Posted by Frances Lindsey on January 31
“A lifetime is not too long to live as friends,” so goes the song we all love by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. A former counselor, Polly, used to sing it to campers in Riverside at lights out; we sing it together still on Banquet Night with tears in our eyes. Friendships are formed through shared experiences, like those we have at camp that continue to draw us together. Friends become confidants that share each other’s dreams, and friends truly have each other’s best intentions at heart. No doubt experiences at Skyline continue to nurture lifetime friendships today.
Barbara Robinson, for example, began her first year at Skyline as a counselor in 1957 with Red and Mary Lutz and Jeanette Crew soon to follow. Within a few years, campers Patsy Butler Jackson, Flew Pringle Wilson, Nancy Nettle Harris, Sydney Smith, Janice Chittwood, BT and Spooks became part of their tight bond. And they are still friends today. They have been to numerous Skyline reunions and stay in touch with lake weekends, brow weekends, and, of course, through social media. Several of these ladies still serve on our Skyline Foundation board, which was actually started by Miss Barbara. Their memories are endless with 65 years of camp experiences between them.
Katherine Estes Billmeier began her first year at Skyline as a camper in the early 1970’s when Nancy Miles Sprenger was a counselor. Within a few years, campers JoAnn DeMartini, Catherine Helderman Markwalter, Bain Whitten Massey, Susan Stribling and Susan Gunn began their tight bond. They have attended (and been in) each other’s weddings, traveled miles to see each other, and have also attended several Skyline reunions as a group. Even though they live in separate states, the camp memories they share have kept them close over the past 48 years.
Sarah Kate Donnelly McLaughlin began her first year as a camper in 1999. While they were counselors and then working in the camp office, Sarah Kate became friends with Katie Flowers Kay and Ivy Tarrant McCoy . These three ladies recently got together with their first-born babies. Throughout the years, they have traveled, seen each other fall in love, and now experience the treasure of motherhood together, a total of 23 years of camp memories.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my camp friendship with Owner/Director, Sally Cash Johnson. We met in the 1980’s as campers, I later sent my children to Skyline, and now have the honor to work alongside her as Camp Mom. Since my husband, Cooper, and I are now Mentone residents, Sally and her husband, Larry, are among our closest friends.
I am absolutely positive there are so many more friendships among us alumnae, and I would love to hear your stories. Our 75th Skyline Reunion will be a wonderful time to gather together and continue our tight bond that began in such an amazing place. Let’s share these years of memories with laughter and communion in October!
Written by Frances Lindsey, Our Camp Mom!
Camp Mom. Wife of Cooper. Proud mom of three. Birmingham Southern grad. Homesickness extraodinaire. Maker of the famous Franny Dip. Lover of evening coffee.