The greatest honor that I have received in 4-H was to have served as Big Chief/One Voice. As a youth, I was fortunate to be mentored by Sam Gwinn and Jim Baker as both highly influenced the very foundation of my character. The experience of growing and working with these two superb leaders had a profound affect and influence on me personally.
As One Voice, I was sitting on the bench dedicated to Sam Gwinn who, as founder, was the first to sit “on the Rock.” As I looked outward into the Council Circle, I could see the hallowed area dedicated to Jim Baker. Jim was the second person to sit on the “Rock” and continued the tradition in further developing camp.
It was an overwhelming honor. I knew in my heart that my goal would be simply to fulfill the position in such a way that would make Jim and Sam proud. After all, they were the ones that had demonstrated how to be the Big Chief/ One voice. Their influence was still present on that bench. My entire motivation was to emulate the camps of Jim Baker and Sam Gwinn. I was extremely elated when Sam told me that I was doing a wonderful job with camp.
One of Jim’s favorite activities in the circle was to play “BUZZ.” He had an uncanny way of ducking to dodge the swinging arms trying to knock off his sailor hat. One could tell by his laugher that he enjoyed every minute of it. Although I was not nearly as good as Jim was at the game, I continued the tradition throughout my tenure.
Another goal that I had was to make improvements at camp. Each year I would select a project to accomplish something that would make a better camp. You know, the part about “To Make the Best Better.” Here is a partial listing of some of those projects that were completed.
1. Revising the 4-H storage room in the back of REC Hall. I built a partition that was framed and covered with wire so that the contents were visible but secure. The enclosed area could also have a secondary lock for security. Some shelving was added and the area was better organized.
2. The Archery Range was reclaimed. The area was overgrown to such an extent that many did not know that there was an embankment at the back of the range to help stop the errant arrows. It was also difficult to walk through the “jungle” that had formed looking for arrows. The entire area was stripped of the overgrowth including the front side of the embankment. The range became just a grassy area with the embankment in full view.
3. The volleyball court was completely redone to be a regulation court. I invited a company in Harrington to donate two poles used in marine construction, which they did. I hauled the poles down to camp and constructed the new court to the proper dimensions. The court was outlined with athletic marker and a regulation volleyball net was used. (The counselor picture for week 2 of 2007 below was taken on the volleyball court.)
4. The replacement of the Totem Poles was probably the most time consuming and involved project. The old poles were crumbling from age. An example was that if you took a pocketknife and stuck the blade into the pole, it was like sticking it through a paper shell with nothing but air behind it. The Moon and Stars pole had a hollowed out section where apparently a snake decided to take up residence. When the poles were removed, they just fell apart into pieces. Again, I asked a company to donate the poles that would be used for the carving. Instead of carving the symbols into the poles as an indentation, I carved the wood around the symbols to give a “raised relief” effect. The bark had to be removed before the carving could begin. Once the carving was completed, then the painting could be done. Finally, they were erected in the Council Circle. Joy Sparks was in attendance to watch the process. Using a skid-loader to lift the poles, it appeared to be a rather precarious operation. One slip of the lifting strap would mean that the symbols would be peeled away. Joy watched nervously and later said she was fearful something would happen that wouldn't be good. There was success and all of the poles were in place. I placed a small sign on the back of the Big Feet totem pole that listed the people that were involved with the project pictured below.
After the poles were erected, the next step was to "fix" the bench. It was also showing signs of aging. Equally as important as being somewhat uncomfortable, it was also improperly aligned with the circle. So, the project became one of re-positioning the bench and redesigning it to include the group symbols, all while maintaining the dedication plaque of Sam Gwinn. (pictured above)
Camp Counselors and Voices and Echos 2004 to 2010
Camp pictures by Lloydlee Heite
During the camp years of 2004 through 2010, I was privileged to serve as One Voice.
MOON & STARS - TURTLES - BIG FEET - THUNDERBIRDS - BEARS
During my tenure as One Voice, I had the privilege of working with the staff, counselors and leaders of the People Groups pictured below. Hopefully, I was able to impart and nurture some of same qualities that I had experienced under Jim Baker and Sam Gwinn.
(I was present at the dedication ceremony.)
Visible on back of bench in center of picture at right.
Visible on ground at left of entrance or far left in picture at left marked by green Asterisk.
Here is a current picture of the archery range. (7/3/19) The flat area of the range has continued to be maintained as you can see. However, the embankment in the back is becoming overgrown again. If you look closely, you can see parts of the embankment, especially on the the right side. It is almost totally obscured again on the left.
On the Sunday nights before campers arrive on Monday morning, it is a busy time for counselors. Last minute tasks and preparations had to be accomplished before the arrivals start. There is a meeting in the REC Hall to make sure all of the duty assignments are covered and that camp will be ready when the first camper arrives the next morning.
But before that we try to have a meal as a group. In my case, I would invite the team over for the meal and a little relaxation prior to the meeting that would soon be happening. Here is a picture of a happy group getting ready for a big week.
WISE, WATCHFUL, THOUGHTFUL
STRENGTH, COURAGE AND MIGHT
FROM WHERE WE CAME