Recently, I was visiting a friend in another city and he took me to a local restaurant. It was a little Italian place with a great atmosphere and excellent food. While we ate, I asked him how long the place had been in business because there were pictures behind the counter of several celebrities and famous people who had eaten there over the years, many of whom were black and white. So before we left, I asked the gentlemen in charge how long they had been open and he proudly told me “71 years—since 1948!” He briefly told me the history of the restaurant. As we left, I told my friend how impressed I was with the food and that you have to be doing something right to stay open and relevant for 71 years.
I might also add that, by the time we left, the place was at capacity with a line forming. We often use longevity to judge success and rightly so, but if the product, the food, service and atmosphere was bad or just okay, it is highly unlikely that it would have still been around.
All of that got me thinking about something amazing that happened this year at Lylewood Christian Camp with the baptism of David Hernandez. We have had several people who were baptized at camp over the years. Sadly we aren’t sure how many. But let me tell you why David’s baptism was special. David’s grandma is named Terry Crick. She was immersed into Christ at the age of 18 in 1980. Her daughter Beth Crick Hudgens gave her life to the Lord at Lylewood in 1999, at the age of 16. Terry’s son was also baptized at camp in 2000, and this past summer David Hernadez became the third generation of his family to be baptized in the pool at Lylewood Christian Camp. Overall the Crick family has had a member of their family immersed in Christ at camp in each of the last four decades.
As I said above, we often judge the success of a business or place by longevity and Lylewood has been serving the Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky communities for the last 53 years. This year, 2020 will be 54 YEARS of Faith, Friendship and Fun at camp. As with the restaurant, the years open would not be impressive minus the product, and what is Lylewood’s product? 2020 will mark the 54th year Lylewood has been providing a place to get away, experience nature, and grow mentally and spiritually. It would be impossible to list all the lifelong friendships that were formed, nurtured, and grown as a result of Lylewood. It will never be known the number of meals cooked and served, games of four square, volleyball, and softball that have been played. It would not be feasible to accurately number how many kids and adults have splashed and played in the pool—the same pool that has brought an even greater joy where so many campers have decided to give their lives to Almighty God after a particularly moving lesson or devotional. How many Bible classes have been taught? How many songs sung with passion and praise? Honestly, I don’t have an answer to any of those questions even though I have been present for so many of them.
How do we measure success at Lylewood Christian Camp? We measure them in moments; moments like when David carried on his family’s tradition. We measure in friendships made and strengthened. We measure success in teachable moments when a child or even an adult begins to understand something in scripture. We measure it in laughter of happy kids and screams of joy that echo off the hills. Sometimes we measure success in tears. Tears when friends watch their friends being baptized. Tears of joy mixed with tears of sadness shed as people embrace before leaving camp because they don’t want to leave. Promises are made to be there at retreat, or next summer, or to keep in touch with letters (obviously this is a generational memory LOL) . We measure Lylewood’s success with LOVE shared, memories made and faith shared.
I would invite you to join us at Lylewood and either extend or begin your own family’s journey with 54 years of FAITH, FRIENDSHIP and FUN. With God’s blessing, Lylewood will continue to serve the people of our community, area churches, and surrounding counties. Lylewood Love Lives, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.George Shelton