Healing, guidance and paying it forward

By Randall Swain

I have been so fortunate that my Sunday School teacher – a father of four A/U Ranches campers – took enough interest in my spiritual and personal development that he co-sponsored my first trip as a camper to Sky Valley Ranch in 1966. Additionally, his letter of reference helped me secure my first job after college in 1972 at the Federal Reserve Bank. 

Of equal importance was the fact that my mother was a very strong advocate for the study and living of Christian Science. She helped me with my first healing at age 12 and continued throughout my life, along with my dad, to strive to make me a better person.

In that spirit of helping others better themselves – by embracing them in a loving atmosphere that promotes personal development and confidence – my wife, Linda, and I made a 10-year pledge from my 401(k) to benefit campers at the A/U Ranches, which will continue from our estate in the event of our passing.

Critical mass is important to the success of any enterprise, and it is our intent to provide full or partial tuition assistance for those who would benefit from attending summer camp at the A/U Ranches. We appreciate that Adventure Unlimited welcomes all who might benefit from the experience and are happy to sponsor someone who is not (yet) a Christian Scientist.

Randall and Linda Swain (center) with their sons and daughters-in-law, Kit and Jessica Swain (left) and Mimi and Jamie Swain (right).

Spiritual and physical growth at camp

Shortly after my 16th birthday, I got on a bus in Salina, Kansas, at midnight on a warm August night to head for the cool Rockies. I had never been on my own before. And as I entered my junior year of high school, I was the same size I was in 6th grade, when I had been the leading scorer on our city champion grade school basketball team. I was now one of the smallest guys in my class and incurred my biggest disappointment (yet) when cut from the basketball team.

However, when my parents picked me up at the end of camp, they did not recognize me. Not only had I shot up in height, but I also had a new confidence.

I had successfully completed the Conquerors program, which Cap’s son, John Andrews, was leading in either its first or second year. Requirements included running the triangle (service and entrance road) around camp in sub-10 minutes; completing the obstacle course in less than 2.5 minutes; “passing” an interview with Cap Andrews (it was my first job interview – more to come on how he would assist me later in my career); climbing two fourteeners and sleeping on top of the second one (Mt. Princeton); and spending the night alone in the woods with three matches and bringing back a piece of charred wood to earn the coveted burgundy beret.  

I am reminded of this, one of the most significant developmental experiences in my life, every time I read Paul’s words to the Romans (8:35, 37): 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 

I also had the opportunity to be a leader on the Comancheros team that won the silver spur for having the most points from a wide-range of Olympic-type horsemanship sports. Winning builds confidence; I continued my love of sports, and at age 42 was captain of the Kansas 35+ basketball state championship team.

Randall (far right, white shirt) in 1966 at Sky Valley Ranch, when it was the boys-only camp. Randall says he’s still good friends with Phil Smith (bottom right, kneeling), who provided this photo.


Prayerful support and healing

I came back as a junior counselor in 1968, but on my day off had the misfortune of being blown off the road near Fairplay, Colorado in my 1962 Corvair. Its primitive seatbelts did not hold me or my passenger, and while he was shaken up but unhurt, I was thrown from the car and awoke in a hospital with John Boyman at my bedside.  

The doctor was using a car key to scratch my foot and asking me if I felt anything. The answer was no, but Mr. Boyman stayed by me until feeling returned to my legs and feet. I’m very thankful to him for coming to my rescue and for his prayerful help. (Later we learned from the highway patrolman who arrived on the scene that it was very unusual for the car not to roll over and crush someone who had been thrown out of the car as I had.) 

Now that the current Hub at the A/U Ranches will be repurposed and named in honor of John Boyman, I’m allocating some of my pledge to this building as an expression of my gratitude for his support of me during this time. 

Giving back

At age 37, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful lifestyle in our home on a golf complex that was part of a real estate development where I was in my 13th year as VP of finance. However, other than equity in our home, we were not able to put away much for retirement.  

Realizing that I had peaked with this company, I knew it was time to change careers, so I reached out to Cap Andrews to help me deal with the fear of change. He said he could stop and meet me for a bite on I-70 as he and his wife were traveling to St. Louis for Thanksgiving. His care for me and his confidence in God made me more comfortable in relying on God for guidance. 

I began regular lunch hour study at our Christian Science Reading Room. I focused on this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 518): “…blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.” That has been the guiding light for me in my career!

I was then led to join a national retailer, where I spent 18.5 years, able to fully leverage my skills as a VP of retail real estate. I progressed to a VP of real estate and construction at a division of Berkshire Hathaway, from which I will be retiring this summer after 16+ years. Because of my last two satisfying and rewarding careers, I am able to celebrate my 50th year in business by giving back to Adventure Unlimited.

I have been blessed by my summers at the A/U Ranches, and Christian Science has made all the difference in my life and career. We feel thankful to find the satisfaction of repaying Adventure Unlimited and Christian Science for the significant difference it has made in our lives.

Do you have a story to share about your experience at the A/U Ranches? Email it to [email protected] and it may be published in Zipline.

Learn more about making a gift from your 401(k).

One Response to “Healing, guidance and paying it forward”

  1. Virginia Garrison

    WOW! Inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it.


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