{Another LVR staff blog}

Once upon a time, Steve Johnson wanted to be Quick Draw. It quickly morphed in QD, which is often misheard as “Cutie.” But watch out, ladies, the camp director of LVR is happily married to his wife Angie, aka Bam. They have 3 adorable boys – Sam, Mason, and Joe – who are growing up in the ideal, rambunctious lifestyle of camp kids.

QD is the kind of guy you can’t picture doing anything other than working at LVR. Except for one day a week going into town to play softball, he doesn’t go for civilization that much. If he had to drive into town for errands, he would relieve at least one staff member of their duties if they could be spared so he wouldn’t have to go alone. When I was lucky enough to ride along on an errand run, he bought me and Moptop Sonic drinks, then BBQ for dinner. That, the break from work, and hitting up the outdoor shop and army surplus store made it a pretty sweet trip.

He told us to “go play with kids and talk about Jesus” at the end of staff meeting every day. That’s all he asked of us. Well, and a ton of other duties related to that. But he always wanted us to remember the heart of why we were there. He’s as much a mentor as a boss, taking deep interest in our personal lives and dedicating the time to listen and counsel anyone who needed it. Though QD isn’t what I would call strict, he is very serious about what he does and about what his staff does. We knew when we screwed up. But the consequences/lectures always ended with, “it’s forgiven.” Once he said that, it was done.

QD won’t shy away from making an unpopular call when he believes it’s best for the staff and for the camp. He has the strength and resolve a good leader needs to keep things running smoothly. He didn’t hesitate to completely revoke our wireless internet when he felt that we weren’t getting enough rest. I remember this vividly because it forced me to give up my connection with my family, friends, and Michael without any warning. I was pissed. But after I lost that form of communication I got much closer to the staff and developed a healthy level of independence from those I’d left behind. I didn’t think I needed more independence, but I learned to value my private time with God and my quiet time with myself and my thoughts. It’s much easier to focus on those things when stripped of technology and surrounded by the breathtakingly vast wilderness of the mountains.

When QD sensed tension and trust issues within the staff, he made us stay on a Friday afternoon when we expected to be off work so that we could work through it.  I remember it vividly because it was the weekend Michael flew from Missouri to Colorado to see me. I had asked off for the weekend, but learned that afternoon that I would not be excused from this activity. QD didn’t care that we were almost all mad. He didn’t shrink from my bitter glares. He did what he believed we needed. We went out into the woods. QD took us aside one at a time to talk to us. After someone finished their private conference, the person would return to the group and climb onto a platform 5 feet off the ground between 2 trees. The rest of us stretched out our arms to catch the person when they fell backwards off the platform. One of us would volunteer to lay on the ground underneath the catching arms. After we all fell and caught each other, we sat on the pine needle-coated ground and had a long heart-to-heart. When I realized that we only had four weeks left as summer staff and that I have the rest of my life to spend with Michael, my anger softened a bit. If I didn’t always like his decisions, I certainly respected the man who led us through the summer that felt like a lifetime yet ended with shocking suddenness.


About Nicole

Daughter of God, wife, mother, volunteer youth leader, substitute teacher, aspiring writer, rabbit owner, nature lover. These are some of my titles.
This entry was posted in LVR, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

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