End of The “Work Week”
July 30, 2021 by Woody Noland
As we close out our first week of the session here at Camp High Rocks, it is always fun to chat with campers and counselors about the cool camp moments they’ve seen happening all over camp, every day.
You get all kinds of answers to that question. Today being on the warmer side, the waterfront featured prominently for some. Paddleboards were in constant use out on the lake with guys paddling, pivoting, piling on, or just drifting quietly while they looked at clouds overhead. It’s not an easy thing to get a moment of peaceful reflection and a paddleboard on the far side of the lake is a great way to do so.
At the canoe docks, guys were talking about the opportunity to paddle boats of choice, almost inevitably that meant kayaks galore out on the water. It can be a tricky thing to propel a whitewater kayak in a straight line and there were lots of fellas spinning some sweet circles until they got a few pointers. One enterprising guy realized he could submerge his kayak fully underwater and still float… As you can imagine, within about 15 seconds of this discovery there were twelve other submerged boats all happily frolicking underwater.
Swimmers clearly felt like they had won the weather lottery. Swimming strokes, doing goofy jumps into the water, even collecting rocks in the basketball area (voluntarily… and quite seriously). Perhaps the single swimming event that most stuck out in peoples’ minds however was a belly flop off of the rope swing, performed intentionally by one of our youngest guys, who came back to the surface already laughing with a bright red stomach. At that point, it almost didn’t matter what else he got to do, today was already in the books as a full-on success.
Fishermen were equally busy. There were fishing kayaks exploring some sneaky spots where big bass might lurk, lots of bluegill being caught along the lakeshore, and the entire cabin of Hillside learned to cast this afternoon. Hillside is our youngest cabin and approaches life at full speed. The focus and control required for that whole crew to cast successfully should not be underestimated!
Tennis was a warm spot to be no doubt. You know the counselors are doing things right when campers are charging onto the courts chanting “Tennis! Tennis!” under a bright sun. Lots of hydration breaks, and lots of happy running around.
Our mountain bikers were working on the field through braking and positioning or hitting some of camp’s many trails with guys ready to ride in the woods. There was a good amount of huffing and puffing heard as bikers cruised up campfire hill for the first time and some solidly satisfied smiles on faces as they came back from a Rodo Tunnel loop with harrowing reports of twists, turns, rocks, and roots. Mountain biking is one of our sports that has to rely on an individual’s ability to control their bike and make appropriate decisions at speed. As such, campers are brought along in a planned, methodical fashion to make sure skills are at the same level as enthusiasms. It is also a chance for campers to really realize how much control they are entrusted with, leading directly to a confident and attentive young fellow!
Pinch pots were created in pottery, with many young guys exclaiming over the possibilities of clay explosions when their pieces were fired in kilns. The ropes course was running both morning and afternoon with the expected squeals and yelps from guys on shaky footing fifty feet up. It is consistently mentioned as a highlight when I talk with cabins at meals.
Climbers not only hit the tower in camp, but took two trips of guys to try out real rock at the Cathedral Rocks. The first time on rock is always a steep learning curve as a climber must then work to identify holds for his hands and spots to place his feet for support. The tower is excellent training, but can’t replicate the freedom found by creating your very own route on rock as you decide for yourself what makes sense. The hike up and back is not inconsequential either, many tired expressions at both lunch and dinner leads me to believe the evening might be a quickly quiet affair out in camp.
Archery and riflery were shooting steadily and our head of the range told me he had a group of archers advance from shooting at 10 yards to nearly finishing at 15… in one class! This meant they were shooting around 40 or above in each round and quite clearly are going to push their skills further than anticipated if they choose to continue next week. Exciting times also on the riflery side with campers coming through the dinner line showing their targets to any and all who would look.
A busy day indeed, and our guys are beginning to hit a rhythm to their day built on increasing comfort and general camp fitness. This translates to some hungry dudes come mealtimes. Breakfast this morning consisted of scrambled eggs, coffee cake, andouille sausages, cream of wheat, fresh fruits, and the ever-present cereals. Lunch was a guilty favorite of mine with fried chicken sandwiches paired with tater tots, pineapple, salads (must have a green!), and more. Dinner was a feast of lasagna with garlic bread, corn (a huge favorite amongst the campers), green peas, salads, and caramel bars to finish things off. Every day I am reminded of how lucky we are to have this built into our work life!
As the sun is rapidly setting outside, we are entering the weekend and looking forward to the fun ahead. Tomorrow will be another full day of activities followed by a much-anticipated movie night. Sunday holds the full-on fun of our Carnival and then we start next week with schedules chosen by each camper. The momentum of camp only picks up from here!
I hope you all are enjoying your Friday evenings as much as your campers are here. Have a great night, enjoy today’s pictures, and we will see you back here tomorrow.