top of page

Baby Blue Toolchest

Updated: Oct 1, 2023


“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 NKJV)

When I was eight years old my father sent me off to camp Cheerio for two sessions. Each session was two weeks, so that meant four weeks away from home. Daddy was working and momma was in heaven with Jesus, so off to camp I went. I spent three summers at this mountain camp before being sent to a sailing camp which lasted for five weeks. I loved it! There was horseback riding, photography, trampoline, canoeing and many other activities. During our time there we all drew a name for our Tilley pal. Throughout our time at camp, we would give notes and gifts to our secret Tilley. The night before we left camp, we would give our gift to our secret Tilley and then the person who had drawn our name would come and sit next to us in the very large circle and give a gift to us. Every camper wanted to be chosen by a counselor because everyone knew the counselors could leave campus and bring back the best gifts.

At camp, most of us went to Arts and Crafts. Here we could make all kinds of fun things. My favorite thing we could make was a small wooden tool chest. Actually, we just put it together and painted it, but it was the most popular item. It took three summers for me to finally get to make one. I was so excited when I finally got to paint my very own tool chest Carolina blue.

Let me back up a minute. In my third summer at Camp Cheerio, I spent the the first session loving camp. I was in a cabin with girls a year older than me. I think the camp staff thought that this would be good for me. They were right. My senior counselor was the best. Connie was her name, and I loved her. I did not get into any trouble. I received lots of special attention since I was the youngest and smallest in my cabin. But second session, second session I was back with girls my own age. Even though my best friend from camp the three previous years was in my cabin and my bunk mate, I hated my cabin. My counselor had RED hair. I hated red haired people. I was scared of them. I also had trouble with another camper. I think she called me a spoiled brat, so of course we got into a fist fight. But, my Tilley must have been a counselor, everyone kept telling me, because I was getting candy every day. When it came time to discover who we were giving our gifts to and who was giving us gifts all session we made a large circle outside. I remember going to the camp store and purchasing a bag of tiny sweet tarts, but, “I couldn’t just give my Tilley a bag of sweet tarts, I needed to give her more than that,” I thought. “But what else did I have to give?” I thought. “I’ll give her my Carolina Blue tool chest that I made in Arts and Crafts,” I decided. I remember eating a couple of sweet tarts and pouring the rest into the tool chest for my Tilley. When they called the name of my Tilley and went and sat next to her and handed her my favorite tool chest. The one I had longed to make and take home with me for three years. Wouldn’t you know, she had long red hair AND freckles! But…..when I turned around, Connie handed me a HUGE basket full of candy and items she had made herself in the Arts and Crafts building where she was in charge. It just dawned on me that Connie was probably the reason I ever got to make a tool chest that summer. She had probably put one aside for me. I remember sharing the powdered candy with others, and I still have the plaque with the drawing on it of a horse that Connie drew herself and signed as the artist. The plaque is in my keepsake box to this day. It was hard to give away what was so valuable to me then, but had I not given, I never would have been able to receive. You see, that was the whole point of “Tilley Time.” We had to give a gift to receive one. To this day I get excited when given the chance to give because I know that when I give away something meaningful to me, God will make something meaningful be given to me. “As we give it shall be given…”


Dear Lord, please help us to trust you in our giving; know that you are the ultimate gift giver.


Thank you, camp Cheerio, for teaching me the joy of giving and receiving.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page