Whereas this is easy for God, it was not easy for me while the Director of Deerfoot Lodge.
Families send in their camper registrations. Returning campers, and those on the previous summer’s waiting list, have the opportunity to register before the date of open registration. The early registrations are made as the registrations are received – and when the open registration date passes, all registrations are made in the order received. Sound easy? Well it is if the system is consistently applied. But there was still the temptation when a registration was received from a long term DL family, the governor’s wife, Deerfoot’s NYS camp inspector’s boss, a major donor or a close friend.
I remember making two exceptions in 23 years. A registration was received from a foreign missionary over a month after it was mailed. We registered the camper as plane tickets needed to be ordered. Thankfully there was a cancellation. And I remember when a camper from NY City had a great time as a Pioneer in Session II. Near the end of Session III his mom called to ask if her son could return for Session IV? The session was full. I could tell the mom was desperate, but it was really hard to hear her. I asked her to turn down the TV. She said “Chief, the TV is not on! That is the noise from outside our apartment window!!!” I told her to get her son to camp and we would find a bunk for him.
There were sessions when 28 of 30 on the Island were returning campers. When the Island capacity was increased to 40, the Guides moved out of the dining hall onto the front porch. As the number of Guides increased, the Voyageurs, who were only in camp for a couple days, ate at a picnic table. Try telling a family whose son has attended for four summers, and registered in February, that there were no openings for Indians for the entire summer!
So what about scholarship campers? Should they be registered as their applications arrived, or should they have to wait until adequate contributions were received? As most scholarship contributions are received after January 1, there would be few scholarship campers. If there were no scholarship campers, there would be more paying campers. The decision was made to register every camper the same, scholarship or not.
Decisions on staff hiring were made as their applications were received. I had to sort out what I knew, and earnestly seek the Lord’s guidance, believing that He could direct my thinking. I remember hiring a counselor who had been kicked out of a secular university for drinking. I just knew it was the right thing to do, and it proved to be. I tried never to offer a contract when I was uneasy about the person. It was tough to say no to a long term camper/previous staff member, particularly when I had no better alternative. At such moments I had to believe the Lord would provide the right person. I tried never to turn down a person without telling him why. How else would he know what to work on?
Campers are invited to be Guides, Deerfoot’s 8 week training program for potential staff members. Qualification factors are many. Guides are accepted on the basis of the recommendation of their Counselor, their Section Chief, their four page application, and their interview. There were times when I knew what I should do, but shuddered to do it! Try not inviting the son of a staff member or a major donor into the Guide program. I tried to explain to each camper why they were not invited to be a Guide – sometimes I had to explain to parents. I remember the mom who called when one twin was accepted, and not the other. She was sure I had chosen the wrong son! The son chosen was “too quiet, and not as strong, and…” What the mom had a hard time understanding was that the “chosen son” seemed serious about growing as God’s man, had a servant’s heart, and fully participated in the DL program.
Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, is an inspiration to me. He was brought in from the battle ground and refused to spend a night with his wife while his men were in battle. Uriah did what he believed to be right. It cost him his life. II Samuel 11-12
When I live In Partnership With God, I know what I should do in almost every situation. To be obedient may not be easy!