Finding Jo Nurse… And More! #115

Finding a summer camp nurse is one tough job! I knew that DL would need one and I also knew that the DL housing for a camp nurse was very limited; the money to pay a nurse was also very limited! The nurse would have to make most patient care decisions on her own. DL did not have a telephone which the nurse could use to call a doctor. Speculator was six miles down the road, and there was no doctor or clinic in the town. There were hospitals in Amsterdam and Johnstown – both about an hour from camp. DL needed an experienced nurse, someone comfortable providing the nursing/medical care of boys from 8 to 23. I did not know one person qualified, much less willing, to come.

John Engstrom, the athletic director at Stony Brook Academy knew Bill and Lynn Gosling. Bill was in capital development at Stony Brook. When a new Director of Development was hired, Bill had been asked to resign. John told Bud Williams, a professor at Wheaton College who taught in the P.E. department and at Honey Rock Camp, of the availability of Bill and Lynn. Bud, a friend of mine, knew I had just become the Director of Deerfoot Lodge and called me to see if DL needed a camp nurse. I called Lynn and learned she had 17 years of nursing experience and was an EMT. Lynn, Bill and their two daughters and two sons arrived at DL in June. DL needed a nurse and the Goslings needed a place to go for the summer. Talk about God having a plan!

The Goslings moved into the Health Center. At that time there was no second floor so Bill and Lynn lived in what is now the isolation ward (10’ X 12”). Their daughters moved into the small area where the stairs now go up to the second floor. When John or David was in camp, the other slept on the floor in the “clinic” room, the room where every sick or injured camper came, day and night. It was wild, yet the Goslings kept their cool through it all.

O yes, I should mention that Lynn was legally blind! We had a letter from her ophthalmologist saying Lynn, with the aid of magnifying devices, was able to see sufficiently to perform the duties of a registered nurse. Lynn Gosling was “Jo Nurse” at DL for 15 summers! She was terrific!!!!

As Lynn worked hard in the Health Center, Bill looked for ways in which he could help. During the first session he added outlets to Antlers so we could have fish tanks, he made town trips, he drove hikes – he never stopped.

As Bill had considerable writing experience, he agreed to develop the first DL staff manual. His resources: a small DL tripping manual, the staff manual we had developed over seven years at Sky Ranch in TX, my copy of the Honey Rock Camp manual from 1961 – and the “oral tradition” available to him. Bill sought to include everything fundamental to DL: the camp philosophy, job descriptions and standards of performance, daily schedules, the camper and staff policies and much more! Camper attendance was up only 4 per session from the previous summer (52), so I had inadvertently hired one more counselor than proved necessary. Bill asked a counselor with DL experience, Tom Coleman, to write the instructional area section of the manual.

I knew DL needed a nurse. I had given little thought to the development of a DL staff manual, but obviously God had! In six weeks Bill put together a staff manual of over 100 pages – I wish I still had a copy. Through the years the manual grew to an indexed 616 pages. Chief Ron continues to seek suggestions for the improvement of the DL manual from campers and their parents, staff and DL Board members. The entire manual remains open to revision as an updated copy is printed each year. Today this manual has been purchased by or given to, upon their request, over 700 camps throughout the world. Camps are encouraged to use its content in any way that will strengthen their ministry.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory ….throughout all generations!” — Ephesians 3:20-21

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