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Come Sail Away

Hello from Lake Summit!Hello from Lake Summit!

Sure, the high energy activities and competitive games in camp are exciting, but when it’s a breezy summer day, there’s only one place to be. Falling Creek’s sailing docks are located nearby on scenic Lake Summit, a relaxing lake nestled in the heart of Tuxedo. Tuxedo is about the farthest thing from a bustling city, which provides the perfect backdrop for a calm day on the water. Whether boys want to take a break from their regular activities, enjoy the lake views, or work on their progressions and become a more adept sailor, there are two opportunities every day to head over to Lake Summit: once for the morning and again for the afternoon. Lake Summit is much larger than either of the lakes on camp property, so we make the short trip twice daily for boys to have the chance to sail on a body of water big enough for a quality sailing experience.

Boys were signed up for some beginner lessons this morning at the sailing docks. This afternoon, more experienced campers were busy rigging the boats to set sail. Among them was Sam F., who is a Warrior in sailing. In fact, he recently earned his third Warrior, qualifying him to be a Journeyman. He was modeling his Servant’s Heart this afternoon, making sure all the other boys had their boats rigged and were set up before he sailed himself. When I asked him what the hardest part about earning his Warrior was, he said, “probably all the different cloud formations I had to learn, and what they mean for the incoming weather.”

We have three different kinds of sailboats at our docks: Sunfish, Aquafin, and Laser Pico. Ved was explaining their slight differences to me as he decided which one to sail today. The positive to the Pico is that they were a little easier to rig, but Ved thought the Sunfish were faster. “I like the Laser Picos,” he told me. “They’re not as fast, but they’re easier to control and steer.” This afternoon though, Sam told Ved he would help him raise the sails on a Sunfish, so Ved got to sail a slightly different boat than normal.

Smat helped hold the boom while the boys raised the main sheet until the line was taut. Something I learned today, is that the Sunfish has two masts along with the boom. Everything went smoothly as they set up the sails, but while Smat was trying to put the keel in the bottom of the boat’s hull, he lost his balance and fell into the lake fully clothed! Luckily though, Smat didn’t mind much and they got Ved successfully out on the water. As he sailed off, Ved shouted back, “This Sunfish is so cool!”

Meanwhile, Bruce L., Johnny R., and Zach J. were getting ready to set sail in their own boat. Bruce and Zach have been to camp for 9 years each, and this is Johnny’s 5th. However, they didn’t start sailing until recently. It wasn’t until Smat saw them hanging out under the Dining Hall and asked them what they had planned for the afternoon. He suggested they try out sailing, so they all signed up together and ended up really enjoying it. They liked learning something new, but also liked having the chance to hang out with each other and enjoy a beautiful setting.

Gresh and Sam Limby were the other two counselors at the dock this afternoon besides Smat. Gresh was teaching David how to tie off a sail on a mast, and explaining the difference between a “bite” and a loop on a rope. Sam was helping install a new rope to tie the boats to when they weren’t using them. Sam also makes sure the sailing docks are cozy and inviting, because he always has supplies ready to make tea, just like back home. Sam is from England, and says that he only drinks “Twinings Earl Grey” at the docks, because that’s the only tea worth drinking. He even set up a way to warm water and brought his own kettle down, ready to share if the boys want some afternoon tea as well.

You can’t beat a pretty day at the docks, and we’ve been pretty lucky with the weather this session. With just one more week of activities left in Main Camp, the boys are looking forward to as much sailing (and every other activity) as they can with the time we have left. We’re hoping for a “bluebird day” tomorrow at Lake Summit!

-Annie Pharr

More Highlights From This Thursday:

