The Life-Changing Hum of the Canyon – Tom Bowyer, LLYC Director at EV

For three months ziplines race overhead, the shooting range booms, softball bats ding, group games and activities rage at full speed and full volume, and the LLYC Pavilions pulse rhythmically, like hearts that beat once a day at 8:00 pm. Profound worship and life-changing conversations bounce around the walls of the Canyon day and night. The river teems with the constant flood of piping hot campers and piping hot music. An audible hum of chaos, laughter, screams, summer tunes and the voice of God rises rapidly as camp begins in May and cranks perpetually till early August. For those of us who are there all summer, the hum quickly becomes the norm. But every so often you can’t help but note its presence like a buzzing box fan in the middle of the night.

If you’re an LLYC alum you know the hum I’m talking about. It’s the sound of life, risk, youth, raw and unfiltered. And if it’s been awhile since you’ve been around the Canyon during the summer, I want you to know that it still hums. There is still a special energy in the air. Campers still make life-long memories and friendships. Campers (and staff) are still having the best two weeks of their lives. The Canyon still looks rugged and untouched as if a Comanche on a horse might appear on the bluff at any point. The Spirit of God still speaks powerfully through the divine handiwork of the Frio River Canyon. God still uses this place and the people in it change lives and impact his kingdom. LLYC summers still hum beautifully.

After the summer, the hum stops. It’s an unmistakable change Even the wildlife of the Canyon sense the absence immediately. I watched this happen on August 5, the last day of camp. After all the equipment and supplies were packed in Barney, all the cabins cleaned, all the tears and hugs exchanged, all the “see you laters” spoken, all the contact info shared, all the lights shut off, buildings shut down and locked, after all the dust settled from the last cars to leave the Canyon, I lingered to collect my last items from the house.

In the stillness I thanked God for carrying us through the summer as he always does.

Before I drove out of the Canyon, I spotted three whitetail deer grazing quietly right in the middle of our play field, a sight you never see during summer. They almost looked confused, like a piece of their world was missing. Suddenly, quiet had replaced the hum and everything felt the difference. After all, the hum is why the Canyon exists. God knew when he created this Canyon that he would use this place for loud, life-changing things. LLYC was meant to hum. And I am blessed to be a part of the noise.

Questions to consider:

  • As you think about the summer “hum” of camp, what noises and sounds stand out in your mind? What do you miss? What makes the LLYC summer hum so special?
  • When people reflect on their LLYC experience, one of the things I hear often is that camp helps them see that the hum of our lives can be a beautiful balance of faith, fun and community. I believe this is possible anywhere, not just at camp. What noises and sounds compose the hum of your daily life right now?
  • How can you pray for God to allow the hum of your life to be more in tune with his desires?