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Posts Tagged ‘Grandma Betty’

For some kids, going to summer camp is hard.

Whether it’s their first time away from home, or their tenth, there’s only so much your college-aged camp counselor can do in the absence of mom and dad.  College students are in fact the perfect age to serve as camp counselors; just far enough in age from their charges to be respected, but close enough to make them seem totally awesome and someone to look up to.  Perfect role models, although a kid would never say that. But even the best counselors lack certain motherly/fatherly traits that some kids NEED.  There was a time when even I needed it.

Lutherlyn, the camp where I was on staff for five years, and a camper for probably twice that tackles this problem through what they call Camp Grandparents.  These are volunteers who, as the title suggests are around the age of a normal grandparent, and come to spend the week at camp, engaging with the kids, having fun, reading bedtime stories, filling that niche that counselors just can’t.

Lutherlyn has many great volunteers who serve as grandparents, but the best are a couple named Tom & Betty Christy.  Tom & Betty have been around as long as I have, longer even.  I still remember my first summer staying overnight at camp, when I got to stay for a half-week, Tom & Betty were there.  I remember Grandma Betty reading me and my cabin mates a bedtime story, and Grandpa Tom recognizing me as Vern Adams’ grandson, and asking how my grandpa was doing, and making small talk about my older brother.  And so it was a privilege and an honor when I joined the summer staff in 2006, to be working beside two great volunteers who were still going strong.  For the past five summers during which I’ve been on staff, I’ve cherished the opportunity to know that Tom & Betty, the people who made ME comfortable at camp before I was the “uber-cool counselor dude” were still there, giving kids the same loving and nurturing that I got…

I got a facebook message from Deb, the Assistant Director at Lutherlyn the other day.  It was a mass-message sent out to the previous summer’s staff.  Many of whom, my age, have been campers as long as I have, have seen the Christy’s in action from BOTH sides of the table…

Grandma Betty has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Deb’s message said that “She has an incredibly positive attitude and great trust in God to be with her through this but it is still scary.”

Of course it’s scary.  Pancreatic cancer is often looked at as one of rarest, yet most deadly forms of cancer.

It’s scary to think of someone who was such a source of strength for me, who has been a source of strength for so many homesick kids, is vulnerable.  Someone so timeless, that countless campers can remember having been impacted by, as mortal.

I wish there were a happy ending to this story, that two days after diagnosis we could say “oh, it was just a false alarm” but there isn’t, and we can’t.

The best we can do is hope and pray for her to overcome this.  For God to give her the strength that she gave to so many youth.

Pray for Betty Christy.  Pray for Tom Christy.  Pray for their family.  Pray for everyone they’ve ever touched and helped.

 

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