  • Alex led us in Morning Watch today, reading a story and quote to support our Moral Compass. He talked about following your Moral Compass to find what is right or wrong, challenging everyone to follow their compass and make good decisions during the day.
  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with sausage, cheese, salsa, and tortillas to make breakfast burritos, fresh strawberries and blueberries on the yogurt and granola bar, plus an oatmeal bar
  • Lunch: Baked potatoes with ham, sour cream, cheese, and salsa, plus sliced apples and sautéed broccoli. Ice cream sandwiches were the dessert!
  • Dinner: Cheese tortellini with creamy herb tomato sauce, meatballs, green beans, warm Italian bread, a full salad bar, and mini apple pie bites for dessert.
    Evening Program: Cherokee on the turf field playing “yoshi ball” and other games, Catawba played ping pong, foosball, under the Dining Hall, Tuscarora and Iroquois had a tribe vs. tribe dodgeball game.
The climbers are enjoying Foster Falls and Sand Rock outside Chattanooga, Tennessee today!The climbers are enjoying Foster Falls and Sand Rock outside Chattanooga, Tennessee today!
Full focus on the basketball courts todayFull focus on the basketball courts today
Hanging out with Inky and Queenie, two of camp's chickensHanging out with Inky and Queenie, two of camp's chickens
Cooling off at Sliding Rock!Cooling off at Sliding Rock!
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Nature "Rocks!"

Enjoying camp's serenity with a fishing pole during Free Time todayEnjoying camp's serenity with a fishing pole during Free Time today

During camp, boys spend every minute of the day either outside in nature or in open air buildings, enjoying the Western NC climate. This can be a stark contrast to daily life back home, with air conditioned homes, indoor classrooms, and highly-scheduled extracurriculars inside. One of the many goals of the camp experience is to cultivate an appreciation for the outdoor world, allowing boys to engage with nature. By learning about the natural world, boys can form an affinity for nature, or grow their already existing love for the surrounding flora and fauna. We encourage this appreciation and exposure to nature in many of our activities, including Backpacking, the F.A.R.M., Outdoor Skills Certified, and Nature.

The Nature program at camp is a mix of lessons and experiential learning. For example, the boys may listen to a lesson about a frog’s life cycle before going out to the lake and looking around for frogs themselves. The nature hut has several snakes that the boys help care for and learn about, and this coming week they are taking a trip to a local serpentarium to see an even larger variety of snakes. Today, Steve Longenecker, Carson Skidmore, and Sam Clayton were taking several boys to Looking Glass Rock, visiting the peregrine falcon eyries. This is nesting season for the fastest creatures in the world, and the boys brought binoculars in the hopes of catching a glimpse of them diving and flying around their nests.

Back at camp, KC was teaching a lesson on rocks, going over the rock cycle with the boys. She displayed a chart that showed the three different kinds of rocks, metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary, along with their relationships to each other. She explained that they would start with sedimentary rock, and asked the boys if they knew how a sedimentary rock was formed. “It’s basically a layered rock,” Tucker P. said, “It’s where the different sediments get compressed and packed down with water over time.” Miguel asked if diamond were sedimentary rock since they get compressed, but KC clarified that the extreme heat and pressure needed to form a diamond actually qualifies them as metamorphic rocks.

After plenty of rock discussion, the conversation shifted to plate tectonics (get it?). KC explained the different ways that plates can shift, and Julian asked if there would ever be a big enough “crack” for us to climb down into the center of the earth. It was fun to think about, but KC explained how that wouldn’t be possible. Since this group of boys was so passionate about geology, she opened up the discussion to allow boys to teach each other about what they knew. William A. talked about seafloor spreading, while Julian explained the difference between fluorite and fluoride. These “camper lessons” were a great way to encourage peer learning, and allow the boys to share the wealth of knowledge they have with each other, stoking the excitement for more nature and science discussions.

Before the end of the period, KC taught the group about the most important mountain formation in this area: the formation of the Appalachian Mountains. She went over the Taconic Orogeny that happened 480 million years ago, lifting up the plates and beginning the Appalachian mountain range formation. Then 430 million years ago the Acadian Orogeny happened, followed by the Alleghenian Orogeny 380 million years ago. All of this plate shifting created the Appalachian mountain range, once taller than today’s Himalayan mountain range. Since then, they have been slowly eroding down to the soft rounded mountains that we see today. The campers enjoyed learning about how camp, and the area we take most of our trips in, is nestled in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.

For Warrior progressions in Nature, one of the items that boys have to complete is a service project to benefit the program. Both Ben F. and William A. were working on their Warrior projects, preparing things that would continue to help those in the activity. William was building a table at the woodshop, which would go on the porch of nature so they could use it during their lessons. Ben was performing pH tests on the soil of a raised bed outside the nature hut, seeing if the pH levels were right for planting. He intended to plant a variety of wildflowers, creating a pollinator garden for the bees and butterflies that pollinate camp.

The experiential learning didn’t end with 6th period though, since several of the boys were excited for a short trip that evening. “We’re going stargazing!” Julian shared with me, “I can’t wait to stay up past the normal lights-out time.” Part of the progressions in Nature is knowing and identifying three constellations. Tucker was beginning the work on his Ranger progressions, and was going on the evening stargazing trip so that he could learn more about the stars. KC was going to teach them all about the summer constellations, including tips for how to find the North Star by using the edge of the Big Dipper to point to it in the Little Dipper’s tail.

Our hope is that boys nurture their sense of wonder and increase their affinity for the outdoor world through their experiences in nature. By immersing themselves In the natural world, boys gain a greater appreciation for what surrounds them, fostering a love for nature and learning their place within it. Tomorrow, we’re looking forward to another full day of exploring the woods, hiking the trails, and learning about the plants and animals that surround us, all while staying unplugged from the technology and social media that take up so much of life back home.

-Annie Pharr

Taking in nature's beauty from the top of a climb during the Linville Gorge climbing 4-day this weekTaking in nature's beauty from the top of a climb during the Linville Gorge climbing 4-day this week

More Highlights From This Wednesday:

  • John S. Earned Ranger in Music
  • Charlie E. and Ford B. achieved Warrior in Horseback
  • Taishi L. achieved Ranger in Basketball
  • Pablo P. & Jose P. achieved Warrior in Soccer
  • William Z. achieved Ranger in the HEAT
  • HarryO passed on the “White Tiger Staff-of-the-Week” award to James Chadwick for displaying his Servant’s Heart consistently, always helping out with meal cleanup, among other things.
  • Ten boys went to Camp Illahee for Girls in nearby Brevard to play mixed doubles with their campers – they enjoyed some friendly competition!
  • Breakfast: Pancakes and bacon with a cheesy grits bar, yogurt, fruit, and granola
  • Lunch: Chicken marinara with seasoned fries, sliced peaches, broccoli cheddar soup with warm bread, a full salad bar, and fudgy brownies for dessert
  • Dinner: Beef brisket with corn, baked beans, cornbread, a full salad bar (with homemade red pepper hummus), and confetti cake with sprinkles for dessert
Ford, who earned Warrior in horseback today, with Kosmo the horseFord, who earned Warrior in horseback today, with Kosmo the horse
Crate stacking at the climbing wall - how high can you go?!Crate stacking at the climbing wall - how high can you go?!
Concentrating hard in Woodworking Concentrating hard in Woodworking
Arts and Crafts watched a classic Arts and Crafts watched a classic "Bob Ross" how-to-paint video today
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Tuesday Trips

We’re already into the third week of Main Camp, which means our out-of-camp trips have progressed to more advanced levels, some heading out for 4-5 days. Today during Morning Watch, many boys filed into the benches while wearing backpacking packs or carrying Camelbak backpacks, ready to head out for a fun trip. Patton V. was one of the boys with a big pack on, excited for his paddling trip to begin. “I’m going on the Tuck/Nanty trip!”, he told me excitedly, short for the Tuckasegee and Nantahala Rivers. He had been on the Lower Green river earlier this week, and was eager to keep moving up in the progressions.

“I’m most excited about Nantahala Falls,” he shared, explaining how he would have to navigate his boat through the rapids to line up right for the falls. “There’s an edy that we have to catch before the falls. That’s when a rock blocks the river current so you can park your boat in the still section,” he explained. If the boys catch the edy on the Nantahala and the edy on the Tuckasegee too, as well as complete the rapid upright following the required line, then they will earn a Yaklet. The Yaklet is a bracelet that boys earn after progressing through rivers and skills in a canoe, proving that they have a handle on paddling enough to move up to a kayak. Once you have a Yaklet, you can choose to keep paddling a canoe, or take a kayak on your paddling trips as your boat of choice. Patton couldn’t wait for the chance to finally reach that goal.

Navigating the Tuckasegee River todayNavigating the Tuckasegee River today

Ambrose, one of our backpacking counselors, was getting ready for the Table Rock day hike that he was heading out on after breakfast. Though day hikes are a fun way to get out of camp and see some of the beautiful area that we’re in, our backpackers can’t seem to get enough of hiking, and love getting to spend more than just an afternoon in the woods. Ambrose was telling me about how they were also looking forward to their 3-day trip on the Appalachian Trail beginning tomorrow. They planned to start at a point on the AT, one of the most famous trails in the country, and enjoy 30 miles of it over three days. They were even bringing along their mascot, a small fallen beech tree branch with a sharpie marker face. The branch mascot’s name is “Woody Carver,” and since Woody had never left his Western North Carolina home, they planned to take him with them on the trip and show him 30 miles of beautiful wilderness trail.

Earning their views on today's Earning their views on today's "mystery riddle day hike"

Patton J. would be joining them for the impressive distance, and actually wished it was even longer than 30 miles. “I just really like being out in this area,” he said. Patton was also on this evening’s Dupont mountain bike trip, which headed out after lunch and returned in the evening in time for Evening Program. We started in the Fawn Lake parking lot, riding several miles of flowy Dupont singletrack before enjoying a picnic dinner together. Collier L., a camper local to this area, knew every trail like the back of his hand and was offering tips to the other boys as we rode through technical spots or started up long climbs. He even kindly corrected me when I started to make a wrong turn at a trail intersection.

Splashing through the creeks at Dupont Splashing through the creeks at Dupont

Our Dupont ride began with a fast descent down Reasonover, crossing the creek at the bottom and climbing for a while to get our legs warmed up. After the climb, we rocketed down another great downhill, splashing through a short creek crossing at the bottom. Everyone got soaked and had fun, and the boys even asked if they could go back across the creek and ride through again. Once we had all splashed through a few times and cooled off from the climb, we headed to Airstrip trail, a fun descent off of an old plane landing strip with a beautiful view. While riding, I talked to David who was working on his Ranger level. “I just have to do two days of trail maintenance and then I’ll have it!” he told me.

Shocktaw!Shocktaw!

After a fun evening on the trails, we headed back to camp in time for Tribal Evening Program. This gave the boys a chance to compete for points for their Green or Gold teams, since today was a Green and Gold day! Tomorrow we’ll have another full day packed with new day trips and multi-day trips, plus we’ll welcome back some campers returning from their multi-day trip adventures.

-Annie Pharr

Enjoying the chilly water at Sliding Rock!Enjoying the chilly water at Sliding Rock!

More Highlights From This Tuesday

*CJ led us in a thought for the day at Morning Watch, discussing Servant’s Heart. He defined Servant’s Heart as “someone actively seeking ways to serve their community and others.” He challenged everyone to find a way to serve someone today, no matter how big or small the action.

*We celebrated Campbell M.‘s and Hampton T.’s birthdays today!

*Harrison F. and Henry E. earned Ranger in Lacrosse

*Lawton J. achieved Ranger in Arts and Crafts

*Miles F. & Booker M. achieved Ranger in Basketball

*Quinn K. achieved Warrior in Basketball

*James V. & Will B. achieved Warrior in Soccer

*John G. & John S. achieved Ranger in the HEAT

*Breakfast: sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits with roasted potatoes, oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt

*Lunch: cheese quesadilla, chips and salsa, guacamole, sour cream, seasoned black beans, cinnamon apples, and s’more pockets for dessert

*Dinner: chicken fried rice with roasted broccoli, a full salad bar, and homemade banana pudding for dessert

What a day for a ride!What a day for a ride!
Henry manning the forge at blacksmithingHenry manning the forge at blacksmithing
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Countdown to the Ironman

Heading into the third week of Main Camp!Heading into the third week of Main Camp!

Once a year during Main Camp, boys have the chance to compete in an Ironman triathlon around camp. Just like the real Ironman, there is a swimming, running, and biking portion, and campers spend the weeks leading up to the event preparing for the race. To start, they have to swim about a half a mile, across the lengths of both lakes. Boys begin at the lower dam, swim all the way across the lower lake, run up the dam to the upper lake, and swim around the length of that one as well. They exit the lake and transition at the roller coaster, beginning the mountain bike segment.

The mountain bike segment takes them on two laps around camp single-track, finishing with two laps of a different loop for running. Since the race will circle around the Dining Hall area multiple times between swimming, biking, and running, it makes for a very spectator-friendly course for those boys not racing or opting to be “pit crew” for friends. This year, the much anticipated event will take place this Sunday, July 14th.

