How was camp involved in your relationship?
The answer to that question is very straight forward. Without camp we would not have a relationship. Suzanne is from Florida and was attending Samford University in Birmingham when she was encouraged by the Youth Minister where she worked to apply to LLYC. The Youth Minister was Gil Kracke who was spent multiple years out at camp. Suzanne’s first summer was my sixth summer at camp (I spent two as a camper and four on staff). My first three summers on Staff at Singing Hills (Cabin 4 counselor, Program Director, then Program Crew boss). The first time I met Suzanne was when I was playing Frisbee with some friends at Echo Valley. I sat down next to her and she introduced herself as “Louise”. I thought her name was Louise for a while. She also told me a story that she was Tiger Woods’ sister. Half way through the summer, I realized her last name was not in fact Woods. I was attracted to Suzanne’s ability to hunt Armadillos and the different characters she created on dress up occasions. Suzanne had a special ability to look past the inhuman amount of hair I had on my chest and back. Camp provides the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with one another and the ability to get to know each other quickly. We knew we both loved each other five weeks after hanging with each other on the floating trip to Concan during 1997 staff meeting. We both loved Jesus, working with kids, being outdoors, and building relations with other staff members.
How is camp still involved in your relationship?
One of the things we really loved about camp was the worship songs we sang during morning meetings and roundup. The majority of the songs that we connected to were Vineyard worship songs. We actually incorporated the worship songs into our wedding with Gil Kracke and Michael Jarrett leading a worship portion of our favorite camp songs. I moved to Birmingham Suzanne’s senior year of college and discovered a Vineyard Church that sang the same songs they played at camp. We got married and ended up in Midland Texas as Youth Ministers at a church with at least 10 families who were connected to LLYC. After a couple years in Midland, we both ended up back in Birmingham and on staff at the Vineyard Church. I think camp taught us how important relationships are and that strong relationships can be built with a great diversity of people. We have both worked with kids and teenagers since we have left camp have done our best to live out relational ministry. We also learned from camp that kids can connect to God in a significant way regardless of their age.
We were able to take our kids to Family camp in 2011 and we would love to make it back it there soon. Camp taught us the importance of including fun, adventure, creativity, and God in family and work.