Subscribe to the RSS Feed to receive the latest LLFC Blog updates!
For God So Loved the World
by Denise Stripling
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
The Canyon is flowing with love for you!
Love is in the air, and the LLFC team has been celebrating God’s love through our community outreach partnership camps. Each year we partner with Good Samaritan Community Services and SAMMinistries to facilitate a Family Camp experience for the families they serve. This program allows families the opportunity to fully experience the H. E. Butt Family Foundation ministry as we spend time caring for our guests. From the moment they arrive, we strive to make them feel supported and comfortable. We start by transporting families downriver aboard our people-mover trailers under the canopy of the nighttime sky. After being guided to their cabins, families are provided a delicious home-cooked meal as the fellowship begins. The mealtime experience provides a great opportunity for the families and staff to get to know one another and share in each others’ lives.
During these past two camps, we celebrated Valentine’s Day together and used that opportunity to celebrate God’s abundant love. Our days were filled with worship, fellowship, and activities that explore the amazing Canyon. Beautiful weather allowed us to be outdoors and enjoy fishing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, rock wall climbing, and zip lining. We spent our nights making s’mores by the campfire, staring in amazement at the beautiful Texas sky filled with its bright shining stars that illuminate the Canyon walls, listening to couples share how they met, and hearing stories of how the families enjoyed their activities in the Canyon. Sunday morning we celebrated our Glorious Maker. The time we had been given to fellowship was closed with a video that captured our weekend together.
We were one big happy family, and tears of joy were shed as we said our goodbyes and sent our friends down the river. The experience was powerful for all. Barriers had been removed and memories were forever made in the lives of many. These memories are not just a token but are the true treasure of time spent with one another sharing God’s love for each other.
That is what makes our Canyon so special: “For God so loved the world …”
We are pleased to announce that Theresa Powles has joined the Foundation. In her new role as Laity Lodge Family Camp Assistant, Theresa will provide support to the LLFC office and team by implementing administrative systems, procedures, and policies and monitoring administrative projects.
Theresa brings many wonderful experiences and qualifications to this position, including twenty years as a customer service professional. She comes to the Foundation from the University of Wyoming, where she was employed from 2003 until moving to Texas at the end of 2014. During her eleven years with the University, Theresa was an Accounting Associate Senior and Helpdesk Supervisor. Theresa was also heavily invested in her church, Harvest Christian Center. She was a children’s teacher for twelve years and a Vacation Bible School volunteer.
If the last name Powles and the University of Wyoming are ringing a bell, there’s a good reason. Theresa is married to Larry Powles, Director of Canyon Operations. Larry and Theresa have two wonderful children, Hunter and Kendall.
When asked to describe her feelings about joining the Foundation, Theresa had this to say, “I guess the one thing I am very excited about is the opportunity to touch others for Christ in such an awesome way, through and in his creation. I love the outdoors but I also love doing office type admin work, so getting to combine the two is really exciting.”
We are blessed to have Rev. Dr. Rusty Freeman partner with Laity Lodge Family Camp throughout the 2015 season. Rusty is working in conjunction with The H. E. Butt Family Foundation and Laity Lodge Family Camp by offering spiritual support and guidance to participants and staff.
Rev. Dr. Rusty Freeman, founder of Movement Ministries, is a 7th generation United Methodist ordained elder and has expertise in youth, family, retreat, and camping ministries. Rusty’s gift of empowering leaders and developing systems has resulted in successful ministries and exciting growth.
In 2000, Rusty became the Director of Youth Ministries for the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church where he averaged 3,000 participants per year at events and involved 350 churches. In 15 years in this ministry, Rusty directed 250 camps and retreats and saw hundreds of young people express a call to ministry and thousands commit their lives to Jesus Christ.
Rusty’s approach is ecumenical in nature with his faith formation coming through Young Life, the United Methodist Church, Campus Crusade, Baylor University, several Baptist Churches, and Laity Lodge. He has served as a youth director, an associate pastor, a senior pastor, a conference speaker and an event planner. Rusty has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Religion from Baylor (1991) and a Masters of Divinity (1996) and Doctor of Ministry (2007) from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Rusty lives in beautiful Marble Falls, Texas, with his lovely wife Lane, a dentist and partner in ministry. He has two awesome kids—Brian who enjoys videography while attending Baylor University, and Bailey a budding artist and basketball player. Rusty is an avid runner, writer, coffee drinker, dog-lover, and follower of Jesus Christ. He shares these thoughts about partnering with the Foundation, “It brings me great pleasure to return to the Foundation. It has been a dream of mine for over 20 years to come back to work for this incredible organization. My family and I are so excited to see what God has in store.”
David Rogers, who has had a collegial relationship with Rusty spanning more than 24 years, offered a message of welcome, “Deborah and I have great confidence in the value that Rusty will bring to the Laity Lodge Family Camp team this year. He has a long history with this organization through the help he provided to Laity Lodge after graduating from Baylor University. He knows our facilities well and has a deep and abiding interest in the value of camp for young people and families. In his leadership role with the Youth Ministries for the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, he has led more than 55 retreats in the H. E. Butt Foundation Camps. His ministry, pastoral, and coaching expertise will be a huge asset to the Family Camp team and the hundreds of families who will benefit from his presence at Headwaters. We are grateful to the entire Freeman family for stepping up in this important time as we seek a permanent leader for this program.”
Getting to Know You: Matt Huffman
Tell me a little bit about yourself, whatever background you’d like to share.
I am originally from a small town in Northern Michigan and, through a series of educational experiences, eventually graduated from Cairn University in Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Bible Ministries. My degree took me to Northern Wisconsin to a camp for two years where I met my wife, Julie. Although we didn’t start dating officially until after I left Wisconsin the first time, we were married in 2003. We had a great opportunity the first two years of marriage to live in Peoria, Illinois, working with an inner-city camp ministry and eventually back to northern Wisconsin and back to the camp where we had originally met. Going back to work in Wisconsin was a huge time of change for us as we went there in 2006 as a couple and left to move to Texas in 2014 with four children. Simon, our oldest son is eight years old; Hudson, our second son is seven years old; Alivia, is five years old; and Clara is two years old. They are a huge blessing to us and I love spending as much time as I can with each one and watching each ones unique personality develop.
So, what exactly do you do for us at Family Camp?
I am the Laity Lodge Family Camp Food Service Manager, which means that I put together menus for all of the 20 Family Camp weekends and weeklong events and then make sure food is purchased and prepared to the quality standards we have established for those events. I help with training of cooks in the summer and working with the high school students that come out for the weekend camp events. I also help out as needed with special meals for staff meetings, special Foundation events, and as needs arise.
What excites you (or what do you love) about working for Family Camp?
I love working at Family Camp because I love to be able to minister to the whole family through meeting their needs with food. My goal for each event is to provide a well-rounded menu where we can meet the needs of both mom and dad but also the kids as well. I have found over the years that people are more open to growth in their relationship with God when their expectations are exceeded and not just met. We see that play out especially well for the whole family when there is a good balance of meal options that everyone in the family can be happy with. As a dad of a young family, I know what the needs of young families are, and I hope that perspective makes me a better cook in the kitchen and a better food service manager.
When you’re not working up at Headwaters, what are you doing?
Right now when I am not at Headwaters or in the office in Kerrville preparing for the next weekend, I can usually be found doing something with my wife and the kids. When it is warm out, we love to go the park, ride bikes through the neighborhood, play games around the table, color pictures or in the case of my youngest right now, working on putting together puzzles on the living room floor.
If I jumped into your car right now, what kind of music would I hear?
Most likely you wouldn’t hear music but would most likely hear some form of talk radio. I like to listen to NPR while driving out to the Canyon or books on CD. I found a few years ago that I really enjoy listening to books as I travel, because it makes the time go by so much faster, and I get to “read” more books than I would otherwise have time for.
What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?
Based on a recommendation from Laity Lodge Youth Camp Senior Director Chandler Pruitt, the last book I completed was Unbroken, by Laura Hildebrand. I really enjoy reading books about American history and especially on World War II.
Plain or peanut M&Ms?
Peanut Butter actually. I find that it bridges the gap between both worlds.
What are your passions in life?
As a dad and father of a young family, it doesn’t seem like I have a lot time for much of anything else right now, but a new year’s resolution for 2015 is to find a community project where I can use my gifts and abilities to their fullest.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Summers during high school and early college years, I worked for a parks and recreation crew where we mostly cut grass and maintained the local park system. A strange aspect of the job included caring for funerals on the weekends in the local cemetery. Since the cemetery still had hand-dug graves, on more than one occasion it meant I was a part of digging those graves. Digging graves knowing that a vault and a casket was going inside in a matter of a few days really puts life and death into perspective.
Diet coke or coffee?
What’s your favorite treat?
Strange as it might sound – anything artificially banana flavored is marvelous, including an impossible-to-find banana milk.
If you could go anywhere in the world for vacation, where would you go?
A real dream vacation of mine is to go on a Band of Brothers Tour which was originally created by Steven Ambrose (one of my favorite authors of all time).
Fill in the blank: Chocolate is …
…an essential component to so many fantastic desserts and treats.
What’s for dinner tonight?
Meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For years I really wanted to be a lawyer. The American judicial system has always really intrigued me.
Now what do you want to be when you grow up?
The best husband and father (and hopefully grandfather) that I can be.
Dogs or cats?
Cats have claws because they were intended to miss the Ark – so most definitely dogs.
What kind of ice cream do you hope they have this summer at Headwaters?
Blue Moon – imagine eating frozen fruit loops cereal.
Morning person or night owl?
Morning person most definitely.
If you enjoyed meeting Matt, meet more of our staff here!
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Family Camp gave to me . . .
12 Months of Family Camp!
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Family Camp gave to me . . .
Eleven Family Crafts To Do
1) Instead of a Gingerbread House, decorate a Christmas tree using an ice cream cone and candy.
