To read the first three parts, go to www.holenews.org.
Mac was pleased to see the long line of kids and asked if I had everything in order. I assured him I did. When you’re 21, you feel invincible. He placed more confidence in me than I deserved.
Following brief checkups by a nurse, the Mission bus hauled the kids to camp where they settled into the dormitory then roamed the camp. I whistled them together and formed four squads, each with a counselor. I told squad members to look after one another. Wishful thinking!
Supper turned into near chaos; dish washing, total chaos. The evening chapel signaled trouble: no counselors. Bill took over the meeting and I found them at the waterfront smoking. They declared they would not be attending chapels. Tense negotiations got nowhere; they were sure I wouldn’t send them home. Bill drove them home first thing the next morning.
At bedtime, more trouble. Influenced by the unhappy counselors, several older campers showed signs of rebellion, which spread at morning lineup. To head off mutiny, I invited any camper unhappy with the camp to step forward. A bunch did. I sent them to pick up their stuff and Bill bused them to town, leaving me with 58 younger campers. Among them was a small, curly-headed kid new to the boys club. His name was George Verely. It was his first time at camp.
With the kitchen completely consuming Bill’s time and energy, I became counselor, teacher, lifeguard, nurse, craft instructor and everything else. My painful ear infection and fever didn’t help. No wonder I saw a ghost.
Since the Lord looks after fools and innocent kids, we survived the week with no major mishap. I returned home totally wiped out, convinced through the years it had been a wasted week.
Fast forward. Twenty-plus years have passed. I’m in my Chicago office. My job: director of camping and boys work for our denomination. A staff colleague just back from a Minnesota trip stopped by. He said, “Your name came up in a meeting, Lloyd. The new St. Paul Mission Superintendent told us he came to the Lord at Snail Lake Camp when he was nine, the year Bill Jensen and Lloyd Mattson were there. His name is George Verely.”
Old Grandpa Lloyd