By Sarah Nash
Jul 25, 2017

Camp JJ: My Childhood Version of Heaven-On-Earth

If you currently are 8 years old, will soon be 8 years old or have ever been 8 years old, you will love Camp Jeremiah Johnson. As someone who has once been 8 years old, I loved my time at the Cub Scout Day Camp this past week. 
Because I grew up in a family of all girls, I didn’t even know Cub Scout Day Camp was a regular event. Only when my mom became Primary president when I was in high school did I learn about the activity at all. As a kid, I did eagerly look forward to Activity Days day camp, though. I loved those day camps. I remember rotating throughout the stake center, with each room having a different lesson or craft to tie into the overall theme of the day. Even just last year, as a missionary, I was excited when my companion and I were invited to teach about scripture study and help the girls make bracelets to remind them to study daily. 
As I combined these memories and prepared to go to camp on Tuesday, I didn’t really know what to expect. I couldn’t picture the Cubs sitting around stringing beads on bracelets all day and I knew it definitely wouldn’t be in a stake center. I walked in ready for anything. 
I found the little kid version of heaven-on-earth. 
The first rotation I witnessed was the Cutlass Clash. Here, each kid got to make their own “sword” out of a PVC pipe and a foam noodle. They majestically, and impatiently, donned their armor to protect themselves against the slashes of their foes and then ran out to defend their land and fight to the death. Or until another kid “cut off” their legs and they had to sit down and wait for the team “doctor” to save them. Every kid had a blast. Even the kid with a broken leg left his crutches behind at his “castle” so he could hop around and bravely fight with everyone else. I plan on making my own foam sword this weekend (the trick is to messily wrap the top of the PVC pipe with some duct tape so the noodle doesn’t fly off).
Next, I wandered over to the firing range. Because my only real experience with BB guns is from the marks still in a window of my parent’s house from rowdy neighbor kids back in the early 90s, I was a little apprehensive to see each Cub put on protective goggles and pick one up. I was more apprehensive when I realized they were all too excited to actually pay attention to any of the safety directions. However, there were plenty of staff around to repeat the same instructions about a hundred times and it was all more than worth it when a Wolf, wearing a backpack that was just about as big as he was, had to tell everyone how he hit that big orange target he aimed for.
One of the final activities I went to see was the boating. While the Wolves paddled around in what appeared to be the entire dock floating on the pond, the Bears piled into actual little rowboats. Both had the absolute best time of their lives; the older boys just got the added joy of the bottom few inches of their pants getting soaked. As the Bears filed out of the rowboats, their wet jeans were the first thing I couldn’t help but notice. The first thing I heard, however, from just about every kid as they tramped up the dock, were variations on “that was the best!!” or “this is the best day!!” 
While I didn’t stay for the Activity Day girls who came for the afternoon shift, I am completely confident that their experience was as enjoyable as the Cubs in the morning. What kid wouldn’t enjoy fighting with a sword or paddling around a pond? Even as an adult, I can declare, and quite a few adult leaders joined in each activity to prove, that Camp Jeremiah Johnson offers a timeless, classic, never-going-out-of-style, good ol’ fun day. 


Author: Sarah Nash | Field Service Intern, Utah National Parks Council

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2 thoughts on “Camp JJ: My Childhood Version of Heaven-On-Earth

  1. AvatarRenee Lyman

    Looks like I might need a trip up to camp JJ! I know it certainly would have been my childhood Heaven-on-Earth!

  2. AvatarJamie Bodle

    I have gone the past 5 years to JJ Camp. When i got released from being the Cub Committee Chairman i was sad that I wouldn’t be going anymore. JJ Camp is Heaven on Earth and hearing all those boys so excited for the first time up and get to experience all the new things. I know my boys always walked away and wanting more. Thank you for all the Camp Staff and JJ for all the hard work and fun you make it year after year.


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