Posted by Larry Johnson on June 30
Helloooo parents! Can you believe this is the last post of the Roost for this session? I mean, where in the heck did all the time go and how did we get here so fast? It seems like it was just a few days ago that we were just getitn’ to know each other here online. One thing I can tell ya is your campers have changed big time over the last two weeks. What started out as quiet campers, some seeming shy and quiet have turned into a large group of confident ladies that are eager as all get out to show each other what they can do, try new things, and take chances to expand their comfort level is all sorts of areas.
It was a pleasure today to walk around and watch all the campers excel in their activities. The time it took between repetitions on each element was down to seconds compared to minutes the first few days. Everyone was eager to get their last shots of everything they could. As I went past the tennis classes, those campers were competing in a tournament and they were working all the listings themselves. They’ve been playing a round robin tournament and a team tournament and they were serious about making some great shots. Some of the campers were playing the newest activity at camp……Pickle Ball. I haven’t played it yet, but I can tell ya, it looks to be a little more my speed. Fast or slow, they were all having a fun time out on the courts today.
Some of the sports classes decided to finish their session with a water balloon war and it was a perfect day to do that. I don’t think any of them were too upset when they would get hit with a balloon and the water splashed all over them. (I don’t blame them!!!)
Now across the road, we had some campers with a whole different kind of “improvement” on their minds. We had our horse show where the judges pick the winners of todays contest to compete in the Grand Championship tomorrow. Those campers have been working awfully hard themselves to get better each day and it shows. They are riding around, posting up as the go and looking quite established as they make their way around the ring, controlling a horse thats 8 times there size. It really is fun to watch them be in command and enjoy the progress they’ve made.
The ladies in our equestrian program went a different direction today as they took some time to work on a paint horse. Yes, the type of horse was a pint, but they took it to a whole new level and actually painted the horse. Don’t worry, they also took the time to give the horse a nice cool shower afterwards and from what I could see, it was hard to tell who enjoyed it more, the campers or the horse.
The river front was no different as they found every way possible to get in the water. Some did the straight jump in while others decided to make their entrance in a grand splash on the slide or blob. By this time of the session, the campers have gotten to know each other so well, they start working some deals (maybe a little deli deli insider trading going on??) to arrange the “just right” partner to guarantee a blob that all the other campers will remember and be talking about for years to come! And let me tell ya, quiet a few of them succeeded and caught more air time than Shaun White at the X games! It was fun to watch, even if I did cringe when some of them made their re-entry back into the river in a not so perfect way!
Late this afternoon the ladies in the rappelling class learned an technical move known as a change over. It doesn’t sound fancy, but it takes lots of skill and muscle to pull it off and everyone of them (much to my surprise) passed the test with flying colors. This may come in handy tomorrow as everyone else in camp will be busy during packing day and we go take our last out of camp trip to do some serious rappelling off the edge of the mountain. Even if your camper isn’t in the class, you’ll want to see some of these pics as we rappel from and area of the mountain where we can see 3 states at once and some more incredible views!!
Like I said, the rest of camp will be busy tomorrow with packing day, club meetings and of course the Grand Championship at the horse barn. The whole camp will turn out to watch the Championship and sheer on their clubs riders and see who will win the horse cup.
Speakin’ of cups, as you know we’ve had a few contest this session between the clubs and they were all for the 3 cups that will be presented at banquet tomorrow night. We’ll announce the winners of the horse cup, the point cup and the Eloise H Temple spirit cup. It’s been a great competition so far and I can’t wait to see who al wins tomorrow night!
And then we come to what else happens tomorrow night…… As mentioned, we’ll have our banquet and award the cups, honor campers and honor counselors and several other awards and then it will hit them….like a ton of bricks. For some of these campers, it will be they last time they’ll get to be at Skyline as a camper. For some of them, this has been a journey of almost 10 years. One of the best moments of the session was today when Sally cooks a giant homemade meal and has all our “age outs” over to our house for dinner tonight. It’s a special time with a room full of special girls and you can see the bonds of friendship that have formed over the last 2 weeks.
As the banquet winds down and the last song comes to an end, the tears will start. And then the flood gates will open…….. For these campers its not hard to tell just what these years have meant to them and what kind of connections they’ve formed. Although its tears of joy, there’s plenty of sadness in them also as they realize this portion of their camp career is ending and so many of their closest friends they’ve had the past 2 weeks, the ones they’ve shard so many challenges and successes with, the ones they’ve worked and payed with, the ones they’ve learned to push or be pushed by, to new heights and successes, will be gone.
It’s about now when you realize the tears and emotions are real.
After banquet, all the clubs will head down to the river for river vespers where our counselor choir will canoe down the river, with torches, singing the Skyline alma mater. Followed by the cabins with their cabin wishes for the year and then one of the most powerful moments of any session. Those campers who are “aging out” will step to the podium and present the most wonderful speeches you’ve ever heard. They’ll each talk about what their time at camp over the years has meant to them. These girls have been working on their speeches for who knows how long, but you can tell they’ve put their time, heart and soul into relaying to the younger campers just how they feel. To hear these young ladies step up and speak honestly about what matters to them and just how passionate they are about it, is more moving and emotional and is something a professional speaker could only strive for.
It’s about now when you realize their tears and emotions are real.
Folks, thank you for letting us have your most prized possession here at camp over the last 2 weeks. It has truly been our pleasure to get to play and work with them and watch them grow and achieve new goals each and every day. No matter how much I write every night, there’s just absolutely no way I could describe how much they’ve grown and grown together. Y’all be careful on your way up here Friday, I can’t wait to see y’all out front when you get here. I’m pretty easy to spot, I’ll be the one that looks as tired as some of y’all feel!
Thanks agin and God bless, its been a great 2nd session and it’s all because of your campers!!!
Thanks for playing along at home the last two weeks and we’ll see ya Friday !!
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.