Dear Alpine parents and friends,
It is hard to believe that we are starting into our last full week of camp! Thank you for letting your boys spend this session with us on the mountain. This weekend has been beautiful and has been packed with a lot of fun!
Saturday afternoon, the boys had a break from their normal routine of activities and had two block periods. The rain moved boys under shelter for impromptu activities and to me-that is when some of the magic of camp happens. One of the best lessons that can come out of camp is when plans change due to weather, etc. and you have to be flexible and you learn how to create something last minute.
During the start of block period, I was in the gym getting decorations ready for the dance. The Hunter age group had gathered on the porch to play a few games. When we realized the weather was going to linger, we decided we needed to have more for them to do. The decorations were done, the sound system was in place so the counselors decided that they could get ready for going over to DeSoto for their dance. We turned on some music that DeSoto likes to line dance to and we taught them a few dance moves. They would be ready and could jump right in when the girls started their line dances. After some instruction time, they had some time to free dance. I have never seen anything like it! They played “Let it Go” and every Hunter and every counselor was belting the lyrics. Where else would boys be able to do that without any inhibition? But what makes it even more incredible, is they are seeing college boys who are not trying to be too cool and who are having so much fun with them!
The Trappers and the Scouts came to the gym the next block period and the gym erupted again! They learned some line dances. The counselors said that when the songs, that they had learned dances to earlier, came on every boy jumped right in with the girls.
While the younger boys were in the gym, the older boys had time on their cabin porches and in the lodge and after a full week of camp they were thankful for a little down time. Sometimes, the rainy afternoons provide an unexpected respite and a time for the older boys to visit, play games on the porch and visit with their counselors.
When the bell rang for retreat, the Hunters, Trappers and Scouts gathered to load the buses to head to Camp DeSoto. They had a delicious BBQ picnic, played games on the field and then headed to the gym for the dance.
The Warriors, Braves and Chiefs gathered soon after the younger boys departed and got ready to welcome the girls from Camp DeSoto. When the girls arrived, they all went to the dining hall for a fajita dinner. After dinner, they moved to the gym for their dance. They did line dances, a few organized square dances and also had a little time to visit. What I love about the dances at Alpine and DeSoto is that they are at a dance, they are nervous and excited and yet they have the comfort of their counselor. Now while most of them would die if their mom or their dad joined them on the dance floor or sat right next to them at dinner-a counselor sitting next to them is whole different ball game! They love it and the counselors do a great job of hanging back and letting them enjoy the night but they also know when to jump and help get the party started.
Glenn and I actually met when we were campers at one of the Alpine/DeSoto parties. I was a camper at DeSoto and he was a camper at Alpine. We had a mutual friend that introduced us that night. That friend is Bailey Adams, who is currently our waterfront director. Glenn’s counselor that summer was Roderick Russ, our 2nd term program director. I remember Roderick talking to me about Glenn when I returned home after being at DeSoto that year. I still have letters that we wrote back and forth to one another and even a picture of the two of us talking in the gym after a Glee Club show. It is amazing to look back and see how God weaves people in your life together.
Camp is a place that is constantly changing. New campers and new counselors arrive each summer. New activities are put into place. New buildings replace older buildings. Young campers become the oldest campers in camp. But camp also stays the same in many ways. Campers still wear whites on Sundays with their neckerchiefs, we sing “Thank You, Lord, for Alpine” as we have for years, campers and staff start their day and end their day as we have every day of camp in God’s word. Many campers come back to visit when they are older and they remark on how much is still the same. This weekend, we had a visitor stop by who was a camper the very first summer Alpine was in operation back in 1959. He was so excited to be back and to walk around and show his wife. He said that so many memories flooded back as we drove through the gates. To see him there, in the midst of camp, where he had walked down the same road as a young boy was pretty powerful. The same prayer was prayed for him when he was a camper that Glenn and I still pray for campers that here now “that they may increase in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
In 1959, he would have had a few rainy days in which the counselors made what could have been a boring afternoon into something very fun and memorable. He would have danced in a gym with girls from DeSoto. He would have heard a number of morning watch talks and devotions. He would have seen the same counselor leading those devotions, flesh out their faith each day in how they taught activities and took time to talk to campers. Alpine is about stories. It is about each boy that comes through the front gates and the stories they bring and the stories the write while they are here. It is about stories blending into one another. It is about counselors and campers being written into one another’s story. Glenn and I even started our story in the gym at camp. But the most important story is the one that is told over and over while they are at camp. It is what is told morning after morning during Morning Watch and night after night during devotion. It is what is lived out on the team sports field or at the table in the dining hall. It is that boys are learning about the love of God and that this being poured out over them day after day so that it might pour from them.
Our verse for the summer comes from John 13:35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”