How many summers did you spend in the Canyon?
I started in 1970-72 as a camper, back in the days of Frog’s Airstream by the river; 1973 was my Work Crew summer, and in 1974/5 I was a counselor. I worked alongside Ted Williams for 2 years as a lifeguard and swimming/CPR instructor. Fast forward, and I did my first summer as a Camp Doctor in 1991, when we were still using the back porch of the Ranch House as the infirmary. There were no in-camp docs at that time, and anyone with an injury or illness who couldn’t be fixed with a first aid kit or aloe vera had to be taken into Kerrville to be seen at the ER. I worked with Margo Pruitt for several summers to get things more up-to-date (and since that time, Margo has transformed the healthcare at LLYC to a smooth-running machine, complete with bright clinics, a full staff of nurses and pre-med students at both camps, stock OTC medications and antibiotics, suturing equipment, and an electronic medical records system!).
What are you up to these days?
After raising my 3 children and 19 years in a family practice setting in Corpus Christi, I moved to Austin in 2005 and have worked as a medical director/attending physician in several post-acute and long-term care facilities, and hospice medicine. This year marks my 30th year as a physician, something that just cramps my brain!
I saw Chandler Pruitt at the last Elgin Alumni gathering and shortly after there was an unexpected opening in one of the scheduled weeks for camp doctors. Chandler and Margo contacted me, and I’m here in camp as I write this. It’s a crazy bunch of mixed emotions being back as a camp doc after nearly 20 years.
I love seeing camp in action, teeming with happy staffers and energetic kids, and all the familiar activities like rappelling, fishing, rodeo, art. I’ve really enjoyed the new activities like late night dances in the river, the giant slides and ziplines over the river. And everyone still walks the whole way to Blue Hole!!
Do you have a favorite camp memory?
I’m sure I can’t find just one, or even do a decent job of sorting out the top favorites. If I just let the thought of camp flash into my head, I think the first images are of Round-Ups with Frog, meals out on the Ranch House patio (it was ‘al fresco dining’ in all sorts of weather), and dances on the tennis court. And Frog yelling for some camper or counselor from the opposite side of camp with his booming, husky voice.
As for camp pictures during the 70’s, back then we had instamatics with rolls of film that you had no idea what you took til you had them processed. So there were no selfies or deleted pics back then!
I took a picture of my cabin-mates my first summer as a camper in the “cabin” which was the screened in porch on the back of the old Ranch House.
I have only ONE picture of me at camp! It’s from when I was on Work Crew, age 15, standing in the same room at the back of the ranch house with other Work Crew girls.
What do you miss most about your summers at camp?
The deepest kind of acceptance, love, and family I felt there every year. I’d give anything to go back, knowing that those were truly the best summers of my life, so I could savor every minute of them again. If I were offered a free ride in a time machine, I’d dial it back to the early 70s at LLYC in a heartbeat!
How does LLYC still impact your life today?
My first thoughts about going to medical school occurred while I was a counselor in 1974-5. Working with Ted Williams and Mike Vollers, both pre-med then, and having some pretty memorable camper injuries I found myself helping with at such a young age, seemed to guide me in that direction. Plus, both my daughter Marisa and my son Kevin were LLYC campers in the 90’s. My experiences at LLYC gave me a level of confidence I don’t think I would’ve had otherwise.