Monday morning around 9:30, our first cabin of Warriors (rising 7th graders) took a drive over to Desoto Falls, a giant 100+ foot waterfall in Little River, that’s a part of the Desoto State Park system. A bit west of the falls are some great rock peaks for rappelling. Aided by our friends and guides from Higher Ground, these boys rappelled down these cliffs to the canyon floor, approximately an 80 foot drop. Of course it’s optional, but I think most boys have tried it. Boys at this age are actively looking for ways to take risk. It’s a normal feeling as the rest of life will present various risks or challenges for them to face. One of our jobs as adults is to steer them towards managed, well thought out risk taking and away from some of the more adolescent, dangerous risks that are out there. Camp is a great place to gain confidence in appropriate risk taking. Following this cabin, each Warrior cabin has had or will have a half day shot at the rapelling trip this week.
Similarly, Higher Ground is leading groups of Braves and Chiefs (rising 8th-10th) on all day, out of camp rock climbing treks this week. These boys must first be in a Climbing activity at Alpine to qualify. This prerequisite provides the safety knowledge and skills necessary for a successful day on the rocks. They climb about 45 minutes away at a place called Sand Rock Village.
Last night we celebrated Taco Tuesday with an outdoor picnic taco buffet. Ridge 5 graciously helped Mrs. Gail serve the buffet so that we could give our Work Crew a much deserved night off. The weather was perfect. It cooled off just enough to enjoy sitting outside.
This morning we awoke to one of the most special days of the term - Mountain Day! This is a celebration that grown men still think about and wish for and it happens only twice a year, once in each full term.
Our friends from the North Lookout Mountain Volunteer Fire Department brought their fire truck to wake up camp in style. With horns and sirens blaring, camp comes to life.
Campers streamed out of cabins decked out in costume. Dinosaurs, superheroes, and all manner of homemade costumes paraded behind the fire truck. Our counselors had a special idea for the morning. Carter procured yellow paint for them to dress as Minions. Yours truly played the role of Gru and Carter was his sidekick, Lucy. In the dining hall we replayed the scene where Gru announced his intent to steal the moon, to the applause and funny noises of all the minions! The campers loved it and boys have been asking me all day when we are going to steal the moon.
Country band Alabama is the music of choice for Mountain Day (the hometown boys hail from just down the mountain in Fort Payne, AL and still reside in the area). Dixieland Delight and Mountain Music swirled through the air as we enjoyed pancakes with chocolate chips and blueberries for breakfast.
After breakfast we gathered in front of the Lodge for an all camp morning watch. Roderick Russ brought us a devotional from God’s Word and our head counselors led some singing. He then instructed campers to change into their tribe shirts, Mohawk blue and Cherokee red, for our next Mountain Day tradition.
Our Team Sports staff brought us a full morning of Olympic competition, tribe vs. tribe. Field events, tug of war, and some relays kept us busy all morning. The event began with a playing of our national anthem and the lighting of the Olympic flame (tiki torch!) by our toga clad counselor. Dance and motivational music punctuated the entire event, leading to spontaneous dancing in between field games.
For lunch, Mrs. Gail’s Mountain Day special: BBQ chicken awaited us. She slow cooks it all night. By the time it reached our tables it was falling off the bone. Served with green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and strawberry shortcake, we feasted.
This afternoon our older boys played Alabama Gold Rush. It’s a hybrid between capture the flag, tag, and an egg hunt played by Scouts, Warriors, Braves, and Chiefs, throughout most of camp. The boys love it! There are orbs hidden all throughout camp and each tribe has a designated zone in camp with a neutral zone in the middle. You must be brave enough to cross through the neutral zone, hunt for the hidden orbs, and try to avoid getting tagged and sent to jail.
Hunters cheered with delight when announced that they would have the entire waterfront on Little River this afternoon to themselves. Our Trappers enjoyed an afternoon of games and fun at the pool.
The best part of the whole day (and maybe the term) came at sundown. The Alpine County Fair. Various flavors of Moosetracks ice cream draw the longest lines. A close second are our friends from Froggy Freeze sno-cones who bring their trailer out to serve flavors like Tiger’s Blood and Silver Fox. The giant pretzels with butter and salt get plenty of business too. And of course, so many games!
Currency at the fair is dried pinto beans for games and a limited number of tickets for food items. Loaded with an envelope full of beans, boys are turned loose in the gym and field to play the fair type games to their heart’s content.
Booths line each side of the gym. Take the Plunge (tossing rings into plungers), the Cake Walk, and Wheel of Fortune are a few of the favorites. And outside the gym there’s a chance to dunk your favorite head counselor in water with a baseball toss.
We just topped off the evening with a fireworks show on the Team Sports Field.
Tomorrow will begin the last full rotation of regular activities, working our way through the schedule over the next few days.
If you are a 2nd Term parent, you’ll be receiving an email tomorrow with Closing Day information. We continue to be thankful for a healthy and fun 2nd Term!
Thanks for reading, Glenn