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Family Camp Style: Gingerbread Houses

November 17th, 2014

Family Project: Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread house

Are you spending more time inside because of the weather, but you don’t want to resort to TV or video games? Build a Gingerbread House together!
Here are a few tips from Mary on how to do it.

  • Use graham crackers for the walls.
  • Use Royal Icing (recipe below) to glue it together.
  • Hobby Lobby also has decorator frosting in the cake section for additional details.
  • Put icing in baggies and cut one of the bottom corners to enable piping.
  • Decorate with any kind of candy you like.  We used cereal for roofing and sugar wafers for windows.

Royal Icing Ingredients (about 3 cups of icing)
* 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
* 4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners¹ sugar
* 5 tablespoons warm water

Mix all ingredients in mixer.

Navigating the Steps of a Blended Family

November 13th, 2014


The holiday season is here, and with it comes the sometimes-stress of family get-togethers, especially when many of our families are blended together. Charity Craig shares some insight into how she navigates these new, exciting-yet-sometimes-difficult waters.

Navigating the Steps of a Blended Family

by Charity Singleton Craig

Recently, my husband and I along with our three boys attended a play at the local high school where our oldest is a student. After we paid for our tickets and were walking into the auditorium, a friend said to our son, “You look like your mom.”

“I do?” he said, laughing under his breath.

“Oh yeah,” the girl said, handing us our programs.

“Were they talking about me?” I asked my husband as we made our way down the aisle toward our seats.

“I think so,” he said, smiling. The truth is, our son actually does look a lot like his mom. But she didn’t happen to be there that night. I’m his step-mom, and it was our first case of mistaken identity.

Having grown up in a stepfamily myself—my parents divorced when I was eleven and both later remarried—I often wondered whether I might one day be a stepmom. What seemed like a remote possibility when I was 23 became a real likelihood the longer I remained unmarried. When I turned 40 and was still single, I knew if I were ever going to marry, chances were I would become a stepmom in the arrangement. Since I was not able to have children of my own, I embraced the idea.

Once I actually did marry and become a stepmom, however, the reality of entering into a family that already existed without me is sometimes more difficult than I imagined. Two years into being a stepmom, here are three things I am learning.

I need to communicate, communicate, communicate. For years, I heard that communication is the secret to a good marriage. In the past couple of years I have found that to be true. But communication lies at the heart of a successful stepfamily, too. Not just for my husband and me, but also with the boys’ mom. If we don’t talk often, we risk dropping the ball in our two-home, joint-custody arrangement. We also have to communicate with the boys so that they know what to expect when plans change or schedules get shuffled around. Beyond logistics, though, communication also is key to avoiding hurt feelings and misunderstandings, especially when there is so much history we haven’t all shared.

I must accept that my family’s history hasn’t always included me. It’s one thing to communicate and cooperate and coordinate so that no one is left out of our family’s plans now. On the other hand, I can’t change the fact that for many years of our sons’ lives, I just wasn’t around. I didn’t get to help decide whether to use a pacifier or encourage thumb sucking. I didn’t even know my husband when the choice was made to send the boys to public school rather than private. But accepting—and grieving, even—that I wasn’t here for first steps or soccer games or Christmas traditions makes it easier to form new memories that do include me.

I need to find ways to create new family memories. This is the fun part. Since I’ve now been part of the family for more than two years, I not only know but actually remember that back-to-school night happens in the fall and we cut down our Christmas tree on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Sunday evening dinners are fend-for-yourself, but on Saturday mornings I try to make pancakes. We’ve gone on two family vacations, and this fall, we moved to a new house. We aren’t trying to erase the old memories. Nobody wants that. But together, we all—my husband, the boys’ mom, me, the boys—we all are trying to make new memories for our family.

No, my sons don’t look like me. They probably never will. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t family. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Charity Singleton Craig is a freelance writer and editor. She serves as a content/copy editor for The High Calling, a contributing writer for Tweetspeak Poetry, and a staff writer for Curator Magazine. She is the co-author of On Being a Writer (now available from T. S. Poetry Press). Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Getting to Know You: Martha and Faith Danielson

November 3rd, 2014


Serving Together

Getting to Know You: Martha and Faith Danielson

Serving in the Canyon is a family affair for the Danielsons. Martha and Faith (and even their brother) have been with us for multiple years, and if you see them interacting together, you can tell that it has brought them closer together.  We interviewed them this past summer to learn more about what it’s like to work alongside family members at Camp.


