Posted by Larry Johnson on July 29
Howdy Parents, can you believe its the end of the 2nd week already. As I’ve been mentioning throughout the week, today was the final day of activities for all the girls here on top of Lookout Mountain. Its been a sun-rain-off and on kinda day all day, mostly sun though so that was goos that everyone got to still go to their last activities. the campers at horseback were able to get their prelims in so were all set for tomorrow’s Grand Championship where every camper here will be out to watch and see who claims the Grand Champion this year. It will be exciting and I hope mother Nature reads the schedule and stays away during the event.
I did get to watch a group of older campers play on the ropes course when they were up on the static course and Mother Nature decided to just open up and drop some good rain for a few minutes. Nothing more entertaining than watching them work their way across the elements and then ride the belay down in the rain. I’m not sure who had more fun, me watching from inside the ropes shed or the campers laughing the whole way across and down the element. Of course as soon as they all got to the ground, the rain stopped. Who said Mother Nature doesn’t have a sense of humor??
Our CSR class got to take their first out of camp rappelling trip as we headed over to Georgia to bounce a few 30-40 foot rock faces. Everyone of them worked so hard and got so good on traversing the edge, we’re gonna take one more trip tomorrow during packing day to do the same but with some 50 foot rock faces and then the big 100 foot rappel off the edge of the mountain. Even if your camper isn’t in the class, the views and pictures are worth the look so be sure to check back tomorrow and see for yourself.
Also today was the final dress rehearsal for our girls in the chorus and drama class as they took their last run through to make sure they had all their lines, placements and songs just right before tonights big performance.
Once I got back to camp today it was time to get ready for one of my favorite nights of each session. Age out dinner. This is the next to last night of the session when Sally has all the age out campers who are in their last year of being a camper over to the house for a special home cooked meal. These Age out campers are in a special class at camp called LT (Leadership Training) where they learn how to work together, help out in a class during camp, they also are assigned a younger camper cabin they get to her take care of during several activities throughout the session. Basically their taught how and then put into leadership roles where they can use and hone their new skills. We get to know these campers really well since we spend a little extra time with them teaching them. I can tell you for a fact they enjoyed the dinner and especially the two flavors of Sallys famous homemade ice cream. Later in the night, the age out’s worked as emcees for tonights Showtime and they were all dressed as the cast of Despicable Me (in case you couldn’t tell from their pics).
Tonight we had Showtime at Skyline where all the campers in dance, circus, chorus and drama and gymnastics got to show the whole camp how hard they’ve been working this session. Each group in the activities put on a show that the girls enjoyed. All that bragging on the girls at circus I’ve been doing was for a good reason. They flipped, twisted and spun every way you can think of as they had everyone there to watch their show. Afterwards, it was time to head to the gym and watch gymnastics (and cheer combined), do more flipping and spinning themselves, just a little closer to the ground but at a higher pace. After that it was time for everyone togged settled in and enjoy our Chorus and drams presentation of this years play “Frozen”. Not sure if they needed that extra dress rehearsal or not but hey nailed their lines and belted out their songs justice in the movie. It was a super time and everyone loved singing along since every girls here has seen the movie at least 10 times I’m sure. Throw in the additional skits from our Minion age out campers that entertained everyone and you have yourselves one heck of a night!
After all the festivities tomorrow of our Grand Championship, well have our final club meetings and then its time for packing day and our awards ceremony where each camper will get their award for number of years at camp and their patches for each activity they were in. After that it’ll be banquet night where we’ll find out who our honor campers and honor counselors are, our club toast where the club leaders get to address their club one final time and then its time to see who wins the Horse Cup, the points cup and the coveted Eloise H Temple Spirit cup. as soon as this awards have been announced and the girls stop screaming from excitement, it’ll be time to embrace reality as we all stand as they play the song “Friends” and each camper then realizes their time at camp this year is almost over. All their friends, new and old that they have been competing against, encouraging in classes, and sometimes, just hanging out and talking to are all about to head home on Sunday. This is a portion of camp that I could get Kleenex to sponsor if they wanted cause there won’t be a dry eye in the house. The best part is, it’s all sincere and honest. For the past 2 weeks, the girls have thought about everything except saying good bye to the ones in their cabin, club and classes. The same ones they cheered for when they accomplished something they were scared to do and the same ones that were right there beside them encouraging them when they needed it.
After banquet we’ll all head down tot he river for River Vespers and the official end of competition between the clubs. My favorite part of River Vespers is the age out speeches where each one will step to the microphone and talk briefly about what their time at camp has meant to them. They all can’t believe how quickly it passes and they pass on their wisdom to all the younger camper sitting across the river from them. To hear these girls deliver their speech is one of the most heart warming times you’ll ever experience. Their honesty, their emotions, and the thought in their head that their time at Skyline is over is sometime overwhelming to them as they break down to tears as they relive their camp memories. It’s so much better than any other speech you’ll ever hear, it’ll make the toughest man around turn into a little boy and cry right there with them. Trust me.
Well folks….it’s been an honor to get to bring ya the news each and every night not only this session but all summer long. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my gibberish as much as I’ve enjoyed trying to put 1000 random thoughts per day into some sort of readable and entertaining information for ya. I can’ thank ya enough for trusting your most prized possession with us as we have watched them play, have fun and grow with us. You guys have a safe trip up here Sunday morning and please stop by the front office to say “Hi”, especially if you’re one of the ones thats been right here all along playing from home. I can’t wait to see ya!!
Take care and God Bless,
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.