Posted by Larry Johnson on June 16
Before I get started into our final newsletter of the year (ok, for all you young parents out there, I started calling this thing a news letter long before the term “blog” ever came out!!) I wanna thank all of you for playing along with us at home while your camper was here. Thank you for reading the ROOST and seeing what your camper was up to, but there is much more to the ROOST than just what you read. There’s the spotlight pics on the top (and all on WALDO) and of course the daily video at the end. These things together are what were happy to send out every night. This couldn’t be done with out Jennifer and Julia. They are the ones responsible for running around camp all day and night getting all the pics and videos you enjoy. I just wanted you to know there was a lot more moving parts to the ROOST and wanted you to see who was responsible for you guys getting to see all the fun. (thats them in the picture above!!)
Well parents, its been a great time getting to share all the happenings at camp with ya over these last 2 weeks. Your campers didn’t miss a beat over the session and have fully committed in everything they’ve done. From their action activities, to arts and crafts, pottery and painting, they’ve been focused on finishing what they started and taking full advantage of each and every day.
With today being the last day of classes (we have to spend Thursday packing, doing awards and that the thing called the Grand Championship) where we’ll pick the winner of the horse show. Its such a big deal the whole camp will be out to watch and support the riders from their club. (the winning club will win the Horse Cup at banquet!). Needless to say they were moving and shaking today making sure they got their last rides on their favorite horse, down the zip line, on circus, on the water slide, you name it. You could hear them walking away from each activity saying, “well, that was my last time on ….[insert any activity]. It’s amazing to see how much everything they’re doing means to them.
As I made my way through the arts and crafts areas, you could see beautiful finished projects of shiny glazed bowls that were just a few days ago lumps of clay. That’s the best part of getting to do what we do up here. Watching these campers that may come in without much confidence in something and over the course of two weeks with the help from our counselors and other campers, seeing them grow and master new things, no matter what they are, and becoming just like those shiny glazed bowls.
Tonight everyone got to watch our Cabaret which was a combination of 5 songs from different musicals and those girls did GREAT!! I’m a little embarrassed but the only 2 I recognized were from Annie and Grease but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see how hard they have been working on their performance and how it paid off!
Even though there won’t be any official classes tomorrow, it still will be a busy day here on the mountain. We’ll let everyone sleep in a little later (thank goodness… I could…um.. I mean, the campers could really use that!!). Then after breakfast, it will be cabin clean up (yes parents, they have been cleaning up their cabins and making their beds every day!!) and then time for the Grand Championship followed by club meetings. After lunch, everyone will be treated to SHOWTIME where each class will get to show their talents they’ve been workin on. We’ll see presentations from circus class, gymnastics, flag and baton, dance and cheering. Its a great tome for everyone to be recognized for their hard efforts.
The rest of the day will be the awards ceremony where we’ll recognize campers that stood out in their individual classes with their patches (these are SO important to them for their trunks…. just a little heads up!!). After the awards ceremony its time for their final club meeting and then the happiest and saddest part of the session. The Banquet….
This is where the club leaders will be recognized, the club cups will be awarded (Horse, Points, and the Eloise H Temple cup). These are the happy times. Then they start to realize their time at camp is almost finished. As they grab hands and sing the final song, a shower of tears will start to erupt as they say good bye to all their best friends for the last 2 weeks. We’ve had a lot of fun this session, but I am telling you the complete truth about what happens at the end of the banquet.
With the end of banquet, its everyone saying good bye, laughing, crying and hugging. What happens next will put a lump in your throat. All the clubs will head to the river for River Vespers. We’ll have our counselor choir canoe down the river singing as they paddle past the 3 clubs with their path lit by torches. After a few words from some of our admin and cabin wishes, it’s time for for our age out speeches. This is where our campers who actually spending their last night at camp as a camper step to a podium and read a speech some of them have been workin on for weeks. You can tell by the emotion that it comes from their heart as they tell the rest of camp what their time at Skyline has meant to them. Theres not a politician or speaker on the planet that could do a more honest, moving, and perfectly presented speech than these girls as they say good bye to camp and all the campers. I’m not gonna lie, I won’t sit down by the river during this, I’ll listen in from the porch of one of the cabins so no one can see if I have an “allergy attack” and start to tear up a little (it’s happened before).
I had several of the age outs with me today as we did a quick cave trip and one of them said she hadn’t worked on her age out speech yet. The others in the car were shocked and asked what she was gonna do and why she hasn’t worked on it. Her answer almost sent me into a sudden allergy attack ….. “I don’t want to think about it being my last year”. Folks, I gotta sit through a whole lot of these speeches tomorrow night, someone better get me some claritin, zyrtec, anything… just get it fast!! !!!!
Well, its time to wrap everything up. We can’t thank you enough for allowing your daughter to come to camp this summer and for having the trust in camp to help return everything back to normal and the way its supposed to be. We are truly honored to be able to learn and grow with all the campers we’ve had the last two weeks. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls and parents to share these first 2 weeks with.
Thank you, God Bless, and please be careful on your way up here on Friday for pick up. We’ll all be out front just waiting to meet everyone and see your excitement as you see you camper and how much she’s grown this session.
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.