Posted by Larry Johnson on June 10
A really tired and weary hello to ya parents!! Its been a busy day up here on the mountain for the campers and me too! Right after breakfast, our group of 30 campers headed to Tennessee to challenge the white water of the Ocoee River and from the sounds of them when they returned at dinner tonight, they had one heck of a good time. Even though they were busy paddling through the rapids all day, they still had plenty of strength to give it everything they had for tonights activity of Speed Challenge, but more on that in a little bit, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Besides the Ocoee trip, we had another group of campers from our cabin and repelling class head out this morning to spend the day in one of the caves thats owned and protected by SCCi (Southeastern Cave Conservancy Inc). Not only did we get to cave a beautiful cave, but one the leaders from SCCi, Christine Walkey was kind enough and take our campers on a tour of the ancient Cherokee Syllabary that is in a protected area of the cave that most people don’t get a chance to see. You’re campers got the chance to look at writings from the mid 1800’s and earlier and they really enjoyed learning about how they got there and what SCCi is doing to preserve the cave and the history thats inside it. After Christine finished her tour, we stuck around and toured the rest of a large section of the cave and needed up spending over 5 hours underground walking, crawling, and squeezing through areas on our loop trip. It was fine to se them see something they never expected and especially how well they did navigating the cave through the rest of the day. Everyone was more than happy to take a break after a couple hours of exploring to enjoy a nice lunch in a large rom in the back of the cave. Although the weather outside was particularly nice, nothing beat the constant temperature of 57 degrees we enjoyed as we made our way through the cave. Some of you parents at home may have a camper come back with a new hobby and asking you to join a local grotto to learn more about caving, so get ready!! (and start getting in shape, todays trip is killing me right now…how come the campers aren’t sore like I am??)
Like I was saying, I was underground all day long leading the rest of the tip so I wasn’t around camp to see what all was going on. I do know of one happening that has been going on this session that I have to tell ya about. Even though we don’t offer “official” swim lessons during our free swim period, one of our campers came to our program director Ivy, and asked her if she could help teach her to swim. Ivy has been meeting with that camper during their rest hour every day to go over the proper strokes and treading water techniques. I’m happy to report they are making all sorts of progress and its is a thrill to see a camper that didn’t have the knowledge but had the desire to learn, reach out and ask Ivy for help and to see her do so well. Thats the whole meaning of our summer theme, “In Good Company”. Whether its swimming, caving or any other skill, it’s a pure joy to help these ladies be in “Good Company” and to see them push themselves and learn a life altering skill that gives them confidence and we have no way of knowing how it will affect them and others later in life.
Although we were gone most of the day, I was back at camp when something great happened! After over a week of non stop searching, the Rangers found the golden Horseshoe this afternoon and get a massive boost in the points race for the cup at the end of the session! All you current and former Rangers wear your Blue proudly as these ladies made all Rangers current and past proud today in this major accomplishment!! Good job ladies!!
Speaking of good job, I would be crazy if I didn’t tell ya about tonights Speed Challenge! The campers ran, crawled, wrapped each other in toilet paper, picked marbles our of an ice bucket with their toes and all sorts of other crazy relays in tonights action. And if they were directly involved, they didn’t waste an ounce of energy by standing around, they were cheering and yelling for all their other club members to do their best in this crazy time. You could hear them cheering all across the mountain as all this was going on. After all the action and energy, I m happy to report that tonights winners were………. Mounties 3rd, Rangers 2nd, and the Troopers were able to capture 1st place and get some more of these coveted points for the Points Cup at the end of the session. Its gonna be a close race, so keep checking in to see how your camper’s slub is doing!
Tomorrow will be a different kind of day. We’ll have our color challenge during the entire afternoon where we’ll have our color war out on the field followed by some play time on the river and on the river toys. Following the water time, they’ll all get together in their clubs and compete in a “Cheer-off” where each club has had a whole week to practice their cheer, make a banner, come up with a new song and then perform a skit for their club. The winner of all this will get…. you guessed it, more coveted points for their club in pursuit of the Points Cup. As you guys have probably already figured out, this points cup is a pretty big deal here at camp and your campers have been busy getting all that ready for tomorrow big night!
Whew…. thats a lot of stuff for someone that wan’t even here at camp today. Tomorrow ain’t gonna be anything less as we have a full afternoon and night of action to report back to ya so be sure to come on back and see what all happens. I can promise ya one thing, it won’t be a boring day on the mountain and the campers will go to steel really easy again after everything they’ve got planned. I better get a head start on some sleep if I want to have any chance of keeping up with them (if thats really possible) so I can tell y’all how it all goes.
Y’ll have a great night and 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.