We again held our annual Memorial Day weekend camp May 26-29 at Fairwood Bible Institute in Dublin, NH, on the north side of Mt. Monadnock. Of the nine families attending, two sets of fathers and sons had never been to an ALERT Cadet camp before, as they are new to our ministry. With 28 fathers and sons, the Company was large enough to divide into two platoons and four squads, giving six sons the experience of leadership, and they all took their duty seriously.
The Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to us as we sought truth in our Company devotions. We pondered that to know God’s heart we must earnestly pursue truth from each person of the Trinity: the Father in His Creation, the Son in His Word, and the Holy Spirit in listening. We came to the conclusion that we as men have a duty to provide a safe place for the women in our lives, that they might be free to enter into the full expression of who God made them to be. We also agreed that, similar to the way in which Jesus entered our world, we need to enter into the worlds of our wives/daughters/moms/sisters to validate, affirm, and value them. There were sons who grasped maybe for the first time that their mothers, ever since learning that they had sons, have been dedicated to the success of their sons as future husbands. We also processed getting past seeing the women in our lives as role players (wife/daughter/mom/sister) and appreciating them as treasured persons desiring relationship, not wanting to do life alone.
Our camp featured the debut of recently promoted Sergeant Andrew Bilodeau as Operations Chief, and he did a superb job. With his brother, Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Bilodeau, also participating in the Cadre, we had the luxury of separating the duty of Drill Sergeant from the position of OC. This created an excellent opportunity to ease Andrew into the OC role without having to focus on marching drill and preparing for the final-day Parade and Review. In spite of two families being new to marching, the Parade was outstanding. First of all, I am always amazed at how a young son with short legs can keep pace with a tall dad. Keeping in step seemed routine to the two platoons. They also impressed me with their four-man wide pivots. DS Bilodeau wowed me by bringing the platoons to within inches of my position more than once. (I had been warned not to flinch.) A new experience for me was having a dad in the Cadre. 2Lt. Brian Bilodeau, whose two sons are now adults, rounded out our leadership by serving as Logistics Chief, Safety Officer, and Service Project Manager. With the three Bilodeau men in the Cadre, all I had to do was walk around with two clipboards looking important. David and Christine Peters, with two of their daughters, again went way beyond the basics of meeting our food needs and accommodated every food restriction we threw at them. David confided in me that cooking with his wife was improving their marital connection. They are both servants extreme.
Four of the families climbed Mt. Monadnock on Saturday, while the rest of us participated in a Bible smuggling exercise which was immensely fun for the oldest to the youngest. The fathers and sons outsmarted the police (Cadre) in all four scenarios. Next time the Cadre will be
stepping up their game! Our service to Fairwood Bible Institute, our host, was putting a new roof on a generator outbuilding, painting the ceiling beams in a large sitting room, consulting on planned renovations, bucking and splitting logs, and transporting and stacking firewood into shelters. We had no injuries but one dad gained a new appreciation for wearing chaps while using a chainsaw. He was able to show us the threads that stopped his chain!
Already there are testimonies from camp: sons verbalizing love to their mom, and brothers recognizing that they are not a safe place for their sister. The following is from one of the dads two days after returning home: “Can’t shake ‘enter into someone else’s world.’ I can see how much I have been rushing past others’ worlds to get to my own often. I think it will make a huge difference with my wife (already has). I asked my six-and-a-half-year-old this morning if I could play Legos with him. (He usually does Legos while I read some devotionals in the morning.) His response was, “Why would you want to do that?” (Yikes!) He had a really happy look on his face when I asked him, but he was a little confused. (Plenty of room to grow!) We had a great time and the opportunities to practice are everywhere. Thanks for a great weekend all!”
From a beaming Camp Commander
Lt. Col. Doug Dagarin