Getting high fives after swimming the lake course for Ironman trainingGetting high fives after swimming the lake course for Ironman training

Before the boys are able to compete, they have to show that they can complete each segment of the race. This happens in swimming when the boys sign up to participate in a timed swim, like a mock race. For running, the cross country counselors hosted a few course runs, taking boys out to see what the lap would be like. Today in mountain biking, we did some course reconnaissance as well, riding a full lap and stopping to work on skills in tricky areas.

We had a huge turnout for the camp ride: 22 boys and 4 counselors! We started down the trail known as “Toad’s Turnpike,” winding down towards the camp climbing wall. Walker, from New York, rode behind me and was smart enough to bring a Camelbak to stay hydrated on such a sunny day. He said that though he thought he wasn’t the strongest rider out there, he was looking forward to the race. Often in endurance races though, it’s not the strongest person who wins, but the one who has the most strategy and paces the best.

As we continued, we rode over some rocks and along the lower dam to begin climbing up to the top of Iroquois hill. I was riding behind Henry from Kenya. “The running will probably be my strongest section,” he told me. “I’ve run a marathon before, but it wasn’t very fast.” He said that compared to some people he knows back home, he’s not as fast. However, anyone that can run a marathon is extremely impressive in my book. Henry made it to the top of the climb with ease, navigating the steep switchbacks skillfully. “That wasn’t as hard as I was expecting!” he exclaimed once we reached the top.

Once at the top, there was a section of roots that is one of the more technical and challenging parts of the course. The root ball is knobby and difficult to pedal through, requiring one to have enough speed going in to float over the roots, but also enough bend in your knees to absorb the bumpiness and not fall off. We got off our bikes to inspect a good line, then I demoed how to ride the section while staying off the saddle in the “attack position,” keeping pedals level and brakes covered. Afterwards, the boys each tried the section one at a time, practicing their handling through rough terrain. It takes plenty of Warrior Spirit to try a section of trail that seems scary, and several boys pushed out of their comfort zone today by riding over these huge roots!

For the rest of the ride, I was riding behind Henry from New Jersey, who was looking forward to his first time competing in the Ironman. “I’ve never done this before,” he shared. “I think my strongest section will be swimming.” When we first began the ride, Henry was hesitant to ride over roots or around sharp corners on the trail. However, just over the course of the afternoon, you could tell that his confidence was growing. “I actually feel like I’m getting better,” he said excitedly, and you could tell. We climbed up the last section of the loop, and he tried riding his bike over big rocks and up difficult climbs. Even when he didn’t make it, he would quickly brush himself off and get back on, ready to try the next section of trail.

All smiles during today's mountain bike ride around the Ironman loopAll smiles during today's mountain bike ride around the Ironman loop

The boys competing in the Ironman this Sunday will be a mix of newcomers and experienced racers. No matter how many times they have competed in camp’s Ironman or how confident they feel on the day of the race, it always takes Warrior Spirit to show up on the start line. The day of the race is competitive, but it’s all in good fun. Those who choose not to race can spectate, or support their friends who are racing. The “pit crew” campers help out by giving their friends water, helping them put on shoes after the swim section, and cheering them on with words of encouragement. These boys have put in many hours of preparation and practice, and we’re excited to cheer them on this Sunday.

-Annie Pharr

More Highlights From This Monday:

  • Morning Watch: Smat, the Cherokee Tribal Leader, led us in a thought to start off the day, encouraging boys who were working hard in their progressions to reach Ranger or Warrior by the end of the session. He read a quote from Steve Prefontaine, “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift”, and encouraged boys to not give up.
  • Breakfast: Homemade French Toast, sausage patties, a grits bar, fruit, granola, and yogurt.
  • Lunch: pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, watermelon slices, orange “bug juice,” a full salad bar, and m&m cookies for dessert
  • Dinner: Fried fish filets, with wild rice, mixed vegetables, and warm dinner rolls, plus orange Jello for dessert.
  • Max M. earned Ranger in Basketball
  • Jack S. achieved Warrior in Flag Football
Ready...aim...fire!Ready...aim...fire!
Working on coil pots in potteryWorking on coil pots in pottery
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Years of Tradition

After 51 years of camp, many things have changed and evolved, and yet many things are still exactly the same. We may have added things including more cabins, new activities, and bigger trips (plus seatbelts and life jackets!), but the core of what makes Falling Creek meaningful to so many is still the same. Though initially one might come for the fun activities, the friendships are what keep you coming back year after year. The people are at the heart of what makes Falling Creek important to all, and have been from the beginning.

