Under gorgeous sunny skies this morning summer officially began here at Alpine Camp for Boys. Shiny SUV’s and minivans full of excited boys crunched over gravel on County Road 619 waiting to get a glimpse of their summer home. Just inside the front gates, eager counselors clad in fresh green collared shirts, cheered as the first few vehicles passed by. Soon trunks began to be unloaded and first introductions were made. By lunchtime almost all of our Junior Campers had arrived.
I’m Glenn Breazeale. My wife, Carter, and I are the Directors at Alpine. I look forward to telling you bits and pieces of the story of Jr Camp throughout the term on this blog. And maybe a bit about us and the 61 year history of Alpine. Right now I’m sitting on my screened porch typing away. Just across the road, hidden by a few leafy trees, sits our camp gym. All of your boys, with their counselors, are singing “Say It’s French Toast, Mrs. Gail don’t be a heartbreaker” to the tune of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So”. Before that they belted out “Sweet Home Lookout Mountain”. You guessed it, to that famous Lynard Skynard tune, “Sweet Home Alabama”. This is Glee Club, and we do it most every night of the summer after supper.
How do we get a camp full of boys to sing out like no one is watching? The counselors. They are the secret sauce. If a counselor says it’s cool, well then . . . So we’ve spent the last 8 days training these college guys. They’ve heard from ministers, child psychologists, first aiders, teambuilding experts, and a camp mom. The quote that I posed to our staff on the first night comes from a theologian named D.A. Carson who says, “the heart of true fellowship is a self sacrificing conformity to a shared vision”. I just discovered this quote recently and it’s brilliant. At Alpine our vision is to love boys in word and deed in a way that will remind them of how much they are loved by God. With that focus in mind, we eagerly set off to give your boys a wonderful camp experience. We are so thankful they are here.
So much has happened today between those first few cars driving in and the singing I’m now enjoying. For starters, we lunched on a 61 year opening day tradition of homemade chicken and dumplings, accompanied by peas and corn and green salad. This afternoon was a mix of fun activities and necessary first day rituals.
Carter and I welcomed the entire camp after lunch in a short meeting. We reminded boys that it’s perfectly normal if they miss home while they are here. I asked the counselors to raise their hands if they had ever been away from home as a child and gotten a little homesick. Almost all of the raised hands - and your boys took note. We covered a few rules, introduced some of the key leaders in camp, and talked about wanting each boy to feel safe while at camp. We encouraged speaking up, to a counselor, to Carter or Bully or me, if they see or hear something that does not seem right.
Each boy had a chance to join one of our two tribes, the Cherokees and Mohawks. And tonight, to cap off our first day, we are playing the great Alpine tradition, Slaughterball! It’s our version of dodgeball and well loved by most all who’ve camped at Alpine.
Finally, I want to mention a few other ways you can stay in touch with us and your camper while he is here. We’ll be posting photos daily through a page on our website, images.alpinecamp.com. You should have received an email yesterday with a password to see these photos. This is a new service we are using. We think it offers a much more user friendly interface and cleaner look. You can share your password with friends and family. Photos will not be posted on the CampMinder login where they have been in past summers.
What is still on that CampMinder login is the ability to one way email your child. Login via the button on our home page, alpinecamp.com, using the same credentials as you did for the application and forms. You will find the Email tab there. These emails will be printed each morning at 7AM and passed out to campers after lunch.
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn