Full to the Brim
July 9, 2014 by Will Johnson
Meals are a key indicator of camp’s overall mood and pace and tonight proved no exception. We spend relatively little time gathered in one area as a single corpus, so taking a meal together is a delightful time to build community. The boys tell jokes and spin wild yarns. They sit among friends, among boys they may not see other times of the day. They connect to counselors outside their chosen activities. Mostly, they devour everything laid on the buffet. We certainly weren’t lacking for enthusiasm in the dining hall tonight (or delicious food: chicken stir-fry, scratch rolls, and homemade carrot cake), though we were significantly reduced in number thanks to a variety of trips and special events tonight.
The Juniors – our Starter II and Mini I sessions – are currently enjoying their chill night. As I write, I imagine they have just piled shivering into the vans and are rolling to Dolly’s. I’m consistently amazed how well ice cream compliments a slide and dip in frigid water, yet I won’t be surprised at all when they return before call-to-quarters with ear-to-ear, chocolate-stained smiles.
Hikers, too, are out of camp right now. A group of Middlers and Upper Middlers are taking their evening meal somewhere along the banks of the Middle Saluda River in nearby Jones Gap State Park, SC. I dropped them off at the top of the Saluda’s headwaters after filing permits at the adjacent Caesar’s Head SP and taking a moment to watch clouds billow over Table Rock from the overlook. They will return tomorrow afternoon after closing their chosen loop through a long-reestablished hardwood forest.
I also had the pleasure of picking up our three-day hike from the Laurel Fork region of the Foothills Trail; they emerged proudly from the woods, hurled their packs with great ceremony into the van, and demanded I crank the A/C for all its worth. Although they were ready for well-earned showers and a feast in the dining hall, the boys seemed loath to leave the forest after trekking three sunny days and camping two nights along the shore of Lake Jocassee.
Paddler’s coursed Section 8 of the French Broad while Mountain Bikers got dirty in DuPont. Climbers and cavers went out, too. I want to talk ages about all of it. The trips keep rolling, the kids keep learning, but not just on off-campus adventures. So much of the fun and learning the boys pick up happens right here on property.
I think I talk about trips so often because life in camp is so unique to the camper; there are innumerable cool moments and I have a hard time picking just a few to talk about. I could write a novel on a single day at High Rocks. But daily, little moments capture the magic of camp so well. Today an upper senior discovered he enjoys painting. A camper who doesn’t play competitive soccer at home was, for a second, on the field in Rio as a ball flew from his foot into the upper 90 during evening activity.
And we’re just nearing the halfway point of the session! There’s still so much to do, and we still have time to fit in all we can. Here’s to filling your cup wherever you are, and I hope your day was as wonderful as was ours here at camp.
July 9, 2014 by Kevin
You should write that novel Will. Nice work on this essay. Wish I were 11 again.