July 9, 2016 by Don Gentle
I sure did enjoy my first moments of camp this morning. I was hastily making my way up the hill to rig the bell, when I was beat to the punch about a minute or so early (according to my watch). Smoot gave a classic “Good Morning High Rocks” shout after the bell. the best part was Sumner, who typically plays revelry after the bell, laid on a sweet jazzy tune from the roof of the dining hall that went on for a couple of minutes. I felt like I was in New Orleans and someone was busting in the street. What a smooth and cool way to wake up. I was truly surprised.
Our weekly Saturday breakfast has always been pancakes and bacon…forever! I have so enjoyed this summer’s pancakes even more! the kitchen whips up these made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes that are out of this world! I don’t know what it is, but I am hooked! Add hash-brown potatoes grilled to perfection on the flattop, a little bacon, and you have a great start to your day!
The anticipated camper-counselor tennis tournament started today. For us, this event feels like March Madness. Not that we put a lot into the competition of the event, rather it’s more about who we play and when. Even watching the groups play is always a big time. The tennis staff always does a great job of putting the closest friends or counselors together first. I enjoy when folks dress up as well. It is always a blast. Anyhow, I will keep you posted on the progress as it continues through the session.
It was tie-dye Saturday as well. Everyone thinks of the classic tie-dye when they think of camp. High Rocks is no different. I couldn’t ever imagine doing this at home. To do it correctly, it does take a fair amount of time and resources. We start with a great shirt, that needs to be washed in soda (baking soda and water mixture) so that the dyes hold well. You then mix up some fairly fancy dyes. Everyone rolls their shirt differently to get the patterned effect they want, then the fun begins. The kicker is adding about 12-15 boys armed with squirt bottles of dye. Of course this event happens outside. It was a joy to see it going on all day outside the back of the gym. I can’t wait to see them washed and worn soon!
Our choice period was filled with what we call “beautification hour.” The boys head back to their cabins to shower early and clean up before dinner so they will be ready for the square dance. Tonight I hosted the older half of Camp Illahee, while Zoob went down the hill to the “Heavenly World” with the younger guys. Our girls have been to Illahee for a number of years and have always had a fantastic time. I love how they call Illahee “their camp.” My two girls were fortunate enough to head down for a visit as well tonight. It is a great place to be a great girl.
I enjoy the fact that we still do a square dance. It is just different enough that it changes the whole feel of the event. The cool factor is already subdued by the fact that most everyone needs to learn the moves, but everyone is also dancing. There is no awkward sidelines. The music is traditional mountain blue grass, which also removes a lot of the “in town” feel. More than anything, it is something new that they probably only do at camp and it still has nothing to do with their social placement at home. I like to think we are also adding one more quill in their hat of skills. Our event here went very well. We took a break about midway through to enjoy the choice of an ice cream bar or Popsicle, while enjoying each others company on the lawn. The girls were polite and cheerful; the boys were gentlemen; and even some brothers and sisters were able to connect. A fine way to spend a Saturday night at camp.
It’s been a great and exhausting day! Sleep well…