July 3, 2019 by Don Gentle
I know I say it a lot, but I really enjoy the morning at High Rocks. I start my day sometime just past 6 am. My dog Barley and the coffee pot are typically my first to interactions of the day. I enjoy sitting on the deck listening to the peace while Barley enjoys his morning rub. He typically settles at my feet when I return with my coffee. The air is cool and I can hear a paddler taking in a morning workout. I hear the crush of gravel as a few upper seniors take in a morning run. Sometimes I read, other times I just sit and listen…
I usually hit a few emails and then get ready for my morning meeting. I have an early morning meeting with a small team most mornings around 7:30 am. I enjoy my stroll with Barley up to the dining hall. I like to stop in to see the kitchen crew to check out if there may be anything lovely that might be ready. I love a warm biscuit with my coffee. I typically meet back up with Zoob at this point. I head off to the coffee pot and then settle in for a quick overview of the day. We talk about campers, staff, the daily events, office tasks, and plans on the horizon. It’s all for those wonderful young men who are not event awake yet.
The wake-up bell rings into the meeting as an eager group of paddlers heading out early helps with the morning wake-up. Our meeting wraps up just before breakfast and the day has already been rolling for some time.
Breakfast moved into morning assembly, which meant it was time to get things moving. The first assemblies of the session are always some of the loudest since everyone is here. The boys have not yet moved on to all the various trips and opportunities. Today was no exception as the boys sang out some of their favorites from the songbook. I can’t think of any better way for a new camper to feel comfortable than to watch all the returners sing out the songs in assembly, from memory…mostly! But more importantly, proud and excited to sing out to the morning and for everyone to hear. There are no “cool cards” at camp, particularly at Camp High Rocks. We all feel comfortable and spirited to be who we want to be, even if we aren’t quite sure what that means yet.
Lunch today was the crowd favorite, Taco Day! Tortillas, chips, black beans, refried beans, beef, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, more cheese, and scratch made pico de gallo. The smell of the fresh cilantro was amazing! I LOVE cilantro! It’s one of those things that you love or it tasks like soap. I’m glad I love it.
The drawback to taco day is the dining hall clean-up. While it is never a coveted task, taco day adds a little grief as there is a little more on the floor this day. Our oldest half of camp helps out with the community service of wiping down tables, putting up chairs, sweeping, and then putting down the chairs and setting out cups. The oldest boys have finally figured out that sweeping is more than running around the room with a broom or “petting the floor.” Wiping down tables requires long broad strokes and just a little spray, and not using the spray bottle as a machine gun while dabbing the table lightly. I enjoy seeing the progress over the session and years.
The cleanup process is also one of those small tasks that give back in so many ways. Of course, it teaches teamwork, organization, and working a task to completion. It also has the benefit of helping the boys understand what it takes to keep the dining hall clean. You see these guys holding others to the task of cleaning up after themselves, picking up their items, and keeping food off the floor… Little steps of education that come from a simple task of picking up a broom. I love what High Rocks can do to set up small life skills that are barely noticed in these boys.
The afternoon had a short shower that helped cool it down just a bit. The skies barely clouded as the rain swept through quickly and we were back at it after the thunder passed.
It was more cabin overnights and some evening program fun. I caught the tail end of the Lakeside finishing up their evening program of the rope swing and water slide. What a wonderful plan for a summer evening in the mountains.
Have a wonderful night.