As the SPdL Chapel Choir reunion approaches some of the banter on Facebook has reminded me of six long time Camp SPdL counselors / youth department Sunday School teachers who were the backbone of a remarkable time period in the lives of hundreds of young people. Tony Korey (above), Jim Watterson, Carroll Glover, Dottie Craig, and Brooks & Sara Maddox used precious vacation time to spend chomping through the pines of eastern Alabama, making the magic week known as Camp SPdL run as smoothly as it did. They weren’t there solely because of their own flesh and blood, but for each and every one of the kids.
While they had children grow up in the department, this “SPdL Six” served long before and long after their kids graduated and moved on with their lives. Teenagers in the 70’s and 80’s were able to see, learn, and grow from the service, example, and consistency these six shared. “Waterbucket” shared his love of leathercraft, Civil War history, and even gun shows. Brooks was the consummate referee and sportsman. Lieutenant Korey was respected for both his police work and his ability to antagonize those around him. Carroll worked behind the scenes to set up and make everything run smoothly. Dottie was the camp nurse and Sara everyone’s mother. They may not have been cutting edge comedians like David Hurt or me, but in Sunday School and camp Bible studies their teaching was without peer.
The work and service of the SPdL Six spanned generations of teenagers. How fun to see Tony Korey stirring things up on Facebook with people he taught over thirty years ago. What memories come back. Staff members, youth directors, and camp preachers came and went (except for John Condra, who thankfully stayed forever). David Downing. Fred O. David Lewis. Rob Suggs. Val Robinson. Don Head. Dave & Caroline McKeithen. Paul McNeil. Bill Haynes. Mark Cable. What a blessing to watch gawky teen grow into beautiful swans – Christian ministers, leaders, teachers, parents, and friends. Oh how the years have flown.
I was fortunate to work alongside a slightly younger second wave of outstanding servants. Steve Norman, Kaye Statham, David Hurt (& later Mary), Charles Baugh, Alyce Maddox, Bruce Ambrose, Jimmy Light, Jerome Mathis, Paula Parks Price, Mark & Leah Stephens, Mark & Donna Fallis, Peter Craig, and Ceil, to name a few. The SPdL Six took us all in. The late night runs sixteen miles down the road for crappy Pops ice cream cones in Heflin Alabama were legendary. You could see the endearing love the teens had especially for the older six. Us younger counselors only wanted to live up to their standard and have God work through us in a similar way.
Since it’s been over twenty years I may have left someone out. If so please forgive me – and remind me who’s missing.