Posted by Larry Johnson on June 26
Well helloooo again Parents! Can you believe its almost the end of the session? We had our last day of classes today and I mean to tell ya, those girls (campers AND counselors) were busy today. As I was walking around you could see the campers all hurrying to get in their last day of horses, ropes course, finishing their arts projects and of course the campers in the cabinet tonight were taking full advantage of every moment they had to make sure their positioning and word memorizing for the songs was just right (don’t worry, it was, more on that in a little bit).
The best part of the whole day was hearing the counselors working so hard trying to convince campers that may have signed up for activities like ropes and then never quite found the courage to try one of the elements, (V swing, zip line, etc..). They were pulling out all the stops and working all angles to help motivate the few campers that still had a little fear. I’m happy to tell ya they were successful pretty much all day long! You’d hear them working and negotiation with campers for 10-15 minutes and then all of a sudden you’d hear a loud cheer from a chorus of campers and counselors that were helping encourage their friends that may have been trying to check off that last item on their camp bucket list.
The final result was always a big scream followed by a bigger smile as those campers were able to finally complete the task that seemed, just a few minutes before, nearly impossible. What a way to end the session activities. I’m telling ya, my poor description just doesn’t do it justice to all the work and courage that was on display up here today. I hope you were ablate draw a pretty good picture in your head of what it must have looked like…… tif you increase that image exponentially…..then you’d be close to seeing what it was really like. Days like this make it really easy to write about!
The ladies in advanced canoeing started the day off really early by getting up before everyone else and making their way down Little River to Desoto Falls State Park. There they had breakfast (with a view!) and some down time before they paddled their way back to camp in time for club meetings. Not a bad way to start the day if ya ask me. What kind of traffic did you start your day off with?? just wondering…
We had our Horse Show all day out in the horse rings and the winners of todays shows (each period) will compete in the Grand Championship tomorrow morning. Be sure to check in throughout the day with our social media to see how the results go. I’d like to tell ya that I will keep ya in the loop, but theres no competing against the speed of instaidiot and twidiot! Know what I mean!!
Now even though today was the last “official” day of classes, our ladies in our Caving, Survival and Repelling (CSR) class will take one more out of camp field trip during the middle of the day tomorrow (Heck, its actually later today in some of y’alls time zones). We’ll head out just before lunch and get several more times “on rope” (as we say in the cliff and cave world) on the Alabama side of Lookout Mountain. If the pictures this session are like anything from last session you will want to see them even if your daughter isn’t in the class. It’s not often you can rappel down the side of a cliff and look at Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee for miles and miles around all at the same time! Their last rappel will be a nice 120 footer down and up with spectacular views. Just wait till you see it!!
Now, about those campers that have been practicing every chance they have for tonights performance of Mary Poppins. They’re hard work paid off, because they were SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC!! Tonight the rest of camp was treated to a first rate performance of the Disney classic and when it was finished the whole camp gave them a standing O for their dedication. We’ve always had some campers that could sing, but every one of these girls hammered their minds, whether it was a solo of group song, they nailed it. It was a great show and another example of their counselor pouring herself into their project. I’ve mentioned several times this session how they were always practicing during their rest hours. trust me, as the session goes on, it gets harder and harder to give up your rest hour to go and practice. But they did.
Now tomorrow will be a long day of Grand Championship, Showtime at Skyline (where the rest of the performing activities will get to show off their skills to the camp), the repelling trip, the awards ceremony and then finally the end of the session banquet and River Vespers. This is where it gets real, real fast.
Banquet will be a big celebration of all the accomplishments the campers have achieved and the presentation of the Horse Cup, the Points Cup and the Eloise H. Temple Spirit Cup. These are the cups your campers have been working for all session long. After the presentation of the Spirit cup the campers realize its time to say good bye and the floodgates open up. There won’t be a dry eye in the camp as these ladies put an end to their time they’ve spent living, learning and laughing together with all their club mates and cabin mates. These will be some of their best friends for the rest of their lives and its hard when they realize their time at camp is coming to an end.
After all the tears are wiped away, the clubs will head to the banks of little River for our final activity of 2nd session 2019. Our counselor choir will paddle their canoes downstream passing the campers and singing the songs “Linger” and then “Walk Skyliner, Walk”. After that is one of the most moving moments you’ll ever see (or I guess in this instance, hear about). Thats when the “age out campers” (their last year at camp as a camper) will deliver a speech they’ve worked on for weeks or even months. At a time when the only speeches I see are from politicians, I am amazed (and refreshed) at how well these girls present their true feelings about what their time at camp and their camp friends have meant to them. Theres a lot of people (ok, EVERYONE!) in Washington DC could learn from these girls and what it means to speak from the heart. They deliver and I can’t describe how powerful their words are to other campers as well as our camp staff. I’m not sure these campers realize how much THEY impact us!
Well, forgive me as I have been droning on for a bit, but theres just so much I want to make sure you guys playing along at home (I hope theres at least a couple of y’all that read this!) know about and how proud you should be of your campers. I know you’ll see a difference in them when you come to pick ‘em up.
Its already late, I’m outta coffee (that could be a problem!!), so now its time to say good bye for the last time this session. Please make sure you stop by the front office on Friday and say hi, I’ll be easy to spot, I’m the one that’ll look like they’ve been on the computer ALMOST as much as you have these past 2 weeks! We can’t thank you enough for letting us have your most prized possession here at camp and we truly have enjoyed every moment of it. We hope you guys at home have been able to enjoy it with them through our pics, videos and my blog. So thanks again…….I’m outta here!!
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.