Hi girls! Tell me a little bit about yourselves.
We’re from Kerrville, and the two youngest of five children who are spread out over nine years. Faith and I are two years and a week apart. We’re pastor’s kids, and we’re obsessed with our niece Noah.

How long have you been in or worked in the Canyon?
M: This is my fourth summer. I’ve been the Family Camp Media Director the LLYC Photographer and Media Director, which means I’m photographing, posting pictures, and making sure videos are being done. I’ve also worked as the Canyon Club Director
(editor’s note: Canyon Club is for LLYC and LLFC camp directors’ kids) and worked Family Camp weekends for four years.

F: I’ve worked here for two summers – I have split my time between being a counselor at Family Camp and working Canyon Club. I also worked at the Sugar Shack at Echo Valley. As a counselor I meet with families, help them out as needed, sit with them at meals, and hang out. I also help with Kids Club, and I’m shooting sports certified, so I help with those activities about once a week. Then I help my sister with family photos.image

What do you love about working for Family Camp?
F: I love seeing whole families together, interacting and being themselves. I enjoy giving parents a little bit of a break during the day so they don’t have to worry about little ones.

M: It’s fun to see families being shy in the beginning and then getting really crunk by the end of the week. I also love it when I see moms put their cameras down…and even be in the pictures with their families.

When you’re not working in the Canyon, what are you doing?
F: School work! I’m a junior at Baylor, focused on professional writing and with a minor in history. I’m not sure what I want to do with that. Maybe teaching as a professor, editing or publishing . . . or working with kids.

M: I am in charge of arts and crafts at Youth Impact, focused on inner city kids in College Station. I also babysit a lot!

If I jumped into your car right now, what kind of music would I hear?
Penny and Sparrow. Friendly Savages. The Oh Hellos.

M: Any music in Faith’s car is probably from me!

What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?
M: Love Does by Bob Goff. I did like it, and I don’t like reading much.
F: The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. It was very interesting and intriguing.
What’s your favorite animal?
F: Dogs. Medium to large sized dogs.
M: Butterflies. Is that an animal? Ok, Meerkat.

What’s it like to serve alongside your siblings? What challenges does it pose? What do you enjoy about it?
F: The best. It’s been really cool.

M: This is the place where I’ve blossomed, and it’s fun to see this be the place where where Faith blossomed, too. The only challenges are being referred to as, “Oh, you’re Faith’s sister” or having people think she’s older than me!

F: It probably helps that we’re not working by each other all the time. It’s nice when I’m helping her with pictures because I know what she’s thinking, and I can keep her on schedule.

What do you think contributes to your four siblings being so close?
M: Being homeschooled. We also traveled a lot together . . . car rides, long trips. It’s just how we were raised. Our parents wanted us to be close, and they created that as part of our identity. Every night dad would read Narnia and Tales of the Kingdom. We played lots of games. We spent time sitting around the table; we didn’t have TV. We also have always had a foundation of Jesus, which of course makes a difference. I also created Faith’s style, so she’s eternally indebted to me for that.

F: That’s true. Martha created my style. I dressed like a boy until sixth grade when Martha told me I had to be a girl. NowI think, if Martha would steal this from my closet, then it’s a good shirt.

Do you guys ever fight?
F: If there’s a fight it usually involves Martha. Let’s just say she’s not afraid to share her opinion. But we don’t really fight that much. We laugh a lot when together; we know how to make fun of each other and not hurt each others feelings. Or sometimes it happens, and then we have to laugh it off!

Plain or peanut M&Ms?

danielsonsWhat is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
M: I tried to arm wrestle Joel Osteen in a coffee shop, but he denied me.

F: I left my dorm room on a Friday night . . .Oh, you’re serious. Okay, I was Woodstock in Charlie Brown play. I didn’t have lines but I got to wear a yellow feathered outfit. Or what about this? I started drinking coffee when I was two.

Diet coke or coffee?
F: Coffee.
M: I used to be addicted to diet coke, but I stopped drinking it two years ago.

