My son attended a Philadelphia Youth Camp a number of years ago at Guthrie, Oklahoma. It was the site of the camp before Gerald Flurry bought the land for his Imperial College, now called Herbert W. Armstrong College. I will say that the parents were required to sign a paper promising not to sue if something horrible happened to their child. I also felt that safety was not given a high priority.
One year when there were multiple injuries on a dangerous bike trail. The children were only told to “pray for protection”!! I believe it was that year that Wayne Turgeon [Gerald Flurry’s son-in-law] was badly injured on the same trail and nearly lost his leg, if not his life.1 Perhaps that experience has affected the priority put on safety.
I also know that the girls received very mixed messages from the ministers at camp. In class, they were taught to be submissive and ladylike, but on the field they were expected to be aggressive and outplay the boys.
Males and females of different races at camp were not be allowed to spend time together, or even to dance together at the dance classes. That left some of the youth with absolutely no one to dance with. They also were taught archery and how to shoot rifles. Otherwise, all I can say is that some years seemed to be a lot of fun, but other years were horrible.
Update 2021: The name of the camp is now known as Philadelphia Church of God Summer Educational Program or SEP.
Also read the following letters:
Philadelphia Youth Camp Accidents (Tells how Dennis Leap and Wayne Turgeon thought it “toughened them up”)
S. E. P. One of My Worst Worst Experiences (Although this letter concerns WCG’s S. E. P., it tells about a bad bike trip injury)
Footnote by ESN:
1 Read: Wayne Turgeon’s Bike Injury at PYC Was True (2012 letter to ESN)
Back to Stories About Philadelphia Youth Camp