Posted by Larry Johnson on July 29
Hey parents! So tonights blog post will be slightly different than normal. Rather than Larry typing it up it will be me, Braxton.
Before I get into all of the updates from today allow me to introduce myself. I am a sophomore at UGA (Go Dawgs), and have worked here at camp for five years. Though the past five years I have participated in most of the aspects of camp, whether it be maintenance or serving as a ropes course facilitator. For this session I am serving as the head of our climbing tower which is new to me but not much different than working with our ropes course. One thing I have never done though is typed a blog, so parents bear with me as I try to enact the best of my single semester of college english.
Today’s weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and 75 with a slight breeze. This morning some campers were even wearing their long sleeve shirts, a sight that I hadn’t seen at all this session because each day seemed to start at 85 degrees with 75% humidity and only increase from there as we went into each afternoon . As I went to set up the ropes for tower and ropes classes this morning, I heard the harmonies of all three clubs singing their chants so loud I am pretty sure Camp Laney a mile down the river could’ve heard them.
Today was a little different for our tower and ropes classes, we made a “new” activity for them out of our climbing tower. Rather than having my tower classes climb for the 6th day in a row, Larry and I decided to give them something new. We set up the walls for repelling, rather than climbing. As the first class arrived and Larry was going over the techniques on how to properly repel, I snuck around to the back of the tower and hid the famous “Pickle Bracelets” on some of the climbing rocks for the girls to find as they repelled. For those of you who may not know, in the outside world a Pickle Bracelet is just the sheath of a rope spliced together in a circle, but here at camp the excitement of getting a Pickle Bracelet is like a 16 year old getting their drivers license.
After I made the announcement that there were bracelets on the tower, the campers went from slightly uneasy about the new activity, to fighting for a spot in line. Once we got people to the top of the tower and hooked into ropes to repel, there was one thing that shocked me, just how well the activity actually went! I remember my first time repelling two years ago from the same wall these girls were repelling from, I was scared to death! I mean being able to literally walk down the side of a wall sounds great, until you look down. These campers just had an unbelievable amount of confidence in us, the equipment and most importantly themselves. Not once out of five classes did we have a camper get scared, which I guess speaks to the unmeasurable benefits and experiences campers get while at camp.
At lunch we had some wonderful sloppy joes paired with the camper favorite french fries. As I went out to the main dining room to get some water, I overheard some of the campers sifting through the container of peanut butter jelly sandwiches that are out everyday to serve as an alternative to the main lunch. They were looking for the ones made with “lots of love”. In other words, sandwiches stuffed with an unbelievable amount of peanut butter.
After lunch it was back to the tower for us on the ropes side of camp, as we were repelling again we could see one of the dance classes practicing their routines. Honestly it is so impressive how many different routines these campers can learn in a matter of five days. Last night at the dance all of the girls got together for multiple songs and danced like they were all apart of team who had been practicing for months. At ropes though, we love it when a dance or cheer class is in the gym because of the music. It is just one of those simple things that helps brighten everyone’s day, campers and counselors alike.
In our last activity while one of the campers waited to repel, I got to learn the difference between a horse’s canter and gallop. She told me all about her morning in the equestrian program and how she had taken her horse around the rink and was able to canter successfully. I truly admire how the campers are able to learn so much about horses in just two weeks. Trish our equestrian director really does a phenomenal job with taking such a tumultuous activity and making sure each girl comes out of it better than they started.
For those of you who keep up with the blog, we had the camper requested cookie brownies for dessert again. The best part is that I never had to see one of the cookie brownies to know what was for dessert. I was sitting in the day staff dining room eating when I heard an uproar from the main dining area. I am talking cheering so loud that it sounded like I was sitting front row to a super bowl that had just been won by a Hail Mary in the last seconds of the game. At that moment I knew that “brookies” (what the campers call them) were for dessert, and that meant the ACIT’s were going to be running sprints from table to table with plates of the “brookies” in order to keep the feeding frenzy corralled.
Tonight is movie night and most of the campers were very excited to hear it was going to be “Beauty and the Beast”. As I left the dining hall the bags of popcorn were being transported to the gym for a mid movie snack. Now being a guy sitting around and watching a Disney movie doesn’t sound like the most appealing activity to me but it should be some much needed down time for all of our campers to rest up for carnival tomorrow.
Speaking of movies, in reference of today I’m gonna leave you all with a quote from “Forrest Gump”, “And that’s about all I have to say about that.”
Thanks and have a good night,
Larry is originally from Florida and graduated from Florida State University (Go Noles!). He taught and coached for 12 years before working full time at camp. During the off season, he heads up the winter retreats and leadership training with sports teams from all across the country. He’s married to Sally (who tries to keep him in line) and is an avid pilot and caver in any free time he can find.