I paced the road this morning about 8:30, after breakfast, making the walk from my house, mid-camp, back towards the front gate. Camp was eerily quiet. Counselors sat quietly on porches post breakfast, awaiting opening. Our office staff pecked away on computers or gave last minute instructions over the phone. Cleaning staff calmly swept the Lodge porch one last time. Kitchen crews arranged scones and coffee just so. Something was missing. It was way too quiet. The calm before the storm. This place is strange when it’s that quiet. Peaceful, yes, for a few minutes. But missing one key ingredient. Boys!
All that changed a bit after 9 Central Daylight Time. I called on the radio for the gates to be opened. The call went out on radios throughout camp, where counselors in cabin areas could hear. I could hear the cheers ring out from the Canyon cabins, close enough to the front gate where I was stationed. Counselors were ready.
We spent yesterday afternoon giving out cabin assignments to each counselor. Carter, Bully, and I meet with each cabin counselor pairing. We go over all of the personal, health, and other info from you, the parents. Carter and I meet with our 3 nurses and camp doctor to ensure they are ready for each and every camper. Richard Cox, our 1st Term program director, charges us with some words of wisdom. And important logistics about the term ahead. Activity heads meet one last time with their staff to firm up lesson plans for the weeks upcoming. And this is all just in about 8 hours yesterday, on top of 9 full days of staff training in late May.
Fast forward to now, 276 campers are happily playing games out in camp with their age groups. This afternoon was spent covering some necessities like health checks, swim checks, and signing up for activities. Carter and I did something new this term. We met with each age group individually this afternoon - a chance to “lay eyes” on each camper and say hello. We played a few name games including one fun one called “Stand Up If”. We ask questions like “Stand up if you have a little sister” or “if you play a musical instrument” or “play soccer”. Boys stand up and look around to see what they might have in common with their cabinmates. Hopefully, it will make boys feel welcome and not isolated.
Prior to lunch, we gathered the entire camp in the gym for a welcome and introductions to key staff members. I mentioned in that meeting that it’s perfectly normal if you get a bit homesick the first few days. I encouraged guys to talk to their counselors about it - an almost sure cure. We talked about some rules and boundaries as well as speaking up if someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable.I also asked all of our first year counselors to stand up, pointing out that our first year campers are in good company, even if they feel a little out of place at first.
For a little fun reference on who is here with your camper: 276 campers arrived representing 18 states plus Washinton, DC and the country of Colombia. 36 are first year campers. 66 begin just their second summer. 4 of these boys have returned for their 9th summer, almost a full year of their young lives spent on this Mountain! Quite a few are switching into First Term from either Jr camp or Second Term last summer. Boys are here from 146 different schools including independent, public, parochial, and homeschool. We are thrilled to have each and every one.
By the way, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Glenn Breazeale. My wife, Carter, and I are the directors, having served in that role since 2006. We consider it a huge priviledge to have your children with us for the next 25 days. Carter dropped our girls off at camp this morning as well. So we get it from the parent side too. This is their 6th year at camp - and it’s still hard to let them go every year. And we know how good it is for them - and how much they love it. So thank you.
Tomorrow we’ll hit the ground running with activities - boys make friends doing things together - so we won’t waste any time. I’ll update this blog periodically, maybe not every day. Some days are crazier than others! Be sure and also check out our photos each day at our new site, images.alpinecamp.com. You should have received a password via email yesterday. If not, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for your password. Also, follow us on Facebook, @alpinecamp, and Instagram, @alpinecamp4boys. We’ll be posting video content via those two sites.
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn