As the new Director of Deerfoot Lodge, I quickly learned that those on support staff were continually in trouble with someone. There were 10 single staff who worked in the kitchen and on maintenance. I think 7 lived, with all their belongings, in a 6 person cabin at the end of the Woodsman section toward the Island. They were packed in so tightly that they had built a loft. Imagine the mess. They called it the rubber room.
Any time they made much noise they were in trouble with the counselors in the next cabin – and with the Woodsman Section Chief…who then complained to me. Every time they went to the Waldorf, they had to walk by the entire Woodsman section and any conversation between two support staff as they went by a cabin having devotions….not good. The maintenance staff was “free” after dinner, and the kitchen staff about an hour later. So what were these young people supposed to do? They were free to hang out in the staff lounge in Ole Hardwood, but doing what? Going, without permission, to Speculator/Camp-of-the-Woods was often an actualized temptation!
Paul described the church as a body. Every person in the church, every part of the body was needed if the church/the body was to be healthy. Whereas DL is not a church, the principle is the same. The people on the support staff were being treated as second class citizens. I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4
Plans were made to build a log cabin just for the support staff. The idea: sleep upstairs, and down stairs have a lounge area plus ping pong, foosball, a table for board games, a pool table, and a weight lifting area – plus a table under the stairs where someone could write a letter after lights out and a very large table where the staff could gather to have a “Hutch meeting” or a Bible study. A wood stove would be nice! The cabin built was 2 story 40 X 40 = 3200 square feet. It is located on a hill up from the Point trail. There are 40 gas lights…and no electricity. The tongue and groove 2” thick yellow pine floor was polyurethaned and our son, Dirk, sanded the entire floor between coats, on his hands and knees. Boots/shoes stay on front porch. It is a beautiful building, – the largest built since Founders Lodge.
Eventually the support staff grew to 20 – and there proved to be sufficient floor area for 10 double decker bunks – each staff could store his belongings under 1/2 the bunk and in a 3’ wide open closet with shelf and clothes hanging bar. Life suddenly changed for those on the support staff.
For the Hutch cabin to be built, money and volunteers were needed – it looked like the impossible dream. But, if this was what was best for the ministry of DL, the DL Board and I agreed, it would be done. There was no major fund raising. People, as best I can remember, read about it in the DL Tracks. The money was given by many – no major donor.
A carefully chosen company cut each log to shape and length. After the footings were poured, every person involved was a volunteer – except me. Most of the crew came for 8 days, planning to complete the building, roof and all! A borrowed forklift unloaded the semi in the parking lot. As the volunteers arrived, rain also came. The only way to get the logs to the cabin was to load them by hand onto a two wheel army trailer which was pulled by an old jeep in 4 wheel drive to the cabin location and unloaded in the ever-increasing mud. The rain stopped, but the mud remained. John Pinkham and I picked up and transported every log in the Hutch cabin. There were two nights I was too tired to eat. When I asked who could put on the metal roof – at least 25’ above the ground. Steve Bolduc a camper dad up for the final weekend, volunteered. He was an experienced contractor, and would need one helper up on the roof with him. No one volunteered…so, that left me! I do not think I have ever been so afraid. It was lightly snowing – VERY slippery!
When we live In Partnership With God, God may direct us, often through the gentle steady pressure of the Holy Spirit, to take on a seemingly impossible task. What a privilege to be entrusted by God with “the impossible”. What peace to know that God has entrusted to us, and to others, the resources to get the job done. Planning, work, sometimes exhausting and sometimes frightening, is required. I firmly believe that when we obey God – when we do what is pleasing to Him, the rewards are tremendous for others and for us! God works through people. Ask Noah or Moses.