Did you know the president of Camp Allen has been here since 2001? Did you know his favorite Camp Allen dessert is the banana pudding? Well, learn all this and more in this edition of Camp Allen Q&A with our president, George Dehan!
Q: George, thanks so much for joining us for this edition of Camp Allen Q&A. Let's start with some basic stuff. First, where are you from?
A: Shreveport, Louisiana. More like East Texas than Cajuns.
Q: And how many years have you been president of Camp Allen?
A: I was hired as Camp Allen's first president 16 years ago.
Q: Wow, so you've been here since 2001. And how did you end up as president of Camp Allen?
A: I was running a computer firm in Houston when a friend named Charles Kraft told me he was heading up a committee to search for a business guy to run camp. I just casually said, "I love Camp Allen and good luck." The next thing I knew I was talking to their board members and my wife was saying, "I love camp and I hate computers."
Q: Wow, so you went from running a computer firm to running a non-profit. What other lines of work have you experienced in the past?
A: So I spent 25 years in the computer business. The business was most helpful. But probably most significantly my Dad ran a restaurant for 50 years so I grew up around food service.
Q: Why do you love working at Camp Allen?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is our outstanding staff. Each brings their own talent to our mission and each loves to serve the Lord and our guests.
Q: What is one of your favorite programs that Camp Allen hosts and why?
A: I jokingly and seriously say the Needlepointers. They sign up in one day, do their beautiful work, auction the work off and then give proceeds to our scholarship program. Can hardly top that!
Q: Amen! Let's change gears a little. What is one business strategy that you would encourage other non-profits to employ for greater success?
A: To share the mission. Everyone needs to be on board and pulling the same direction. We meet weekly to talk about who is coming and what their guests are looking for.
Q: Can you recall one pivotal moment in Camp Allen history that most people may not know about?
A: It probably was Bishop Payne's vision to not be just another camp but a world class conference center. So we embarked on an $18 million expansion in 1998. It was a bold decision.
Q: Speaking of decisions, in the past 5 years, what is one decision Camp Allen leadership has made that was hard or new at the time, but has turned out to be incredibly positive in the long run?
A: Certainly "new" at the time was hiring a female wrangler/leader to manage our Equestrian Program. Crystal has done a great job and she has special love for our horses.
Q: How would you encourage other non-profits or companies to make and instill decisions like the one you just described?
A: I encourage others to interview prospective candidates even when there may not be an opening. It might create a new program or open some doors.
Q: What are some of your hopes and prayers for Camp Allen in the next 5 years?
A: In the short run, I always pray for the safety of our guests and campers. The hope is that we can complete our Centennial Capital campaign and build a new campsite.
Q: What is your favorite thing about summer camp season at Camp Allen?
A: Watching parents come pick up the campers on Saturday and sharing their stories.
Q: If you could go back and relive one day in your life, what day would you pick?
A: Probably my wedding day to Carol 46 years ago in case she reads the blog.
Q: What is your favorite dessert we make in the Camp Allen kitchen?
A: Many choices, but probably the banana pudding.
Q: What is your favorite Camp Allen activity?
A: The Equestrian Program because it takes to much care to make it all happen. The care of the animals, the trails, and the safety aspects.
Q: Finally, what is something you'd like to say to the followers of our Camp Allen Blog?
A: Stay tuned. With 60,000 visitors a year, there is always something new in the works.
Thank you for your time and for your humble leadership of Camp Allen, George!