What’s your favorite treat?
F: Desserts. Anything with chocolate.
M: Dried plantains and popcorn.

Fill in the blank: Chocolate is ….
F: Best by itself. OR with strawberries.
M: Chocolate milk is best with a side of pickles.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
M: An Olympic gymnast, an Olympic figure skater . . . or to work at Cici’s pizza.
F: A famous actress or a writer

What’s your best Camp story?
M: At the rodeo, sometimes we begin the tug of war by standing on the rope that is on the ground between the two teams. When both sides begin pulling, you can do a flip off of the rope as it pops you up. I tried it once, and yeah, I landed on my face.
F: Definitely the epic dance off between Garrett and Cagney (they were choreographed) and myself and Sean.

Dogs or cats?
Both: Dogs!

imageFavorite thing to get at the Outpost?
M: Powerade and a spoonful of pistachio ice cream.
F: Powerade and a spoonful of coffee.

Morning person or night owl?
F: Morning person.
M: In real life, night owl. But at camp, I’m a morning person.

Advice for families as they prepare to come to camp?
F: Relax and be open to having fun. And it’s ok to leave your kids with counselors.
M: Bring your best dance moves. And bring a good outfit for family pictures; one that’s coordinated but not too matchy matchy (check out pinterest!)

Anything else you want to share?
F: It’s been a really, really fun summer. And even better being together with my sister. That adds a lot.
M: Everyone should bring their siblings!

The Greatest Pursuit

October 23rd, 2014

The Greatest Pursuit

by Andrew Sullivan


In hindsight I suppose it’s no surprise to me that when I graduated from TCU in Fort Worth, Texas in 2009, I declined a job lead at ESPN Radio in Dallas to pursue a career as a performing songwriter. My parents have always been supportive of my goals, but like any good parents, they often expressed a healthy amount of caution when it appeared like I was about to take a big risk in life. This, of course, was one of those times as I turned down a “normal job” to follow my passion. But my dad and I are cut from the same cloth in this respect: we don’t like being told we must do something, and we share an entrepreneurial spirit.

Making a steady (not to be confused with “large”) income in this industry often takes time, and for me it was no exception. For the first two years of my career I had a day job working as a trainee in a DFW-based real estate appraisal office. Since my Dad owns an appraisal office in Houston, it was a logical fit that allowed me to pay my bills while pursuing my music career on the side. After about a year of working in the DFW appraisal office, my Dad called with an extremely competitive offer to work for him at his place down in Houston. I would gain all the experience I needed to move from trainee to a full-on real estate appraiser. The only catch was that my wife and I would need to relocate from Fort Worth.

imageWhile at first this decision seemed like a no-brainer to me, I began to lose sleep over the proposition of leaving a place where I had finally forged an identity of my own. Also concerning was the reality that moving into a full-time career as an appraiser would probably mean the death of any goals I had about being a full-time performing songwriter. It was the proverbial fork in the road: do I take a path that seemed safer and easier to navigate, or do I trust that God gave me musical talents for a reason, no matter how hard it may be?

It was at this time that one of my non-believing friends called me up to ask if I would play one of my original songs while he proposed to his girlfriend. I agreed, and later that evening as a light rain fell, he got onto one knee and she said yes. I had the pleasure of playing at their wedding later that year.

This sequence of events helped forge my decision into something more firm. I had been given talents in music for a reason, and that reason was to live a life on mission that helps draw people closer to knowing who Jesus really is and what putting faith in Him is all about. 

Though the songs I write aren’t overtly “Christian” in nature, a majority of them are love songs written with the Gospel and grace in mind. I have seen how God uses this music to connect my heart to those who need to know Him, and for that I am continually excited for what I’ve been able to be involved with and see God do.

Both my parents and I believe that knowing Jesus Christ as our only hope and only savior is greater than any other pursuit in life. Many prayers were answered when I saw over time how my parents’ eyes opened to how God was using the songs I’ve written, and how I wanted to use my talents to be faithful to His instructions in the great commission. As of today, I have been working full-time as a singer/songwriter for over three years. Even though my wife has been in medical school, and despite the numerous flaws inherent within me, my wife and I have been continually provided for and our bills continue to get paid on time. I consider it an affirmation from God.

