We followed the yellow brick road of flowers out to camp last Friday for LLYC Alumni Work Weekend.
We have a history with this place, so we gathered in the Canyon over dinner to prepare for a weekend of sweat and hard work. For some of us, it was our first drive through the river with our children in tow. We pointed out the Rock Slide and Antenna and tried to convey the millions of feelings we have about this place. There were legendary camp love stories in attendance, like the Hills, Moores, Duffies, and Lessners, and there were alums like the Boones, Skaggs, and Dawsons who have been bringing their kids out to the Canyon for 12+ years. We rested well at Headwaters and then hit breakfast ready to pour into this place we hold so dear.
Husbands hit the waterfronts and trails. They built an entire wall in the Wolf Den and prepped gobs of summer equipment. The women experienced deja vu running Hobart in the kitchen the way they did back on Work Crew. The friendship of Elaine Scott Gilfillan and Brittany McAtee Williams, which was born on Work Crew in the Singing Hills kitchen 20 summers ago, came full circle as they labored away under the leadership of Danielle Jamison Lochte, who was once a Work Crew Boss in that very kitchen. Kristen Camp Raven, a Canyon legend, headed up the Echo kitchen. Kaytie Brosnan Duffie labored away prepping the clinic with Margo Pruitt, while her husband, Connor, and brother, Tim, killed it at the Echo waterfront. And it should be known that even after working hard all weekend, Jack Skaggs displayed the ultimate servant’s heart by volunteering for kitchen duty after every single meal.
Children of Mike Brauer, Brad Philp, Sabra Dunnam Boone, and Jack Skaggs
Alumni offspring were eager to help, too! Some of these kiddos have been campers for years, while others were wrestling with nervousness about their upcoming first summer at Singing Hills in a few weeks. Everyone put in a long day of hard work. Meal times brought us back together to refuel and to meet first year staffers and twenty-somethings who have been coming to LLYC for over 10 years. We slept like babies after a dip in the Frio before we called it a day. Tom Boyer and Karla Heath were so encouraged by the help of LLYC Alumni during Work Weekend, agreeing that we brought a great energy to the Canyon, helping light a fire under current staffers to kick off Work Week. They were both amazed at how much got done in two days.
“I had one moment this weekend where I was cleaning out trash cans with my seven-year-old daughter behind the Singing Hills kitchen, and it struck me that I could never have predicted this moment as a SH Work Crew girl. That my daughter and I could be working together in the very spot where my life was forever altered, first as a 17-year-old Work Crew girl, and later when I met my husband on the SH back porch. It was such a sweet moment.”
—Danielle Jamison Lochte
“My dream of sharing the Canyon with my husband, step-son, and baby was realized. I loved watching them fall in love with a place so dear to me. We served and caught up with old friends. It was just what our family needed.”
—Elaine Scott Gilfillan
“We take any opportunity we can to come to the Canyon—it was such a pivotal place for both Patrick and me; sharing it with our kids is a gift. I loved watching my them actually work hard to help prepare for the amazing experience the summer will bring. They scrubbed down benches and chairs, mopped, took inventory of dishes. Then we got to cool off in the river, and they had to listen to me reminisce! This morning on the way to school we reflected on the weekend and were just so thankful to be a part of LLYC.”