Saturday, June 27, 2009

Memories for a Lifetime...

I'm Third, Four Square Life, The Blob, Waterskiing, Trampoline Class, "Free Time", F.O.B., Zipline, Treetops, Kickapoos, Themed Parties, MWS, SCC & DC Talk Concerts, Best Barn (or Cabin), "Friends" by MWS, and who can forget Kamp Koffe Kake (my reason for this entire post)!!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about here, you missed out on the best memories of your childhood, spending summers at Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, MO!

I've been wanting to post about my summers growing up there for quite some time, but the timing wasn't right, until now! Wow, so many of my greatest childhood memories stem from my summers spent at Kanakuk. Mentioned above are only a few select favorites from my 12 summers there. I would not be who I am today without Kanakuk. Becoming a believer at a very young age really meant nothing to me until I started my very 1st summer at kamp. I didn't fully understand, and still to this day am learning on a daily basis, what it means to follow Christ, to be I'm Third and to live a Four Square Life. You make friends that will last a lifetime, I can attest to that, I still keep in touch with quite a few from years and years and years ago. You learn, in simple and applicable ways, about the Love of Christ, how to share that love with others, and how to live a life full of compassion, grace, tenderhearted mercy, longing for the cross, and an overflowing of the joy of the Lord.

Kanakuk has such a dear place in my heart. I remember wanting to grow up and go to Baylor just becuase so many of my counselors went there, and I thought they were just the coolest people ever. I remember crying leaving kamp every summer, knowing that I had to wait an entire year to go back. I remember how we weren't allowed to have candy or soda, (unless you got the Sugar Shack at K-2). I remember how we took two showers a day (I now understand why). I remember how the girls were not allowed to wear makeup or fix our hair during the day, only at night. They were teaching us about inner beauty and I didn't even realize it at the time. I remember the solid biblical teaching, the teaching that helped form my view of Christ, and Christianity. How excited I was to be a believer. How awesome it felt to feel the Lord working on my heart. How filling it was knowing that only Christ could fill every void in my life, and there were many! Learning and truly grasping the truth that our earthly father may fail us, mine did, but that my Heavenly Father would NEVER leave me, no matter what I did, how I acted, what mistakes I made. Kamp made the truth of God's word vividly real in my everday life. I needed that. I'm so thankful to my mom for making the sacrafices she did so that I could spend part of my summer at a place like Kanakuk. I remember all the summers that she was the kamp nurse, just so that I could go to kamp for free. I remember how she would have more money taken out of her paychecks so that her tax refund was big enough to pay for me to go to kamp. The Lord always provided a way for me to get there and I still to this day thank Him for that.

Kanakuk has played a huge part in my life. It has taught me lessons that I will carry with me the rest of my living days. I remember telling Aaron before we got married, that no matter what it took, I wanted our kids to be able to go to Kanakuk. I want them to experience even a fraction of what I experienced there.

Ok, so on to the good stuff. One of my fondest memories from kamp was waking up every Sunday morning and engulfing the famous "Kanakuk Koffee Kake". To this day, I still remember the very first time I took a bite, 9 years old, sitting in the dining hall at K-Kountry. I can still close my eyes and picture myself there. It was the best thing I had ever tasted, and still is to this day. Yes, I may be crazy.

So, when I found out that a girlfriend of mine had the Kamp Koffee Kake recipe, I immeditaly BEGGED her for it! Who wouldn't want it, right?!?!?

Well, this morning, I attempted to make the infamous cake, and success!! While I feel it could have use a little more topping, as soon as I took that first bite, every kamp memory came flooding back into my mind, hence the long blog post you are reading! I had to take a picture of my first of MANY weekends to come with the kamp koffee cake so here it is! I have also added the recipe below, for anyone who has desperately wanted a glimpse back into the sweetness of their youth!

Enjoy, all you Kanakuk Koffee Kake lovers, as I know there are many of you out there!! And for those of you who are reading this post and saying to yourself, "This woman is absolutely out of her mind!", you are CORRECT in every way possible, for that's what Kamp does to you and I'm so sorry you didn't get to experience it!!


1 egg
1/3 cup margarine (melted but cool)
¾ tsp vanilla
¼ cup Evaporated milk
3/8 cup water (equals 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP)
7/8 cup sugar (equals 3/4 cup + 2 TBSP)
½ cup of flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
¼ cup flour
¼ stick soft margarine

Mix topping ingredients with hands and sprinkle on top before baking.

Directions: beat eggs, vanilla, evaporated milk, and water. Add the melted but cooled margarine. Add all dry ingredients to the liquid mixture . Beat until mixture is smooth. Pour into a lightly greased & floured 8x8 pan. Sprinkle the topping on top and bake at 350 degrees for 25 ‑ 30 minutes.

Be Blessed & Encouraged!


Michael and Karen said...

Jill, I loved reading thru this blog...I am a fellow Kamper (K3--9 years). My husband and I met there when I was almost 19...I'm now 38 :)

I made Koffee Kake this morning and thought I'd do a search and see if it was posted on line...John Woodell gave me the recipe years ago(do you remember him? He was the kooky photographer at K-2?). There are definite variations in the amounts but the ingredients are the same. I know you mentioned the topping wasn't recipe calls for 1/2 POUND of brown sugar instead of 1/2 C and it's nice and loaded with time you make it, you could try that variation :)

God bless you :) BTW, where is your church home in Dallas? We went to Northwest Bible for years but are now down in Waxahachie...

Jill Garcia (Smith) said...

Hi Karen! So fun to see a fellow Kamper (that I haven't met) read through at least part of my blog!

WOW, a 1/2 POUND of brown sugar, that's CRAZY!! I might have to find a happy medium there. I also flopped that Koffee Kake when I attempted to make it while in Colorado over the summer, totally forgot about the altitude change!

We are involved at Watermark Community Church. Todd Wagner is the pastor. You might recognize his name, he was at Northwest Bible before he started Watermark.

God Bless your family in this new year!!

Melissa said...

Hi Jill!

I just read your blog about Kamp and it truly touched my heart. I am currently working for Kamp and I would love to talk to you further about your story and experience with kanakuk! If interested please email me at Thanks so much and have a blessed day!