Chief Paul Daley was true to his calling to the end, ascending to Heaven on July 9. He would have marked his 50th year of being called “Chief ” in October. It was a journey that began in his childhood home with parents, Lucy and Robert, who Paul remembers leading many to Christ. The impact they had on his life is measured today in the lives their son touched and who God used to lead others into a saving knowledge of Jesus.
“Paul witnessed to every child who came to Camp,” Lisa, his wife of 46 years, testifies. “His heart’s desire was for the boys and girls to know Jesus. He wasn’t ashamed of Christ and freely shared him. wherever he went.”
Paul was born July 16, 1947 and grew up with his younger sister
Peggy in a home that attended church every time the door was open. As a teen, he went against what he knew was right, rebelling against his parents’ direction to make church and God his priority. After completing high school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Austin, Texas. He admits he. began getting into trouble.
“My dad knew I was far from the Lord,” Paul recounts in the video “Chief Paul’s Camp Journey.” Paul’s dad contacted Paul Hensley, an area director for The Navigators at the University of Texas, and asked him to go and witness to his son. The Navigators is a ministry that shares the gospel of Jesus and helps people grow in their relationship with Him. Hensley visited young
Paul. “Paul Hensley asked me if I died today would I go to heaven or hell?” Paul says. “I told him that I would probably go to hell.” He told Hensley that he did not want to do anything about it and sent him away. Paul remembers his decision “weighed heavy on his heart.”
He began to attend a local church and at the end of a Sunday service, convicted of his sin, he went forward and surrendered his life to God. It was 1968. With an honorable discharge, he joined The Navigators in 1970 and began to take steps that would lead him into ministry with children. In 1973, he was interviewed for a position by Buford McKenzie at E-How-Kee Boys Camp in Brooksville, Florida.
He left unsure about joining the work, recalling how the mosquitoes “ate him up.” He told Chief Mac he would pray about it. While serving as a counselor that summer at Eagle Lake Boys Camp in Colorado, he attended a worship service where the group was asked: “What is the hardest thing. the Lord is asking. you to do?” He challenged everyone to not take the easy way. Paul thought about the message. He thought about Chief Mac and
the mosquitoes. He decided to go, beginning the next part of his journey.
In October of that year, he became Chief Paul. Chief Mac became a great friend and mentor. When Chief Paul followed Chief Mac as director of Cameron Boys Camp in 1989, he. said, “I’ll always hear Chief Mac’s voice right behind me encouraging me and telling
me the right way to do it.” Doing things to the very best of his abilities was a personal mantra. Chief Paul believed in “doing things well—all the way.” He learned it from Chief Mac and it was what he taught the chiefs he mentored for more than
Illness beset Chief Paul over the last few years, but he remained interested in the comings and goings of Cameron Boys Camp and Camp Duncan for Girls. Most recently, he took pen to paper, writing what he entitled “Camp Isms and Schisms.” The 147-page book is filled with his stories and “camp principles” that make Christian residential wilderness programs work.
With the help of Lisa and his youngest daughter Bethany, Chief Paul worked every Wednesday afternoon from January to June. He wrote the stories that amplified the points he was making. He was intent on getting it “just right.” Paul held a proof of the book in his hands, editing and adding a few last things two weeks before he passed. The day after he died, the final printed books arrived. “Paul loved Jesus,” Lisa says. “And he shared that love, whether it was in person or through the pages of his book. It was his life, and it was a life well lived.”
You can find his book on Amazon at www.bit.ly/campismsandschisms.
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children