Every year during Main Camp, we celebrate those who have been returning to Falling Creek for at least 5 years. We enjoy a “5 Year Dinner,” complete with hors d’oeuvres and freshly grilled steaks. The campers and staff look forward to this celebratory meal each year, and we host it to honor the commitment and multiple years of influence that these boys have shared with camp. To begin the evening, we enjoyed some socializing on the porch while eating spinach and artichoke dip, cheesy chili dip, and assorted crackers. We also enjoyed ice cold Cheerwine sodas, just like on Cookout Supper evenings.

Chef David and Chef Williams manning the grillChef David and Chef Williams manning the grill

After some time to snack and talk, everyone moved into the Dining Hall, which was decorated with white tablecloths and blue hydrangea flowers, freshly cut from Marisa’s garden. Yates welcomed everyone and thanked them for continually returning as a part of the Falling Creek Community, then began to play the “Behold50” movie on the projector so that we could all watch it together. This movie is a historical compilation celebrating the past 50 years at camp, complete with both vintage footage and recent interviews, helping to tell the comprehensive story of how Falling Creek came to be what it is today. Watching the history of camp unfold during the movie was special, because the boys at the “5 Year Dinner” are part of the history of camp themselves, contributing to Falling Creek every year with the personalities and skill sets that they bring to camp. The movie was made for the 50th anniversary reunion this past fall, and it is posted on our website here if you haven’t had a chance to see it yourself.

Enjoying appetizers at 5 Year DinnerEnjoying appetizers at 5 Year Dinner

Along with the ribeye steaks that Chef David and Chef Williams spent all afternoon grilling, we enjoyed orzo pasta salad with mozzarella cheese and heirloom tomatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus, chargrilled portobello mushrooms, peppers, and onions, and warm bread rolls. I sat next to Henry, who was sharply dressed in a green tie and matching green pants. Since this was his fifth year, it was the first time that he had been to the “5 year dinner.” “I think this is really cool,” he told me, cutting into a steak that was even bigger than his face. When I asked him what made him come back every year, he thought for a moment and said, “I just really like Falling Creek as a whole.” Sam has been coming for 8 years as a camper, and confirmed that the people are what keep him coming back. “I keep returning for the camaraderie,” he explained, “And all my friends are here. I like the brotherhood.” Next to him, Harry had been returning for 5 years. “It’s just fun,” he told me, as Sam nodded in agreement.

Eating some fresh-off-the-grill steaks and enjoying each other's company at 5 Year DinnerEating some fresh-off-the-grill steaks and enjoying each other's company at 5 Year Dinner

After dinner, we were treated to huge apple pie pastries as we finished watching the rest of “Behold50.” After the movie, Yates closed out the dinner. “Falling Creek would not be what it is without all of you,” he said. During the movie, one of the interviewees says that Falling Creek is like a river running through the lives of all who come in contact with it. Though our campers and counselors are from all over the world and all walks of life, they share a common theme through camp, with Falling Creek uniting the lives of so many from generation to generation.

Though the “5 Year Dinner” specifically celebrates those who have been to camp five years or more, the camp community would not be the same without every single person, regardless of how many summers they have been to Falling Creek. Whether it is your first year or your fiftieth, every boy and counselor plays an integral role in shaping the camp community. Many of those interviewed in the “Behold50” movie were only at camp for that inaugural summer, and look what an impact they made in just one year. This camp is a band of brotherhood 51 years strong, and all who play a part are intertwined in the community and traditions forever. For those boys and counselors who have not quite been to camp for five years yet, they enjoyed a cookout supper on the field with hamburgers, potato salad, coleslaw, and Texas caviar (black eyed peas, corn, pepper, and tomato salad). They completed their meal with brownies for dessert and refreshing Cheerwine sodas.

