In my day, the name Jill Chapman was synonymous with Echo Valley royalty. Jill was elite; a gal who moved to Montana on a whim and could do hard things like rock climb and play guitar. In short, I thought Jill was super-human. That is, until I rode shotgun with her to Del Rio over Spring Break in ’99 for LLYC’s Flood Relief. She drove us youngins out West, all the while munching on her funky granola and drinking some bizarre concoction. But we talked like friends do. And I liked her immediately.
The next day as we got to work repairing an office building in hard-hit Del Rio, I commented on her 4-wheel-drive tool belt. She explained that she used it when she was building her bed. That’s right! She built her own bed, People! During that week, we had a few chance bonding moments, finding each other early in the morning in an upstairs chapel, where we’d both escaped to snag a few moments with God before the rush of the day. We read a few devotionals together and talked about the Lord. It was sweet and by the end of the week, I officially loved this little blonde child of God.
And this summer, over a decade later, I sat down with Jill during Laity Lodge Family Camp to catch the scoop on her life today. Jill Chapman married another elite LLYC Alum, Clay Holland. And although they were the same age, it took years before they got together. He was on Program Crew 1st Half, and she was on Work Crew 2nd Half. She was a counselor at Echo and he was at the Hills. But when Clay became Program Crew boss in ’99 and Echo became his summer home base, they finally started dating.
They are married now, living in Fredericksburg with their two kids, Caleb and Everett, where Jill has a thriving career as an artist. Not only does she create gorgeous paintings, she also teaches art classes on the side. In fact, she has been invited out to the Canyon to teach painting at Laity Lodge and Family Camp. I was one of her students during LLFC and I can say with confidence that she knows her stuff! Plus, I walked away with a pretty stellar finished product that she somehow helped me paint with my own right hand!
The Holland family had a great time at LLFC, but when I asked Jill what it was like bringing their children out to this Canyon that has been so special to them, she said “We don’t want to bring our kids out here all the time. We want this place to stay magical for them like it was for us.”