How is it that 10 Deerfooters have Christian camping as their vocation?
The first essential is the recognition that – “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
Psalm 127:1 I believe God brought each of these young men to Deerfoot Lodge to prepare them for the work He had prepared for them to do.
The second essential is the recognition that labor is involved. Often I said to the staff: “Who built the ark for Noah?” No one! Noah and his sons built the ark. It took them 120 years, but they did it!
I have never had the clear direction God gave to Noah. What I have had is tremendous opportunities to learn how to live In Partnership With God while learning about camping, people development and management. Looking back, it is very clear to me that God was preparing me to be a camp director. When I was 9 and 10 God guided my mom and dad to send my older brother and me to Pioneer Camp in Canada for 6 weeks each summer. At Pioneer I took advantage of the opportunity to learn from excellent teachers – but I had to labor – to work at canoeing…and swimming, camp craft, hand craft, etc. I loved the work, but it was work! Spend an hour in the middle of a cold Canadian lake jumping out of a canoe, and then getting back in without swamping the canoe. By the fifth time, the joy is gone!
I fully believe God placed me at Deerfoot Lodge. God did this because He knew I had a heart that really wanted to please Him! God did this because He had provided the opportunities needed to prepare me to become Director of DL – and I took advantage of them.
Back to the 10. They were all at Deerfoot for at least 4 summers, most for 8 or more. I think it is significant that 9 of the 10 are Deerfoot Lone Eagles. These men worked at learning while at Deerfoot Lodge. They accepted the opportunities provided, even though this, by design, kept them in their stretch zone most of the time. Every time I felt they had learned a position, I moved them into a different position, often a position with more responsibility. And they accepted the responsibility and did their work well. They kept learning and learning – incredible young men.
In 1994 Chief Ron Mackey was to be my assistant. Ron had been a camper, guide, counselor, section chief, head of tripping operations, and twice been Guide leader. Knowing his heart for the Lord and his competence, I asked the DL Board of Directors if I could go on the Allagash River canoe trip in Maine. I would be out of camp for 12 days, and I felt Ron was ready to serve as interim camp director. The Board of Directors was fully behind my request. Ron would have with him in camp my wife and office manager, Sally Jo, and Dean Dover/Wazican, Director of Food Service with 25 years of DL experience. The assignment was a stretch for Ron. No one knew then that Ron would be my successor as Director of Deerfoot Lodge. God was “building the house”
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”