Though I am not a parent myself, I hope that one day I will have the boldness to let my child follow after the goals and visions God has set before them, even if it seems like a long shot. In the last three years I have seen God do things that I considered highly unlikely, in both my career and everyday life, and for that I will always put my faith in Him alone.

Andrew is a singer-songwriter based in Fort Worth, Texas. Though he has only been playing professionally for the last three years, he has been writing and performing music since he was 13. Andrew is currently working on his third album, which he is crowd-funding through Kickstarter.

Family Runs Deep in the Frio Canyon

October 21st, 2014



Last month, we made our way to our family reunion in rural Kentucky. Over the river and through the woods (just as the song claims) led us to a gathering of our kin spanning the ages of 9 months to 95 years. It was a day filled with reminiscing and celebrating the newest of generations. And did I mention there was fried chicken and pecan pie? Glory!

As I looked around that day, I did not know everyone and many folks I was meeting for the very first time. How strange, as this was my family. However, I was reminded that we all had a place at the table that day and the hospitality felt divine. Not because we had grown up together (although some of us had shared some wild times as kids) and not because we were willing to make the trip to the Bluegrass state (although some had come from as far as California), but we were there because we shared a common connection … a deeper connection as family.

Arnold3God reminds us that families are important. And making time for fun with our family is a must for us. So, we were beyond excited to get back to Laity Lodge Family Camp this past summer. Having been a camper, counselor and on work crew for LLYC, the Canyon has deep roots in my life and my faith story. I am so thankful to my Godfather Dwight Lacy and to my parents who encouraged me to experience this wonderful place so many years ago. And how fantastic that many of my camp friends were there to celebrate the beginning of our family, as my husband Kent and I said “I do” nearly 14 years ago. WOW!

Spending time at Family Camp is quickly becoming a tradition for us. Our kids are already asking when we can go back to Texas and are specifically investing in cowboy hats and boots for next year’s rodeo (a big statement for us mid-westerners). We love the freedom that our son and daughter experience while at camp and are humbled to watch the counselors build into our kids at every turn.

Family Camp represents the best of everything. From the extraordinary hospitality of the staff, to the delicious home-cooked meals … and from the outrageously silly counselor skits to the customized devotion times for kids and parents, we couldn’t ask for a better family experience. There is something for everyone.

Arnold1Not only does Family Camp give us time to disconnect from the pressure of work and school schedules, it gives us the chance to re-connect with one another while having fun on the zip line, swimming in the Frio River, and worshipping together at Roundup. And yes, our whole family conquered the Giant Swing this past summer … together. Having just turned 40 this past year, that is no small feat!

God continues to grow our vision of what family means. Our family has connected with so many other families just like us while at camp—doing life together, praying for and encouraging one another in our small groups and Bible study. And our kids have met other children at Family Camp with whom they still keep in touch during the school year. While we only expected to re-connect within our immediate family, we discovered we were making new friends and growing in God’s family with each day at camp. What a blessing!

We welcome the reminder that we are all part of God’s family, with more in common than we could have thought possible. And we are thankful that there is a place like Laity Lodge Family Camp that celebrates families and rolls out a fun-filled agenda to ensure that families walk away from the ultimate family reunion.

by Susan Arnold

Family Camp Style: Pumpkin Time

October 17th, 2014

Family Project: Pumpkins!photo

It’s that time of year when pumpkins come out in full force. Mary Echols has your pumpkin carving ideas covered!

Here are a couple of tips for pumpkin decorating;

  • Clean and dry pumpkin completely before decorating.
  • Washi tape works very well and is rather fool proof, even for littles.
  • We used brads, push pins, and colored tacks to make the dots.  Just push them in.
  • We also used straight pins to adhere buttons to the pumpkins.
  • Some people did it the old-fashioned way and actually carved.  We used disposable table cloths for easy clean up.


You can find more ideas on our Pinterest page.

Getting to Know You: T’Nikko Clarke

October 2nd, 2014


Getting to Know You: T’Nikko Clarke

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I was born in the Bahamas. I have lived in Turks and Caicos since 2006. I am currently the Kids’ Counselor at Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort. I take the kids to do things like snorkeling and scuba diving, and I am the activity planner. I love my job because of the kids. I’ve always loved kids. Since I am the oldest of 14 brothers and sisters, I have been helping out since I was young, so I am very comfortable with it. I love to laugh and have a joyous time.

Tell me a little bit about your faith journey.
I grew up in the faith., but as a teenager I wanted to go out and experience the world. I came back to Turks and Caicos, and a friend invited me to church. I didn’t know at the time that the pastor of this church had known me since I was young. That day he was saying “There’s something special about you and you don’t even know it. He is calling you. He wants you to come back because he has things for you.” I knew he was talking to me. That was about four years ago.

Now I have the opportunity to minister to a lot of the teenagers and kids there in the resort. I have standards about who I want to be as a person and I have to keep that in forefront of my mind.

How did you find out about Laity Lodge Family Camp in Turks and Caicos?
The Hallerman family came to to Turks and Caicos last year, and their kids were a part of my program. They had so much fun that they told their dad, Sven, they didn’t want to go back. Sven was touched by that, and told me, “The way you shine on my kids, I want you to do that here (Laity Lodge Family Camp).” So he extended the invitation to come.

TNiko2What did you enjoy about your time with us this summer?
I loved meeting new families, the kids and the activities. I’ve never shot a rifle before, so that has been a blast. Everything at Camp is new, so it’s fun. I have learned so much that I want to take back with me to my job: the teachings, the arts and crafts . . . I even learned about Wyldlife (Young Life) from some of the other counselors, and I would like to implement that in my community.

What brings you joy?
Seeing joy on little kids’ faces. Seeing joy in families. Arts and Crafts, babysitting, having fun. Being a kid all over again. And serving. Serving brings me joy because it puts a smile on people’s faces, and I know that they are having a good time and experiencing something that maybe they wouldn’t be able to on their own. I also appreciate when others can learn from my experiences.

Coffee or Coke?
Neither one. But I’ll drink a French vanilla latte when I need a jolt.

Morning or nighttime person?
Morning, all the way. I need to sleep. I go to bed about 9pm or 10pm, and by 6am I’m awake.

What kind of music would I hear in your playlist?
Gospel music and smooth, calming music. Like Ellie Holcomb. I like music that is soothing, and brings you into that place where you can meditate, think, and focus on the positive.

Tell me one thing about you that others might not know.
I’m a baby whisperer. I have a special connection with babies. I think it’s because I can get down to their level and be more comfortable which gets them calmed.

What’s your favorite treat?
Chocolate with cranberry fruit and nut or Kit Kat. Oh, and cheese Pringles and cheese balls.

Fill in the blank. Chocolate is….

TNiko2-MDCats or dogs?

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a doctor. I changed that because I saw how much kids struggle and need someone to just listen and show them someone cares. When you listen to them, it opens them up to trust you. Now I want to come back to the US and study theology and counseling.

What was the strangest or funniest thing that happened at camp?
My first rodeo…I was very nervous, and it was crazy. I was a rodeo clown. And it was amazing!

What advise would you give to families who are preparing to come to Family Camp?
Bring your fun hat for sure. Bring your childhood back with you. Let yourself go. Otherwise, it’ll be much harder to be there.

If you enjoyed meeting T’Nikko, meet more of our staff here!

Rodeo Clown photo courtesy of Martha Danielson

An Unexpected Rest

September 22nd, 2014


An Unexpected Rest

by TJ Wilson

My husband Corbin came home one day last fall and told me that he signed us up for a weekend in the Spring of 2014 at Laity Lodge Family Camp. As our typical spring schedule clicked through my mind, I simply smiled and said, “Sure, sounds great,” thinking it was a nice, but unrealistic gesture for our family to get away at such a busy time of year.

I’d heard of Laity Lodge before, a camp birthed from the H. E. Butts Family Foundation in the rolling Texas Hill Country, and in fact some good friends who work for Laity Lodge had begged us to attend the new family camp facility even before construction was completed.

Our friends kept telling us we needed to get to the new facility and experience it. “Amazing, incredible,” they said. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them, but I wasn’t fully convinced. We’ve taken part in various camps and retreats before, and have experienced some fantastic properties with fantastic people. Perhaps out of loyalty to those camps we already have ties with, I didn’t feel the need to start again at an entirely new camp.