After everyone was finished with dinner, we met as a whole camp community at Campfire. Sundays are not only a more relaxed day at camp with the opportunity for Special Signups in the afternoons, but they are also a time when everyone can catch up on stories from the week’s adventures, and spend quality time with their cabin mates and friends before heading off on out-of-camp trips again. One of the most cherished times of the week happens on Sunday evenings at Campfire.

Dusty, camp's chaplain, always has some words of wisdom for usDusty, camp's chaplain, always has some words of wisdom for us

As the whole camp community crosses Bain Bridge and files quietly into the Campfire area, the whole mood becomes more reverent and reflective. Tonight’s Campfire was centered around “serving others,” setting the theme for the Evening Embers discussions and Tribal Campfire talks for this coming week. Kyle shared that Falling Creek has always held service in high regard. He reminded us that Jim Miller always said that the secret of Falling Creek is “unselfishness." He also shared James 2:14-24, and we enjoyed skits and singing just like every Sunday Campfire.

Two highlights of tonight’s Campfire were tapping new members into the Honor Council, and recognizing new Journeymen. Edward G., from Memphis, TN, Zell G., from Houston, TX, and Bobby J., from Atlanta, GA were all elected tonight. Their fellow campers and staff feel they consistently model and uphold the Falling Creek Code and Honor Creed. Additionally, a huge honor included recognizing the five new Journeymen at camp. These five young men have recently attained Warrior in three different activities, and will now be eligible to begin a “journey” towards the end of the session that will test them mentally and physically. If they pass the test, they will be honored with the status of “Keeper of the Flame,” one of the most prestigious titles a camper can attain.

Our five newest Journeymen are Heath S., Julian D., John E., Walter M., and Raines K.. Each boy was introduced to the camp community by the counselor he chose as a mentor during tonight’s Campfire. Heath’s mentor is Josh Cooey, who read Luke 8:15 and shared that the name “Heath was derived from an English surname that denoted one who lived on a heath, an area of open uncultivated land ripe for growth and opportunity, much like Heath.” This is Heath’s 7th year, he is from Jackson, Mississippi, and his three Warrior levels are in basketball, flag football, and woodworking.

Julian is from Clinton, North Carolina, and has been to camp for 8 summers, attaining Warrior in horseback, nature, and pottery. His name is derived Julius, and his mentor, Patrick McGrady, read Acts 27:1-3 during Campfire: “When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.”

John’s mentor, Scotty Nease, shared that the name John “originates from the Hebrew meaning ‘to be gracious’, but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints.” John has been coming to Falling Creek for 7 years and hails from Wilmette, Illinois. He has attained Warrior in disc golf, rock climbing, and the HEAT.

Walter has been coming to camp for 9 years, and his mentor, Matthew Kornegay, had many great things to say about him. “He is intuitive and insightful. Walter is tenacious and never gives up. He is idealistic and expressive, holds his family close to his heart and believes in lending a helping hand. He is admired for his dedication and is most creative with his hands.” Walter is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and has three Warrior levels in horseback, nature, and pottery.

Raines K., a 7-year camper from Miami, FL, reached Warrior in Disc Golf, Lacrosse, & Flag Football. Brian Everette, his mentor, shared that Knight “is a man awarded a nonhereditary title by the sovereign in recognition of merit or service and entitled to use the honorific “Sir” in front of his name”. Brian read Galatians 6:2- “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”.

After honoring each boy and finishing our 2nd week Campfire, we ended the day with Taps. All is certainly well, and God is certainly nigh, just as Taps say.

-Annie Pharr

Nothing beats Sunday Sundaes!Nothing beats Sunday Sundaes!

More Highlights From This Sunday:

  • We start each Sunday with an extra hour to sleep in, followed by a later breakfast with Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Always a hit.
  • During this morning’s church service, we closed out the theme of this second week: anger. Dusty and Kyle discussed how to deal with anger in a positive and prayerful way.
  • Cabins 9, Ishi, Junaluska, Rolling Thunder, and Ocoee had the cleanest cabins in their tribe during inspection, meaning that they were first in line for weekly ice cream sundaes after the classic fried chicken lunch!
  • We celebrated 2 birthdays today! Mac B. turned 14, and Lance W. turned 11.
The theme of today's church service was anger, and how to deal with it positivelyThe theme of today's church service was anger, and how to deal with it positively
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