Posted by Larry Johnson on June 24
Well hellooooo parents!! Man it has been a busy day up here (that seems to be the theme this year… or at least my schedule so far!). We had all sorts of activities going on not only in camp, but away from camp today. We definitely were spread out all over, through and under the mountains today.
First thing this morning we had a group of campers load up and head to challenge the white waters of the Ocoee River up in Tennessee. They all made it back just before dinner and were talking about the fun they had bouncing up and down over the rapdis. If ya look through the pics, you can see there are some looks on their faces that either confirm that (laughing) or completely deny that (fear). Either way, it was a day they won’t forget from the looks on their faces.
Now soon after that group left camp, our caving and repelling group headed out to spend the day underground in the cool confines of a SCCi cave not far from camp. Now despite what you think about being in a cave, let me tell ya, its 57 degrees, no phone service, complete darkness except for our headlamps and in my and the campers minds, a little bit of Heaven. You really need to look at those pics and take a peek at the before/after group shot out side the cave. When ya do, just look at the difference in their “new” kneepads before and after. Yep, their clothes look the same way, but we did finish our trip up with the gear/clothes cleaning and you can see in that pic, theres an awful lot of mud coming out of those clothes. The girls were amazed at how different the cave looked than what they imagined it would be like. They walked, crawled, and slid through openings that you wouldn’t believe they could fit through and they loved every moment of it. One of the highlights was when we decided to take our own “rest hour” (we really only took 15 minutes) in the cave and it didn’t take long before everyone was fast asleep in the cool darkness. One camper even said “camp rest hour in cool and complete darkness, this was the best rest I’ve ever gotten!” Be sure to check out that folder of pictures and see all the fun they had. If your camper was in the group, don’t be surprised if they ask you about joining a local Grotto and start caving when they get home, they really loved it that much!
Now with all that activity out of camp, there was plenty of time and room for those that were still in camp to get as many tries at their activities as they wanted. The ladies in the equestrian program are really starting to impress everyone with their jumping skills. Look at their pics and see for yourself if ya don’t believe me. And as par the course, the waterfront was another busy “hotbed” of activity with the blob and waterslide again being a camper favorite as they took turns screaming as they slide up high on the banks of the slide before taking the plunge into the cool water of Little River. Not a bad day of action all around if ya ask me….
Now tonight, we had a new and different activity, something a little slower paced (thank goodness) that let the girls show their creative side and present to our panel of judges any new ideas they had for camp. They got to put together a presentation of their ideas, from each cabin and make their best sales pitch with diagrams, skits and all sorts of different forms of expression tour panel of judges known as the SHART TANK! Yep, just like the show, they presented their ideas and then faced a bounty of questions from our panel about how they would do it, what were the benefits, and how they thought it should be done. Each girl from the cabin helped out answering the questions to help get their group idea across to the judges. now these girls really put some effort into their presentations. They only had during rest hour today to make their whole plan and be ready for the garage of what if’s and how to’s form the panel. Some of the leading ideas were an arts and lab class, hut row sleep overs, renovation of the Lodge showers, a riverside amp out on the field and even a new nighttime activity called “escape Skyline” where the cabins had to perform a task like in the “escape room” activities to get clues to send them to their next escape location. There are some real thinkers and innovative campers we have out there. After all the ideas were heard and demonstrated (that was the best part), the judges announced who the winners of this years shark tank were:
Daytime winner- Bevshack- arts and lab classes
Renovating winner- Totem Hall- Lodge outdoor shower house
Nighttime winner: Summerplace- Escape Skyline activity
Who knows how many of these great ideas we’ll see next year!! Nothing like having the campers give input into the new changes for camp each year!!
Tomorrow we’ll celebrate our 4th of July (yea, I know….. its still June) with a big day of celebrations complete with the counselors from horseback waking everyone in camp up to a ride through camp yelling “The British are coming” and then our club swim meet, picnic lunch, complete with Costco hotdogs and then our American celebration parade. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll then have splash out, speed challenge for the nighttime activity (I”ll explain it tomorrow) and finally we’ll end the day of celebration with the biggest firework display on the mountain. So yea, theres a really good reason I need to get to bed if I wanna have any chance at all in keeping up with your campers tomorrow.
Well, its been a long day (remember I’ve been crawling underground all day with the camper, who, by the way, fit through the smaller spaces mush easier than I do!!) so I’m gonna head off and get some much needed sleep. I hope you guys have a great night and get ready for an early 4th of July American celebration!!
We’ll see ya tomorrow,
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.