How many summers did you spend in the Canyon?
I spent 5 summers in the Canyon on staff. I started my first summer as a Federales counselor, which was a full summer with some great dudes. I’ll never forget it. The next summer I worked in the same cabin with most of the same co-counselors. I came back the third summer as Activities Director at Singing Hills, and learned a lot about myself and leadership, all while being encouraged by Geoff Rich to focus on what God wanted me to do, not what my skills allowed.
Most of those lessons resonate with me today. When Geoff moved to Echo Valley the following summer, I moved with him and managed Activities again. It was fun, and quite a change from Singing Hills. I hold a special place in my heart for each camp, and the impact made in the kids’ lives at each stage of their lives, where they need God, and how he ministers to them in that place.
My 5th summer was the year I graduated from college. I was asked to come back as a Programmer, although I didn’t think I was as clever or funny as my predecessors (see above where God uses us not based on talents 😊 ). That summer I was honored to work with Elizabeth Lodowski. She was magical, full of life and great ideas and always laughing. There was never a dull moment. We were compliments to one another that summer, and we had a lot of fun. At the end of the summer, I didn’t think I had a creative bone left in my body. You’re “on” all the time, constantly planning/executing and trying to keep the energy going. It’s only possible to do a summer like that by God’s strength, regardless of your personal strengths.
After Elizabeth got ill, I had my own battle with cancer. I knew she would kick it. She was stronger than me, and brought such joy to the world. Her loss was tragic.
What are you up to these days?
My wife and I just celebrated 14 years together! Four kids keep us sprite, and it keeps the house full of energy.
I run an architectural products business in Houston and Austin full time, but I hit the road often in order to get outside, exhale and reconnect. Our family of 6 fills a suburban pretty quick, and 5 years ago I developed an aluminum hitch basket that was the cat’s meow for loading, hauling and accessing all our gear on trips. Folks would stop me all the time to inquire about it, and in November 2016 we launched our website to sell them. WWW.PAKMULE.COM It’s really starting to take off, and we’ve been adding dealers and getting a ton of great feedback from customers. It’s important to get away from your routine in order to see clearly, to hear God’s voice, witness his raw creation and realize what’s important. We’re trying to make it easier for people to load up and go, so they’ll do it more often.
Do you have a favorite camp memory?
Oh, riding a wave runner in the river. Driving kids on trails in the UniMog. Jumping my bike off ramps into the river. Hunting down a sick ram that was threatening SH campers. Over a series of late nights in one summer, I built my first hitch basket in the barn. I had taken a welding class in college and was honing my skills, haha! As I got older, it got heavier though (weird how that works) and I created the aluminum PAKMULE I mentioned above.
One memory in particular stands out though. We were having on the back porch at Singing Hills one morning and praying aloud for God to fill us for another day. On a hot, still August morning, God sent a gush of cool wind thru us, literally. It took a while for the goose bumps to go away. Kevin Mayne and I recall that memory every time we see one another. It was pretty special.
What do you miss most about your summers at camp?
Summers at LLYC were simple; there were no political concerns, worries of war, or the stock market. The community of folks was tops. I don’t see them often, but when I do, it’s like old times and we just pick up where we last left off!
How does LLYC still impact your life today?
All the lessons I learned at LLYC are still relevant today. Two of my kids are there now too, which is a big time. Driving into the Canyon with them is a proud feeling, and it’s incredible to know God’s moving in them the way He moved in me, along with thousands of others who have been impacted by time spent at LLYC.