Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gifts to Loll 2014

Camp Loll could not operate without the gifts from a host of generous friends who have caught the vision of Joy through Service that is Loll's purpose. 

One of the summer's first great gifts came for Loll's great friends Scott Poulsen and Jeff Stork.  Understand that Camp Loll is cut off from the wonders of cell coverage, electrical power grids, and civilization in general.  This is actually a good thing - most of the time - but in the face of an emergency and the necessity of doing business, we, like anyone else, need to be able to make a phone call and have contact with staff and scouts in the depths of the Wilderness.  This would be impossible were it not for the generosity and genius of these two heroes.   Scott has set up our satellite phone and internet connection.  He arrived in camp the second day and had our phone up and running in hours.  He then lent his experience to supporting Jeff, our radio master, in setting up our new antenna and servicing our radio net which allows our hiking groups to be in constant contact with Camp Loll and also insures that program areas such as the rifle range, the waterfront, and the climbing rocks are in instant contact with "base" if they ever need help.  All the equipment has either been provided directly through Scott and Jeff's generosity or through donations to the Camp Loll Alumni fund.  Thank you, all of you!!!!!

Here, Jeff - on the left and Scott, set up Jeff's new wonder antenna.  I've no idea how or why is works so well.  All I know is that now I can speak to any hike from Union Falls to Survey Peak to Beulah Lake at any time. 

Here is a close up of Jeff's Magic Antenna.

Jeff Stork in the Camp office with Loll's resident computer - electronic device genius, Brad Lundell.

Our great friend and wonderworker - Scott Poulsen, makes the first phone call of the summer.  The phone and the computer worked all day every day for the rest of the season. 
Thanks to Scott and Jeff for their wonderful gifts.
The next great miracle gift for Loll had its beginning at the 2013 Alumni Reunion.  In our Camp Committee meeting, our Chairman, Lynn Hinrichs asked who would take responsibility for replacing the docks.  The docks had been in use for twenty years, they were in need of constant repair and the decaying Styrofoam floats were giving us a lot of trouble.  David Kirkham took on the job. 

The double miracle that would come from Dave's promise to act had its beginning months before our summer adventure.  At Kirkham Motors - home of the "coolest" cars in the world - where the docks would be crafted out of aluminum. 

The raw materials - lots and lots of aluminum.

The wonder machines of Kirkham Motors.

Every piece is wonderfully hand crafted by craftsmen - true artists.

The old docks have spent their winter on the beach at Loll.  The rotting foam blocks stored on the docks under tarps made from old billboard covers.  The steel frames make these monsters so hard to move that it typically takes the entire staff an afternoon to get them into the lake. 

The foam crumbles off the docks and the beach has to be constantly policed to gather in the mess.

Over the years the foam blocks have broken into smaller and smaller pieces.  Once the docks and foam had been hauled to the parking lot it was time to bring the new docks in.  They had been trucked  to Loll by Dave and his right hand man, Eric. 


A few staff members can carry one of the strong but light segments to the landing.  Once they were to the lake, it was only a matter of paddling them across to the waterfront.

Next - under the direction of Dave and his sons Chris and Nick, the segments are fitted together.

The new docks are incredibly buoyant and strong.  They are filled with foam, but it is sealed in the aluminum shell.  The docks are painted gray to help keep them cool and protected. 

When in place there will be an L dock for swimming, a swim dock, a little farther out, and a separate dock for the sailboats and catamarans.

Nick leads the crew in the assembly of the docks.  He and Chris spent a good deal of the winter building these wonderful gifts to Loll.

Here are Eric, Dave, Chris, and Nick.  Thousands of campers will enjoy their generosity and service for a long time to come. 

This is the beautifully engraved ladder up out of the swimming area onto the docks.  Once more the thousands who use Loll are made safe and happy by the service and generosity of Camp Loll Staff and Alumni. 
Even as Dave was fulfilling his pledge to "fix the docks" others were getting ready to make use of them.  Last year one of Camp Loll's catamarans was falling apart and leaking.  My impulse was to throw it away and either do without or come up with the money to replace it.  But some of our Staff had different ideas.  Our 2013 Waterfront Director, Ian Crookston and our ACE Director Joey Langford told me if I'd send it home, they would fix it.  Spring found it in better than new condition.  The hulls completely sealed and re-painted and all the hardware replaced and installed. Once again the hours and hours of work were donated by Loll's great staff and any materials that had to be purchased provided by the Alumni Funds. 

Our "better than new" Cat ready for action.

