Deerfoot’s mission statement: “to build godly young men in a Christ-centered community through wilderness camping”
When interviewing prospective staff, the first question I asked was: “Do you seek to be and to build godly young men?”
What is a godly young man? My understanding: A person who seeks to know and to do the will of God.
How does Deerfoot Lodge seek to do this?
Process: “The Deerfoot Lodge Board of Directors is responsible for the selection, training, encouragement, and discipline of the Camp Director, who is responsible for the selection, training, encouragement and discipline of the summer staff. Each of the summer staff will be given leadership responsibility in keeping with his ability. For section chiefs and counselors this includes being responsible for the training, encouraging, and discipling of the individual campers.” This statement was adopted by the Deerfoot Lodge Board of Directors.
Deerfoot Lodge seeks to build Christians who will be role models, young men who are willing to live in the fish-bowl of camp – able to be watched at any time, anywhere – like Jesus was. I have no illusion that I was a perfect role model. In fact the permanent summer staff and those who reported to me – my assistant, section chiefs, guide leaders and the head of tripping – knew I had given them the responsibility of coming to me when they felt I had done something that was not wise, was not right. And they did! Many times each summer I had to apologize and ask forgiveness. If only one person was affected, I went to that person. If the entire staff was affected, I went to the entire staff. When I apologized to/asked forgiveness of the staff, I think without exception, they were ready to forgive. My asking forgiveness often moved me, in the minds of the staff, from a position of disappointment and possible hard feelings and tensions in relationships, to a position of increased respect. And yes, I had to ask for God’s forgiveness too!
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:8-9,
The Apostle Paul tells how he sought to be a godly man and how to build godly men:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus… Join with others in following my example” Philippians 3:12-17
How effective is Deerfoot in building godly young men?
Two weeks ago Sally Jo and I had lunch in Albany with Chief Ron and Anne Mackey. Chief Ron was a camper, Guide, Section Chief, head of tripping operations, and my assistant before becoming Director of Deerfoot Lodge in 2005. Last week Sally Jo and I had breakfast with Ken and Stephanie Hoffman at King of the Frosties in Speculator. Ken was a camper and is now Deerfoot’s Facilities Manager.
Weekly I am in touch with former campers and staff who continue to seek to be God’s men in a tremendous variety of vocations.