There is just something about walking into a room of people who all have history with Laity Lodge. They each have different stories, of course, but there is an oddly similar fondness that ruminates in such a crowd. We come from all walks of life, but this one special place has made such a lasting impact on our lives that, even now, years after we’ve been campers or staffers there, we still identify with the Canyon and call it home.
Last night a number of these people gathered at Liz and Eric Goldreyer’s home for a delicious bite to eat (Dinner even felt campy as we feasted on Pappasito’s in small groups with good conversation scattered throughout their living room, kitchen, and back porch.) and for the premiere of The H. E. Butt Family Foundation’s Legacy Project.
It felt like heading from dinner to Roundup as we took our seats for the film’s introduction. Deborah and David Rogers introduced the 30-minute documentary-style film, which chronicles three generations of the Butt family. Of particular focus was the ministry of Howard Butt, Jr. along with a number of folks whose lives have been profoundly shaped by Laity Lodge and Howard’s life.
It wasn’t long before my first tears came streaming. The first portion of the film focused on a group from Corpus Christi (my hometown) that brought at-risk kids out to the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp. I had the privilege of being a camper at LLYC, but thankfully my childhood church also took its youth group to the Linnet’s Wings and Comanche Outpost campsites (the former is one of the H. E. Butt Foundation campsites, while the latter is history). I thought about all of the kids in my youth group who’d never been to LLYC, but were moved by the Spirit of God in the Canyon.
And I thought about how Howard Butt’s vision has affected every area of my life today. In one way or another, all of my significant relationships—my best friends, my husband, my friends’ husbands, and even my job—all tie back to that gorgeous place, touched by the hand of God. The place where I first felt valuable to my Creator and where I heard a raspy little man named Frog say, “Jesus loves you.” And I told Dan Roloff that he was my hero for having his Ph.D. in all things Howard. (Seriously, the archive work Dan has done is phenomenal, so you should thank him.)
And I cried a little more to think about the fact that I still get to go out there a few times a year. And that my children will be able to have their own sweet experiences in the same Canyon—so similar and yet so different, just like all of us!