Thirty-seven summers and counting for Commando boss Jiggs Robert Gaffney. The story of Jiggs will take us back to 1978 when he came to his first summer at the Ranch at age 21. Every summer the Ranch is making changes and expanding but Jiggs is the one thing that remains constant here at the Ranch.
Jiggs is brought to camp every summer by his brother Mike, who is accompanied by his dog (kind of dog?) Sparky. Joy radiates from Jiggs as camp begins and Jiggs is titled as “Assistant Program Director”.
Among all that he does at camp, there are his few signatures that never change from summer to summer. At the Ranch we have cabin competitions at lunch and every day he never fails to challenge the campers to a “Camper versus Counselor basketball tournament second half of free time after FOB..” and the dining hall is ROARING with “oooooh my!” and “ooooh shoot!” to which a staffer is chosen for the response, typically that of which is, “Hoop there it is!” and everyone goes wild.
Beyond the per usual challenges, Friday nights are a highlight of the week. On this night, counselors and campers alike dress up and come to “The Covies” (the Friday night dinner where awards to campers are given out for being excellent in their activity classes) and Jiggs Robert Gaffney is the closing sponsor of this night, singing one of 3 songs: “Proud to be an American”, “Friend in Me”, or “New York, New York”. In this time, campers and counselors all come together in groups, shoulder to shoulder, singing along with him.
…But that is not the night of the week in which he anticipates. Oh, no, that night is none other than, Commando Night. Jiggs is deemed at the Ranch camp as “Commando Boss” and this night would not be the same without him. As campers find their way through the commando forest, the Commando Boss is seeking out campers and… “YOU’RE BUSTED!!!”
And if necessary (which it always is) the Commando Boss will spray said busted camper with his nerf water gun. Campers have no hope for making it to the secret tower if they run into Jiggs in the forest, even if you’re at the tower, you’re still busted. The excitement for this night radiates from Jiggs and all throughout the day, he is dressed from head to toe in camo gear, preparing for the intense and invigorating night ahead.
In every aspect of camp, Jiggs is present. Speaking of the word present.. every year during Christmas in July, Jiggs receives a gift from the Ranch. He is brought up on stage and one of the staffers dressed as Santa Claus brings out a “gift bag” and gives Jiggs his gift. (Have you ever seen a more glowing smile?)
Jiggs has made a huge impact on the Ranch camp. He brings joy to camp and conveys to us a genuine spirit. He involves himself in all parts of camp and impacts every staffer and camper that comes through the camp and shows us joy and reminds us of how Jesus blesses us in ways we can’t always see.
Over the past thirty-seven summers, Jiggs has been a huge part of camp life and has a lot of duties here, such as…
- Ringing the bell for breakfast and activity classes to begin EVERY morning.
- Pointing to the Wake Park sign up sheet EVERY Monday.
- “YOU’RE BUSTED!!!” EVERY Thursday night and leading Rambo Force to victory against the campers.
- Holding up the “Talk Box” EVERY Monday.
- Choosing a Counselor to pray over meals EVERY mealtime.
We are the utmost grateful for Jiggs’ presence at the Ranch camp and we are looking forward to spending many more summer with him. He has a special place in the heart of Pine Cove, always.
If you want to see the full story on Jiggs Robert Gaffney, watch this documentary filmed out together by former Photography and Videography manager Mario Sosa:
The Secret Life of Matching Khakis
Ranch Media Team