Full Speed Ahead for First Term

Greetings from Alpine! My name is Wayne Ingram, one of the Associate Directors here at Alpine, and I’ll be posting with occasional updates throughout the term to let you know what’s going on up on Lookout Mountain. I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have via email or phone, so feel free to reach out anytime.

Camp in full gear is a wonderful sight to behold. A lot of time and effort go into the facilities, planning, and background of a summer at Alpine, and taking in the sights and sounds always brings a smile and a laugh. Monday and Tuesday featured pristine weather, classic meals, epic night activities, new and familiar activities, and a special visitor at Alpine.

If you dropped off on opening day, you probably noticed cool temps and blue skies. Typically, Mentone enjoys about a 7-10 degree chill compared to less elevated portions of the state, which means we have enjoyed several days with highs in the mid 70’s and clear skies, perfect for running activities. Our nights have dipped into the low 60’s, which is optimal for the deep sleep boys need to recharge after a long day at camp. We’ve even gotten a couple of well timed showers and storms during the night that replenish the earth and provide a natural sound machine for sleeping.

Of course, another key component to fun at camp is staying fueled up, and Mrs. Gail Collins and her team have been playing the hits in the dining hall this week. Monday we had a breakfast of sausage, eggs, grits, and biscuits, followed by the fan favorite chicken tenders and Shazam sauce for lunch. We enjoyed spaghetti with salad and Texas toast for dinner. Tuesday was another banner day. French Toast and bacon was feasted on for breakfast. Lunch was turkey pot roast with carrots and potatoes with homemade cheesecake for dessert! For dinner, we enjoyed a taco buffet and picnic on the front lawn.

Each camper selects 10 activities and also has team sports with their entire age group. The schedule then loops through 5 activities at a time, so each day is different from the one before it. Some of our staple activities include Waterfront, Horseback, Minor Sports, Crafts, and our ropes course (aka Project Adventure). These have been a part of Alpine for decades, but two activities are unique to the summer of 2023. Pinecraft was introduced for the first time to Hunters and Trappers, who are given the opportunity to use their imaginations to create projects using lincoln logs, legos, cardboard, hot wheels tracks, and other toys and materials.

At Alpine, we like to give each age group a few special activities or trips so that the campers can mark milestones and enjoy special privileges throughout their years at camp. Our Warrior age groups have traditionally gone to Desoto Falls for a rappelling trip. On Monday, 4 cabins got to spend a morning or afternoon learning to navigate their way down cliffs overlooking the Little River. The trip is fantastic for cabin bonding and challenging boys to get out of their comfort zone, and we’re grateful for our friends with Higher Ground for helping lead and oversee a safe and fun trip. The other 3 cabins will be headed out on Wednesday for their turn.

You may have seen on Glenn’s blog that we have been in operation since 1959. That kind of longevity is a testament to the hard work, faith, and dedication of our founder, Dick O’Ferrall, and his wife, Alice. Today at lunch, we were delighted to welcome back “Mrs. O” to Alpine. Mrs. O has been involved in virtually every aspect of Alpine for many years, ensuring a pursuit of excellence in all that happens at camp. She is a graduate of Newcomb College at Tulane University and also holds a Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Having also grown up in Jackson, MS, she spent a number of summers on staff with Camp Desoto for Girls prior to marrying Mr. O. We loved having her join us for lunch!

Each evening after dinner, all of camp gathers in the gym for Glee Club. We have amassed quite the collection of classic songs and Alpine originals over the years, and the boys love to belt them out and teach them to first year campers. After that, we break up by age group for night program. This week, boys have taken turns playing flashlight tag (known as Spotlight) on the Mountain or Canyon, Capture the Flag, Dodgeball (we call it Slaughterball around here), and even getting in on the hot new trend with Pickleball. We also play a version of volleyball known as Newcomb, which was invented at Mrs. O’s alma mater.

By 9pm, the campers and staff are ready to wind down. Each cabin meets for a devotional before bed where counselors help boys unpack their day and reflect on a Bible passage or story as a group. It’s an awesome way to mark the end of a day at camp, and a key part of the rhythm of Christian life we strive to show campers at Alpine. The end of the day can also provide some of the best camper stories and quotes. One counselor reported that he has a camper who spends his rest hours writing a puppet show to perform for his cabin mates each night before lights out. If you ask me, it doesn’t get more Alpine than that.

The rest of this week has even more adventures and surprises in store. Thank you again for sharing your sons with us this summer, and we look forward to sharing more great stories from atop Lookout Mountain.

Thanks for reading! Wayne