Regular ordinary days punctuated with wildly out of the ordinary special events are what make camp so special. Getting woken up by the directors and head counselors dressed in costume and riding on top of a wailing fire truck is a pretty good sign it may not be an ordinary day!
It must be Mountain Day! One of our former maintenance men serves our community on the North Lookout Mountain Volunteer Fire Dept (and he’s also now our Mentone Police Chief, a good relationship to have!). Gene was able to bring one of the fire trucks. Carter, Bully, head staff, and I hopped on board. Riding through camp with sirens blaring, we eagerly woke up each cabin area.
Campers streamed out of cabins decked out in costume. Word spreads quickly that it might be Mountain Day. So they are ready. Sometimes a costume is preplanned and put together, mostly it’s an inside out shirt with shorts on head and sunglasses, or something of the like. As we rode through camp crowds of costume clad boys followed along behind and beside us.
Country band Alabama is the music of choice for Mountain Day (the hometown boys hail from just down the mountain in Fort Payne, AL and still reside in the area). Dixieland Delight and Mountain Music swirled through the air as we enjoyed pancakes with chocolate chips and blueberries for breakfast. Spontaneous singing and dancing and even a conga line broke out while we ate.
Our Team Sports staff brought us a full morning of Olympic competition, tribe vs. tribe. Field events, tug of war, and some relays kept us busy all morning. And yes, there was music there too. That’s the beautiful thing about being unplugged for a time period. It makes you appreciate so much more. A little recorded music on Mountain Day gets us all excited.
For lunch, Mrs. Gail’s Mountain Day special: BBQ chicken awaited us. She slow cooks it all night. By the time it reached our tables it was falling off the bone. Served with green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and strawberry shortcake, we feasted.
In the afternoon Richard cooked up special activities including the newer tradition of playing of Alabama Gold Rush. It’s a hybrid between capture the flag, tag, and an egg hunt played by Scouts, Warriors, Braves, and Chiefs, throughout most of camp. The boys love it!
Hunters and Trappers prepared cabin skits to be presented during the afternoon. An outdoor stage at our Council Ring Amphitheater provided a fitting venue. Campers were to present a skit displaying a new Alpine product and it’s benefits. Carter, Bully, and I were invited to judge the acts. We decided to go in costume, playing English old people lost and looking for help. I’m not sure if the boys enjoyed it but we had fun! The skits were quite creative. Alpine watches, flying machines, and Slaughterball robots highlighted the product demonstrations.
The best part of the whole day (and maybe the term) came at sundown. The Alpine County Fair. With snowcones, freshly popped popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream I probably need not say much more. But there’s so much more.
Currency at the fair is dried pinto beans for games and a limited number of tickets for food items. Loaded with an envelope full of beans, boys are turned loose in the gym and field to play fair type games to their heart’s content.
Booths line each side of the gym. Take the Plunge (tossing rings into plungers), the Cake Walk, and Wheel of Fortune are a few of the favorites. And outside the gym there’s a chance to dunk your favorite head counselor in water with a baseball toss.
We finished off the night entertained by a fireworks show on the Team Sports Field.
For today and tomorrow it’s back to regular activities, though many are wrapping up with final competitions that raise the stakes a bit. The realization that First Term is drawing to a close is hitting many. Boys are thriving and enjoying the friendships that have been formed. I’ll be back with one more update in a few days. For now, thanks for reading, Glenn