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Who We Are

Laity Lodge Youth Camp is a Christian youth camp nestled in the Texas Hill Country’s stunning Frio River Canyon. Every summer, LLYC offers campers a blend of high-energy recreation, wild adventures, peaceful renewal, and meaningful community. Campers are always encouraged to be themselves, develop deep friendships with their peers and counselors, explore faith in Christ, and encounter God.

Our Name

Sometimes people call us “Lady Lodge Youth Camp.” That’s because “laity” is an unfamiliar word these days—and, well, when you say it quickly, it sounds a lot like “lady.”

The word “laity” is related to a Greek phrase—laos theou—that is used in the New Testament quite a bit. It means “the people of God.” Ironically, the phrase came to mean something more like “the common, untrained, not very smart people of God” in the early church.

Howard Butt, Jr., the founder of Laity Lodge and LLYC, wanted to correct this misunderstanding. He believed that all of God’s people (laos theou) can participate in God’s good and healing work in the world, not just clergy.

Every summer, we invite our campers and staff to remember these truths about themselves—we are all people of God, loved and valued. We can all hear the call of Christ’s Spirit. And we can all minister to one another and contribute to the good work that God is doing.

Our History

LLYC was established in 1966 by the H.E. Butt Foundation (read more about the history of the H.E. Butt Foundation here) with the goal of becoming a premier Christian youth camp. Our founders, Howard Butt, Sr., his wife Mary Holdsworth Butt, Bill Cody, and Frog Sullivan crafted a vision for a different kind of youth camp – one that prioritized relationships, less structure, and a message of unconditional love.

Bill Cody eventually took some time to record the history of LLYC and the original vision that our founders articulated in 1966. Even now, after fifty years of fine tuning our camp program, we feel that this vision has never changed.

“First, we wanted every kid who came to camp to have fun. In fact, we wanted it to be the best time [they] had ever had in [their] whole life. Second, we wanted every child to discover and experience [themselves] as a person, as a Child of God, loved and worthy. Third, we wanted to create an environment of love and trust where every child would feel safe and feel that [they] had a place as a unique individual person under God and in this special community. Fourth, we wanted to teach the central truths of Scripture, but not in a classroom style, but rather through modeling and experience.”

Since its conception, Laity Lodge Youth Camp has been mindful of the needs of youth and young adults and passionate about offering them the very best summer camp experience. We are ever thankful for the unique vision of our founders, and as we survey the needs of young people in our world today, we are continually reaffirmed in the simplicity and beauty of this vision. We are excited to carry it forward for generations to come.

Our Vision

At LLYC, we want to welcome young people into uncommon acceptance and unconditional love – and transform the way they experience the rest of their lives.

Every summer, LLYC has the most fun we can in the most beautiful place we know. Whether it’s with a rodeo or a dance in the river, we celebrate the wholehearted joy that comes from being accepted and loved just as you are. The days run from a million miles an hour to complete stillness and back again. Every moment of every day has the same intent: to create a place for you to belong, to be yourself, and encounter God.

Our Ministry

At LLYC, most of our time is spent having fun, building relationships, playing outside, and enjoying the incredible Frio river canyon. Our staff and campers often dive into discussions along the way about God, faith, and life. Each day we have a few planned times where we prioritize spiritual matters.

Every morning, each camp has a short devotional time where campers will experience peace and quiet, an introduced topic or activity, scripture to consider, and usually some discussion led by our staff. Every night all of camp gathers for what is called “Roundup.” Campers are invited to sing, laugh, participate, and listen to a talk given by one of our leadership staff. After Roundup, campers return to their cabins to discuss the talk with their counselors. We call this “Cabin Time.” It is an opportunity for people to share and be vulnerable with one another, talk about life, faith, struggles, concerns, confusions, etc.

At LLYC we welcome campers and staff from a wide variety of faith perspectives. We don’t claim to have all the answers, and we recognize that even within Christianity there are lots of different opinions and beliefs. When we talk about faith, we do our best to avoid debates and defense of doctrines and dogma. Instead, we listen to each other, try to understand each other’s perspectives, share our own thoughts, and have meaningful conversation. As we discuss the different elements of the gospel story and how they might apply to faith, here are the things we like to talk about:

God and Creation – We wrestle with understanding things like God’s love, goodness, power, creativity, righteousness, justice, and trustworthiness. We often point to God’s creation for hints of God’s qualities and characteristics.

Humanity and Our Nature – We emphasize that all people are beautifully made children of God, created in God’s image, yet we are also sinful and broken individuals who are part of sinful and broken systems. We need liberation and forgiveness.

God With Us – We talk about the mystery of the incarnation—God, in Jesus, took on flesh and dwelt among us. We explore how this concept dignifies and honors all of humanity. We talk about how God’s presence with us means that God thoroughly understands our pain and suffering, and God endures it with us.

Jesus’ Life and Teachings – We explore various stories and teachings of Jesus from the New Testament and what we can learn from them. We talk about how Jesus accepted everyone, healed and restored the weak, and taught how to love God and others in life.

Jesus’ Death on a Cross – We discuss Jesus’ death on the cross and its significance. We explore the mystery of the cross and how it might reveal God’s grace, forgiveness, freedom, acceptance, and sacrificial love. 

Jesus’ Resurrection – We explore the significance of the story of Jesus’ resurrection and how it points to God’s victory over death and God’s intention to move things from death to life in our own lives. We talk about how this gives us great hope for the present and the future.

The Holy Spirit – We think together about God’s Holy Spirit being present to all things and available to us as a comforter and guide. We encourage one another to listen to the quiet call of the Spirit, and to let it lead towards transformation, renewal, abundant life, love for all, and special care for those in need.

Scripture – We hope to inspire a love of Scripture. We talk about how the Bible is messy, confusing, beautiful, and potentially life-changing.  We talk about how its stories, wisdom-literature, and poetry can teach us much about God and God’s ways. Our staff will talk honestly about their efforts and challenges in understanding Scripture and how it might be relevant and applicable to our lives today.

Prayer – We explore what talking to God and being mindful of God can look like. We discuss how prayer can look different for everyone. We emphasize that in prayer we find a relationship with God where we are offered peace, joy, hope, perspective, and direction in our lives.

The Christian Life – We talk about what it means to “follow” Jesus toward wholeness and fulfilled life. We encourage one another to walk in the “way of Christ” — to trust in God, to love unconditionally, to practice others-mindedness, to serve sacrificially, and to care for the poor and needy around us. We talk about how Jesus calls us to work for the greatest good in personal life, family relationships, friendships, schools, workplaces, and communities. 

Christian Community – We discuss how Christian community should offer us a place to find love and encouragement, learn about faith and God, and be challenged to walk in the way of Christ. We emphasize that as the “laity,” each of us can contribute to a community like this in meaningful ways. We challenge our campers to prioritize a Christian community back at home, and to let us know if they have trouble finding one, because maybe we can help!

Going Home – As campers leave camp, we share with them our hope that their positive experiences and growth at camp would greatly impact their lives and the lives of their families, friends, and communities. We desire for each camper to return home renewed, full of great stories and memories, and confident in who they are. We encourage campers to share with family and friends what they did at camp, what they thought about, and what they learned. We encourage them to continue the conversations we began during camp throughout the year.

Our Camps

Check out our pages for each of our youth camp programs for more information about what camp is like.

Singing Hills

Grades 2 - 5

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Echo Valley

Grades 6 - 10

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