50th reunion at Spruce Lake July 4th

July 4th Weekend in 1966 set an East Coast heat record at 105 degrees that still stands!

On that sweltering weekend, John Sauder and his brother, Marty, brought their spouses and little ones to Spruce Lake to try out John’s new camper. They had heard about the new Franconia Mennonite Conference camp in the Pocono Mountains and wanted to try out the place.

So off they went to Spruce Lake Retreat. Marty and John slept outside on the ground, thinking it would be cooler, but the temperature did not cool down much at night. Phyllis, eight months pregnant, and Jean with their children, Jay (4) and Brenda (3), slept inside the camper. Needless to say, they didn’t do much that weekend but eat, swim, sit around and talk, and try to sleep.

The heat left an impression, but that was only the beginning. The brothers told the other siblings about the “wonderful place to camp,” and more family members joined them the following year.

This past July 4th weekend 2016 was the Sauder Family’s 50th annual reunion at Spruce Lake! In the photo below are the 30 people who were able to attend this year. But if all the descendants of Alvin and Mary Sauder were able to travel to the reunion, the number would swell to over 120.

The Sauder Family’s love for Spruce Lake comes from feeling peacefully safe and at home in the Christ-centered environment and all the fun things they love to do together. Phyllis Sauder wrote, “We thank Spruce Lake Retreat for its commitment to Christian values, a beautiful place of nature and a place for all folks to come together to worship God, our Creator!”


Sauder Family (10) 7-2-16 - adj - web

In the photo, the original four are:

  • Phyllis Miller Sauder, 5th from left
  • John Sauder, behind Phyllis in sunglasses
  • Jean Sauder (wife of Marty), 6th from left
  • Marty Sauder, 7th from left