There has been an interesting shift in use pattern at the Camp Loll Waterfront over the past few years.  Kayaking is now a new Merit Badge offered by the BSA.  2012 found Loll with only three very old kayaks, left overs from the old days when we ran a float trip between Shoshone and Lewis Lakes.  They were in bad shape and the old design required float bladders and canvas "skirts" to keep them afloat.  Now we have 18 brand new "ocean kayaks" and at any given time there are more kayaks on the lake than there are canoes, and rowboats combined.  This is another miracle made possible by a Camp Loll alumni and dear friend.  Dr. Steven Johnson worked at Loll the first year it was a camp, 1959.  He is still a regular at our camp.  Coming up early in the season to help us get set up and spending the week with his troop during the season as well.  There are many gifts from Dr. Johnson throughout the camp - but the last two summers he has brought us all of our new kayaks. 

Here are some Loll campers out in the kayaks gifted to Loll by Dr. Steve Johnson.  They come in various sizes and with either two seats or one.

In a kayak you feel like a loon.

Some of our alumni take advantage of Dr. Johnson's gifts.  They are the most popular waterfront activity during Alumni Weekend.

The Kirkham's gift of the dock just kept on giving.  For several years we have been contemplating replacing the benches at Camp Loll's Campfire Bowl.  Every plan seemed very difficult and very expensive.  Surely we would have to get some new benches as many at the fire bowl were broken, rotting, or in the case of many of them which were logs - uncomfortable. 

Now that the new docks were in place we had to deal with the lumber and steel framings.  The crumbling foam had all been hauled away either by Dave and Eric or by Dr. Johnson.  Steve had loaded the trailer he had brought loaded with our beautiful new kayaks with the old floats and taken them to the St. Anthony dump.  Jody Orme and Jake Dansie came up with another miracle.  Why not cut the steel frame of the docks up and put the boards on the sections to form benches.  Some new base logs and we would have a new Campfire Bowl.  I was having trouble figuring out how to take the steel to the salvage yard - the two by sixes would make good firewood, I thought.  The idea of making benches seemed way to difficult to me.  But, Jody, Jake, and the Camp Loll crew are not to be put off by a challenge.

Grinder in hand Jake and his helpers went to work cutting up the thick steel framing.

This was a very difficult task.  We wore through many grinder pads but not Jake's determination.

No free time for Camp Loll's hard working crew.

Just one lesson on persistence and ingenuity after another.

It was soon discovered that the edges of the cut steel were dangerously sharp; so Jake and crew took them into the garage - out of the snow storms - and rounded them off.

Holes were drilled in the planks and frames - and many drill bits and one drill later we had enough benches to fill the entire fire bowl.

The old benches were taken to the fire wood pile, new support logs cut and hauled into place.

Once the old were gone, Jody donned his brand new chain saw outfit and, brand new chain saw in hand, began to prepare the benches.  If you look behind Jody you will see that the east section still needs to be replaced - it will be.

The front benches were already planks - heavy floor boards salvaged from the old rifle range some years ago. 

The rest would be the carefully cut, drilled and lag bolted reincarnations of the docks.
They are very heavy and very strong.

The crew found more to do with their time.  The project would actually be underway throughout the summer.  It would be the second to last week of the season before the last bench was in place.

 The fire bowl, when completed had more seats in it than ever - it will once more allow our staff to sit among the scouts rather than crowd together over on the rock to the east of the benches.  This has not been possible for many years - since Loll's attendance has grown.   
But now, once more the Staff can sit along the ends of each bench - ready to dash down to perform and then return to support the scouts and the presenters in the program.  It makes a wonderful difference, a magical improvement of our already great shows.

So, there you go - the brand new docks became a wonderful improvement to the Campfire Bowl; at the cost of a few hundred carriage bolts.

There were many more gifts to Loll in the summer of 2014.  I am remiss that we do not have pictures of them all.  Joe Hawkes brought us enough food to keep us happy for weeks - everything from fresh frozen chicken to boxes of chocolate covered almonds and a "zebra" hide.  The Alumni fund also bought Loll a beautiful new wall tent and frame for our adult staff to live in at the Waterfront estates, and a replacement washing machine when one of ours gave out after ten summers of almost constant service.  And that new chain saw - that was also paid for by the Alumni's money.  Without it so many things that needed doing would not have been done - and the new Campfire Bowl remained a dream. 

Jody with the new chain say - a perfect example of how the gifts of Loll's friends and the hard work of Loll's staff make Camp Loll a success.

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