Summer is coming. How do I know? Because LLYC and LLFC recently hosted our annual Central Staff Retreat here at the H. E. Butt Foundation offices in Kerrville. Central Staff is how we refer to our leadership staff each summer. They are the backbone of so much of what we do.
Central Staff Retreat is one of my favorite weekends in our calendar year! Of course, the weekend is filled with fun, surprises, job training, wiffle ball, and food … LOTS OF FOOD. But there is so much more to the weekend. For me, this is the weekend camp starts. In the past few months, LLYC directors and interns have been on the road logging miles and interviews, slowly forming the staff of 2018 Counselors, Cooks, Sugar Shack, Activities Team, Work Crew, Program Crew, and Central Staff. The rest of staff will have their retreat at the end of March, but this weekend is all about the Central Staff.
This weekend sets the tone for the rest of summer. We talk about our goals for camp this summer. We talk about leadership and serving our staff, who in turn serve the campers. We challenge each other to pray for camp starting now rather than wait until we all move to the Canyon in mid-May. We encourage one another, and we leave tired but refreshed and ready. Ready for summer 2018!
Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend:
- Team Tom won the first annual wiffle ball tournament in dramatic fashion as Bear Thompson hit a walk-off home run to win the game.
- Saturday we danced the night away with our headphones on. Seriously. It is called silent disco, and if you haven’t heard of it you should look it up. It was awesome!
- Karla won bunco for the third time in five years!
- Saturday, we worshipped together and prayed for every staff member who has been hired for this summer.
- We received job training through a series of breakout sessions led by full time staff.
From the mouth of our staff:
- “Central Staff Retreat was the perfect way to kick off the summer! I got the chance to worship with old friends, catch Cary’s fly ball (shout-out Team Tom), dance like a fool, and prepare my heart for another summer of service.”
- “Prayer! We prayed over campers, co-ships, counselors, team members, leadership, families, parents. You name it, and we prayed over it. We called out lies we had been believing about ourselves and allowed Christ to shine truth on them. We spoke fears into the light and crushed the power the enemy has in our thoughts. It was so refreshing to pray about EVERYTHING, the good and the ugly. We serve a good God who delights in leading us beside quiet waters. It was the best!!!!!!”
- “For me worshipping in Howard Butt’s office was super awesome because it just brought up a lot of emotions in me. Camp has been such an incredible part of my life for the past 14 years, and in that moment, I looked around and started getting emotional about how cool it was to be sitting in such a key part of camp’s foundation with some of my closest friends while worshipping the Lord who provided all of that! It just truly clarified my purpose for this next summer and made me so thankful for this opportunity!”
- “It reminded me that I’ll never be too old to love the way Laity Lodge Youth Camp does camp ministry!”
- “I liked the prayer time and worship on Saturday. I liked the echo meeting and the ‘What does central staff mean to you?’ activity because it’s important for everyone to be working towards a collective goal.”
As you can see, the Central Staff Retreat was a huge success, and the journey to summer has now officially begun. Based on the energy and excitement of this weekend, we know it’s going to be another amazing summer in the Canyon!