How many summers did you spend in the Canyon?
I started coming to camp as a 6th grader to Echo Valley. I had 5 amazing summers as a camper followed by 1 on Program Crew, and 5 on Staff. Four of those were as a Counselor and one as Guys Staff Director at Echo Valley.
What are you up to these days?
My wife and I are doctors in San Antonio. We are finishing our residency training and she will be joining a pediatrics practice, while I will continue training in gastroenterology. We have a 9-month-old named Jack who can’t wait to go to camp!
Do you have a favorite camp memory?
There are too many individual memories to name. The Foundation is special for its setting. I remember how it feels to hike through East Canyon and jump into Blue Hole on a hot day. I used to take kids exploring, fishing, or birdwatching, and we’d wade through the river. I immediately recall the sensation of the rocky river bottom on my bare feet. The physical beauty of the Canyon, the textures of caliche and cypress trees, and that wild smell you get when you first roll down your window at camp are all unforgettable.
As a camper, the thing I loved most was nighttime sneak-outs. I lived the other 50 weeks of the year dreaming about these. A sneak-out was the most epic activity a middle school boy could enjoy. I’d be happy to tell you about all the [completely legal] things we did in person. Camp was non-stop fun. My very first summer, I cried when I had to leave.
Still, my best memories are certainly as a counselor. I remember teaching little girls how to two-step. I remember being able to bring out the best in boys who had never shown their personality before when we’d place them in leadership roles. When you are a counselor at camp, your job is to be a playful, creative, kid-loving, gospel-sharing, ball of energy. Somehow, I felt like I was able to do that. There is nothing like it in the world.
What do you miss most about your summers at camp?
Many of the moments where I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit occurred at camp. I love what I do now, but sometimes when I was at camp, I just felt like I was exactly who and where He wanted me to be. I was confident that I was making a difference in the lives of young people. It seemed like God was moving all the time – a conversation with a camper, a great roundup talk, a quiet time by the river – I wish my daily experience was more like that.
How does LLYC still impact your life today?
In a sense, LLYC shaped a significant part of who I am. I am one of those campers who found his personality and confidence doing simple things like skits and ropes course. As a counselor, I learned how to build relationships with young people and I hope I am a better father for it. Camp also taught me that God loves to move our spirits in the setting of natural beauty and that He is glorified in His Creation. Perhaps most importantly, many of my best friends today worked together with me at camp. Together we experienced God’s goodness and because of that, we can remind each other to press on toward the goal. Ultimately, the Canyon was a place where God revealed wonderful things to me about Himself and about who He has made me to be. I will always grateful that He chose to share it with me.