So I kept the Family Camp date penciled in on my calendar, but felt sure that as the weekend inched closer it would drift away like a ballon let loose into a gusty wind. But even as our commitments threatened and the calendar filled, Corbin held to our Laity Lodge weekend like an unwavering anchor. Even when both of our boys’ baseball teams announced the first tournaments to be played that weekend, Corbin held his ground. And when our older son’s select basketball team advanced to the championship game for that weekend, he never flinched. I felt quite irritated with my husband, thinking that surely he understood that a road trip to the Hill Country that particular weekend simply added stress instead of relieving stress.

Regardless, we all followed Corbin’s lead and threw our bags in the car – rather grudgingly – Friday afternoon to head out for Headwaters. Our younger girls were excited about Family Camp, but the boys and I silently stared out the car windows. I kept asking myself, “Will this really be worth all the effort?”

After a simple four-hour drive from Fort Worth, the boys and I perked up when Corbin exited the highway and followed the signs telling us to literally drive into a river. “Dad, seriously? Are you sure you’re supposed to be driving into the water?” To access the camps, we drove about a mile in a couple of inches of water through the bottom of a gorgeous rock canyon. The scenery captivated us, instantly turning our hearts towards adventure.

Pulling into Family Camp at dusk, we drove up the main road where a handful of smiling staff greeted us, handing out cabin assignments and directions. We hadn’t even parked the car when someone called out our name – an old Young Life friend who brought their family for the weekend. What a precious gift to reconnect with these friends – and to feel connected right off the bat. Relishing in the camp’s scenic beauty, the incredible facilities, and the enthusiasm of the staff, it took about two minutes before baseball, basketball, and birthday parties back in Fort Worth vanished from our thoughts.

Some highlights:
- Scenery. Laity Lodge Family Camp’s placement in the canyon is remarkable. Since we arrived at dusk, we woke the next morning astounded with the commanding, striated cliffs rising out of a clear waters of the Frio River just feet from our cabin.

- The amenities. The Austin stone dining hall, cabins, meeting rooms… just superb. One of our favorite family get-aways is the Hyatt Lost Pines resort in Bastrop, TX. It’s got nothing on Laity Lodge Family Camp.

- Worship. Biblically based sessions for parents and for kids in the morning, and zany yet meaningful worship times each evening.

- Activities. I most enjoyed keeping up with my 14-year-old on a dirt bike. Well, trying to, anyway. Our boys woke up early and fished and swam. Swam – in the Frio in early March – no thank you. And paddle boarded and kayaked. Even in March, the weather proved warm enough to put the water slide to plenty of use.

- Guests and Families. Letting our kids run wild and knowing they were safe, and that they were with great families. Really sweet kids. The kind who look you in the eye and smile and greet you with a clear conscience. Stimulating conversations at mealtimes and throughout the weekend with like-minded parents navigating their families well.

- History. Learning more about the H. E. Butt family, their foundation, and the history of programs in the Canyon. Amazing what God can do through one family’s vision, sacrifice and generosity.

The people, people, people. More than the amenities, the gorgeous setting, the activities… the mostly volunteer, mostly college staff who took a weekend away from school to serve us were tremendous.

- A weekend to breathe. I (obviously) wouldn’t have believed it, but our Family Camp retreat was the most restful weekend. Probably the best weekend our family shared all spring. All four of our kids got in the car Sunday begging to stay, asking when we could come back. Even our oldest on the way home said, “Mom and Dad, I can’t lie, Laity Lodge Family Camp was waaay better than I thought it would be.”

Incidentally, back home, both of our baseball tournaments were rained out, and we made it back to Fort Worth in time for that championship basketball game. But even if we’d have missed it all, it was certainly worth every bit of effort – truly a family weekend that provided more than I could have asked for or imagined.

Meet the Interns!

September 19th, 2014


Meet the Interns!


