How many summers did you spend in the Canyon?
I spent eight years in the Canyon as a camper and staff. My first summer: 1990—Cabin 1, Echo Valley. I went on from there to Cabin 2 in 1991, then Cabin 4 for two years. After Cabin 4, I worked on Program Crew in ’95. I spent the next two years as a counselor at Singing Hills in Cabin 5 (Federales), and then returned as a cook at Echo Valley in 1999.
Fun Fact: My mom, Karen Painter at the time, was a camper during the founding years of LLYC. That will make my boys 3rd-generation LLYC-ers!
What are you up to these days?
I am a husband to Lindsey (12 years on May 15th!) and a dad to Luke (9), Eli (7), and Noah (3). We live in Fredericksburg, Texas. I lead worship at church and have recently had the privilege to help lead music at LLFC. I coach baseball and football for all our boys and work as a Superintendent for a Home Builder, a legend to the Canyon himself, Mr. Russell Tabor.
Do you have a favorite camp memory?
Not one, but I’ll share a few.
’90 – In Cabin 1, I met Clay Holland, and we have remained good friends to this day.
’91 – In Cabin 2, I had the privilege of having Larry “Chaps” Gilmore as my counselor.
’94 – Cabin 4 and all the glory of MWW and Camp Out! At that time our counselors told us we needed to really hydrate for the hike, so everyone drank so much orange Gatorade that we puked.
’95 – Program Crew year was filled with getting to know the inner workings of LLYC, meeting Russell Tabor, and staying up most nights into the wee hours of the morning pranking the girls Work Crew and having amazing, life-changing conversations with the other Program Crew guys and Bosses.
’96-’97 – Being a Singing Hills counselor was just amazing; the life-long relationships that were built, the adventure of sharing the love of Jesus with my campers, and the personal growth in my relationship with Christ that set the foundation for my faith today. Also, there was this skit that Clay Holland, Brian Chilton, Casey Morgan, and I did that was pretty epic … “The Flaming A’s”.
’99 – I was a cook at Echo Valley. We may have been the last or second-to-last team to cook in the old Ranch House, which is cool. Also, the amount of butter we used while cooking that summer is almost unbelievable.
What do you miss most about your summers at camp?
The relationships, the conversations, and the adventures. The smell of the river, caliche, and cedar trees all mixed together into one. The immersion of Jesus Christ into everything that we did was amazing.
How does LLYC still impact your life today?
Gosh, the years spent in the Canyon have given me a foundation for the way I live: Jesus, relationships, community, and adventure are fundamental to the way we live life, whether coaching baseball, building houses, or grocery shopping. LLYC has provided a platform on how to share the good news of Jesus in everyday situations. Some believe that only the leadership in the church should minister, but what I saw in the Canyon as a camper and what I experienced on staff changed that belief forever. We, as sons and daughters of God, become the ministers. And once you’ve experienced his goodness and love, you cannot help but share it. The life lessons, the Truth, and Relationship I found with Jesus within the Canyon burns brightly every day, in everything I do, and in turn, what my boys do and will do in the future. To say I’m grateful for what this place does would only be a portion of the truth. This place is where dreams are created, destinies found, and where the Father’s will is done, where his Kingdom comes upon the earth as it is in heaven.