The ‘C’ In YMCA
I knew that Coach Mike was a Christian; after all he taught Sunday School, he was a Presbyterian Elder, he dragged my unwilling butt to church and Sunday school ever Sunday that rolled around. But I never saw him read the Bible, wasnâ€™t even sure for a long time that he had one. I never heard him say any of the buzz terms such as: â€˜Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviorâ€™. But I could tell by the way he acted that something other than his own whims drove the man.
I knew that Y Camp was a â€˜Christianâ€™ camp in much the same way. They dragged our butts into the Lodge twice a day and we sang choruses and heard a leader stumble/mumble through a two minute talk. We did cabin devotions every night, though we sometime fooled around when nobody was looking. Nobody ever came up to us and asked, â€˜Is Jesus Christ you Lord and Savior?â€™ But I never heard a leader use profanity and good examples were around for all to see.
People sometimes ask what drove me to the ministry? (Droveâ€¦ I like that wordâ€¦ pretty apt; I didnâ€™t do it on my own!) I tell them it was Coburn Kelly and the Athens YMCA and it was Y Camp and Pop, Coach Mike and my leaders. Truly it was a formative place for my faith. And Y Camp still is. We probably talk about our faith more openly now; but we have to, because nobody else does any more. Outside of church or camp, where else are Christian values openly promoted these days? And yet those values are what got us all to where we are todayâ€¦ well Judeo-Christian values; cannot forget my Jewish campmates: Michaels and Pintchucks, etc.
Anyway, I hope that it is appropriate for me to wish you all a happy Easter. By the way, I found Coach Mikeâ€™s Bible when I was going through his things after he died. It was worn and dog eared; obviously well read. And I even caught him once, on his knees, praying, when he thought everyone in the house was still in bed. He never did talk much about stuff; you could only tell what that man believed by watching how he lived.
One of the great things about Y Camp, and it continues, is the strong positive values demonstrated by our leaders and upper staff. We still are in the business of molding Christian character in fun ways. We have so much fun at Y Camp that we donâ€™t even pay much attention to the good things we are learning in the process.