The original Galilee property was at Stateline, Nevada, near where Harvey’s Casino is today and was founded in 1920. The first recorded service was on August 8 of that year. On Sunday, May 29, 2022 nearly 200 people gathered at the camp in celebration to honor Galilee’s 100th Birthday. There was another celebration on Saturday, June 4th at Epiphany Episcopal Church, Las Vegas for people in southern Nevada.
The Norris-Rocaberte Family Foundation has made a gift of $15,000 to underwrite the two celebrations. Thank you to Paul Norris, Rock Rocaberte and their children for sponsoring the events!
As we celebrate 100 years of changing lives for campers and adults alike, we are working actively to grow and sustain Galilee for the next 100. Join us!
The following stories about the old and new Galilee bells was written by Kim Greenspan, past Galilee camper, counselor, and staff person.
The Old Galilee Bell
The old big historical Galilee bell was housed over Washoe cabin. Washoe was the tiny staff cabin on the edge of camp, sitting on the north property line just east of Talbot House, and below Belmont & Round Mountain cabins. One of the greatest privileges awarded to a camper was the chance to ring the big Galilee bell! But, it was no easy task as a young camper. When I was a small camper, I had to hang onto the big rope and have a counselor pull me up and down to get the bell to ring. The bell was so loud there was no way to sleep through that early morning wake up clang! The ringing could be heard all the way across the Lake on a calm Tahoe day. Each camp activity, from morning wake up to lights out, was marked by a ring of the bell. We can only hope the neighbors, the Sweetlands, had some fondness for the Galilee bell! In 1974, following the death of my mother Connie, my father Jim Stearns, became the first winter caretaker of Galilee. Jim stayed on site and kept the road clear of snow. With clear roads, St. John’s was able to hold winter church services, thereby becoming a year round church. Unfortunately, sometime during the winter of 1975, the big historic camp bell disappeared! While Jim was out of Camp for a few hours, the bell was taken. My father’s theory was that since the road was plowed and clear, this allowed easy access to the bell. Jim was broken hearted and felt responsible for the loss of the big Galilee bell.
The New Galilee Bell
In the spring of 1984, Fred and I were hired to catalog and sell items from the Kenneth Yeates estate on Yellowjacket Road in Glenbrook. We persuaded the family to donate many items for a big summer sale at Galilee. The sale was a great success. In late August, as we finally finished preparing the home for sale, the Yeates family generously gave me an old train bell from their property. I had mentioned several times that summer how I loved the old train bell hanging on the tree. Fred and I took the bell home and hung it from a huge tree in our yard out on Deadman’s point. I was thrilled to have that bell! I thought how fun it would be to ring the bell when I wanted Fred and friends to come up to the cabin from fishing out on the pier. Ha! Little did I know, my dad and Ken Priest had other plans… My dad and Father Ken snuck out to our little cabin after Sunday service at St John’s. They backed Dad’s little yellow Fiat convertible down the treacherous dirt driveway, climbed a ladder, removed the train bell, carried it up the steep stairs, loaded it into the back seat of the convertible, and finally drove it through Glenbrook to Galilee. I later heard from a few neighbors about two old priests driving a yellow convertible with my train bell in the back seat! Who would question two old guys in priest collars? My father’s response when I asked why- “Galilee needs a bell more than you do.” ❤️ The Little Bell was first placed in the Howard Smith Circle and then later moved closer to the kitchen.