Happy Sunday evening. I hope the weather where you are has been as pleasant as Lookout Mountain today. We did not get over 82 degrees all day, with light breezes and cloudy skies. And the rain that seemed to be all around us on the radar held off of the clouds over Alpine.
As I type this, at my house directly across from the gym, I can hear delighted screams and whistles blowing. The first games of Slaughterball for 2nd Term are being contested. This is Alpine’s version of dodgeball, loved by boys for generations now. I hear cheers of “Mohawk, Mohawk” and “Let’s go Cherokees”. Our two tribes compete all term in various games for tribe points. If you son is new here this year, he joined a tribe on Friday afternoon when he arrived. Ask him in a letter what tribe he joined.
In just a moment the boys will be dismissed back to cabin areas for our Sunday night Vespers service. These services are held in outdoor venues in each area. They are a Sunday night tradition, a mix of hymn singing and a short Bible devotional given by one of the counselors. It is a more peaceful, encouraging way to wind down our Sunday.
I love the juxtaposition of these two Sunday night events. Raucous, good natured competing followed by reverent worship. Both equally restful and edifying (yes, I think I can make an argument for throwing dodgeballs at each other being edifying, but I’ll save that for another day!) in their own unique ways.
Our traditional Sunday meals are worthy of mentioning here. This morning’s tables held piping hot platters of piled high pancakes. Sausage patties and sliced canteloupe complemented the meal. After an all camp church service in the gym, led by Camp Minister John Mark Scruggs, we sauntered to the dining hall for baked chicken, green beans, rice and gravy, and yeast rolls.
On Sundays for church and lunch we wear our traditional Alpine whites. The white Alpine T’s and shorts are punctuated by green, blue, and red tribe neckerchiefs and slides. Staff wear green, boys red and blue for Cherokee and Mohawk, respectively. It’s quite a sight to see the entire camp processing down the main road single file to the gym for church. Carter and I get the pleasure of greeting each person as they enter church. This year we are blessed with a trumpeter on staff who accompanies our processional with hymns.
Prior to slaughterball, we fueled up on chicken sandwiches that some say rival Chick-fil-A! It’s been a good day.
A few tips for writing those camp letters: ask your camper what activities he signed up for. Each boy takes 10 activities plus Team Sports. So it’s an 11 period rotation, with 5 meeting each day. A bit confusing to explain but makes sense in person. So Saturday, periods 1-3 met in the AM, 4 and 5 PM. Tomorrow we’ll attend 6 through 10. Tuesday, 11,1,2,3,4, and so on each day.
Ask for a few names of new friends in the cabin. They are definitely making new friends! Every day I see boys hanging out that did not know each other a few days ago. It’s one of the greatest joys of summer camp.
Remember in your writing to make home seem ho-hum, not much going on, we miss you but are so happy you are at camp because there’s really not a lot to do at home kind of tone.
Though we haven’t seen much homesickness these first few days, remember that it’s quite possible you might get a “homesick” letter tomorrow or Tuesday. That letter was likely written Friday or Saturday and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then! Most homesick letters are written in a quiet moment early in the morning or rest hour during the first few days. And by now they are out running around having a blast. I can assure you based on my bird’s eye view that noone is moping around camp all day sad or miserable.
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn