Posted by Larry Johnson on July 12
Hello again parents, can you believe its the last official day of classes today? It was a fun day as everyone was finding ways to stay cool with the bright sun shining down all day. Sports class had an amazing shaving cream war and they did a great job of getting everyone fully covered. Some of the little over achievers even tried to get me involved but fortunately I was able to talk my way out of being covered with shaving cream using diplomacy, or maybe it was intimidation or the fact I was begging….. either way I was able to avoid being attacked by a group of 8-10 yr old campers that were already fully covered and had nothing to loose if I put more shaving cream on them.
Canoeing class spent the day playing splash out. This is when everyone gets in their canoes, kayaks, or oracles and then attempts to sink everyone else by splashing as much water in their boat as possible. I didn’t have the heart to tell them none of their kayaks would actually sink. They were having a greta time and staying cool splashing the water everywhere they could.
Tennis took the warm day to play a little water balloon tennis where they practice their strong serves using a water balloon. If you play tennis and haven’t tried this technique I highly recommend it sometime. It will impress the people you play with (or used to play with if you actually do it).
Swimming was taking full advantage of getting in the water every way possible. The waterslide was a camper favorite today as well as the blob. Every once in a while, all through camp, you could hear a collective roar of OOOOOHHHHHHH from the water front area. It would be followed with a loud splash and a bunch of girls laughing as you knew someone had just gotten launched off the blob and logged a little more air time than Shaun White at the X games!
Since the waterfront seemed to be the place to be today our rappelling class decided to join the fun and rappelled off the old bridge down into the water and climbed back up…..a lot! Some of those girls went down and up 5-6 times today and on each attempt got a little more brave as their last few feet on rope got little quicker and quicker before they too, were making a big splash in the water. I even had to cool off with a quick trip down and back up and i have to admit. The water in the river felt amazing after working the top of the ropes for an hour or two. The rappelling class will take one more trip tomorrow after the Grand Championship to go do their final rappel off the side of the mountain. This is what they’ve been working so hard for the whole session and there will be some great pics late in the day so be sure to check them out and see what they will have accomplished.
Now one class that didn’t get to enjoy the river was our horseback class. The lasted out there were razor sharp focused as they were competing in our horse show to day to determine the winners today that will compete in the Grand Championship tomorrow morning. Its such a big event, the whole camp will be out there to see who the Grand Champion will be and which club will get some big points towards the horseback cup at tomorrow nights banquet.
Tonight we had several special activities going on. First our age out campers, those who are in their final year of being a camper here at Skyline go to come over and enjoy their own special dinner at our house cooked just for them by Sally. And if that wasn’t enough, the night was topped off by them getting to enjoy some of Sally’s famous homemade ice cream. Tonights flavors were Butterfinger, Oreo and Mango. As one of the age outs said “I’ve heard the legends of this ice cream and now I get to have some!!” It didn’t disappoint.
The other big activity tonight was our chorus and drama class putting on their production if “The Little Mermaid”. Now folks, I’m gonna be honest with ya, I was de rigging the bridge and re coiling all my ropes all through dinner and usually I would have made my way to the couch for a quick power nap but something told me to stay awake and go see tonight’s show and man I did! They knocked it out of the ball park with the songs they sang. It was just like watching the movie from a long time ago. Everyone of the girls that sang or may have performed a non singing part was right on cue and full of personality. Now like I said, everyone did a great job but I gotta give props where props are due. The camper that played Ursula had a set of pipes and she let them ring. After she sang her song, all the campers gave her an “O” with means “ovation” and she deserved it. the whole thing was a great night of entertainment that all the campers enjoyed.
When it was over I would have hung around and had a good time with all the campers who were singing and dancing in the gym but they started playing some Taylor Swift songs and I have a daily quota of Swifty songs at “0” so it was time for me to head back to the office and start tonights blog.
Tomorrow night we’ll have our end of yer banquet where they’ll announce the patch winners in each activity and then the honor counselors and honor campers. This is a huge deal if your daughter is chosen as an honor camper. Its voted on by the counselors each winner receives an Honor Camper paddle. I promise you, there are more than a few hanging up in girls dorms at college or even at their home when they’re older. Its something they don’t forget.
After that it will be time to announce the winners of each cup. All the clubs have been competing throughout the session to win these and we’ll finally find out which club gets the Horse Cup, the Point Cup and the highly coveted Eloise H. Temple Spirit Cup. When they announce this its one of those put your finger in your ear moments it gets so loud from all the cheering.
All the cheering eventually ends and the campers join together in singing the sing “friends” and the laughs are quickly turned to tears as they realize their time at camp this summer is coming to an end. The same girls they were competing against all session will be going home soon. These are the same girls they not only competed against, but sang and laughed with, walked and talked with, encouraged to ride a horse, or learn to canoe or rappel, these girls who have become their best camp friends will all be going different ways. Its a moving moment when you see their emotions turn so quickly from joy of celebration to grief of having to say good bye soon. Its about as honest moment as you can get in their lives over the last 2 weeks of phone and electronics free living. A time in which they’ve learned the power of a smile or just listening to a friend.
As if that’s not enough, after the banquet all the clubs will make their way down to the banks of the river for River Vespers where our counselor choir will canoe by with light only from their torches whole they sing River Vesper songs. And then the hardest moment in camp for me. To sit and listen to our age out campers deliver their age out speeches. Some of these girls have been working on their speech for almost a full year, some do it the day of. No matter the case, all their speeches are right from the heart as they stand and talk about what their full time at Skyline has meant to them and what they have learned or gotten out of their time. These speeches are the best ones you’ll ever hear. If you daughter is an age out camper please ask her to read her speech to you. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be mighty proud, and you should be.
Folks, thanks for playing along at home over these last 2 weeks. Its been our pleasure to try and keep you informed with everything that goes on up here and how each day went. I know theres plenty of things we didn’t get to talk about and your daughter will be more than happy to tell ya everything she did over the past two weeks on your way home. Thats assuming she’s able to stay awake for the trip.
You guys have a great night, thanks again for letting us have your most prized possession for the last 2 weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed her time at camp as much as she has but I really think that would be impossible.
Thanks again, God Bless, and have a safe trip up(or down) to camp. We’ll see ya Friday morning!
have a good 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.