10 Things I learned as a camper at Falls Creek

There’s something about hot July days in Oklahoma that make me feel nostalgic. I don’t know if it is because the summertime reminds me of the sweet, carefree memories of my youth or the heat is making me hallucinate. Either way, the other day I found myself thinking and reminiscing about my last summer vacation in 2010. I definitely had some experiences that summer I will never forget. So, here are 10 things I learned as a camper at Falls Creek.

1. We had basically no supervision

I mean yeah, we had “curfew” and designated “check in” times. But otherwise we had a lot of free reign over the campsite. Which means we campers had lots of time for slushie dates and…

2. People got laid…a lot

For every kid who “found” Jesus, two more sophomores “lost” their virginity.

3. Lankford had one joke

Like I said, I attended Falls Creek in the summer of 2010, when now Senator James Lankford directed the camp. I remember Lankford opening up to the campers with a joke on the first day. It went something like he had just got back from White Water Bay, where he discovered that the combination of his swim trunks, thin frame, pale complexion, and red hair made him look like a match. Lankford must have been proud of getting so much laughter at that joke, because it was the only one I heard him say all weekend.

4. Every Christian pop/rock song is in the same key

At first, I thought the songs accompanying the Falls Creek nightly services were 20-25 minutes long. Then I realized that the praise band was actually playing 4-5 songs in the same key without a break. To this day I think most of those songs even had the same lyrics. But in their defense, how much lyrical material do you have to work with as a “praise” band?

5. Ya’ll Baptists are wild

Let’s talk about these church services at Falls Creek. First of all, ya’ll really feel that worship music, with the hand raising, hip swaying, and lyric belting. Second, there’s a lot of lights, bass, and smoke machine action going on at those services. If the worship leader was wearing leather pants, I would have thought I was at a Bon Jovi concert instead of church.

6. Teenage girls are sirens of death who will lead you straight to hell

As evidenced by at least three discussions lectures led by members of the staff, we girls at Falls Creek had to remember to dress modestly in order to keep the boys from sinning. That means no shorts above the knee, no tank tops, and by-God nothing too tight. Or else some preacher’s son from Weatherford is going to start thinking impure thoughts and living a life of lust and sin because he can make out the shape of your thigh. You know, because girls only dress in tank tops to seduce boys and not to stay cool in the Oklahoma summer. And boys don’t have the ability to make rational decisions because they are too influenced by sexual temptations.

7. Women didn’t have a lot to say

I don’t remember a single woman leading any kind of worship or sermon. I even looked up this year’s speaker list and found only men listed as speakers all 8 weeks of the camp. But piggy backing off of my last blurb, since the general idea about females is that they are temptresses who lead menfolk to stray from their righteous paths, it’s probably for the best that the men be in charge of telling the congregation how to live their lives or else all of the kids will start wearing shorts above the knee like a bunch of tramps.

8. The pins are Falls Creek street cred

Like tattooing tear drops down your cheek for every man you’ve killed, Falls Creek kids collect enamel pins to signify how many years they’ve been to camp. Pins represent everything from memorable sermons, to inside jokes, to themes from previous year’s camps. I still have this “graze” pin from 2010 somewhere at my parents’ house in case I ever have to prove my Falls Creek street cred.

9. Leaders don’t notice if you make up bible verses

Campers and leaders alike would have impromptu Bible verse quoting contests. Imagine a rap battle, but instead of clever word play you hear Maccabees or some shit. I know it was a weird flex, but I wanted in. The only problem was I didn’t know any Bible verses by heart. Thankfully I quickly discovered that nobody catches on if you make up your own scripture, especially if you “quote” from one of the more obscure books, like Amos or Ruth. Hell, I even got away with a quote from “Josiah 14:16” once.

10. I still don’t know if I’m saved

The way Brother Whats-his-face explained it to me was if you dedicate your life to Jesus, you’re saved. But if you return to a life of sin, you were never really saved in the first place. But if you turn your life around again after sinning, you were saved after all but just going through a trying time. I’ve done a lot of drinking and other colorful things since Summer 2010. So let’s just say I’ve been preparing my testimony.

Pray for me. Then follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek

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45 Responses


  1. in the 70’s everyone used falls creek as a devirginizing device. seems to be the same now.


  2. And who can ever forget all the huge, hastily put together weddings at the local Baptist church — after the girls ‘fell in love’ at Falls Creek. There may or may not have been shotguns at those weddings.


  3. I think it’s something they put in the water, at Weatherford, All the young boys are girl crazy.


    1. The feelings appear to be mutual, but the fever strikes the girls a bit earlier.


  4. My friend Luke Kerr often referred to Falls Creek as “fornication training camp”


    1. Lol is he by chance married to Amanda Kerr? 😂


      1. Nope. But totally hilarious guy.


  5. Oh my! You’ve just uncovered so many repressed memories! It’s going to take at least a whole bottle of Crown to shove them back down again!


  6. Like me friend from high school, the son of a Baptist
    Reached, would say, Falls creek=Biggest Baptist Breeding ground in the world……


  7. It’s amazing how little some overtly Christian people know about what is in the Bible, and how often some quote stuff from it that isn’t there at all.

    “God helps those who help themselves.” Biblical, or not?

    Which Old Testament stuff is still current, and which parts did Jesus repeal? Depends on who you ask. Very confusing!

    It’s very hard to know who is “saved” and who isn’t. If the Bible was going to be clear about nothing else, it should at least have been clear on that. It’s pretty important!


    1. It is pretty clear. Leave it up to a bunch of illiterate Okies to muck it up.


  8. Fall’s Creek; where more souls are made than saved.


  9. Funny! And I didn’t even go to Falls Creek….I didn’t have to…


  10. True Story

    A friend stole a yellow Silverado truck from then Boyd Chevrolet. 2000 or 2001. We raced to Falls Creek, him and another friend in the truck and me in a Ford Contour. 90-100mph at least most the way (and people say the tide pod kids are dumb, ha!)

    It gets ridden around camp all week, full of kids, til Thursday. Some of us know it’s stolen and we are dying of immature laughter over the whole thing. Then one of those big break down days. Tears, Jesus etc.etc. Youth director confirmed his suspicions, friend confessed. Same week I got sent home for fighting over a girl.

    Good Times

    Well


  11. Funny! And true!
    Don’t know if you meant it as a joke or not, but Maccabees isn’t included in the Protestant Bible. That’s for us Catholics! 🙂


  12. My daughter spent 3 days at Falls Creek when she was 13. There was a storm and she was scared so we had to go pick her up. In the car on the way home, she said “I’m pretty sure I’m an atheist now.” She is now 17, and is still atheist. 😂


    1. Good for her. I’m proud to be atheist myself.


      1. Me, too. That’s why God hates me.


        1. Ah atheists, the Red Sox and Cubs of religion.


      2. why it is so important what other people believe or don’t believe. If you don’t believe in something then why discuss it? I don’t believe the moon is made out of cheese either but I don’t express “pride” in that non-belief – I just don’t believe it; therefore I don’t go around talking about it. Isn’t it a waste of time to discuss things that you don’t believe in. Shouldn’t we spend time discussing things that are real to us instead of unreal? I guess it makes some people feel superior that they believe (or don’t believe) but that seems like a rather small way of being.


        1. It’s important because people with certain religious beliefs constantly try to force them upon those of us who don’t share them by making them into laws.


        2. I constantly point it out because I’m a white man in Oklahoma and I don’t want to be mistaken for a Christian child molester.


          1. You mean like NAMBLA?
            Ok – got it.


  13. I was always kinda jealous of the sex and drugs and Falls Creek, being Presbyterian we had Dwight Mission and it was the Dwight Schrute of church camps minus the beets. We just had wholesome times singing One Tin Soldier and having to attend Vespers before we could find another camper to make-out with before we had to be back in the dorms. However, we did get to swim together bc you know, a person is held accountable to their own actions and blame was never just cast onto a female for wearing an outfit that was totally common.


  14. Why do pious, Baptist parents keep sending their kids to Fall’s Creek? It’s been widely known as Sex Camp for at least 50 years.


    1. Does Lankford know that now? Did he then?


    2. My parents don’t think I was telling the truth. They were so much more active in church than me, and the older teens who harassed, sexually hazed, and molested the younger boys, had all been called to the ministry and had great parents who led mission trips. I was just some little shit that was being forced to go. Why would they believe me?


  15. No one on this thread has any common sense. You can find anything at any “Christian camp” in any state. If you go looking for sex, etc. it can always be found. If you had a good church and good leaders, you could find Christ. It is always a choice to sin or not sin. To label the entire camp in this was is a fallacy.


    1. Well guess who didn’t get laid at Falls Creek..


      1. Now that’s funny.


  16. I guess I was one of the kids who went there for the right reason. I didn’t get laid, drunk or high while at church camp. I had a great time with friends and learned some valuable lessons while I was there. Falls Creek always has been so special to me.


    1. I didn’t want to get laid, but when the older boys who were called to the ministry started sexually hazing and molesting everyone in the cabin and the youth minister decided to put on his headphones and turn to the wall, the 7th graders didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.


      1. If what you are saying is true, and I do believe you, it would definitley explain a lot of things:

        https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Abuse-of-Faith-How-the-Chronicle-built-a-14108274.php

        I’m sorry that you had this experience at the camp. Summer camps are supposed to be fun and also about learning how to get along with other people. They are not supposed to be indoctrination centers, and especially NOT, a training ground for sexual abusers and harassers, or future pedophiles. This type of behavior should have never been tolerated in the first place and excused in the names of “horseplay” or “boys will be boys.”


  17. My Mama dragged me and my three brothers to our local Southern Baptist Church for years. Why we even got washed in the Blood of Lamb But she absolutely refused to allow us to attend Falls Creek. Asked her once why? She told me she was too young to become a Grandma.


  18. I took a couple of desultory trips to Falls Creek in ’79-’80 with two separate Durant churches. I was In the middle of becoming disillusioned with the proclaimed virtues of the American Nuclear Family. After hearing some of the authoritarian stuff coming off the pavilion stage, I knew I would see a resurgent Nazism from Oklahoma’s religiously-sanctioned white supremacists in my lifetime…

    …and here we are!


    1. My Dad has always said this to me and was always very reluctant for me to go. Getting older now and it’s crazy to me that I just read this comment..


  19. Lots of sex. Wish I could have been there rather than hearing about it all these years.


  20. Falls Creek was wonderful for the 7 years I attended and I didn’t do or see any of the things you speak about. I am sorry that your life was not forever changed like so many of the 50,000 teenagers that attend each summer. Falls Creek is doing many things right.


  21. If you are unsure about your relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I will be glad to meet and clarify things. Falls Creek is a source of lots of humor, but salvation should never be a uncertainty.


  22. 11. Don’t piss off any of the older guys who have been called to the ministry unless you want to get pinned to the ground in your cabin, saran wrap pressed over your face, while the older devoutly Christian boy your mom is always telling you to act more like has his dick out simulating you giving him fellatio.


    1. All while your youth minister who will later move to another state and run for Congress as a Republican is sitting in his bunk reading a book, pretending not to notice.


  23. The sad reality of Falls Creek is its a picture of the church today-some of the people involved have a true and real relationship with Jesus but there are people participating that don’t. We are all part of a fallen world and God does not reveal Himself to us at the same time in the same way. You may not have seen Jesus at FC but He’s not given up on you yet!!


    1. The sad reality of Falls Creek is the encouragement to make an imaginary friend that will somehow guide you through life.. I mean, if you’re going to spend your life waiting for an imaginary friend to reveal itself to you, why wouldn’t you pick Cthulu? Way more of an epic reveal that will never happen.


  24. I have no qualms with your experiences at the camp and you are dead on the money about the worship and the songs, but James Lankford wasn’t the director in 2010 and Graze also was not the theme. You can modify your dates to 2008 and then you will be good. Just a couple errors and generalizations. Thanks for sharing.


  25. I learned all about relentless bullying at Falls Creek. It was one of my more traumatic childhood memories.

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