Wednesday morning marked the first full day of activities this summer, and it all started with a 7:00am wake up call to head to Morning Watch. At Alpine, we like to bookend our days with devotional times. Campers sing hymns and hear from their Head Counselors each morning and night, and cabins gather for a devotional to recap the day and listen to their counselors read stories from The Bible at night. It doesn’t feel that long ago but in 2004, I was one of those campers sitting on the floor of Eagle’s Nest for cabin devotion. My name is Wayne Ingram, and I’ve been back at Alpine full time for just over a year serving as Associate Director for camp.
After Morning Watch on Wednesday, campers filed into the Dining Hall to have some of Ms. Gail’s famous french toast that they had sung about at Glee Club the night before. The perfect fuel for a morning of activities. Cabins were quickly cleaned and inspected before the boys were dismissed to head out and find their first class of the day.
One of the best parts about Alpine is that there are activity options for everyone. If your son is more sports minded, you might find him on the team sport field running routes in a game of flag football. He may have headed up to the soccer and lacrosse field to compete in passing or scoring drills. He may have made his way to the gym for basketball, or the tennis courts to work on his serve.
For the adventurous types, we have two mini busses that carry campers to the Uptop. There they can fish for bass and bluegill in our pond or learn to ride a horse for the first time. Some follow the Wilderness counselors down the Rabbit Run trail, stopping along the way to check out cool insects and plants. The waterfront is another camp favorite that boasts two Wet Willie water slides, a blob, canoes, and a water zipline. Many boys also face their fears on Alpine’s ropes course.
In the craft shop, boys get to exercise their creativity with art projects and lanyards. In Earth Games, boys get a little messy while exploring Alpine and laughing with their friends. We also added a new activity, Alpine Games, which provides campers a space to learn to play some of the fun, more laid back games we love at camp like ping pong, 4 square, human foosball, and washers.
One thing that makes Alpine a great place for boys is the routine. We balance out our day with 3 activities in the morning and two in the afternoon. In between morning rotations, we have powerade, fruit, and crackers as a snack. We always have a hearty lunch and Wednesday was no exception - chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, butter beans, salad, and ice cream sherbert for dessert. In the afternoon, we observe a rest hour where campers can catch up on their mail and reading. Rest time quickly transitions into one of the most popular times at camp when the store bell rings at 2:30 and campers flock to get in line for their favorite candy, ice cream, or soft drink.
Sometimes, like today, we get the occasional summer shower on Lookout Mountain. While this may sound like a fun prohibitor, we have worked hard over the years to ensure that “even when it rains we play.” We do our best to modify activities to not only neutralize the rain, but to take advantage of the change in weather. Boys love a good mud puddle or building a dam in a creekbed.
Before bed, we like to make sure the boys get the rest of their seemingly endless energy out. Each age group gets to spread out around camp and enjoy a night program. This week, the age groups have taken turns playing Capture the Flag, Slaughterball (our version of dodgeball), Mountain Spotlight, and making S’mores around the campfire. When the campers finally make it back to their beds each night, they are lulled to sleep by the sound of rustling leaves, the river, and the hymns of crickets. The day holds a lot of excitement, but the best part is, tomorrow, they get to do it all over again.
Thanks for reading! Wayne Ingram