I’ve been away from my computer a little bit this weekend. Only because I’ve been out in camp enjoying all the happenings with your boys. I thought it would be fun to hit some quick highlights from the weekend.
Hot off the presses, it was a Mohawk week. Each Sunday Roderick announces the point totals for the previous week. These include competition points given out in activities, merits and demerits. So, this week the Mohawks have the lead. Of course, it’s only the end of the first week. Most points are still out there to be had.
A merit is something given to a boy who is spotted giving in some way to his cabinmates or the community at large. For instance, maybe a camper is picking up trash around the Gladiator Court without being asked and a counselor spots him. The key to merits is that you can’t ask for one and your motive should not be to do something for the merit itself. Demerits are very seldom given.
The winning tribe for the week enjoys an extra bowl of Mayfield Moose tracks ice cream. If you’re not familiar with Moose tracks, well, you should be. It’s one of life’s finer pleasures. Mayfield Dairy is located in Athens, TN just up the road from us. They supply all our milk and ice cream and other dairy products. I’m no ice cream connoisseur (though I might be close) but I think they make some of the best ice cream around. Growing up in Mississippi we could never get Mayfield so it made it even more of a treat when I came to camp and had it. Moosetracks is one of their most popular flavors, vanilla ice cream with swirls of chocolate fudge and tiny peanut butter cups. So the Mohawks enjoyed an extra bowl of ice cream today while the Cherokees powwowed outside the Dining Hall, dedicating themselves to play hard this week and even the competition.
At the end of the term, Roderick will announce the cumulative point totals for the entire term. The winning tribe’s name will be inscribed on the championship cup, under 2nd Term 2012, to live on for years to come. The funny thing is, the boys don’t get too worked up about the tribe competition. They get excited and cheer for a few minutes over a Slaughterball victory or an extra bowl of ice cream, and then they get right back to simply being camp friends.
In most daily moments at camp, large and small, red and blue fade to the background. It is not the most important part of camp, and we like it that way. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all about competition, playing hard, winners and losers. I like to say that camp is a safe place for boys to learn to handle disappointment, in many forms, including losing on the athletic field. It was the case for me, and many thousands of other boys through the years. But winning or losing doesn’t define us at camp.
On Friday we hosted 31 boys and their parents for Rookie Day. Our guests arrive between 9:30 and 10, receive a green Alpine T shirt, and take off for an interactive tour of camp with Bully and several other counselors. Carter and I take the parents on a tour of camp before they have a chance to spend some time in Mentone for the afternoon. I love watching your campers greet the boys throughout camp with a “this is the best place ever” or “wait til you get to ride the Zipline”.
Rain has teased us the last few days. Clouds will roll in, wind will pick up – sure signs of a summer thundershower headed our way. Every time it seems to elude us, with a sprinkle here and there for a minute to whet our appetite. We do need rain, but we are enjoying every minute of this great sunshine. It’s actually cooler this afternoon with a steady breeze, bringing in what I think is the promise of cooler temperatures by Tuesday. Projected high on Wednesday is 77. That is summer Mountain weather!
Today has been a wonderful day. Sundays at Alpine are set apart. We still play and have lots of fun but they are intentionally designed to have a different feel. Slower pace, no activity schedule, sleep late. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of activity! We’re all boys so we don’t spend too much time sitting around any day of the week. But they do take a break from their usual camp activities. Church in the morning, cabin time in the afternoon. Several cabins donned their collared shirts (laundry goes out in the morning so they will be nice and clean before the dance next week!) and played a gentlemen’s game of disc golf. A few cabins set out with empty water bottles in search of ripe blueberries up towards Horseback. It is that time of year. Assuming they were successful there will probably be some blueberry muffins or a cobbler coming their way tomorrow, hot from the kitchen.
Roderick cut cold watermelon on the Team Sports Field late this afternoon, upholding a longstanding Sunday afternoon tradition. All in all, it has been a great day on the Mountain, and a fun weekend.
This next week gets even busier: Chief trip departure, Desoto Square dance, Trip Day, several block periods. We’ll do our best to keep you fully updated. Good night for now.