Friday, August 28, 2009

OTJ Training

I spent one year working at Centre Friends Meeting before my second summer at Quaker Lake. In the fall of 1979 I was working at Cedar Square Friends AND New Garden Friends, my home meeting. I eventually had to give up Cedar Square and settled in at New Garden, serving from '79 until 1984. I continued to work summers at QLC through 1983. I say I "worked" at these churches because in the early days I has NO idea that this was a ministry. It was fun, it made me a little (very little!) money and it was something I seemed to be good at, but it was a job. I had no training- in those days there just wasn't much training, and only huge churches has full-time youth pastors. I was not a youth pastor- I was a youth leader. The only things I knew to do were to follow the examples of my youth leaders from high school; work with I had learned being part of Young Life; and learn from Neal Thomas and Wally Sills, our amazing Camp Directors at Quaker Lake. Fortunately, these resources had much to offer. And even better, there was nothing that could have prepared me more for what was to come in my life than my years as a cabin counselor at QLC!

One of the first things I participated in as part of the staff was a staff canoe trip on the New River with the group you see pictured above. I learned a great deal about group building and what it means to share common experiences. I also learned quickly that with nearly every trip you take comes a story that is embarrassing to someone! This canoe trip had such stories.

We made camp along the river after our first day of canoeing, and after dinner and after dark people began grabbing the rolls toilet tissue and heading up the hillside into the woods to take care of "business." I was preparing to take the trek when one of the other counselors, Susan "Boom Boom" McBane, returned and handed me her roll to another counselor (Mark Farlow, maybe?). She took her flashlight and shined it up the hill to an empty area with large trees, telling me that is where he should go. She then shined the light in another direction, telling us "don't go over there- Jan is over there." And she was right. We knew she was right because her flashlight beam was shining brightly on Jan Osborne, who was now squatting for all to see! Well, not for all to see, because Susan still had no idea what she had done, and continued to hold the light steady on Jan. We were howling with laughter, Jan was trying to move out of the light, and we all had an unplanned memory that would connect us forever. The following day Susan would again make us laugh when she dove out of our canoe (she still blames it on me!) because we took on some water in the middle of a class 3 rapid called either Buzzard's Roost (because the buzzard's wait for swimmers there) or Molly Brown (because a young woman named Molly Brown once drowned there)! In the midst of all the danger of water and huge rocks, Susan was screaming- afraid that the snakes were going to get her! She survived unharmed, and we tortured her about snakes for the next several years.

People remember stories. Jesus taught in parables because He wanted people to think and to remember. Quaker Lake and New Garden Friends Meeting filled my memory with amazing stories that gave me some excellent "on-the-job" training in youth ministry- and I'll be sharing some of those stories over the next few days. You know, somehow it is not much of a stretch to picture the disciples in the woods, and Peter with a flashlight...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Susan "Boom-Boom" McBane Tuggle8/28/2010

    I DOVE into the water????? I was dumped into the water - just before the Class 10 rapid...alone and scared.

  2. I would never just dump a friend in the water. :) I stand by my version of the Great Canoe Wreck of '78!


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