“I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work.” Charles William Eliot, who at age 35 was the youngest president of Harvard University
Dear Alpine parents and friends,
As I write this, I can hear the whistle blow and the cheers erupt as the first night program begins. Glenn will be writing to you most days and he will give you a lot of insight to the details of camp life. I wanted to write to you all tonight, as a mother who knows what it is like to drop your child, your most precious thing in the world, off at camp. A long time camp mom and nurse sent me the quote above. I think it is such a great reminder of why we send our children to camp. You can go to bed tonight knowing that you are giving your son(s) a gift that will continue to give to him long after he has left the front gates of camp. All the time spent packing his trunk, checking items of the list one by one-is not in vain! Over the next few nights Glenn will unpack more of why we love camp and what our prayers are for campers.
Good night, Carter
There’s a line in an old Alpine song that goes, “Even when it rains we play.” It rained a bit this afternoon, our first day of Junior Camp. And we played, big time. We played Slaughterball. We played “Ninja” and “Mafia” while waiting in line or during brief rain showers. We played lots of Gladiator Ball. School is out and camp is here! It’s like Christmas morning for us and for many excited boys that rolled through the front gates this morning. (Sidenote - I’ll be sure and explain some of these games in future posts!)
We checked off a few necessary opening day duties: every camper received a quick health screen by our medical staff, purchased camp gear was passed out (sizes checked and names labeled), and joined tribes. Since 1959 two tribes have competed each summer, the Mohawks and the Cherokees. Today boys declared their allegiance, Mohawk blue and Cherokee red. For some it’s a decision passed down from father or uncle or brother. For others, maybe a friend. And yet some choose blindly and might go on to be the difference maker for their tribe. Regardless, tribe affiliation is only a small part of a boy’s time at camp and does not define us. Boys love to compete but it’s not the end all be all.
After a traditional Opening Day lunch of chicken and dumplings, steamed corn, green peas, homemade biscuits, and green salad we gathered in the gym for our opening meeting with all of camp. Carter and I welcome the boys to Alpine. I opened with an excerpt from one of my favorite children’s devotional books, “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing,” written by Sally Lloyd Jones. I highly recommend these short, poem like devotionals for any age (I use them myself a lot). The gist of it was that in all the earth, of all beautiful things God has made, including the beauty at Alpine, God says that the most magnificent creations He has made is each of us. We told them, therefore, that at Alpine we are all free to be ourselves and not worry about impressing others. That Alpine is not a place where boys pick on or bully. We introduced all of the head counselors, doctor, nurses, and other leadership staff. We emphasized the importance of boys letting us know if something is bothering them so we can help them. We covered some basic boundaries and safety tips.
It occurs to me that I have not introduced myself. I am Glenn Breazeale. My wife Carter and I are the directors. We have been directors since 2006, full time staff since 02. Prior to that I was privileged to serve on summer staff for 4 summers as a counselor and head counselor. Growing up in Jackson, MS, my parents gave me the gift of camping at Alpine for 6 summers. Carter grew up at Alpine. Her parents are Dick and Alice O’Ferrall, longtime directors here.
Tonight we enjoyed a supper of spaghetti with meat sauce, toast, and green salad. The weather has cleared and boys are out in camp enjoying some games before bed as I finish typing this.
It was great to meet so many of you today and see many more old friends. We are so grateful you have entrusted your sons to Alpine’s care for these next 10 days. It is our prayer that they will “increase in wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Good night for now,