My name is Glenn Breazeale. My wife, Carter, and I are the Directors at Alpine. Our house sits right across the road from the camp gym, team sports field, and tennis courts, on camp property. I’m currently sitting on my screened porch, with a view through the leaves and an ear to the sounds of 290 boys playing at dusk, a fitting beginning to Alpine’s 64th Second Term of camp. The crickets are singing loudly by this point in the summer and fireflies are out in abundance. It’s cooled down by now from the heat of the day.
Screams and cheers erupt periodically from the gym or the tennis courts. Boys are throwing balls at each other in an Alpine game we call Jedi Ball (a close cousin to dodgeball). Others are kicking a red rubber ball in the gym in a game we call Extreme Kickball (anything is more fun for boys if you put “Extreme” in front of it, right). Yet another group is batting an extra large 4 square ball around the tennis courts with a partner, 2 on 2 on 2 on 2, in enlarged squares. You guessed it, Extreme 4Square.
Common theme, boys need to be active and they tend to be tactile. To the campers, they are just playing and having fun. But it’s all very intentional. Even on the first day, especially on the first day, we know that the sooner we get boys active the better. They will make friends faster, get over any homesickness more quickly, and sleep better tonight (no doubt needed after probably less sleep last night from nerves and excitement).
Drop off was busy but smooth this morning. Thank you for being so attentive to all the details of the day. And for being patient for the lines at checkin. After you left we did have to take care of certain necessary items before we could play. A quick health screen from the nurses and camp doctor attested to the fact that we are all healthy and lice free! Cabin photos were captured in front of the oak leaf hydrangeas in front of the Dining Hall. Today’s photos will be posted in the morning after breakfast, and each subsequent morning. Hopefully you received the email about logging in today.
Before lunch an all camp meeting was called in the gym. Carter and I welcomed the boys. We like for them to hear from us what Alpine is all about. So we talk about camp being a safe place to be yourself. And that it’s not a place that condones boys picking on each other or bullying. We do acknowledge that it can be hard to live in close quarters with 8 or 10 guys for 25 days. That’s where the counselors come in and we encourage campers to seek help and input from their counselors. In fact, I emphasize that we want campers to speak up to an adult if anything is bothering them - we want to help make this a great experience for them. And we talk about a few healthy habits for community living to keep them out in camp having fun instead of in the Infirmary. We have three brand new water bottle fillers around camp and we encourage boys to drink lots of water!
Lunch arrived just in the nick of time. Opening Day lunch at Alpine has been a tradition for as long as I’ve been here, the late 80’s as a camper. Homemade chicken and dumplings serve as the centerpiece. The made from scratch silver dollar biscuits are a close second. Mrs. Gail, our longtime kitchen head, told me afterwards that we ate every single bit of chicken and biscuits. Green peas and corn off the cob round it out, along with a green salad and diced tomatoes. We sit at assigned tables, 10 campers of the same age, and 2 counselors. We eat family style served ably by our high school kitchen boys.
Tonight after dinner a longtime, ageless camper paid us a visit. “Alley Alpine” walked us through his typical day at camp. Our head counselors put on this hilarious skit. Let’s just say Alley’s face and his hands don’t belong to the same person. But with a few strategically placed bed sheets, who can tell. Alley gets wet and muddy and sticky and reminds us all that we’re at camp to have fun.
Tomorrow we’ll commence with our first 5 regular activities, picked this afternoon from a list of offerings for each age group. Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn