No set IPWG schedule for summer

I think I had to do this last year too.

I do not anticipate being able to prepare and send an In Partnership With God every week.

This past weekend Sally Jo and I were at DL. On at least one future weekend I anticipate we  will be at DL for a Lone Eagle Ceremony.

On a future week Sally Jo and I will be assisting with staff training at Moose River Outpost in Maine where Craig Boronow is the Director and Seth is the Director of a Rapids Rafting and Rock Climbing company.

We already know we will be in NYC for another weekend….and so it will go.

I already have 2 or 3 in mind,  so…you can watch for them.  If you miss one, let me know and I will send it to you.


A Life Changing Instructional Cycle #198

Our grandchildren’s toy box is an old, gray, wooden trunk.   Heavy tin protects each edge; the handles and strap hinges were hammered into usefulness.  This trunk was used by my father’s aunt, when she was a missionary from Germany to the West Indies.  My dad’s grandparents and parents were Christians, and my dad became a Christian.

My mom’s father sold his successful lumber company to become a student at the Moody Bible Institute.  My mom was raised to know and love the Lord.  My parents were medical missionaries in China, where I was born. We have many items in our home which remind us of those China years.  I received the Christian life and faith my parents taught me.  Mom regularly read me Christian children’s books and helped me memorize many verses and Psalm 1 and Psalm 23.

Our family of 6 worked at being together every night for supper.   If there was an athletic practice….the family waited. Having eaten, my father would read the Bible to our family.   This was the same pattern in Sally Jo’s home.  Many times, when I would go to pick her up for a date, I would sit at the table until Dad Hoppe had finished reading the Bible. Our families were active in their churches.   Beginning in high school, Sally Jo and I took time alone with the Lord to read and to pray.   In college we both taught Sunday school classes.  At each of the 7 Christian camps I attended, the Christian faith that I had been taught at home was reinforced.

This was the spiritual foundation I brought, as a counselor, to Christian camping, and I looked for a solid spiritual foundation when selecting the Deerfoot summer staff.  Every person seeking summer employment completed a staff application – even the 85% whom I knew through their previous summers at DL. After reviewing their applications and checking their references, I would check my sources including college faculty, DL families, and pastors.  Those hired without previous DL experience were usually the close friend of a staff member.  When interviewing, I assumed nothing.  My questioning was intense.  I honestly tried to “scare them off!”

Through this process I met some incredible young men who had not grown up in Christian homes, but had worked hard to build the foundation in themselves which others received at home.  It was a heavy responsibility to select a staff able to present, clarify and reinforce the Biblical knowledge and personal relationship with Jesus Christ in a way pleasing to the Lord.   With only 3 weeks of staff training, it was impossible to teach the needed Biblical foundation.

Here are a few topics we covered during staff training:  daily and weekly schedules, camp songs and games, learning to prepare and lead cabin devotions, how to give a testimony, how to lead a camper to Christ, the 11 instructional areas, Life Guarding, Wilderness First Aid, and CPR for the Professional Rescuer, the 4 book One Minute Manager series, and the books How to Really Love Your Child, and Bringing out the Best in People..  Returning staff did most of the teaching – what better way to learn than to teach 50 peers with high academic standards!   I would help staff prepare – and then critique the results.  Fun…until I had to teach my five or six subjects in an exemplary way!   The staff would also take a 3 – 4 day High Peaks hike.  Each week we would participate in the Breaking of Bread service, and we ended staff training with a camp fire and banquet night. As you read this, the 2013 staff is in training.

I know that many of you who read this were “my” campers and staff members.  I believed each of you desired to be and build godly men.  You confirmed this verbally.   In preparation for summer camp, I worked at encouraging and equipping you to be a godly man, and encouraged and equipped you to build godly men through preparing and leading great devotionals, helping with their Bible reading – and teaching your campers how to swim, cook over an open fire, and to hike small and large mountains.    How are you doing as a father?  Are you passing on what you received?

As we live In Partnership With God, we continue to live in this life changing cycle.  We need to receive, to change, and to share.  I continue to work at this.  Saturday morning I led a study for 15 men – comparing what the Bible says about Baptism with our church’s theological position and practice.  During the day our grandsons were here.  Sunday I sang in the church choir, and on Monday morning, in my devotions, I continue my study of John’s gospel.

Circle of Giving #197

I was 7 years old when our family went to a conference at Winona Lake, Indiana.  When I learned that the conference had a day camp, I wanted to be part of it. My parents gave me this opportunity – which started my life long enjoyment of summer camp.  My Mom and Dad were delighted with my interest in “going to camp” and over many summers gave me the opportunity to attend at least 6 camps.

In 1929 Dad Kunz worked with a British pastor to establish Pioneer Camp, 160 miles north of Toronto, Canada.  The following year Dad Kunz founded Deerfoot Lodge.  My father was a Deerfoot counselor and camp doctor (he was in medical school) in 1932 when Deerfoot was on the Kunjamuck River, and then again in 1933 when Deerfoot Lodge relocated to Whitaker Lake. My father must have learned about Pioneer Camp from Dad Kunz.

When I was 9 and 10 years old, my parents gave me the opportunity to spend 6 weeks each summer at Pioneer Camp.

