As the Director of Deerfoot, I had the privilege of knowing, of learning from, very remarkable men. Hub Baehr was one of these.
Camp began in 1930. In 1935 Hub was serving as the Secretary of the Lone Eagle Fellowship. In about 1950, he and his wife, Lilly, built a simple cabin on the lake. In 2004, 69 years later, he was serving faithfully on the DL Board of Directors, at the age of 85. His mind was sharp, but his body needed parts repaired and replaced. He said he was becoming a bionic man…heart by-pass, hip replacements, pace maker.
After one or two summers at Deerfoot, I came to realize that the schedule for the first Sunday of each session needed to change. As it was, a new camper arrived on Saturday afternoon, moved into his cabin with strangers, had a swim test in a cold lake, ate supper, tried to sing unknown songs around the campfire, and then went back to his cabin of strangers. Sunday morning began with a soap scrub in the cold lake, cabin clean up, quiet time when they were to read their Bible – tough for younger campers with limited reading skills. After eating in the noisy dining hall, he had the choice of participating in a Breaking of Bread service or attending Sunday school – in either case he would be sitting on a hard bench. And then there was church: more sitting on a hard bench. In the evening, another service, another hard bench. This was not a day that excited the average camper! And for new campers, homesickness was prevalent – too much time to think.
The Deerfoot Board agreed that the Sunday schedule was a problem. Someone suggested that camp begin on Sunday, but this was not a good solution as most Deerfoot families are active in their local church. The discussion was going no where. To this point Hub Baehr had said nothing. Then he asked:”Who said Sunday at Deerfoot needed to look like Sunday at home?”
The result: the optional Breaking of Bread service was moved to Monday morning at 6:30. Instead of Sunday school, the boys went as cabin groups into the woods to notice the difference between Deerfoot and home, or to find a symbol of God, or to create a parable. Church became a time of celebration through singing the great hymns up to tempo, and having selected campers share insights they had gained during their time in the woods. Sunday afternoon became Naval Battle and flex time when campers could choose to swim, take out a boat, fish, play soccer, basketball, tether ball, foose ball, floor hockey, ping pong…or just to talk with friends. A hot dog cookout by cabin groups led into the evening “service” with three song leaders, many guitars and a piano leading fun choruses. During this singing, a counselor from each section, plus a person from the support staff, shared with Jesus Christ meant to them. Thanks Hub.
One Saturday morning Hub returned home from a meeting of The Gideon’s (a Bible placement organization) to find his wife had been murdered. Three weeks later he had a previously scheduled triple by-pass heart surgery. A few weeks later Sally Jo and I went to spend time with him. When we arrived the dining room table was set for “tea time”, just as his wife would have done – china cups and slices of pound cake. After tea, Hub asked to see the Deerfoot slide show. For two hours these pictures brought back wonderful memories. We talked, cried, and laughed together. Often Hub would quietly say, with a smile on his face, “God is good!” Since then I have thought of Hub as my Abraham. Steady in life and death. Thanks Hub.
The Deerfoot Board agreed that Deerfoot’s theological statement was inadequate. Over a two year period a clarified and expanded statement was developed, but no one was ready to make the motion for approval. Then Hub spoke up. “I worked with Dad Kunz on the development of the original statement. I think he would be very pleased with these changes. I move we adopt this new statement.” Unanimous. Thanks Hub.
Plans were being made to have Deerfoot’s 75th anniversary celebration in a New Jersey “party place”, just as the 60th had been.
And then Hub raised the question: “Is there any reason this 75th anniversary celebration could not be held at Deerfoot?” The focus of the location changed, and over 500 came for the weekend. Thanks Hub.
Hub Baehr said little, yet brought about significant changes. Hub continues to be a godly man, at 93.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Psalm 37:23