Head woman’s counselor Marion Russell and head men’s counselor Mitchum Bottoms run this YMCA-affiliated summer camp despite their mutual loathing of one another. As the YMCA movement has gradually faded, the camp has been increasingly forced to take on business from church groups, scouting, and other special and often esoteric interest groups. Often at the same time, since there were few groups that could occupy all twelve campsites anymore. In addition to bible campers and scouts, Camp Merrydale has hosted a Coven Camp for Wiccans, Survival Camp for the county Republican Party, Earth Camp for the national Save the Nematodes campaign, and even a Crypto Camp for the Young Investors outfit. Despite attempts to keep disparate groups apart, tensions are often high and the counseling staff, mostly high schoolers working summer jobs, largely have no affiliation or affection for any of the groups, leaving it to their adult volunteers to vociferously complain to the management. The County Youth Orchestra retreat is coming up, in fact, which is sure to create friction with another group scheduled over the same week, nuns of the Holy Order of Our Lady of Quietude.

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