Hark the Vesper bell is pealing,

O’er the meadow soft and green.

Nearer now and nearer stealing,

Soft it breaks upon my ear.

Jubilate, jubilate,jubilate, Amen. Jubilate, jubilate, Amen.

First Words:  June 28, 2020.  Today is a day of mixed emotions for everyone in the Betsey Cox community.  For those arriving for first session, this would have been the morning of high anticipation!  Returning ones of you would have been pushing your parents out the door in order to make sure that the bunk of your dreams could be claimed!  New campers would be anxiously wondering about their six or seven new cabin mates, about the counselors (who they were and what activity they’d be doing).  It is a moment of moments each summer, opening day!  Today, our imaginations need to be called up to our favorite arrival days, if you are returning.  What are your fondest memories?  Maybe it would be a very good idea to call one or two of the camp friends you had hoped to see on this day.  For new people, your imaginations should transport you to a beautiful lush green hilltop, to friendly faces, and so you know, for a delicious first meal of fried chicken,  our lavish salad bar and that famous opening-day cake!  

For one long-time camp community member, her recollections prompted her to offer to write a Vespers for us on the theme of knowing, finding, and celebrating JOY!  Thank you, Kim Spensley, for sharing your joyful memories with all of us!

Sing:” I’ve Got That Joy.” Kim writes,

We used to sing the following tune and lyrics years ago when I was a Betsey Cox camper.  I am including the music for those of you who sight sing and/or play an instrument!  

Verse 1: 

I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, 


Down in my heart, yes, down in my heart.

I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.

Yes, down in my heart to stay!

Verse 2:  This verse is from Lorrie’s memory!

I’ve the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart,


Down in my heart, yes, down in my heart.

I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding, down in my heart,

Yes, down in my heart to stay.

Verse 3: 

I’ve got that BC spirit down in my heart.


Down in my heart, yes down in my heart.

I’ve got that BC spirit down in my heart.

Yes, down in my heart to stay!

A Few Joyful Camp Quotes:

 These will tickle your memories, returners, and they will excite all new comers!

“It wasn’t easy looking dignified wearing a bed sheet and a purple cape”!

-Rick Riordan

“What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp?  Why I would die of course. “

-Bill Bryson

“Without the intense touch of nature, you can never fully freshen yourself!  Go for a camping trip and there both your weary mind and your exhausted body will rise like the morning sun!”

-Mehmet Murat Ildan

“Looking out over the lake, I felt enveloped in the most peaceful, loving utopia.”

-Laurie Kahn

“I googled my symptoms.  Turned out I just need to go…..camping!”


“There is nothing worse, after days of falling asleep by a babbling brook and waking up to a choir chirping birds than to go inside a house with insulated walls and an obstructive roof.  “

-Katherine Keith

“It always rains on tents.  Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.”   Note:  Good things we live in cabins at Betsey Cox! -Dave Berry

Sing: I’m Upright, Inright, Outright, Downright, Happy All the Time!a speed-it-up joyful song!  Teach it to the people with you at this afternoon’s Vespers!

I’m upright, in right, outright, downright, happy all the time,

I’m upright, in right, outright, downright, happy all the time.

The birds that carol sing, in all the woodlands ring!

I’m upright, in right, outright, downright, happy all the time!

Photo Gallery:  How many of these joyful events/people/situations can you identify!  Have fun pulling up stories that place YOU in them!

Sing:  “59th Street Bridge Song”, by Simon and Garfunkel.   Kim writes:

I was walking to the pond recently on a blue sky warm sun day….singing the “59th Street Bridge Song”. Please listen to it online if you don’t know it!  And then sing along!  Here are the lyrics:

Slow down, you move too fast.

Got to make the morning last.

Just kicking down the cobblestones.

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.

Ba da da  da da da da, feelin’ groovy.

Hello, lamppost, what’cha knowin’?

I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’

Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?

Doot-in doo-doo, feelin’ groovy

Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy.

I got no deeds to do,

No promises to keep

I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life I love you, 

All is groovy.

Kim’s Thoughts: When I sang, “life I love you,” I suddenly felt uneasy-during these challenging times-to be so full of joy that morning.  Immediately, my next thought was a surge of conviction that each of us should welcome as much joy as possible into each day, each week, each month, and each year of our lives.

Moments of pure delight are to be treasured.  We have each experienced moments like these at Camp Betsey Cox, right?  (New girls…you will find so many such moments once you are here!). I will share a couple of mine with you and maybe some of you will be in touch to share yours!

  • I remember as a young camper, standing on the dock in diving position with my head down and arms pressed against my ears waiting for the courage to go into the water head first.  I stood, and stood, and stood and stood….what a patient counselor who shared all my standing followed by the joy of that first dive!  Joy of accomplishment!
  • Oh, silliness!  We used to be given an empty bag to go on a “snipe hunt”.  There IS such a thing as a snipe,–it is a bird that can’t be caught in a bag!  Funny how only those in on the joke ever “found” a snipe!  Joy of laughter!
  • I have so many memories of singing at camp on hike day trips, in the lodge, at camp fires and at Candle Lighting.  Joy of friendship, community and harmony!

Two Summer Poems by Mary Oliver: Mary Oliver’s work has inspired Camp Betsey Cox community members for many years.  Here are two that capture the joys of summer, no matter where that summer might be spent!

Just As The Calendar Began to Say Summer

I went out of the schoolhouse fast

and through the gardens and to the woods,

and spent all summer forgetting what I’d been taught—

two times two, and diligence, and so forth,

how to be modest and useful, and how to succeed and so forth

machines and oil and plastic and money and so forth.

by fall I had healed somewhat, but was summoned back

to the chalky rooms and the desks, to sit and remember

the way the river kept rolling its pebbles,

the way the wild wrens sang though they hadn’t a penny in the bank.

the way the flowers were dressed in nothing but light.

Summer Poem


Mary Oliver

Leaving the house,

I went out to see

The frog, for example,

in her shining green skin;

and her eggs

like a slippery veil;

and her eyes

with their golden rims;

and the pond

with its risen lilies;

and its warmed shores

dotted with pink flowers;

and the long, windless afternoon;

and the white heron

like a dropped cloud,

taking one slow step

then standing awhile then taking

another, writing

her own softfooted poem

through the still waters

Sing: Following on Mary Oliver’s frog poem, JEREMIAH WAS A BULL FROG!  There’s a lot of joy in this song!   The original  song was written by Hoyt Axton.  These words are edited for camp!

Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine.

I never understood a single word he said,

But I helped him find some fun, 

He always had some mighty good fun.


Singin’ Joy to the world, all the boys and girls.

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, 

Joy to you and me.

If I were the queen of the world

I tell you what I’d do

I’d throw away the cars and the junk we don’t need,

And I’d make good friends with you.


Yah know I love all people, love to have my fun

I’m a happy camper and a rainbow rider,

And I love to have my fun…

Yes….I love to have good fun.


Last Words:

From David S. Rast, “The root of joy is gratefulness”.

Kim writes: This line is a guidepost to me as I think about ways to attract more joy into my life.  So much for which I am grateful!  The more I focus on that, the happier I am.

It brings me pleasure, this Vespers, to think about gratefulness for summers at Camp Betsey Cox.  May you enjoy the same!


Sing: Jubilate, jubilate, jubilate, Amen. Jubilate, jubilate, jubilate, Amen.



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