Independence Day Festivities
July 4, 2010 by Woody Noland
Pictures from July 4, 2010 (password required)
Independence Day… Camp Style!
There is nothing like waking up on a beautiful mountain morning to an ear-splitting rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner as played by Jimi Hendrix. Continuous 4th-of-July-themed music urged the campers on during cabin clean up, and they came to breakfast listening to the Declaration of Independence read by Don Gentle. Needless to say, the donut addition to breakfast was completely unnecessary to get the energy level cranking immediately.
The boys held it together through our first Sunday lakeside talk, a traditionally calm and reflective moment, before unleashing themselves onto the Camper/Counselor tennis tournament, a beanbag toss tournament, the American Kickball game, rounds of disc golf, and a series of ridiculous events at the swim docks—longest jump, biggest splash, and belly-flop contests, along with blind water basketball. Nearby, face painting produced variations on the American flag and patriotic demon motifs, and everyone was wearing red, white, and blue: flag stickers on shirts, hats, bandannas.
We had our traditional Sunday mid-day dinner feast of turkey, dressing, rice and gravy, green beans, salad, rolls and, of course, sundaes, with campers choosing their favorite ice cream flavor and adding caramel and/or chocolate sauce topped off with (red, white and blue)sprinkles. All then waddled off to cabins for a much-needed extended rest hour.
The afternoon began with age group activities including hikes to Polar Bear Falls, dodgeball in the gym, capture the flag on the field, and a re-enactment of a British invasion of an American beach. Then it was on to the Activity Field for the egg toss, sprinklers, sack races, popsicles, and counselor painting. Again fueled by loudly patriotic tunes, everyone wore themselves out before the dinner cookout.
Every Sunday evening we eat hot dogs and hamburgers outside–from the campers’ perspective the highlight is our once-a-week candy bar dessert—and then we go to the top of Campfire Hill for the spectacular vista over camp and the nearby ridges, music and singing and everyone in camp sitting around the fire. Tonight David Kirby, a long-time camper and first-year counselor, will spin a yarn for us. We end Campfire with a look ahead to next week, an epigrammatic thought delivered by a staff member, taps played on a trumpet by Sumner Williams and a quiet walk back down to the cabins for bed. But tonight, another grand event still awaits us. High Rocks Fireworks!
After tooth brushing and pajama donning, a gunpowder overture, which is usually a combination of a deceptively measly bottle rocket and some more impressive explosive, calls us to the lakeside for the show. Much commotion and excitement ensues as streams of campers with their flashlights wind down to the water. With the last colors of sunset draining beyond the dam, the sky lights up with a full spectrum of flashes, each accompanied by impressive BANGS (and appreciative “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”) that echo off Rich Mountain: fountains, rockets, mortars, fireworks with no known names. We traditionally build in a false conclusion so that campers believe the show is done, only to be surprised by the big booms of the finale.
Then the day really is finally done, and the last sounds we hear are the whispered retellings of the days’ festivities, followed by the calls of the Whip-poor-wills and the early crickets of summer.