Ten Things You Should Know about the History of Laity Lodge Youth Camp
1. SUGAR SHACK WAS THE TITLE OF A 1960s DOO-WOP SONG.
Recorded by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs in 1963, “Sugar Shack” spent five weeks on the Billboard charts. Bill Cody’s daughter, Kathy, loved the song, and it inspired the name of the LLYC canteen.
2. FROG SULLIVAN’S INFLUENCE EXTENDS FAR AND WIDE.
The founding director of LLYC worked out his early approach to Christian youth camp at Young Life, where he originally helped develop the concepts of Round Up, Best Two Weeks, and Work Crew.
3. BLUE HOLE ISN’T BLUE.
It’s green. Sometimes, it’s blue-green, mixing the reflected sky with the tint of the greenish limestone at the river’s bottom. But who wants to swim in Green Hole?
4. IT WASN’T ALWAYS SO EASY TO GET TO, EITHER.
In the 60s and 70s, campers accessed Blue Hole using only a rope and an extension ladder. Then again, it had a diving board.
5. WOLF’S DEN USED TO BE A WATERING HOLE. TWICE.
Currently a game room, Wolf’s Den housed Echo Valley’s Sugar Shack in the early years of LLYC. Before that, it was a water cistern.
6. ZIPLINES ARE OLD-SCHOOL.
Though newer ziplines were installed a few years ago, the first zipline made its appearance over 30 years ago as part of the Singing Hills playfield obstacle course.
7. SO IS ECHO VALLEY.
The camp that now has room for 180 campers was once just a ranch house and three small hunting cabins. In fact, Cabin 2 is one of the original cabins dating back to the 1930s.
8. YOU THINK IT’S TOUGH TO TELECOMMUNICATE IN THE CABIN NOW?
Before the 1980s, camps and maintenance staff communicated via a fragile network of CB radios in each kitchen and on the dashboard of the trucks.
Until the mid 1980s, horses were a fixture at LLYC. They were removed due to financial and ecological concerns, and Canyon staff now work with local ranches off site to let family campers saddle up and experience Texas trail rides.
10. BASKETBALL AND SOCCER. RISKIER THAN ROCK CLIMBING.
Thirty years ago, a risk management study reviewed LLYC and discovered that the majority of camp injuries could be traced back to two activities: basketball and soccer.
Although the first session of Laity Lodge Youth Camp hosted only 15 campers, LLYC now offers several thousand campers the chance to experience the Best Two Weeks every summer.