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Lakeside, Where My New Life Began

I first went to Lakeside in the summer of 1969 for a Christian Youth Festival Camp.

It was a place I felt safe during a difficult, unsettling time in my life. Due to a bad home life, I went back to church camp at Lakeside the following summer.

While at Lakeside, I met a wonderful couple - a United Methodist pastor and his wife. She was my female counselor at Wo-Ho-Mis Lodge.

I remember asking the couple to pray for me. I was in a temporary foster home and was to be placed in a permanent foster home. The next week after camp, I was told I would be meeting my new family for permanent placement, I was 14 years old.

Come to find out, my new family was the very same couple I met at camp the previous week. The girls I finished high school with, were the girls in my dorm room at Wo-Ho-Mis. God had a plan for me before I even knew what it was.

I came to Lakeside with the family and their two boys each year for East Ohio Annual Conference until I married my husband.

My husband became a United Methodist minister, and we have come for many, many years for Annual Conference. My husband was ordained a Deacon and an Elder in Hoover Auditorium.

Sometimes, our family would come two to three times per year to enjoy fishing, family time, the dock, and of course, the ice cream and fresh morning donuts.Our children, and now grandchildren, rode their bikes up and down Lakeside's streets, skipped stones on the water, played putt-putt and took many walks along the dock and sidewalks.

Each time I go back to Lakeside, I find a quiet place and talk to God. "Here I am again, Lord."

It is a very special place to me, where I started a new life.

Sharon French
Akron, OH

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