Camp Tecumseh Baked Oatmeal

For two summers in college, I was a camp counselor at Camp Tecumseh, a fabulous YMCA camp in Brookston, Indiana. It was a tough job–hot days, late nights, kids everywhere, no privacy, little time off, an hourly pay rate of pennies [no joke--but not counting room and board :)], but it was also well worth it because it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I worked with 12-14 year old girls and absolutely loved getting into my girls’ lives–being part of their summer fun and also teaching them about faith and the role of God in life.

Every week and even every day at Camp T was different, and little was predictable short of the overall camp routine–and a big part of that routine was certain meals that we would eat every. single. week. Some, like mass-produced grilled cheese and hamburgers got old pretty quickly. Other things, like oreo pudding [that my co-counselor and I would smuggle outside onto the porch every Sunday night with our 8-10 campers, to eat with our hands. Mmmhmm. This was the first night of camp, mind you, so this was a great way to get the girls to bond run off in terror.] and baked oatmeal, served every Wednesday morning with regularity, were more welcome to us counselors.

I found this recipe on Camp T’s website after I came home from week 10 and was detoxing from camp food/ and getting back into the swing of normal life, where I was somewhat shocked to learn that tye dye and bandanas were, once again, not fashionable. Who knew?

But this recipe was my saving grace and allowed me little glimpses back into the days where I dressed up for Friday theme dinners and spent mornings teaching beading and basket weaving. Now, seven years later, I am still transported back to my summers at camp whenever I pull a batch of this simple, steaming baked oatmeal out of the oven. I love topping my baked oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins, because, you guessed it, that’s how the Camp T cooks served it.

And truth–it would be blasphemous to serve it any other way. But you can enjoy your sweet, filling, comforting dish of baked oatmeal with whatever toppings your little heart desires… walnuts? bananas? pecans? blueberries? … but as for me, I’ll take each bite nostalgically holding to tradition, reflecting on my days of camp and wishing I could be there for just one more campfire, one more night in our cozy cabins, one more night with my amazing counselor friends… one more, one more, one more… I’m so grateful that I had the summers at Camp T that I did, and am equally grateful that I have this recipe today as a reminder of my time!

Did you go to summer camp as a kid? What was your favorite part? Your favorite meal?

Camp Tecumseh Baked Oatmeal
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk
  • raisins, for serving
  • brown sugar, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until well combined. Add egg and mix well. Fold in oats and baking powder, then stir in milk, being aware that all milk may not be necessary. The batter should resemble runny cake batter. Pour batter into a greased 9×9 cake pan or a 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Serve with raisins and brown sugar.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 6-8 servings.

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12 thoughts on “Camp Tecumseh Baked Oatmeal

  1. I didn’t go to summer camp but I always wish I had! It sounds like so much fun. My kids are def gonna go.

    I love all the memories this baked oatmeal brings up and I’m sure it’s delicious too!

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  3. Sarah, our 10-yr old Brave just returned from Camp T yesterday and LOVED the baked oatmeal. He never :-):-),,:-):-),meven liked oatmeal before last week! Thanks for sharing so I can surprise him with it this winter when he starts asking how many more weeks until Camp T:-)

    You confirmed what I assumed – counselors don’t get paid much, and as rewarding as it is, they are all in college and I know cash means a lot. Is it appropriate to send them a little token of our appreciation? Did you ever get tips when you were a counselor?

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  4. My husband and I go to Camp T every fall with the school corp I work for. This fall was our first time having baked oatmeal and we have been thinking about it ever since. We LOVE Camp T and feel so lucky to be able to share all it has to offer with my students. We can’t wait for our daughter to take part as well. Thanks for sharing! I will try out the recipe in the morning. :)

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    • Heather, that’s so fun! I went to Camp T in elementry school with the entire 5th grade class. It was the best, and played a part in my decision to work there while in college. Hope you guys liked the homemade version of baked oatmeal :)

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  6. Ohmygosh I have gone to camp since 4th grade and this year I’ll be a Torch Bearer:( I am literally making Baked Oatmeal like right now. Thanks SO MUCH for the recipeā™„

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