Williamson Amphitheater Information

The Williamson Amphitheater
History and Features

Our 120-140 seat amphitheater in the woods is a favorite place for guests to gather for activities such as family talent shows, movie nights, and church services.
We also host 3-4 weddings each year. Weddings are considered a part of the two-night minimum camping experience.
The amphitheater is beautifully set under a canopy of trees in the woods just 40 yards north of our two overnight facilities, the Lodge and Willow.
The amphitheater stage is 16′ wide x 10′ deep and has lights, electrical outlets, and a backdrop frame that can be used to hold decorations or to hang a 100″ video screen provided by the camp.
The amphitheater benches are lit by a pole light at the rear where there are also multiple electrical outlets.
The amphitheater also has wireless high-speed Internet access for use with the video projector also provided by the camp.

Williamson Amphitheater History

The Williamson Amphitheater is named in honor of Gary and Deni Williamson, and their two sons Joel and Joshua who lived at Camp Oak Hill each summer from 1989-1994. Deni contributed to many aspects of the summer camp program but was best known for teaching the campers about nature. Her gentle spirit and love for the children endeared her to everyone. Deni was affectionately called the “bug lady” by the campers. While at Camp Oak Hill Deni began what became a long, productive, and successful career as a children’s book author.

The Camp Oak Hill facilities and infrastructure were very old and needed a lot of work and TLC when the Ashburns purchased it in 1988 and invited Gary and Deni to bring their family and spend the summer. They agreed and came back for 4 more summers. Gary was not only an invaluable and tireless maintenance man, but a loving and wise presence with the campers and counselors. Gary single-handedly built the amphitheater in 1994 as a parting gift to Camp Oak Hill.

Gary and I (Curt Ashburn) began a life-long friendship when we met at Shippensburg University in 1973. During our college years, we navigated some rough spiritual waters together as we did our best to provide leadership to the campus Christian Fellowship organization and grow in our own faith in God. We even met our future wives at Shippensburg. For more than 4 decades, Deni and Judy’s love have been a constant source of strength and inspiration for Gary and me.

Sometime around 2010, Gary’s sister Jill got word to us that Gary had been diagnosed with an incurable degenerative brain disorder. He eventually came to need 24-hour care from Deni and others until he left us in 2021. As the end drew near, Deni was kind enough to set up weekly Facetime calls for us to talk with Gary from their home in Idaho. Over the last 2 months before his passing, I was able to say goodbye to my friend of 50 years. Though his mind was still sharp, Gary was barely able to speak, but his last words to me were loud and clear, “I love you, Curt!”

It was Gary Williamson who first taught me how to love, but not just me, he taught everyone around him how to love through his words and actions. None of us live perfectly, but Gary came as close as anyone I have ever met to loving perfectly.

For all of these reasons and more, the amphitheater in the woods at Camp Oak Hill is known as the Williamson Amphitheater in honor of Gary and his beautiful wife, Deni, and sons, Joel and Joshua.

Photos of the Williamson family from their 5 summers at Camp Oak Hill can be found on the Williamson Photos page (coming soon).