At Pioneer I was given the opportunity of learning to swim – and to learn campcraft, canoeing, archery, hand craft, and other camping skills.  It was at Pioneer that I was given the opportunity to go on my first canoe trip.  Time and again my counselor, Mitch, and other staff members, gave me the opportunity to try new things, learn new skills.  These special people knew how to move from my comfort zone to my stretch zone – where I gained skills and/or new information.  Soon my new stretch zone experience became part of my comfort zone.  As my skills developed, my self-confidence grew.   At Pioneer I earned my basic in swimming, and gained the self-confidence to swim down the lake – it was a mile.  In August 1950, when I was ten years old, I received an 10” X 12” certificate that I still have:

The Royal Life Saving Society

This Elementary Certificate Awarded to


Pioneer Boys’ Camp



After 6 weeks at Pioneer Camp, weeks of encouragement and affirmation, I really did arrive home a different person.

When I became Deerfoot’’s new Director, I had never seen Deerfoot in operation.  What I found was that the purpose and program at Deerfoot Lodge were almost identical to what Dad Kunz had helped organize at Pioneer Camp.  Even the awards patches I earned at Pioneer were identical to the awards patches campers and staff could earn at Deerfoot Lodge …and they were presented in the same way – before the entire camp.

As the Director of Deerfoot Lodge I was given the opportunity to help staff move from their comfort zones into their stretch zone.   As understanding and skill levels grew, their self-confidence grew. Though less measurable, staff members gained leadership skills, counseling skills, learned to prepare and give good cabin devotions.

Staff members can be given the opportunity to become godly young men, only because God’s people have given to Deerfoot Lodge their prayer support, wisdom, hard work, money for operating and scholarships, encouragement, and equipment needed for many purposes.   Staff members are only at DL because of the gifts of their parents: food, shelter, bicycles, school clothes, swimming and/or piano lessons, and summers when they had the freedom to be at camp.

Just as I have given of myself and what I know to staff members, staff members are able to give of themselves, and what they know to campers….who may become Guides who may become Counselors who may become Section Chiefs, who may become Guide Leaders who may become Camp Directors.  The circle of giving continues.

May Deerfoot Lodge be a model of what we should do with the gifts we receive as we live In Partnership With God.

The Lord Wants Me To Be Happy! #196

I Know the Lord Wants Me to Be Happy!

The staff member’s voice and body language, as he gave the 7:00 AM staff meeting devotional, underlined the superficial message:  “Don’t Worry!  Be Happy!  Life atDeerfoot Lodge this summer will be wonderful…easy!  We’ll have a ball!”

Who hired this guy?  He must have been a young, 1st year staff member at the beginning of the summer.   When he finished, I remember saying that we should be happy this summer, not because Life at the Lodge would be all fun and games, but because we were serving our Lord and Savior.  Things would get really tough/challenging for many of us – not fun!  Regardless of the circumstance, we should be happy in the biblical sense:  enjoying well being and contentment – because we believe we are doing the good works God had prepared for us to do.

This devotional, given years ago, came to mind this past Memorial Day work weekend, when 115 came to DL to work!  The dining hall roof was to be re-placed; logs were to be peeled for the log cabin currently under construction.  More screen doors for cabins were to be built – Peter Stark’s doors last!  The fuel tanks and their roof and containment tank were to be moved to behind the maintenance building.  (Russell Naysmith brought his huge excavator from NJ – the roof was cut free from the base and carried to position.  Then the cement slab with 3’ cement block walls was carefully pulled and lifted to its new location).  There were many trees to be cut and split, particularly in the Woodsman section, the result of several storms during the previous 9 months.  Camper cabin screens were to be replaced, log stairs to be built.  The work list was long!!

Saturday’s temperature was between 32 and 37 degrees.  It drizzled or rained all day – except during lunch when it snowed for a brief time.  At times the wind was strong.  The weekend was like summer camp when it rains.  The program does not change very much.  And so the workers, soaking wet and cold, continued to replace the roof, peel the logs, cut and split wood.  And at the end of the day, do we really think 115 people were able to get hot showers?

Were the 22 men “ha, ha, happy” when they went to the Hutch cabin to crawl into sleeping bags that had been absorbing moisture and staying cold through the day.  It was even tougher to go back to a bunk in a Woodsman cabin, crawling into your damp sleeping bag, knowing the wind might blow in rain during the night as it had during the day. Throughout the weekend there was talk about the lousy weather – but I do not remember anyone complaining about their work or their housing assignment.

During the Breaking of Bread service we shared, we sang- we worshiped the Lord, enjoying well-being and contentment.

The food was excellent as usual – even though Chef Shawn Barnett did not arrive until Saturday afternoon due to flight problems.  Breakfast at 7:00 AM and everyone was on time.  Break at 10:30 – many kept working through the break.  Lunch at 1:00, and people were late.  Break at 4:30 – many kept going.  Supper at 7:00…and again, many were late.  Having the facility ready for the staff and campers was the focus.  The weather was the challenge to overcome.

The Deerfoot experience, particularly for the staff, develops a mental toughness!  I remember a staff training hike when many of the High Peaks trails were streams of water or swampy ponds.  I was wearing moisture absorbing socks.  They absorbed moisture to the place where my feet were in pain; my circulation was being cut off, my toes turned blue.  We pushed through the situation. Counselors can get a cabin full of problem campers – sometimes it is the campers themselves and the problems they bring.  At other times…it is the chemistry of the cabin.  Two weeks of dealing with situation after situation – but never quitting.  At DL we continually learn about physical, mental and spiritual toughness.

The Lord does want me to be happy – if this happiness is defined “enjoying well being and contentment”.  At DL the staff and campers sing “I’m so happy in Jesus every day”.  This can be true in a very significant way, when we live “In Partnership With God”.