The year was 2006, the camp was Resica Falls, and the man was Christian F. Brenner. In what can only be called a tidal wave of change, Chris Brenner has led the growth of Resica Falls from a small council camp to a destination for units throughout the Northeast Region during his 15 summers as Camp Director. Now, with the conclusion of the 2020 season, Chris has chosen to retire as the Resica Falls Camp Director.
Chris Brenner was no stranger to our council or camps when he took on the role of camp director of 2006. An Eagle Scout, Chris has been involved with Troop 226 since his sons joined in the late 1980s, including 15 years as Scoutmaster. He was heavily involved in district training, served as the Frontier District Advancement Chair, and served as the Camp Director at Treasure Island in 1998. A recently retired elementary school teacher with an abundance of experience, Chris was the perfect choice to lead Resica Falls.
During Chris’s tenure as Camp Director, camp attendance doubled from a low of 1550 in 2007 to a peak of 3163 in 2017. The following programs were developed under his watch: the STEM Center, the Native American Village, the Shop Area, the ATV Program, Cowboy Action Shooting, the High Five Adventure Club, and Paddle-rama. With many of these programmatic developments also came great improvements to the camp facilities, including a new Pool, an expanded Dining Hall, renovations to the Rifle & Shotgun Ranges, Trading Post, and STEM Center, the building of the Richards Arena, the Ranjo Clock Tower, the Eibner Handicraft Pavilion, and two new showerhouses, and the remodel of the Nuneville Cabins. And these projects and programs only scratch the surface on the work Chris has done as Camp Director.
Probably more remarkable than the level of excellence that Resica Falls has achieved under his leadership is Chris’s leadership itself. The consummate teacher, Chris has always been ready to share his wisdom with the leaders, campers, and staff. From his inspirational – and sometimes humorous – speeches in costume at opening campfires, to his memorable one-liners at staff meetings, Chris’s voice has been one of reason and calmness over the last 15 years. Sure, there have been a few times when he’s gotten a little angry, but each time we know that Chris “says what he means, and means what he says.” He is always quick to share a story from his latest trip around the world. Chris is also particular fond of all things sweet, particularly Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, M&Ms, and slushies. Simply put, Chris Brenner loves life. While Chris will no longer be serving as the Camp Director, he isn’t leaving Resica Falls. He plans to continue to serve camp during the off-season as Campmaster Coordinator, and will continue to advise the camp leadership team all year long as our Camp Director Emeritus.
To close, Chris will say that it wasn’t all him and that lots of people were involved in shaping Resica Falls into the camping destination it is today. And he would be correct. There are hundreds of people who worked with Chris, staff, volunteer, leader, and camper alike, to make Resica what it is. But what this great mentor, leader, and friend forgets is that not only did all these people do all these things with him, but they did them because of him.