September 12th, 2011


Holy Ground

I was coming home from a clergy meeting in Terre Haute today and decided to drive by Camp Krietenstein, out on the Putnam-Clay County line near Poland, IN. I was the Camp Director there three summers while I was working on my doctorate, but I haven't been there in more than twenty years.

Wabash Valley Council folded some years ago, and the Indiana counties were taken over by Crossroads of America Council. They form a fourth Section of that humongous Council, which now spans the entire middle of the State, from Ohio to Illinois. Crossroads has poured some money into the camp, and I'd heard of several improvements, so I was curious to know what it would look like.

Camp K was an old camp even when I was there. It was founded in 1922 and has been in continuous use ever since. My first summer as Camp Director, I asked the Council Executive to have the water turned on to the Handicrafts Lodge, and he replied that there was no water there; I pointed to a spigot in the wall, and he said, "Oh, that was two water systems ago." We're talking lots of tradition and lots of maintenance. We struggled to offer a quality camp when I was there. We did that, but we also lost money every year. I loved that camp, but I always wished that I could have done better for it.

Well, camp looked fine. Mighty fine. It's a thriving place now. The totem poles are freshly-painted, and facilities have been upgraded without losing the specialness of the place. I'm glad. And it made me think: if my time there was at a time of stress, still, my stewardship was part of what kept things going until the better days could be reached. And maybe I should look at my tenure as President of NAUMS the same way. NAUMS has many challenges these days, not least a lack of support from UM Men. I'd like to be doing better as a leader of the Association; however that may be, NAUMS may have a bright future ahead of it, and my stewardship is about keeping things going and looking for the promise to be fulfilled under someone else. Hey, it can happen. God is faithful.

Chapel Chapel Camp Krietenstein, BSA