I don’t know if this is the intention of the blog or not, but I have a favorite Camp Loll memory:Ben Prall and myself (Taylor Sparks) had just gotten home from our missions and JD McBride had only been home 9 months or so. We were all returning to Camp Loll to do High Adventure and Ace. We had a whirlwind week re-familiarizing ourselves with Bechler, Tetons, Phantom Falls and Union. We’d already, of course, taken note of the new girls that had gotten jobs since we’d been away. Justin Hansen told us that none of the younger staff was good enough to date his sister, but one of us three would be ok. We were all pretty interested it seems, in fact, it kind of felt like friendly competition.Anyways, back to the story, you’d think that being Eagle Scouts, return staffers, original BOBSQUAD members, High Adventure Directors and 21 year olds we’d have all the basic scout skills down. Delose apparently thought we did, because he put J.D. and I in charge of “showing the younger staff how the over-night canoe was to be properly done.” So of course the whole staff piles into the boats. There’s a serious decision to be made. Since it’s early in the summer you either take a real chance and try to get in a canoe with a cute girl, or you try and pile into a boat with one of your cool friends before you get left behind with the kid who’s never paddled a canoe before. Well somewhere in the frenzy my good friend Ben got in the boat with the cute girl I liked (and who I later married!) So I grabbed J.D. and we decided we’d show everybody how to paddle a canoe. We took off towards the other end of the lake, our canoe slicing through the glassy water. We were way ahead of the majority of staffers (certainly because of J.D.’s arm strength, because the only arm exercise I’d had in two years was carrying scriptures!) Everything was going well, even though I wasn’t in the boat with the cutest girl I was at least flying across the lake in the fastest canoe. Until Justin had the nerve to start catching up. He was with a girl and she wasn’t even paddling! How could he be going so fast? Was there a motor hidden behind his huge biceps? J.D. and I were appalled! We redoubled our efforts and were paddling with everything we had. We left the whole group behind in our fervor to win. I was in front and was totally in the rhythm. We’d paddle 10 times each side or so and then J.D. would yell “Switch!!” and we’d trade sides and repeat. Well we were so focused and paddling so hard that J.D. forgot to yell “Switch!!” but he changed sides anyways! Since I was in front I didn’t even notice. We both took a really strong dig on the left side and next thing I know we smoothly glided sideways into the water! I was so shocked by the water that by the time my head resurfaced I could barely breath. My skin around me felt like it belonged to a much smaller me from several years ago and my head instantly throbbed as the sub-40 degree water sucked any remaining strength out of my body. So there we were… grown adults… “leaders” to the whole staff… “models” of how things ought to be done… did we react with poise and dignity taking advantage of the situation to show people what you ought to do when you swamp your canoe? No. We did not. In fact, the first thing I remember hearing was J.D.’s very elevated voice scream in a total panic to “Ditch the boat! Head for the shore! It’s too cold! Ditch the boat!” Such was my confusion and so terrified was J.D. that I ditched my shoes, our drybag, our paddles (1 of which sunk to the bottom, I thought those things floated!?) and I headed for shore, which was quite a ways away. To us it seemed escaping the awful grasp of the frigid water was the only option. As the rest of the staff caught up with us they asked through their laughter what in the world we were doing. They wondered why we left our boat. Wasn’t that the worst thing you could do? What could we say? We knew they were right, but they had no idea how cold water can warp an otherwise sensible man. We sheepishly accepted the help of the feeble, younger staffers who we had shunned and ditched in our race across the lake. They helped remind us of the proper way to drain the water out of a swamped canoe and one of them even gave us an extra paddle that they had been prepared enough to foresee the need of. Soon enough we were paddling back towards camp with our tails very much between our legs. “Ashamed” doesn’t do justice to how we felt, and as if we were mortified enough I can only imagine Delose’s thoughts as he saw his two “most competent” go shivering past mumbling something about a terrible accident and needing a hot shower. I’m thankful for his forgiving nature and his belief in second chances, improvement and potential. I’m so grateful for the time I was able to spend at camp. This is just one of many, many memories which I hold so dear to my heart. It’s just one of the many experiences that hardened me and many of those whom I most love into stronger, better people.
