When the “camper car” comes over and down the hill, every returning camper and staff member is looking for The Pig. The road into camp just “feels” good. The Gazebo, Founders, Old Hardwood, Whitaker Lake, the Dugs – even as we read this progression, every landmark brings memories.
And very little changes. Friends from the same session last year are back, and new campers are met. Then its line up, into the dining hall, sing, pray, good food. End the evening with a campfire and the same crazy campfire songs that have been sung at DL, most for 50 years.
In instructional areas there is always something new to learn. It is ok to fail to even hit the target. “I can do this!” And then the target is missed again…then finally hit consistently. In camp craft a first year camper fails to build his fire on his first try, possibly on his second – no big deal. In time fire building will be routine.
“Bringing Out the Best in People” is a book that was required reading during staff training. Rule # 4 “Create an environment when failure is not fatal”. The standards are not lowered to prevent failure. Yes, at DL there is failure, lots of it. But with more teaching, practice, and encouragement eventually the fire is built, the archery target is hit, and the “canoe to the point and back” are passed. Fear of failure decreases. Skills develop. Self discipline and self confidence grow. Success is achieved. “Yes – I did it! Boss! I knew I could!”
I worked with my grandson, Tobiah, so that when he got to DL, he was ready to pass his basic in canoeing. After camp:”Tobiah, did you get your basic?” “Grandaddy, I passed all my strokes but did not go straight on my point and back – but I will do it next year, for sure!” I gave him a hug, said I knew it would be tough – and we laughed together. Tobiah and I will canoe together between now and his next session at DL. Fun for both of us!
There is an easy shift from the work required to earn a basic, advanced, or master’s in the instructional areas, to living as God’s man – living a life pleasing to God! In order to live as God’s man, the basics must be learned through teaching and personal Bible reading. Gradually an understanding is gained of what it mean’s to be God’s man. At Deerfoot it really helps that DL campers, and staff, are surrounded by other DL campers and staff who are also seeking to live lives pleasing to God. None of us ever hits the bull’s eye every time. Failure is not fatal! Forgiveness is available! We keep working at doing what is right every time – to God’s standard. And God’s standard is never lowered. Keep lowering the standard, and soon there is no awareness of wrong, of failure, of sin.
And so we leave Deerfoot Lodge. What encouraged us to live as God’s men is required in some form if we are to live lives pleasing to the Lord. We need to have Christian friends around us – at least at church. We need to have someone continue to teach us about living as God’s man. And we need to take the time to thoughtfully to read the Bible and to pray.
With archery, when practice stops, eventually there is no chance of hitting the bull’s eye. If we stop learning from God’s people, being encouraged by God’s people through how they live and what they say, and stop even picking up the Bible… Enough said.
On July 1, while on a plane heading for Memphis, I realized that I had not been faithful in having my devotions. I am not sure when my pattern, my self discipline failed, but it did. It was time to begin again if I was to live as God’s man, In Partnership With God. Having my daily time with the Lord is included in “Do what is right, every time.”
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. — II Timothy 3:16-17