Behind the Creek: Chad Fielding
by Mason Phillips
DAVIS—On this particular day, I arrived to find out how this beautiful camp we know and love stays safe and clean. I jumped on my usual golf cart escort with my dear friend, Bill Bergstrom, and asked him to take me to Chad Fielding, Falls Creek operations manager. Bill was happy to know that this week’s story was about Chad. “When you follow Chad on his job, you never know what you’re going to get or what’s going to happen,” he said.
I met up with Chad, and he wanted to know what I’d like to see first. A couple weeks prior when I was following James Swain, I was told by James that Chad would be neat to follow because his computer is a master control-board for all things in the tabernacle, offices and basically most places in the camp. Naturally, I had to see it in action. He was glad to take me into his office and show me how it all worked. He opened a special program whereby he could control the climate aspects of every single room in the tabernacle. He opened a special window that showed all the temperatures in every room. Then he opened a window that showed details about each individual air unit. He said, “This is the air that’s coming out at 55 degrees. Then it goes through this fan that I can see here and once it does, it puts about 65 degrees of air into the room.”
As if air control wasn’t enough, he then pulled up a window displaying each level of security the camp has. Each person who works at Falls Creek has some kind of key-fob or name badge that scans to open any door on campus. He showed me a window where he can alter who is allowed to enter where. Certain people can get in anywhere, and certain people can only get into a handful of rooms and buildings.
The next window was a live display of entrances into buildings. At that moment, he could see that one certain worker had gone into the office. That last window had a list of all the entries available. Right outside his office door was the main door to the all the office rooms. He selected that door and made the command to unlock it, then turned and said, “Now, anyone can come in that door.” Then he turned and clicked another button and in one second, I could hear the door actually click, and it was locked.
Once we were done looking at the incredible amount of power in the computer programs, he took me for a ride. Chad’s vehicle is a Polaris ATV, which is a bit more heavy-duty than the other vehicles used on the grounds. As he drove me to our destination, he told me that there are approximately 750,000 pounds of garbage taken out of the camp each summer. Those are some stunning figures that make sense considering the amount of paper plates and plastic cups used by the individual cabins.
We stopped the vehicle just behind some trees that were out of sight, and he told me we were looking at the slow sand filters, clear well and the pump house. This was the area where, in essence, the machinery pumps spring water and filters it so that when a camper turns on the water, it comes out of the faucet. He told me the spring that supplied the water had been doing so for many years. So I had now seen water supply point A. He then drove me to the opposite side of the camp and showed me point B, the waste water lagoon. The image was not an expected one. In my mind, I imagined a disgusting body of thick water that proved mostly unbearable to be around. In actuality, it seemed quite clean and well kept. Chad has to check on it frequently and said that the camp was looking forward to some renovations on the lagoon, a $4-4.5 million project.
Of course, I asked him the big question. Even though Chad is not the man who feeds the 7,000, monitors the camp activity or stands on stage in front of thousands of eager students, he still has a mission. So I asked him: what is your mission? He told me this: “My mission is to make sure that campers are safe and clean. Over all, I want to make sure that all the little things like water and garbage are taken care of so that there aren’t any distractions keeping the students from encountering God.”
If you’d like to see the filters, lagoons, and hear about Chad’s take on camp security, be sure to follow @BehindtheCreek on Twitter and see the video blog on www.youtube.com/BehindtheCreek.
Mason Phillips is Falls Creek correspondent for the Baptist Messenger.