Generations

As I write this from the upstairs of the Lodge I hear the laughter of campers running to the Center of the Universe for the night activity. I hear the crunch of blue gravel and see hundreds of fireflies rising up like harmless embers. Camp Laney is a special place and has been for 60 years now. One of the main reasons camp is so special can be found in the roll sheets I’ve seen over the last several years. The names of Kohn, Crawford, of Harwell and West, James, White, Laney, and many more, tell the stories of generations of Laney Boys. The first generation were campers and/or counselors here and some were even my counselors. They are all fathers now with fond memories and firm friendships from this place and want the same for their sons. There is not enough time to tell you about all the fathers and sons that have passed through our gates to take on the crucial role of being a Camp Laney staff member. I can tell you it’s been a privilege to work side by side with this second generation to give kids a world of good through camp. In a fast paced over connected world this is one of the few places boys can unplug and have role models show them the good men they can become. Beyond the creak of the bell and the cheers of final bombardy are camp counselors making an indelible impact on these kids. That’s why these fathers send their sons to work here like they once did. During orientation we tell our counselors about the incredible opportunity and responsibility they have as role models. To see them succeed in their new role as counselors, as their fathers did, is priceless. About a week before camp began, an older gentleman and his wife pulled up to the Lodge. I walked up to the car and asked if I could help them and the man said “I was a camper up here about 50 years ago and heard my old counselor Rob Hammond might still be up here.”

“Yes sir,” I said, “I’m, Bo Hammond, his youngest. He’s the owner and director now.”

We talked for several minutes and before I left to go find Rob, the man looked up from his car and asked “Do you have any idea how meaningful it was for a college guy like Rob to take a genuine interest in a 4th grader like me?”

With a hundred different memories rushing in all at once all I could say was, “Yes sir, I believe I do.”

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