The Leaders of Hudgens
We had some of the finest leaders come through camp through the years. Bro. Paul McCullough spent the most at the helm with 18 years.
Big Jim Taft
Bob helped pick Camp Hudgens. He developed the early single skills schedule. There was way less camp back in his days as we did not go any further north of the creek. His wife Martha was a delight and looked out for the staff like mom. The daughters Cybil and Brenda were always a delight especially in daily mail call and unit inspections. Bob left to lead the Brotherhood Commission.
Up to 1956, Royal Ambassadors was under the Women's Missionary Union. It was determined that they really should be moved to the newly formed Brotherhood organization. Here's the quote from the 1956 BGCO Annual.
The Royal Ambassador committee of the convention is recommending the complete transfer of the work to the Brotherhood Department as of Jan. I, 1957. If this is acted upon favorably by the convention, we shall do our best to continue the promotion of this work on the same high standard as has been done by Woman's Missionary Union. It is with faith and confidence that we accept this wonderful opportunity. With wisdom and grace from the Lord, we shall give our boys the best we have in leadership. .
We will welcome Mr. Bob Banks as an associate in this department in charge of the Royal Ambassador work.
Laddie took over where Bob left off. Laddie never lead as an onsite director but was instrumental for keeping it going more than 20 years of his tenure.
Big Jim filled the year after Bob left and Bro. Paul came in. I believe it was 1974. I remember tree trunk legs and lots of mosquito bites. Big Jim's monicker was because of his large heart for kids and the camp. It is sad to report that Jim Taft passed away in late 2015 in Nebraska. I know that Jim made a positive impact on my first year there as a new kid. Bob, Jim, and Martha made that first camp experience one that would stay with me forever.
Bro. Paul was a perfectionist along with his wife Betty, the nurse. He brought considerable ingenious organizational skills along with the ability to convince a camper not to go home. Paul's generosity was often overlooked and camp had a solid foundation because of his devotion to excellence. Brother Paul got terse with me at times. I was ready to walk out of the place a few times. But at the end of the rough day, Betty invited me down for some fresh cobbler and ice cream and we sat in the rustic cabin and decompressed. If Bro. Paul started rehashing something about that day that stressed us out, Betty would shut him down. While at Bro. Paul's cabin, we often heard some noises coming from Unit II. He would then send me up there to shut it down. It was not hard to do at Unit II. A lot of those kids were not from the country and if you came out of nowhere, they thought you were some kind of ranger.
Jerry brought a new era of camp by moving it to a more decentralized system. The buddy system reached its end as it was necessary to keep the groups together in today's security emphasis. Leaders were thus responsible for their kids they brought. We added no more to their group and they only billeted with other groups if they stayed in the lodge. Pearlyne managed the camp office to perfection. We deeply appreciated her contribution.
Buddy was a fun person to work with. He also started the first resident director program. His office was reduced from four people to two. He couldn't stay at camp the whole time. Buddy hated snakes. We put a dead snake on his van when he arrived to camp. He told us he had the paychecks and would not give them out until we got the snake off his hood.
Bobby was hired as the first on-site director. He brought significant leadership skills along with talents in camping, wilderness camping, hiking, counseling, and general people skills. Bobby's wife Debbie also provided her expertise in organization and staff support. Debbie spent most of her time at Nunny Cha Ha. They utilized her significant leadership abilities there.
Betty and the camp store
Sam came to the BGCO as pastor of Supulpa FBC. He took over where Buddy left off to go back to the pastorate. Sam continued to utilize Bobby Lipscomb as resident director. Sam brought a higher level of skills to camp with the addition of skeet, tubing and advanced trails. Sam also added a perimeter access for the addition of a new high security fence. Sam stayed with it up to 2007 when they decided to put Hudgens back in the Children's Ministry department. Sam's wife Cheryl brought her touch to camp with remodeling of the buildings. She transformed Pennington Lodge into a place you wanted to hang out and just take in. Cheryl reminds me a lot of Martha Banks.