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
FOR PASSING THE ELEMENTARY TESTS OF THE SOCIETY IN LIFE SAVING,
SURFACE DIVING, SWIMMING, AND THE RESUSCITATION OF THE APPARENTLY DROWNED.
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.