I am a Camp Loll staffer, and a good ole staffer, too...Delose, Again, with this weblog, you have given us all a gift we can't repay. I have been to this address about six times, and each time, I get sucked into a delicious vortex of nostalgia--and I lose about 45 minutes of my life!I thouroughly enjoy looking at the photos, and then groping around in my middle-aged memory for a semi-forgotten name. Then, each of those names brings a flood of details! What a blast!So many of these men are a huge part of my favorite memories. I get a kick out of looking at us--back when they had "abs"! I'll never be able to tell you how much Loll (Lake of the Woods), Bartlett, Yellowstone, and especially YOU! have meant to me. Next to my father, you are the man I most admire. On a spring day, in Jackson, you helped me see things much more clearly. My gratitide for that day increases as I get older.I don't always get to Loll in the summers. And, I'm not very sentimental in most things. But, knowing that you are there, holding forum in the sancta simplicitas, is a comfort and an inspiration.
Taylor & Jody and Brad,How nice to hear from you all. I am of course much gratified by your kind words – they are even more powerful to me when I consider the stellar successes you have made of your lives. How grateful I am that I could be some small part of the many challenges and victories that have made you so great.Taylor, I remember well your and J.D.’s dip into the lake – it continues to provide the most powerful “what not to do” example for generations of Overnight Canoer’s and the staffers who are assigned to protect them; proving once again that one can always serve, at least, as a bad example. Don’t worry – you are a good example in a thousand ways. Brad - how pleasant it is to hear form you. Such contact with staffers of the “past” was the greatest hope I had for this web-page. I will redouble my efforts to find and share pictures and stories with all who read here. You have also brought many sweet memories to me. I remember the days when we used to push the tables to the walls, cover the inside of the dining hall with mattresses and the have a wrestling match till only the toughest was standing. I also remember when you dropped the effigy of the cook from the rafters while singing your version of Leonard’s “The Ash Grove” intoning – the ash can the ash can. Thanks for the memories!!
Jeff Curtis said,Delose,The web section you have created about Union Falls is wonderful. I foolishly made the mistake of telling you how much I disliked the 20 miles to the Falls and back. After that you made sure I went to Union every week.I would like to credit your wisdom for all those hikes, but my ego won't allow it; I guess, then, that I can only offer that I learned to love Union in spite of your attempted punishment. I look forward to the day when I can enjoy the Falls again with Tyler and Blakey.Brad,I have many sweet memories of Camp Loll. I consider myself so fortunate to have spent two wonderful summers on the same staff as you.You are, indeed, as intelligent as you are athletic. I guess that stems for your "eastern" education. Years ago you commented that you were headed back east to school . . . Laramie! What an amazing "eastern" instiution!Certainly, I am somewhat inaccurate. You were very intelligent before your trip "back east."At risk of divulging too much detail, I fondly remember you, duct tape and Don Spencer. Apparently Don had had enough of the duct tape, because he finally wrestled it away from you and threw it into the middle of the lake.In an extremely lucid moment, you came to me (the greatest rower in the history of Camp Loll), and asked me to row for you while you drug the lake in search of the tape. I don't know how you did it, but you found that roll of tape, and Don was never the same afterward!You are the best, Brad. I hope all is well with you.
Though I wasn't there that summer, Taylor, I can completely hear J.D. screaming ditch the boat.What great memories. I have, yet again, been called to be the Varsity Coach, and luckily, we are heading up to Loll. So, after a couple summers away, I get to go back to the greatest place there is. Only this time, I will get to be there for scoutmaster roundtable, never heard one before.I love the alumni website, it can definitely be the cause of much wasted time at work, but then, I work for the government, so I have the time to waste.
