Posted by Gene Justice on January 10
Good morning all you Skyline girls!
Margo here! I’m so excited to be a guest on camp’s blog today, and to share with y’all how Camp Skyline continues to impact me. I first found Eloise Temple’s pride and joy not through a family member or a friend, but through Google! We’ve all heard that God works in mysterious ways, but I could never have imagined that a random, simple search for “summer camps in Alabama” would truly change my life. After finding Camp Skyline’s website, my shy, insecure college freshman self took a completely blind (and completely rare) leap of faith and applied.
2013 was my first summer as a senior counselor. After six weeks of laughing and singing on the mountain, I didn’t want to leave. Just as I watched my campers grow more confident in their selves and their faith, I noticed the same changes in myself – I remember coming home sunburnt and smiling and my family remarked that something was just different about me. Camp has a special way of letting anyone in its cellphone-free bubble, camper or counselor, grow into themselves and grow closer to God. Amidst daily activities, night time games, Beli Delis, Sunday church, and camp dances, insecurities seem to melt away. Laughter comes easier, as does prayer. Friendships made in weeks somehow feel years old. Mentoring smart, funny, brave campers reminds you that kids can teach us old stubborn people so very much about life. This all sounds impossible, but every counselor I know would say the same.
Driving down the mountain in July 2013, there was no doubt in my mind that I would return the next summer for all four sessions. That summer turned into the next, and the next, until I thought I had rounded out my time at CSR as a Hut Row Head in 2016. On that Banquet Night, my heart broke as we all swayed to the alma mater in the gym and I sang the words one last time. I just couldn’t imagine a summer without singing with the campers I loved like little sisters in the dining hall, high-fiving other barn gals after surviving the third Mini Horseback class of the afternoon, or winding down the day with campfires and personal stories of how God brought light to our lives. I so clearly remember talking to the camp mom, Frances Lindsey, about how I was worried that I would be losing this second home forever – I was graduating college, and was off to law school. Wasn’t this it? She smiled and reassured me that no matter what, camp would always be here.
The next few summers proved that Miss Frances was just as much an expert on life as she is homesickness! Camp was always there, even if in different forms: flowers from the staff when my dad passed away during my first semester at Tulane Law; Mardi Gras visits with my co-head counselors, who had been my friends since that first fateful summer; a short stint back at the barn in 2018 when Sally knew I needed a little camp R&R after a rough 2L year; working opening day in 2019. Just last week, I visited some of my best camp friends for the weekend, who luckily for me, are also full-time camp employees. Turning in at the front office, the sky seemed to get brighter and I felt giddy – I imagine that’s how Peter Pan felt whenever he’d return to Never-Never Land! Even though we’ve gotten older, this weekend proved that being around these camp friends seems to instantly transport us back to our counselor days, when we’d laugh until we couldn’t breathe.
In 2020, almost six years after that Google search led me to Camp Skyline, I can attest to the fact that there are no coincidences – God had a plan for me. In retrospect I can’t imagine my life without camp and all it brought me: memories, friendships, life lessons, and even my cat, Francine. I wouldn’t want to! I know Camp Skyline will always be a part of me, and I cannot wait until the day I might be able to send a little girl of my own to Mentone. Now that you know how camp continues to impact me, I’ll close with a short message to anyone reading this post. For any parent who’s nervous about sending their daughter to camp, for any new camper who’s nervous about making friends, or any counselor-aged gal who’s nervous to apply, do it! I promise you won’t regret taking that leap of faith – just like the counselor telling you to jump off for the V-Swing at the Ropes Course, God knows what He’s doing!
Assistant Director and Critter Caretaker. Floridian and Seeker of Sunshine. You can find me kayaking down Little River, up in a tree, or where ever the animals are playing.