Monday night our Hunters (rising 3rd and 4th grade campers) hiked into the woods, sleeping bag, water bottle, and flashlight in hands, for a campout. We have several campsites and shelters within easy walking distance. For a boy, spending the night in the woods, under a canopy of stars, is a formative experience. Tonight the Scouts (camp’s term for rising 6th graders) are spread out among several campsites. The counselors pack in hot dogs and S’mores, along with first aid kits and other necessities. They wake up with the sunrise, return before breakfast to grab a warm shower and rejoin the rest of camp.
I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse into a typical day. Reveille blows at 7AM, signaling time to wake up and get ready for the day. We actually have a bugler on staff this summer who plays his trumpet each morning. Dressed and teeth brushed, cabins head off to Morning Watch by cabin area for a devotional and worship time led by the head counselors.
By our 8AM breakfast bell we are eager to fill our empty stomachs after the night. Yesterday, Mrs. Gail and her crew served a camp favorite, French toast (on giant pieces of Texas toast) and the best bacon I’ve ever eaten anywhere. This morning’s hot oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and link sausage also hit the spot. At every breakfast a fruit, granola, and yogurt bar is available to all.
After breakfast it’s back to cabins for clean up/inspection. You might wonder how we motivate a group of boys to clean? The winning cabin in each age group gets to be first in line for snacks later in the afternoon!
At 9:15 a bell rings telling us it’s time to head to our first period of the day. We run the camp schedule with a giant bell attached to porch of the Dining Hall. It’s quite impressive how far the sound carries through camp. 3 periods meet in the morning block, 50 minutes in length and 15 minute transition times in between.
By lunch we’ve all worked up quite an appetite. Today we satisfied it with meatloaf, fried okra, scalloped potatoes, and cornbread. A salad bar is also available with mixed lettuce, spinach, and a number of toppings and dressings. At lunch and dinner we also have Uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches available for boys that may not eat what’s offered.
During the hottest part of the day, after lunch, we take a Rest Hour break in cabins. This is a great time for reading and writing a letter home (we hope!). A lot of our older campers even enjoy a brief nap!
Then comes the aforementioned snack period, called “Store” on the schedule. Boys who didn’t win cabin inspection race to the store when the bell rings, jockeying for a good position in line. After a snack and some free time, it’s off to activities again. Two meet in the afternoon before a bell calls us back to cabins for Shower period.
Prior to Supper we gather for an old camp tradition called Retreat. The American flag is lowered as we say the Pledge of Allegiance gathered around the flag pole. Also at Retreat Roderick announces the evening’s night programs, to the cheers of each group as their game is announced.
After supper the gym is the place to be for our Alpine Glee club practices. It’s camp singing made cool by the college counselors. We sing camp lyrics set to popular tunes from various decades. More on Glee Club later in the term!
Our night wraps up with the announced Night Program from Retreat for each age group. We play all sorts of fun games each night. I’ll write a post soon detailing a few of those. Somewhere between 8:30 and 9 it’s back to cabins to wind down for the day. The counselors for each cabin lead a devotional and prayer time. Many, especially those with younger boys, read a story as the boys drift off to sleep. Chronicles of Narnia are always a popular choice for nighttime reading.
Boys thrive with the structure and constant movement that this schedule gives. And within the structure, boys have freedom to navigate from place to place, building confidence along the way.
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn