Deerfoot Lodge was barely alive. Camper attendance and contributions were low, facility maintenance and equipment needs were high. Available camper scholarship funds did not meet scholarship needs, and staff scholarships to supplement summer staff salaries were little more than an idea,
Deerfoot’s Board believed the time had come when Deerfoot needed to move from a part time to a full time Director, or to close the camp. The men also realized that if a full time Director was hired, it would be their responsibility to provide the needed funds for his salary and transportation, new brochures, essential maintenance and equipment, etc. There’s would be a huge financial commitment. When hired, I knew Deerfoot’s situation,
At my first Board meeting they said to me “spend what you need to get Deerfoot Lodge back on the road.” I pinched pennies! Example: two cheap vans from Canada – they ran well, and we could see the road through the floor.
My salary was low, but their appreciation for my work was very evident. During my first October Board of Director’s meeting I was asked to call the florist in our town and have them deliver a flower arrangement to Sally Jo. Partnership. At that meeting we agreed I should suggest my goals for the coming year, to be finalized by the Board. Together we worked toward their accomplishment. Many goals were achieved or exceeded, but every year some goals were not achieved. Often the discussions were intense…very intense. We wanted to be of one mind, in Partnership!!!
The Board members care for us was evident. Jim and Ginny Masterson paid for us to have a couple nights in a cabin in the High Peaks – not forgotten. John Landis often wrote notes of encouragement. As DL began to get on its feet, the Board raised my pay, and began to pay Sally Jo for the work she was already doing., Two or three times the Board members themselves paid for us to have two nights at Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid. We would go on January 2 and 3rd. Cross country skiing was a joy, and as the place was almost empty, the price was right and the service was excellent!
Eventually DL began to end each summer with about a $3,000 surplus. It was an incredible to make every decision based on what we believed was best for DL….and then end the year with a slight surplus.
After my dad died, I asked if our family could take an extended trip after camp. A Board member loaned us his 42′ RV and two of our children became legal “drop outs”. During the trip we wrote the DL Tracks, did essential business and I flew back for the Board meeting. 13 weeks=13000 miles = many national parks.
The Deerfoot Lodge Board demonstrated to me how I should care for the Deerfoot Lodge staff – those who were “permanent”, and those who were on staff for only a few summers. Sally Jo and I would take key staff couples out to dinner. We provided extra time off when we thought someone needed it. The kitchen staff would do all counselor and support staff laundry in the Speculator Laundromat, at no cost to the staff. After a few years Deerfoot’s staff salaries were some of the highest in camping, and college scholarships were provided if needed for a person to be able to return to DL. We did everything possible to treat the Deerfoot staff as the very special people they are. We were in Partnership.
Is God pleased with your ministry partnership relationships? Here are examples of the encouragement we have received through many years in various ministries. Can you come over for dinner on Thursday night? Is there a day this week when we can meet for lunch? Here is a gift certificate to our favorite restaurant – enjoy. Let me give you the keys to our condo and let us know each time you would like to use it as a get-a-way. I will not be using my symphony tickets next Friday. Let me take care of your children one day a month so you two can… Here is a check for you – it is a gift and not taxable. Please use our RV for a week! Let’s go to a blue grass concert at the Blue Lake music center together on Tuesday night. And brief notes of encouragement/appreciation were wonderful to receive.
Partnership – enjoy enriching the lives of those with whom you serve.