A few days ago I described a typical day at camp up until supper time. Our nights are action packed as well. Alpine at dusk might be my favorite time of day here. The sun sets over the river as we sit up high in the Dining Hall looking through the screen windows into the sky. Usually about the time we leave the Dining Hall the sky is beginning to turn various shades of orange, purple, and pink on clear nights like tonight. The air is cooling and not as thick.
Most nights we hold Glee Club practice in the gym after supper. Boys have the option to attend. It lasts for about 30-45 minutes in the gym. We sing songs written with Alpine lyrics to popular tunes through the years.
Tonight they sang an oldie, Hey Tree, to the tune of the Beatles, Hey Jude. Tree was our long time program director at camp. The gist of the song was for Tree to ring that camp bell and tell us the plan for the evening. Others have stood the test of time like Desoto Girl to Brown Eyed Girl, and Blues at Alpine ( a woeful tale about a boy’s hair sticking up at the dance, to the tune of Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight).
Newer favorites include “Little River, Here We Come” to the tune of a fairly obscure song called California. And “Filled Up” to Arcade Fire’s Wake Up. It’s a great song about being filled up spiritually and physically by all the experiences of camp. The perennial favorite is “Say It’s French Toast” to Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So. It’s just so much fun. Who doesn’t want to sing about bacon and French toast!
The boys who choose to join Glee Club get a point for their tribe. And they practice all term working up to a special performance for the ladies of Camp Desoto on one of the last evenings of camp. Some of the Chiefs will even perform a special step dance and write an original song to sing for the girls.
Boys are fun and creative, especially when you remove some of the electronic distractions and the social pressures of home. Camp frees boys up to not worry as much about being “cool” (as evidenced by the fact that almost everyone joins something called Glee Club, which sounds like something out of the 1960’s!).
After Glee club, at about 7:45, we move towards our designated night program, as assigned by program director, Roderick Russ. Most nights each age group gets a game to play. Tonight the Scouts played floor hockey in the gym in a cabin v cabin round robin tourney. Another age group played Capture the Flag on the Team sports field. And in a “this will only work at Alpine where counselors make it cool” one group was playing cricket (with a few made up Alpine rules) on the tennis courts. They love it!
A few other age groups played spotlight in different areas. It’s real similar to Mission Impossible but on a smaller scale. Boys attempt to sneak from one spot to another within a certain boundary without getting spotlighted by bad guys (counselors).
Our Chief 2’s (rising 10th graders) are spending their first night out camping on the Appalachian Trail. They embarked this morning on a 3 night, 4 day backpacking trip with their counselors and guides from Higher Ground out of Rome, GA. It’s a pinnacle experience at Alpine, one that the guys will remember for the rest of their lives.
As I type this, about 8:45, night programs are ending and campers and counselors are walking back to cabins. After brushing teeth each cabin will gather together for an evening devotional led by one of the counselors. The cicadas provide a peaceful back drop. Prayers will be said and tired campers and counselors will crawl into bed in the next few minutes. Many counselors will also read to their boys once they’re in bed, especially the younger campers.
I should mention that this morning we were almost certain we would have a rain out most of the afternoon. Not so! It’s been sunny and pleasant all day and evening. We are grateful.
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn