It’s that time of year again. Hundreds of college students are preparing to work at LLYC and Laity Lodge Family Camp. They join our camp staff and become our neighbors, bringing all of their raw energy into the Canyon and serving campers and families. Wherever you hear someone laughing or singing—at Roundup, at meals, on the waterfront, the zip lines, the steep trail to Circle Bluff—a college student is probably cracking the joke or leading the chorus.
It goes the other way too. In hard moments, college students listen when they need to listen and pray when people need prayer.
They invest so much in the mission and our campers and guests. Then, at the end of the summer, we send them all back to their universities and their new careers.
Serving God in the regular world isn’t easy, and that is where we send not just our seasonal staff, but all of our 27,000 guests each year, out of the comfort, beauty, and safety of the Canyon, back into the day-to-day world where they face hard work, difficult news, mounting bills, insecure jobs, and so many other concerns. Like the poem says, some kinds of work cut and burn.
We strive to help people live whole, healthy lives both inside and outside the Canyon. It’s a goal that can feel overwhelming, even audacious. We want to serve our college staff as they develop careers, families, and a faith of their own. We want to support our most vulnerable guests when they return to neighborhoods burdened by generations of instability.
Deborah and I are exploring opportunities to do many of these things. In addition to supporting the camping and retreat programs, we are testing new initiatives around mental health, income inequality, and rural development. These are areas where some of our neighbors are suffering when they leave the Canyon and return home.
You will be hearing more about emerging initiatives in future issues of Echoes. But as you read this issue, you’ll see that much of the work is already underway as we serve people in the Canyon week in, week out.
David Rogers, President
The H. E. Butt Foundation