So hopefully, you’ve had a chance to meet our new interns, Maryn Swierc and Forrest Parks. But you might be wondering what it is that they do? Well, besides fanning Emily with palm fronds and fetching her cool beverages in the Texas heat, here are a few things they tackle in their spare time:image

  • Develop and support the program with skits, games, late night events, etc.
  •  Join the team in recruiting staff for both weekends and summer
  •  Visit and care for seasonal (college) staff on their college campuses
  •  Overall, get their hands dirty learning and working on all the things that make camp happen!

So when you see them at Camp during this coming year, grab an Icee from the Outpost and get to know them. And thank them for being the awesome interns that they are!

Meet Forrest Parks!

September 18th, 2014


Getting to Know You: Forrest Parks


Tell me a little bit about yourself, whatever background you’d like to share.
I’m the third of four kids and I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. I just graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Industrial Distribution.

This was my second summer in the Canyon. Last summer I was the Transportation Director for Youth Camp in Echo Valley. I heard about LLYC through my roommate Joe Shaw who was the previous transportation director. He said I would love it. That job involved things like maintaining the trucks, assigning them out, coordinating parking for parents and buses, and transporting kids to activities.

Interestingly, my degree helped me out with my role in the Canyon the past two summers. A lot of Industrial Distribution is about operational management, so it was cool to see the way it plays into the operations side of camping ministry.
After camp finished, I spent some time with family back in Atlanta, and then I moved to Kerrville in August.

So, what exactly did you do for us at Family Camp this past summer?
I was the Activities Director, in charge of assigning counselors to facilitate activities, making sure everything was ready to go for the families, and maintaining equipment and supplies. We also tried using Sign Up Genius this year to allow families to sign up for activities ahead of time. I got to help facilitate a few adventure rec activities as well – alpine tour, rock wall, zip line, etc. I also helped out coordinating additional activities like the late night stuff.

What excites you about working for Family Camp?
I’ve developed a heart for camping ministry over the past couple years and I am trying to see where that’s going – if it’s career long or just a couple years. Being a part of Canyon programs the past couple of summers and observing the mission and how the directors went about it, I wanted to be on board carrying that out.

I love that Headwaters is still a little new, and we are still figuring out the best practices. I also appreciate the holistic view and mission of the complete family unit. I am excited to grow and think this role will stretch and challenge me. The atmosphere is so different between youth and family. Working with youth is much higher energy, but a lot lower pressure. Kids will go along with just about anything. Families are more easy going, but there is more pressure to please parents and meet their expectations.

If I jumped into your car right now, what kind of music would I hear?
The radio would probably be off. Every now and then I surf some stations. I enjoy all types of music; acoustic folk is my biggest interest right now. But for the most part my radio is off.

What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?
Um, I don’t remember . . . I’m not a big reader. It was probably for a sales class. And I didn’t really enjoy it.


Plain or peanut M&Ms?

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was little, my brother and sister said that if you saw a plane at night with blinking lights, it was about to open fire. So for a while, I was scared of planes . . .

Diet coke or coffee or red bull?

What’s your favorite treat?
Kit Kat or Reeses

If you could go anywhere in the world for vacation, where would you go?
Colorado. I’m not a huge traveler, but I love the weather and the view in Colorado.

You’re not a big traveler, but you’re pretty far from your family. How’s that been?
It’s hard being away from family, but we siblings have all gone our own way to blaze our own trails. Being at TAMU wasn’t so bad.

Are you close as a family? And what do you think contributed to that?
I’m very close with my siblings. I have two older siblings – a sister and brother – and a younger brother. We don’t always talk, but when we do it’s always good. Growing up, we spent a couple years in a room together. My parents also homeschooled us up to sixth grade, so we were together a lot. The foundation of who I am is my family.


Fill in the blank: Chocolate is . . .
. . . Rich

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A clown in the circus. I thought walking a tightrope and riding a unicycle was awesome.

Dogs or cats?

Favorite kind of ice cream at the Outpost this summer?

Morning person or night owl?
Night Owl

If you could share some advice with parents getting ready to come to Camp, what would you say?
Truly vacation. Leave your work at home. Feel like I still see a lot of work here. I truly want them to relax.

Anything else you want to share?
I’m so excited to start in my internship. I’ve already thought of ways to improve from being out at Camp all summer. Living in community in Kerrville will be very different. I know I will grow individually, especially in learning contentment away from friends and comforts I’m used to having.