For as long as I can remember, Kanakuk Kamps has always had a slogan of "Exciting Adventures in Christian Athletics". As you have hopefully seen on this blog this summer, and many summer's before, we love to have fun constantly while running all around kamp. It can be easy at times to focus only on the athletics, silly skits, and crazy parties at kamp. But as I once was told, Kanakuk Kamps doesn't train athletes, they train servant leaders.
At K-Kountry we have a thing called I'm Third Sundays. I'm Third standing for: God First, others second, and myself third. In concept nothing difficult, but in application very challenging. The story of Captain Johnny Ferrier is one that highlights this in such an incredible way.
Captain Johnny Ferrier was a kamper at K-1 long before there was ever a need to distinguish K-1 from any other Kanakuk Kamp. Ferrier had learned the I'm Third lifestyle while at Kanakuk one year as a kamper, and had decided from there to attempt to stay true to it in everything he did. Johnny Ferrier grew up to be both quite the college athlete, as well as an incredibly well decorated pilot.
While flying for the Air National Guard at a show one day in Dayton, Ohio in 1958, Ferrier was part of a group attempting a trick known as the "flower burst". In the middle of this trick, however, Ferrier's control stick jammed. Ferrier radioed in his problem, and was immediately instructed to bail out of his plane. Knowing that there was a great number of homes directly below him, Ferrier refused to bail out. Captain Ferrier held on until the last second, while miraculously finding a way to land in a garden and avoid hitting any homes.
While Ferrier easily could have bailed out, and never been at fault for anything that would have happened, he decided to stay true to the I'm third lifestyle. Johnny had put those people in the homes below ahead of himself, even though he had never met any of them. Though life obviously does not call for that great level of sacrifice every day, Captain Ferrier's actions are a great illustration of how someone can live for God First, others second, and themselves third.