When our LLYC directors met Bill Boyd last year, they knew he would make a fantastic fit as our Staff Week speaker for this summer. A veteran pastor with a deep love and appreciation for camping ministry, Bill spent years as a counselor at Alpine Camp. The relationships he made during that time were formational not only in his life but also in the life of his family. His sons now attend and work at Alpine themselves.
Sharing stories similar to those of many on our own staff, Bill reflected on what first drew him to camp as an Ole Miss freshman. He set the tone for Staff Week telling of a group of upperclassmen who changed the course of his college experience. There was something special and unique about these guys, and he really looked up to them. They invested time to get to know him. They actually sought him out and were genuinely interested in who he was. They made themselves available and accessible to him, a lowly freshman—certainly not the usual behavior for upperclassmen on a college campus. What made these guys so different? Over the course of that year, he learned that they were all Christians, and they were all on staff at Alpine Camp.
Due to their positive influence, Bill spent the next summer and many, many more working at Alpine Camp. His time at Alpine changed how Bill understood the Gospel and its influence in his life and his relationship to others—particularly those a season or two behind us on our faith journey. His stories of older staff at Alpine modeling Christ’s investment in people’s lives reminded us all how important it is to make ourselves available to campers and to show interest in who each camper is as a person.
We had another very special guest join us during Staff Week for the Rodeo Dance. As our staff spilled into the Echo Valley Ranch House turned light strung dancehall, they were blown away at seeing famed Texas country musician Cory Morrow and his band up on stage waiting for them. We heard lots of cheering. As a group of our PC guys walked by, they commented that seeing Cory live was on their concert bucket list. Who ever would have guessed that they would check that off at LLYC Staff Week? And for those who weren’t familiar with his music, he became a lightning-fast favorite a few songs in. We all knew we were in Texas that night.
What a treat to watch half our staff crowd the stage singing along word for word with Cory while the other half danced the night away—reminiscent of Luckenbach. And though Cory’s music stole the show, his stories captured our hearts.
As the night went on, Cory revealed to our high school and college staff that this wasn’t actually his first visit to the Canyon. He had been to LLYC before. Years ago Cory first met Christ outside the Old Pavilion at Echo Valley when he was 14. He talked of the seeds that were planted in his life through the relationships with his counselors and a guy named Frog. And he talked of the long journey he traveled between then and now. He encouraged our staff as they were about to step into a summer full of young people just like him back in the day—young people who might even meet Jesus for the very first time. What a gift Cory’s stories were as we headed into summer—reminding us that Christ is at work in and through each one of us.
Thank you, Lord, for our staff who engage wholeheartedly with our campers day in and day out. Thank you for all that you are doing in and through them. Thank you for Bill and Cory, for their unique faith journey and the message they have to share because of who you are in their lives today. May their words and stories stay with us through the remainder of this summer and throughout our own journeys with you.