Back in the 60s, I was elected the first—and only—director of men and boys work for our Baptist General Conference. Christian Service Brigade had been adopted as our boys’ program. I worked up a four-point men’s program remarkably like the plan Promise Keepers would put together years later.
A key plank in my men’s work platform was the home, including father/son relationships. Scouting taught me the spiritual values and man-boy bonding inherent in outdoor treks. I created a program called the Wilderness Way to teach leadership basics and give boys a genuine wilderness experience.
The Wilderness Way stirred up a hornet’s nest. Critics declared camping belonged to the Christian Education department. Bible camp is for teaching the Bible. How can you do that paddling or backpacking all day? Attempts to explain my wilderness philosophy or Bible discovery plan did no good. Since trail camping was a long tradition in boys work, I licked my wounds and plowed ahead.
Last Sunday healed those wounds from long ago. Son Keith, who was visiting, drove Norma and me to Chisholm for homecoming Sunday at the Baptist Church, where Keith had been pastor 30 years before. The Baptist sacrament (potluck) followed morning worship. Norma and I found a table. While Keith roamed, Norma chatted happily across the table with Carolyn McClellan, a new friend. Old timers I knew from long associations in the area stopped by to shake hands.
One not-so-old man made my day. He thanked me warmly. He had been on a canoe trip I led when he was a kid, his first taste of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. He and friends had returned year after year.
Take that, you critics.
Old Grandpa Lloyd