by Janine Pettit
03 Oct 2016
When yours, mine and ours converge to create a family of twelve you know that camping is going to be part of the plan. When Gail met Wayne they both brought children into their now 25-year-old marriage. Together over the next two and a half decades they fostered seventy-five children in need of care, eventually adopting four sisters to bring their number of children up to ten – an even dozen in the family.
Life was busy on their small Ohio farm with horses, sheep, alpaca, barns and creeks, and camping with lots of kids! It must have seemed hard to picture the light at the end of the parenting tunnel for Gail. If the truth be told though, she really didn’t want to see it end. But kids grow up despite their mother’s protests and as that dim light at the end of the tunnel began to give off real light, she found herself thinking of ways in which she might fill the gap.
Gail, mother to many and friend to all she meets is the perfect person to act as Camp Host at Beaver Creek.
Gail grew up in Ohio but not in a camping family. She had just one sibling, a brother with whom she is still very close to. But Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill generously provided cousin Kaylynn, 9 months younger than Gail, to be a lifelong best friend. Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill were campers and more than happy to take Gail along on all of their adventures. The two cousins loved their campouts and Gail in particular developed a real love for nature.
The camping bug stayed with Gail, and when she and Wayne merged their families, camping became a big part of their lives. Over the years they camped in tents, a pop-up, and travel trailers. The family loved fishing and the outdoors, but none loved it all as much as Gail whose childhood memories with Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill never left her.
While raising her large family on their Ohio hobby farm, Gail honed many skills. For years she has been a fiber artist, a respected teacher and member of many knitting clubs, as well as at one time the host of a podcast on knitting, spinning and dyeing wools. As the kids grew and left home to make their own lives, Gail had more time for her interests.
These hobbies lead her to volunteer as a reenactor of feminine arts at the Beaver Creek State Park Pioneer Village in East Liverpool, Ohio. On the first of every month she dons Colonial garb and sits spinning in the restored log cabin while school children on field trips and families on day outings observe what it took to create a hat or sweater in days gone by. The park became a second home for Gail and Wayne who often fished there in the river that runs through it.