Posted by Larry Johnson on June 28
I don’t know about you guys but this session has flown by up here! Its hard to believe this will be the last blog of 2nd session and tomorrow (Thursday) will be packing day along with a whole plethora (that’s a big word for a blog from Mentone!!) of other events throughout the day like our Horseback Grand Championship, (more on that later) picnic on the grounds, county fair, and the final out of camp trip for our rappelling class. It may not be a normal day but its still gonna be packed full of excitement all day long.
Today was the final day of official activities where your daughters went around to their normal scheduled classes. Out in the horseback area we had our championship where they picked the winners who will compete tomorrow for the Grand Championship. This is a huge deal and some major points are on the line for whoever’s club wins the Grand. The winners from today will get to show their horsemanship in front of the whole camp tomorrow morning as they all come out to chevron their favorite participant. We’ll be there too so you guys playing along at home can see who won almost as fast as it happens.
Beside the normal last day of activities today there was plenty of non normal going on as well. Fir starters our advanced mountain biking class got to take their own out of camp trip where they ride the back trails and fields of some land just a little north of camp where they enjoyed the true mountain biking experience. Complete with some time cooling off after they were finished in the head waters of Little River. They spent the whole afternoon out in the woods riding up and down hill, over rocks and everything in between. They had a great time and enjoyed getting away and having the whole place to themselves.
Our rappelling class had a “sort of” out of camp trip. We rigged the bridge that crosses Little River here at camp and in the middle of the hot day spent a couple hours “bouncing” little river. Thats what its called when you rappel and then climb back up over and over. The best part was when we all rappelled, we landed right in the middle of Little River and that was a refreshing cool off. Not to mention it was pretty cool getting to climb back up all wet and cooled off. I don’t have an official count but I’d say the girls each did about 9-10 trips up and down the rope today (I even made a trip myself, just to check the water….)
At the end of the day the age out campers, the ones who are in their last year of camp, got to all gather over at our house where Sally and Frances had been cooking a true home cooked meal with appetizers and everything including homemade ice creak fro desert. Its a real treat for them and they all enjoyed just hanging out with Sally as they filled their plates with ham, homemade mac and cheese, sautéed vegetables, rolls, fruit and dot forget that homemade ice cream. Tonights choices were oreo, butterfinger and maybe raspberry. I’m not really sure, I didn’t hear anything past Oreo to be honest.
Tonight we had Showtime at Skyline where all the performance classes got to show all their progress they’ve made during the session. We had everything from gymnastics, dance, cheerleading and then the musical theatre group performed their play “Princess Adventure” that was actually written by our counselor thats head of that class.
Tomorrow will start with a little extra sleep time (I know I…. I mean the campers) won’t mind that at all. After all the action we’ve had up here these two weeks a little extra shut eye is a welcome thing. Then its off to breakfast, the Grand Championship, cabin clean up (yes moms and dads, they have been doing really well at their cabin cleanup each day, they even make their beds each morning too!) and then off to club meetings. After the club meetings, it picnic time, and then out to the circus field where the ladies in the advanced circus class will get their time in the spotlight as they put on a quick performance for the whole camp.
After that its time to head to the gym and awards time for each camper for the years they’ve been at camp and for how well they did in each class.
We’ll wrap the day up with our banquet and top awards for campers in each class followed by Honor Camper and Honor Counselor awards. If your daughter is chosen as an honor camper (voted on by all the counselors) that is a HUGE deal. Its an honor we hear a lot of girls talking about as they took their honor camper paddle with them to college or even still have it somewhere after they’re grown up with a family. The final awards of the night will be the presentation of the 3 cups to the winning clubs. The Horse Cup, The points cup and the most coveted Eloise H. Temple Spirit cup. When they announce which club won these its about as loud as you can stand it from all the excitement and cheering.
Its a funny thing how quickly emotions can turn and take you from the highs to the lows or vice versa. As the announce the winners of these cups I’m talking about the girls are on cloud nine and everything in the world is perfect. 3 minutes later, were all standing with arms around each others shoulder as they play the songs “Friends” and everyone then realizes that their precious time at camp is almost over. When just a few days ago, the competition of finding the horseshoe for their club (which was found by the Rangers today!!) was the most important thing on they mind, the realization of its all coming to an end really hits home. Their new best friends they’ve been cheering and competing with and against are all going home.
The cheers and hugs of celebration are instantly turned to tears and hugs of memories when this moment hits home. There won’t be a dry eye in the celebration, and sometime your’s truly is included.
Its such a great moment to think back at how much these girls have progressed, learned and grown over just 2 weeks. Its truly amazing to think about it even while I’m siting here trying to type this blog out tonight.
As if thats not enough, we’ll end the night with River Vespers where each cabin will give their cabin wish and then the most honest moment you’ll ever hear about or see. Our Age out campers will give their age out speech. I don’t care what politician you’ve ever heard speak, these girls speeches are better, more honest and definitely heartfelt. They talk about what their time at Skyline has come to mean to them, what they’ve learned and their special camp friends they’ve made over the years (there NOTHING like a camp friend). Their speeches are honest and from the heart, there’s more than a few that won’t be able to make it through without needing a kleenex because it just means that much to them. If you daughter is an age out camper I hope you have heard or get to hear their speech. I promise you, it’ll make your proud of her and you should be. There may be a lot of crying going on tomorrow night, but its the greatest night of the year….and its not even close.
Folks, I’ve sure enjoyed getting to play along with y’all at home during this session I hope you’ve had as much fun as we have but that would be hard. I know you can’t wait to see your daughter and I hope our little nighttime chats have kept you informed and entertained throughout the session.
Thanks again for trusting us with your most prized possession these past weeks. Its truly been our honor and pleasure o have them all up where with us at Skyline. Y’all be safe coming up Friday and I’ll see ya out front when you come through, pease stop by and say hi if you’ve been keeping up with everything and going through all the pics, I just like to see who looks as tired as I do on closing day!!
Well see ya on Friday. Take care, God Bless, and thank you
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.