Mountain Day is an Alpine tradition that serves as our camp holiday for the summer. It combines the patriotism of July 4th, Halloween costumes, and the anticipation of Christmas morning into one action packed day. It’s a day that not only breaks up the regular camp schedule, but also brings all of camp together for a day filled with games, time with friends, and delicious food.
This past Wednesday we celebrated the beginning of another Mountain Day at 8:00am as the Mentone Fire Department drove their fire truck through camp to wake up campers. Mountain Day doesn’t call for your typical camp attire. By the time the truck made it back to the front of the dining hall, the front lawn was covered with campers in their silliest and most creative costumes. Looking out, you may spot an inflatable polar bear, several morph suits, a knight in shining armor, or simply a camper wearing his shirt inside out.
As everyone made their way into the dining hall, music played from the speakers and a large Top Gun themed banner hung from the dining hall rafters with our very own Glenn Breazeale painted as the lead fighter pilot (call sign Cool Breaze). Once inside, the boys sat down for a delicious breakfast of Ms. Gail’s famous pancakes, except today we had special toppings of chocolate chips and blueberries in addition to sausage, milk, and orange juice to help fuel us for a day full of activity.
Following breakfast, all of the camp gathered for a collective morning watch in front of the flagpole. Campers and counselors sang our usual wake up songs followed by an impactful devotional given by our Program Director, Richard Cox. Afterwards, the boys headed back to their cabins to change into their tribe jerseys for the 63rd Alpine Olympiad. As classic upbeat songs blared through the speakers, boys cheered on their teammates as various competitions kicked off such as the Missing Shoe Relay, the Three-Legged Race, or the Boxer Relay. After each round, the age groups rotate so that every camper gets the chance to compete in each relay.
Half way through the events, a refreshing light precipitation began, which inspired a camp serenade of Purple Rain as we played through the elements. While relays continued on the field, the Chiefs raced across camp to compete in the Chief Relay. Each camper is responsible for a different task from football to washers to mountain biking, and even reading comprehension. This year, the Mohawks took home the Chief Relay and the Tug O’ War, while the Cherokees finished the Olympiad with a 15-10 record in relay races.
After a morning of activity, campers were ready for a filling lunch of barbeque chicken, green beans, mash potatoes, and salad. Of course Mountain Day calls for a special dessert, and it did not disappoint. After a wonderful lunch, campers and counselors enjoyed a slice of strawberry shortcake topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. The boys then headed off to their cabins for an extended rest hour.
At 3:00pm, the sun peeked through the clouds and the camp bell signaled for campers to head to store and prepare for their afternoon activities. After store, Hunters headed down for extended time at the waterfront while Trappers strolled to the pool to relax and play pool games. The other age groups gathered to play Alpine Gold Rush where each side is tasked with hiding and protecting twelve orbs (painted tennis balls) in their territory, and, simultaneously, having to try and recover the other teams orbs. Think capture the flag rules, but the course is almost the entire camp.
The evening featured the joy and excitement of the Alpine County Fair. The County Fair is a special time at camp for campers and counselors to all gather together for an evening of games and treats. For many boys, this is the highlight of the summer. On the field, campers circled the dunk tank for a chance to soak their head counselors, while other boys congregated in the gym at the wheel of fortune, cake walk, football toss, and many more fair games for the chance to win a prize. The Alpine County Fair would not be complete without special refreshments. Tickets were passed out to the boys to enjoy lemonade, shaved ice, hot pretzels, and ice cream. Once the last scoop of ice cream was served and the final game played, campers and counselors walked back to their cabins for a well deserved night of sleep.
For many campers, the entire summer at Alpine can be considered a celebration, which in turn means that Mountain Day is a celebration among celebrations. With only a few days remaining in the term, there is still plenty of fun to be had. This weekend, we have the conclusion to the tribe competition, our last Sunday, and our final few activities before we pack trunks for closing day.
Thanks for reading, Wayne