Dan,It is great to hear from you, and great to know that you will be bringing your team to Loll next summer. I look forward to the roundtables.
I love this website and blog. I think I get on almost everyday. I love to look at the pictures and read the stories. I loved Camp Loll for years before I ever worked there. My dad was a scout leader who took his boys to Camp Loll and I heard stories and saw pictures. I fell in love. I started working at other camps(Bartlett and Browning)until I could get Delose to hire me at Loll. Well, he did hire me but, it was at Aspen Ridge. I went on to work at Loll the next two years. I went out to Catalina with Delose and Janice for a few years. The last time I was to work at camp was at Camp Loll with Delose and Janice (finally). I have never had such a wonderful summer. It wasn't just the place, it was the people. I love Camp Loll and I charish every memory that I have there. I hope that through this blog I can keep in touch with some of the people that have meant so much to me.
Alisa,It is so nice to hear from you. The pleasure you get out of the pictures and stories is exacatly what I hope to give through it. Over the Thanksgiving break I hope to put us some more fun stuff.Thanks for writing! And thank you for your years of service all over the camping world - and especially at Loll
"Jeff Curtis" Gosh, it sounds kind of familiar... Jeff, I can remember EXACTLY how you looked back then. You wore shorts all the time, and you were smiling all the time! Of course, I envied you for waterfront tan, and for getting to be Banz' side-kick all year, too. Lucky! I remember when we ran into each other at BYU. We were both young fathers by then. Speaking of which, those pictures on the "Fathers and Sons" page--what a thrill to see that you have a son in the ranks! (Now I have to envy you for that, as well!)And all the others with kids on staff: Scott Hinrichs(I still remember your Delaware Indian name.), Gordon Banz (Best waterfront in Loll history!)My tent-mate, Don Spencer is still around. We were in touch by email not too long ago. He and I have some prime memories!Delose, thanks for the updates!
Jeff Curtis said,Brad,I feel quite fortunate that Delose uses older pictures on his blog rather than current ones. Unfortunately current pictures would reveal that what I have lost in hair has been added in lbs. I don't wear "fat and bald" nearly as well as I wore "tan and cut" I must admit, however, that I still do enjoy shorts!I actually have two sons now, along with two daughters. You saw the picture of Tyler. Blakey just turned 13. I don't know if he is interested in "summering" with Delose, though I do expect he and I will have many grand memories to share together at Camp Loll.I went back to Loll this summer for the first time in several years. I was fortunate enough to sneak down to the lake and complete my mile swim. I was feeling quite a sense of accomplishment until I remembered the greatest swim ever performed at Lake of the Woods.Brad Darrington, SEVEN MILES. I recall that you didn't just swim across the lake, you swam the length four times, then finished up by swimming the last mile the traditional over and back twice.I think it is a record that will stand forever. As I said before, you're the best, Brad!
¡Bring back the ágora!
I love how on the 'Couples' portion half the people have like posed engagement like photos, and I look like I was just rolled by a mob.Alisa, of course, looks as good as always.
Dear Dan,I would be honored to post a more "accurate" picture of you. You can e-mail it or - now that you are moving into the neighborhood – you could actually bring it by.
I didn't say the picture wasn't accurate. Alisa is the looker. That is a fairly accurate depiction of what I looked like at camp. I was mostly just razzing you.And, yes, we are moving into the neighborhood, we are very excited to be first time homeowners.
If you are moving, are you leaving your current ward? Does that mean you won't be at Loll with the varsity scouts this summer?
Thats the downside. I won't be at Loll with the Varsity scouts. I was really looking forward to it, since I've never had the adult leader experience with Delose. But, I'll still be there for the reunion.
Even though I only worked there for 2 weeks during the 2007 summer, camp loll has been the best place I have ever worked. I still look at the pictures I have because of the memories they give me. I was very disappointed that I was not able to work there during that the 2008 summer, and I hope I can make up for that by having twice the good time during 2009. I am really glad I found this site, as it gives me a means of communication with other camp loll staffers.
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