Ted and Missy Williams: The First Match Made in the Canyon

Ted Williams was one of the first-ever campers at Laity Lodge Youth Camp back in 1967. He was twelve years old at the time. His mother had been at Laity Lodge when Keith Miller and Howard Butt announced a new program for kids, Laity Lodge Youth Camp. 

She was sure that her Ted needed to go.

Years later, Ted still remembers Howard Butt Jr. ‘s Roundup talk about servant leadership. He also remembers learning about servant leadership from Frog Sullivan who jumped into action to help unclog the septic system during camp. Frog could have ordered others to do this work, but he showed Ted and the other campers that a good leader happily and eagerly does what needs to be done.

Missy was one of those other campers. She was ten that year and remembers how Frog made God feel real to them in his Roundup talks and in the way he engaged with campers. God wants to be intimately involved in our lives, Frog would tell them in the old pavilion, presenting the gospel to them in a way that was easy to understand.

After hearing the Gospel from Frog one night during Roundup, Ted began his relationship with Christ.

He also began a relationship with Missy that year, and they grew up as camp friends at LLYC. Years later, Ted asked Missy to be his date to a fraternity function, and their sweet camp friendship turned into more.

“God wants to be intimately involved in our lives.”

One year later, they were married.

A few months after that, Ted and Missy were head guys and girls directors at LLYC. A flash flood that summer made camp interesting: no electricity meant ice cream for breakfast (so it wouldn’t go to waste). The blackout lasted three days. Campers showered in the river, having the time of their lives, blissfully unaware of the problems facing staff and the fears worrying parents. Ted recalls that one dad landed a helicopter in the playfield to check on his kids.

For a while, life and career prevented Ted and Missy from going back to the Canyon. Ted was busy practicing medicine, before transitioning to child psychiatry, a move that he attributes to his time at camp when he was a Cabin 4 counselor and realized half of his campers came from broken families. Today Ted still believes in the transformative power of relationships to help his patients find wholeness.

Missy took the lead with their four kids — three daughters and one son — all of whom grew up going to Laity Lodge Youth Camp where Ted served as the camp doctor. As a camper, LLYC helped their son Rob “solidify his eagerness and excitement for his relationship with the Lord.” And, just like his parents before him, Rob met his wife Mallory at LLYC.

Every August the Williams return to the Canyon through the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp program. The place still feels like home, because it is where they both met the Lord… and each other.