While our story did not begin at camp, the Canyon is certainly where it grew into real-deal forever love. We met in 7th grade art class and quickly became best friends in that middle school kind of way where no one has the nerve to say they “like like” the other. We each begged our parents to sign us up for this LLYC thing that our friends would NOT quit talking about. And from the moment our brand new Teva’s touched Canyon soil, we joined the host of people who know . . . this is our place. We all belong here.
By the summer of 1994, one of us must have gotten brave because we arrived at Second Session as “boyfriend and girlfriend.” And as magical as young love is, somehow it is even more magical when you are in love at camp! I mean, what is more romantic than planning The Perfect Sneak-out while holding hands in the Spit Pit?! Plus, the fact that we were both assigned to be Tejas Indians was a clear sign from God that we were meant to be together forever. THE END.
Except it wasn’t. While camp was an idyllic backdrop to our carefree happy times, it was also our safe place to fall in the inevitable heartache involved in being a real person and loving a real person. When we were on Work Crew, we broke up. It was about as dignified and mature as you’d expect from a couple of high school kids.
The next several summers were a relationship teeter-totter . . . together . . . wait, not together . . . engaged . . . nope, not engaged. While we lacked steadfastness in those necessary – but gut-wrenching – years, our camp community did not. On front porches, in old camp trucks, in walk-in freezers, in more Spit Pits, inside the Canyon and out – our camp friends never wavered in their unconditional love for us. We were surrounded by people who spoke truth to us and encouraged the formation of our integrity, even when it was hard. They pointed us to Jesus. He eventually pointed us back to each other, and when we got married 16 years ago (yikes!), the church, the stage and the pulpit were all filled with life-long friends we originally met at LLYC.
Camp has remained a current in our lives. We went back as Directors the summer after we were married. For several years, Brian was the “camp cowboy” and facilitated rodeos for a new generation of campers. Every year we look forward to the unparalleled hospitality of LLFC.
Our camp love story is bigger than just the two of us. To this day, our closest friendships on earth are with some of those same unconditional-love-truth-tellers from camp. Now our kids are friends and set out to make their own camp memories. Last summer, we dropped our oldest son off in his brand new Teva’s – and now he knows . . . this is our place. We all belong here.