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Mark Pickle is the Big Man on campus for several reasons but mostly because he does so much around Skyline AND with such a big heart. Continue to read more about one of our favorite camp staff actually written by Pickle himself…

Where do I even begin??? I guess from the beginning. I first came to Skyline in 1984 for two weeks when they were trying a boy’s camp to be the head counselor and ropes director. I left after those two weeks vowing to never return – that was short lived! Skyline asked me to come back for the last session that summer to help with the ropes course during the girl’s camp. I became good friends with the director and her husband during that winter season. Over the course of that year, they persuaded me to return and run the ropes course for the girl’s camp in 1985. Boy did I mess up! After my second year they never asked me to come back again– I just show up. I guess it was expected and I hated to let anyone down not to mention that camp began to grow on me. One year led to another and I started my family in 1988 and continued to work so my daughter could attend as a camper and a few years later my son began tagging along with me and he grew up helping at camp.

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Pickle hosting all of his Camp Family at his house for dinner.

Since camp was beginning to grow on me over the years, I began to treat it as my own and started looking for ways to make camp a better place by doing projects during the off season. To name a few of my camp endeavors or monsters I have created:

1.Landscaping (spreading pine straw, trimming shrubbery, planting flowers, shrubbery, and trees, and rock work).

2.Helping Mr. Adam w/maintenance, trash pick-up (never pass a piece of trash), and cleaning.

3.Building campfires for winter groups as well as finding and hiring personnel to work the ropes course during weekend groups in the off season.

4.A little laundry duty as needed and making myself the energy savings czar.

5.Occasionally, if I’m passing thru Mentone after camp hours, I will drive thru to make sure everything is ok.

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Pickle visiting campers at their Cross Country event in Birmingham.

Oh, I forgot to mention that making Pickle Bracelets has become another job during the summer and I have been known to mail a few out during the off season. From time to time, I enjoy supporting campers by attending sporting events that they participate in during the school year. I guess what keeps me returning each year is that I learn as much or probably more from the campers than they learn from me. Skyline is a very unique and different place that keeps me young at heart. As I say every year this is my last year - yea right! Thanks campers and staff for all the wonderful memories that keep me returning. It’s time for me to get a real job! Pickle

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Pickle is always sharing funny stories with campers...He is very loved!