Posted by Larry Johnson on June 28
Happy 4th of July to ya parents!! I know its still June to you and me but today at camp we took advantage of a beautiful day and celebrated America! The day began with the raising of our American flag. Right after our cabin that was tasked with flag detail for the morning raised the flag, we were treated to a fantastic duet of the National Anthem by one of our counselors AND campers. It was a fabulous rendition and everyone appreciated it and gave them and standing “O” when they were finished! After that it was time for the 4th of July parade for all of camp to see.
Our parade featured all the cabins, club leaders and even some kids of our current camp staff. Throw in the fact that one of the little guys was celebrating his 5th birthday and you have a perfect day of celebrating! To top off the celebration, even our camp nurses got into the action with their own float that included them throwing candy to all the campers as they rode past them. Usually you’re not feeling well if you see the nurse, but today was different. They were all excited and happy to see them and then try to catch some candy just made it even better!
After the parade it was time to get ready for an afternoon full of games in our Skyline Olympics. We had campers and activities all over camp and when I say ALL OVER, I mean ALL OVER. They would run from location to location in their different (age) groups and compete club vs club. Some of the activities were biking, tower, archery, rifelry, canoeing, gaga ball (more on that later), sponge bucket relay and more. You could hear them cheering all day long and all over camp as they rotated from place to place.
Now back to the gaga ball contest….. While our group 2 campers (the youngest ones here at camp now since the mini campers -group 1- left on Saturday) were competing at Gaga ball one of their task was to do a group cheer with their club. Now folks, just remember I said they were all doing this by their age groups so none of their regular older group leaders were there with them. This was the equivalent of momma bird kicking the baby birds out of the nest and saying “fly on your own!” It didn’t take long for “New” leaders of the group (the youngest campers here) to emerge, step up and take charge and lead their other club mates in the cheers and songs! Several of the admin and staff have been talking about watching the young girls step up into a leadership role all on their own all day long! Now THAT is something to celebrate!
After the olympics, it was time for flag lowering and I got to participate in this activity and it was an honor to be able to do so. AS the campers were lowering the flag, I had the honor to read aloud to all the campers and explain what each of the 13 folds of the flag stood for. They were so respectful and quiet as they listened and took in what it really meant and why we should treat our flag with the respect it deserves. Another great moment to celebrate the day!
As everyone was enjoying an all American dinner of Costco hotdogs, slaw, chips and more (if you’ve ever had a Costco hot dog you know!!, if not, you really need to go try one! You’ll understand!) Anyway, right after dinner as everyone was preparing for the swim meet, Mother Nature stepped up and gave us a wonderful surprise……. RAIN!!!!! I know usually its a downer when you have a couple hours of rain but after it being as dry as it’s been the last 3 weeks, every drop of wonderful water falling from the sky was appreciated. So much I just stood out in it and walked around taking in every drop I could. If you’re a faithful reader of the blog this session you know from last night that we needed some rain to insure we could safely shoot off the biggest firework display on the mountain! Mother Nature delivered. We had to move or swim meet into the gym ‘cause there were still some little showers, but that worked out great and no one minded at all after you hear how they did a swim meet in the gym (thats coming soon….don’t get ahead of me on this quiet yet)
So with the rain, everyone swam in the gym. Honest. With the help of several rollers, each camper that competed got to display their best swim strokes up and down the floor.It couldn’t have worked out any better and we may be on to something doing it this way. There was more laughing than you could count as they “swam” across the gym floor doing the best they could. You really need to look at all the crazy pics from swim meet and you’ll see for yourself what I’m talking about. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and you can form those words yourself as you scroll through all the wild picks.
Finally it was time for the fireworks to end the perfect day. And as mentioned before, with the perfect timing of todays rain, fireworks it was! All the campers sat back and enjoyed the display across the circus field to a chorus of oohhhhssss and aaahhhhhhhhss with each colorful burst of pyrotechnics.
One of my highlights from today was just before dinner, I had the opportunity to sit out by the basketball court and talk to some young campers that were shooting hoops. One of them I met happen to be a fellow ‘NOLE from Tallahassee. It was great to sit back and get to know her and talk about the town I used to live in. I look forward to meeting her parents on closing day and getting to know some other NOLE fans!
Before I forget, here are the results of todays Skyline Olympics (I know none of y’all would let me forget this, some of y’all want the results of every activity at the speed of Twitter!). After a full day of fierce competition and great effort from every camper your final results were………………… sorry, I don’t have them and everyone else I would ask is already asleep (can you blame them after today?). I do know this much though……TROOPERS 1st!!!
Well, if you can’t tell from the blog, its been a long and busy day up here so I’m gonna head off and get ready to return to a “normal” schedule tomorrow for the last regular day of classes. We’ll be back tomorrow to wrap up how that went and I’ll talk to ya then.
One last email note: Emails will be printed out tomorrow at normal time of 9:30 Central time. We’ll download and print them out again tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM Central time to be delivered on Thursday. Be sure to get your final emails in to your camper before 6:00 Wednesday night for final delivery please.
thanks and have a great night!!
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.