Camp is in full swing now. It’s been a really good day. This is about the point in every term, 4 days in, where boys begin to act like they’ve known each other for much longer. I mean that as a good thing. Hometown friendships take a backseat to cabin friendships. I like watching boys walk down the road, carrying on and laughing with boys they met 3 days ago like they’ve known each other for years. It’s because they are doing activities together and that’s what boys thrive on. If they were sitting behind a desk it might be a different story. Just before dinner I watched two new friends, one from Birmingham and one from Memphis, throwing and catching a tennis ball with their lacrosse sticks while chatting away.
Speaking of lacrosse, Carter and I visited our new lacrosse field this morning for the first time this term. We have made a great investment in this new activity and it is paying off big time. I did not grow up in a city that played lacrosse so I’m fascinated by the strategies and techniques. Our field is located in a flat spot above the Mountain cabin area, tucked into the woods nicely on all 4 sides, away from camper traffic for safety. We hung 10 foot lacrosse netting on poles across the goal ends of the field. It saves a lot of lacrosse ball hunting in the woods and it looks really cool. They have two brand new goals, as well as gloves, sticks, and Alpine green helmets. Today when we showed up they were practicing the technique of shooting on the goal (sorry if I am butchering the terms for you true lacrosse parents) for a group of boys who are new to the sport. The counselor made an interesting observation that the boys who had ever pitched for their baseball team seemed to pick up the technique very quickly, as the motions are very similar.
John Rutledge and Sam Harris teach Lacrosse. John is a three year Alpine vet from Memphis, who is also serving as a Head counselor this summer. Both guys are Memphis University School grads and that’s where they learned their skills, playing for one of the Southeast’s premier lacrosse teams. John studied his first two years at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. He has transferred to Tennessee now. In his spare time during the school year he volunteers his time as a Lacrosse coach for Farragut High School, near Knoxville. Sam is an Ole Miss man. He hopes to help be a part of getting a lacrosse program started in Oxford and coach boys there. These guys are really good coaches. I love the idea of a boy learning a totally new skill while he is here at camp. They are having a lot of fun up there too.
I am not a handy person. I look at something that is broken and all I see is a phone call to the appropriate repairmen. I wish I could fix things and create work with my hands. So, I am constantly amazed at our Maintenance staff and their handiwork. This is a big place, 335 acres and over 60 individual buildings, not to mention all the wiring, plumbing, grass, and equipment. On any given day there are usually multiple repairs and fixes necessary around here. We have three local men, Kent Kerby (our maintenance head and the hardest working man I’ve ever met), Jason Owen, and Doug Hair who work tirelessly 12 months a year on this property. And they stay busy 12 months a year. This place looks so good and runs so well because of their hard work.
Yesterday morning about 9 I asked Jason Owen if he thought he might could create a misting machine (for lack of a better word). That’s literally about all the direction I gave him. By lunch time he had devised this cool contraption, a sort of camper car wash, if you will. You might have seen pictures of your boys in the mister (if that is a word). It is gray PVC pipe, with a lot of couplings, and a hose attached to the end of one of the legs. From the two stationery legs rises two vertical pieces, attached to two diagonal pieces, and finally a horizontal cross piece, all of PVC pipe. He bought 5 tiny sprayers/sprinkler heads, they look like something you might use to water a small flower box or portion of your garden. Two on the vertical sides spraying in horizontally, two on the diagonal pieces spraying down at 45 degree angles, and one on the horizontal top piece spraying directly downward. Campers love it! They can’t get enough of it. And it’s keeping them cool, even if they don’t even realize it. They just think it’s fun. He has plans to build several more to go around camp.
By the way, the Hunter Overnight last night was a full success! The boys and their counselors marched back into camp this morning about 7:00. The boys headed to Egypt for a much needed shower before breakfast.
Carter took Caroline and Gigi this morning to Camp Desoto for their official camp tour. They are going into 1st grade and will hopefully go for a month not next summer but the next. Growing up here they have been to Desoto a good bit but we thought it appropriate to let them have a formal tour, even if it’s a little early. Desoto is our sister camp down the road owned by friends Phil and Marsha Hurt. Many of you are much more familiar with Camp Desoto than me, but maybe one day I’ll give a brief history of the ties between Alpine and Desoto. The girls had a blast. Gigi wanted to stay.
We had an Alpine alum from Louisiana come by camp this afternoon for his two boys to tour camp. We love having 2nd generation Alpiners, and we’re getting pretty close to some 3rd generation boys! If you are an alum, please click on the Alumni tab, then Update Contact Info link to sign up in our Alumni database or make sure you are up to date.
Hope you enjoy a wonderful 4th of July tomorrow, wherever you are. We’ve got plenty of Independence Day fun planned and I’ll hope to give you a glimpse tomorrow night. Until then,