The beauty of Alpine is that most boys probably don’t even realize it’s the weekend. We play right on through, the fun never stops. Sundays are set apart on purpose. I’ll give you a preview of tomorrow later in the note. I first have to mention the weather. Because most everything we do is outside, the weather is always first and foremost in our minds. This weekend is just about perfect. On Thursday a storm system moved through that kept us in our cabins only for an extra 30 minutes during rest hour. We didn’t even miss an activity. Behind the rain a cool front moved through. Low humidity and 70 degree temps have graced us the last few days. It’s classic mountain weather in early June, a wear your sweatshirt to breakfast kind of feel.
Yesterday towards the end of lunch (a feast of Salisbury steak, green peas, and boiled small potatoes), an excited counselor, Jared, approached the microphone. He informed us that he’d been studying camp history and had discovered the original recipe to Mrs. Gail’s legendary French toast (made even more popular in recent years by the Glee Club favorite, Say It’s French Toast). As we celebrated his rare find, three men appeared out of nowhere speaking in French accents. They claimed they had come to take back the French toast recipe, much to the chagrin of the entire Dining Hall. After a rousing rant from the Frenchmen, they ducked out of the Dining Hall quickly, recipe in hand. Screams and cheers erupted and the classic music to the Mission Impossible movies played over the loudspeakers. Our task was clear for Friday night. We must retrieve the French toast recipe!
Supper was a bit rowdier than usual last night, what with the anticipation of the night’s activity in the air. We fueled up on sliced ham, homemade mac and cheese, pinto beans, cole slaw, and cornbread. After a short round of singing in the gym, Tyler sent everyone back to cabins to don those dark or camo clothes for the evening. Tyler Proffitt is our Program Director, by the way. He’s been working on staff in the summers for over 10 years, beginning as a counselor while in school at the University of Georgia. His career as a teacher allows him to spend some time with us each summer, for which we are so grateful.
After instructions and boundaries, each cabin was given their first clue and destination. Mission Impossible is basically a huge, campwide game of spotlight. Bad agents (counselors) lurk throughout, ready to spot any cabin who doesn’t move stealthily enough. Good agents (also counselors) post up at various locales, ready to supply the next clue to any cabin that successfully navigates that far. Ultimately, 3 cabins, Ridge 4, Wildwood, and Crazy Horse, successfully rescued the French toast recipe. Thanks to their efforts Mrs. Gail promises us French toast for breakfast again very soon.
Our Saturday schedule is the same as our other days. More activities! After 3 full ones this morning, we arrived to a Junior camp favorite lunch. Chicken fingers and Shazam! Alpine’s preferred condiment, Shazam is a pink sauce that goes great on anything, but especially chicken fingers. Lima beans, mashed potatoes, and mixed greens with sliced tomatoes rounded out the table. Then to top it off she served cheesecake for dessert.
As mentioned earlier, Sundays are set apart. We still play and have fun. It’s a break from the routine. A chance to rest a bit. And to worship the Lord. We’ll have a church service in the morning led by our camp minister for the summer, Mark Gregory. A great tradition at Alpine is the wearing of Sunday whites to church. Everyone, my family included, wear all white. Counselors and campers wear the old school neckerchief around their neck, secured with an Alpine leather slide. While we’re “dressed up” we’ll take the opportunity to get professional photographs of each cabin and your camper individually. These are taken by well known Chattanooga photographer Lane Park. There’s no additional cost for these and each camper will come home with his cabin and individual photos. In the afternoon we’ll play games by cabin and enjoy some cold, sliced watermelon on the team sports field. We’ll probably play some age group games after supper. Then end the day with a Sunday Vespers service in each cabin area led by the head counselor.
As a Christian camp Sundays are important. We believe they are to be set apart. But we believe that what it means to be a Christian camp must be considered every day of the week. We can’t compartmentalize our lives. I tell the counselors that all of their lives lived out in front of these boys is showing them what it looks like to be a Christian. It’s important what we say in a devotional or church service. It’s just as important how we treat each other and show the love of Christ to each other in all of our actions.
It’s hard to believe we only have a few days of Junior Camp left. I know that many of you are already planning your return trip for Closing Day, Wednesday, June 8. We’ll be sending out an email on Monday with details. For now, know that the gates will be open from 7:30-10:30AM CDT. You are welcome to arrive anytime in that window. If you are new, you may want to know that most families arrive on the earlier side of those times. Thanks for reading, Glenn