Don’t Worry. Crew Will Get It.

WHAT’S BETTER THAN GIVING UP HALF YOUR SUMMER TO SPEND COUNTLESS HOURS WASHING DISHES OR GOING ON TRASH RUNS IN THE BLAZING TEXAS HEAT WITHOUT RECEIVING A DIME? FOR SOME HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS, NOTHING.

There is an unseen force that makes Laity Lodge Youth Camp operate as successfully as it does—an always-reliable army of high school juniors who get things done behind the scenes. Each February, directors hire around 75 guys (Program Crew) and girls (Work Crew) for the job. It’s gross, thankless, and exhausting, and they love every minute of it.

They serve campers and staff with selfless devotion. The all-girl Work Crew does those nasty dishes. The all-boy Program Crew sets up activities and cleans up the mess afterward.

It is exhausting work—physically, mentally, and spiritually. They receive little-to-no thanks and little-to-no sleep. When crew members are not actively working their shift, they study the Bible, learn from mentors, and pick up any other work that needs doing.

The job is so exhausting, most Crew grab a quick siesta in the hot afternoon before heading back to the kitchen to clean or back to the Ranch House to set up the late-night activity.

Why sign up for five weeks of grueling work? The reward of intense service is deep community. Crew friendships last long after the summer ends. When the LLYC diaspora spreads across the country, from California to New York, from Colorado to Texas A&M, these friendships endure. There is no trust quite like the one that forged alongside a dumpster or industrial dishwasher.

“I think crew helped me grow up. I think that was the first time I had to learn to work well with other people. It also helped me learn to keep working even when I was tired. I think that mindset helped my senior year when I was trying to get all my work done.”

— Dustyn Willard (Work Crew, 2015)

 

“A summer serving on Work Crew is a guarantee that you’ll leave the Canyon with a tight-knit group of girls you can always count on along with a definite appreciation for hard work. You’ll leave with stories about moments when you felt pure joy like crazy dance parties in the kitchen and then moments of undeniable redemption found when rubbing shoulders in tight living quarters with your new forever friends.”

— Katherine Radney (Work Crew Boss, 2017)

“It wasn’t until after my crew summer that I really realized I needed to change my community of friends back at home. I always heard people saying that community was essential to living a life with Christ and until I truly experienced that on Work Crew, I settled for friendships that were negative and unfulfilling.”

— Erin Deeds (Work Crew, 2015)

 

“Program Crew is an awesome picture of what the Lord intended life on Earth to be—experiencing his joy and life by serving him and the kids in the Canyon every single day for a month, and doing that with 12 guys who love Jesus and others enough to spend half their summer doing the same. There’s nothing quite like it.”

— Will Radney (Program Crew Boss, 2014)

More in this issue

Undeterred

Houston nonprofit shows hope, determination, and grit amidst Hurricane Harvey's aftermath.

Parent University Comes to Camp

House of Faith cares about families, though in practice its programs have focused mostly on children and youth. As the staff and volunteers in San Angelo poured into the community and prayed for solutions to the parent gap, Laity Lodge Family Camp senior director, Cary Hendricks, was busy exploring partnership options.

Hello, Great Outdoors

H. E. Butt Foundation staff work with educators to create hands-on learning opportunities and recreational activities to foster self-esteem and leadership skills.

With Childlike Wonder

Jimmy Abegg is losing his eyesight, yet he continues to paint. 

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