MARC Center in Rockdale reported in 1995 after a scouting expedition to Down Home Ranch as we prepared for the first ever Ranch Camp.
The Marc Center is an activity center/workshop for adults with intellectual disabilities. We became acquainted with them through board members and volunteers in Rockdale, who encouraged them to think about sending their people to camp.
I have to admit: the physical plant at that time was unimpressive at best: one very small trailer, one ancient falling-down barn.
But, at the time, like I said: one very small trailer, one ancient falling-down barn.
But...we had a plan.
The Taylor National Guard post had offered cots and tents. Port-o-potties could be rented. We would extend the porch roof out over the front lawn and eat on picnic tables.
And after that summer Miss Gay and I could have gone on to careers as recruiting officers for the military. Every hunk of young flesh that walked by became fair game to be pressed into service as a counselor.
Finally the big day arrived, and with it campers and their hopeful, frightened parents and other caregivers.
We had no idea what we were doing, and I'm sure it showed.
But our faith in ourselves was vindicated. We created camp together. Many of the MARC Center campers have returned year after year, making new memories and friends as they renew old ones.
We established a permanent scholarship in Jerry's name to help others share an experience he loved.
We all agreed after that first session that we'd never had so much fun or worked so hard in our entire lives.