2) Put three large marshmallows on a sucker stick, dip in white chocolate and decorate with mini M’s and icing.
3) Candy cane marshmallows for hot cocoa ~ hang them on the side of your mug.
4) Ribbon Tree ornament or gift tag
5) Popsicle Stick Snowflakes
6) Paper Christmas Trees
7) 3D Paper Snowflakes
8) Beaded Candy Canes
9) Fingerprint Strand of Christmas Lights
10) More Popsicle Stick Crafts
11) Cinnamon Stick Christmas Trees
(We have many more ideas like this on our Pinterest Christmas Board – check it out!)
On the tenth day of Christmas, Family Camp gave to me . . .
Ten Last Minute Gift Ideas
1) Tickets to an upcoming event – Sporting, Music, Play…whatever best suits your recipient. Gifts of experience are often remembered far longer than physical gifts, so this one is a win-win.
2) Memberships to a museum, zoo, or other attraction – Parents in particular love this type of gift for their children because it’s not One. More. Toy.
3) A bottle of his or her favorite beverage – More thoughtful than another bottle of smelly hand soap, and yet still easy to run out and grab. Use a paint pen to write directly on the bottle.
4) Movie tickets (or a DVD) and a bag of popcorn – You can even make a plan to watch the movie together if quality time would be another appreciated gift.
5) Gift certificates – To a spa, to get a manicure, a wine tour . . . you can find meaningful gift certificates that don’t feel like a generic Target gift card (unless that’s the recipient’s favorite place to go!)
6) A donation in the recipient’s honor – Sometimes we wait until the last minute because it’s hard-to-buy-for person. Consider giving a donation to a cause the recipient cares about. You can still give a small gift that represents the donation (e.g. a tree ornament if you donated a tree, a jar of honey if you sponsored a beehive, etc)
7) Photos – These days our photos stay locked up in cyberspace. Print some of your favorites from the year and throw them into an album or frame a few. Don’t underestimate the value of physical photographs.
8) Mix CD or Personal playlist – Don’t just give an iTunes gift card, consider gifting a playlist that you put together or a mix CD.
9) Personal coupons – Make your own coupon book to be redeemed by the recipient. Could be your spouse or your children – have fun thinking about what they would appreciate from you. Here is a set of printable ones to get you started.
10) Chocolate – When in doubt, buy some the recipient’s favorite candy. If you’re feeling adventurous, find a pretty dish to put it into, wrap it up together, and voila!
On the ninth day of Christmas, Family Camp gave to me . . .
Nine Videos of Christmas Lights
1) Christmas Rock Medley
2) One Buffalo Christmas Lights
3) Bath (England) Video Mapping Light Show
4) Star Wars:
5) Larsen Lights: Let it Go
6) Trans-Siberian Orchestra
7) Johnson Family – Dubstep
8) Delaney Family Christmas Light Show (remix)
9) El Paso Christmas Lights Show
On the eighth day of Christmas, Family Camp gave to me . . .
Eight Ways to Take Camp Home
3. Get out into Nature. Go camping or just visit a city park that you haven’t been to before. Take a walk on or go hiking if you have a trail nearby.
4. Go out for ice cream! Pretend you are at the Outpost, grab some ice cream at your favorite ice cream shop, and then talk about your day.
5. Go rock climbing. Many cities have indoor rock climbing gyms. If you live in Texas, you can check out this list to see if there is one near you.
6. Make s’mores. Break out the fire pit or use a candle! Tell funny stories and enjoy a “sweet” time.
7. Invite a college student over to hang out with your family. This one may not seem as obvious to you, but our staff is a huge part of Family Camp! Build a relationship with a student, and who knows what amazing things might happen.
8. Plan a Family Camp weekend at home! Make your meals ahead of time or order take out to minimize the cooking. Unplug from all your screens. Plan a few crafts or fun activities, but leave open space to decide as a family what you want to do. In the evening, read a Scripture passage together or a devotional passage from a book like Exploring Grace Together.
On the seventh day of Christmas, Family Camp gave to me . . .
Seven Parenting Articles,
1. 14 Ways to Teach Children to be Thankful: Ann Voskamp shares some ideas for instilling gratitude into our families.
2. The Dirty Work of Motherhood: Tarissa Helms recounts her journey in becoming a stay-at-home mom.
3. Rethinking the Perfect Holiday: Glennon Melton of Momastery guides us through a difficult moment in a difficult season, and how she found beauty in the midst of it.
4. No More Wicked Stempmother: Charity Singleton Craig talks about her transition into being a step-mother.
5. When Your Heart Grows Three Sizes: Jim Liebelt provides some discussion points and questions to go along with the book (or movie) How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
6. My Mate is Not My Enemy: Explore the life-altering perspective found in the mantra, “my mate is not my enemy” over with Family Life.
7. Bulldozer Parenting: From our own blog, a two-part interview series with Marriage and Parenting experts, Sharon and Terry Hargrave. Are you a “bulldozer parent”? The phrase might not mean what you are thinking.