Early in 1954, while looking for an outpost camping spot, Grant Whipple, “Pop” Riley, and Jessie Rogers first became aware of the sandy beaches of what was to become Camp Firwood. In July of that year, a small group of Middle School campers from the Conference Center spent several days camping on the heavily wooded site. On the last day of camp, the entire group prayed that the Lord would provide this spot for a summer camp. Later that year, a friend of The Firs heard of the campers’ prayers, and through his gifts, the property was purchased from Glen Corning. By late spring of 1956, this plot of land, with 2600 feet of shoreline bordering 80 wooded acres, had been named Camp Firwood. During the next two summers, part-time camps were held on the Firwood property. The first permanent structure at Firwood, the Longhouse, was built in 1957.
Gradually, camps were lengthened and others added until a full summer camping season was established. Camper capacity remained at 98 in the ‘60s, until 1969, when it was increased to 119. With the increase in campers came the need for a year-round caretaker. In 1969, construction began on the boathouse, which was to serve as the permanent residence of the caretaker upon it’s completion in 1970. In 1970, the Longhouse was expanded and the Craft Shop was added. The camper capacity in 1971 was 133, and was increased to the planned ultimate size of 162 in 1972. During these years of expansion, the staff serving Firwood doubled from 25 to 56. Early in 1967, The Firs bought Reveille Island, just off the shores of Firwood. Again the prayers of many campers had been answered, as this 12-acre island became a vital part of the Firwood program.
In 1978, the South Cove property was another miraculous provision of God for The Firs. Currently, Firwood takes advantage of the beautiful sandy beach property for overnight camp-outs. Plans for development of a graded camping program in that area are being made, in anticipation of a new and vital addition to the Firwood program.
The ‘80s brought ever-increasing expansion in numbers of campers coming to Firwood. The addition of extra cabins and the remodeling of the Longhouse in 1990 has now brought our capacity to 275 and the staff close to 100. Not wishing to grow any larger at the main site of Firwood, the plans are now to start new camping programs at South Cove. The addition of the Centerhouse in 2010 will allow for the continued food service to campers and staff in the future.