Archives for December 2008

Very Sad Loss

Photo of Virgil Starks.

Photo from Auburn Website

Virgil Starks, a beloved former Falling Creek counselor, passed away several weeks ago from a cardiac arrest. He was a counselor in the 1980s and was recently the Senior Associate Athletic Director at Auburn University.

Virgil is remembered for his huge smile, wonderful sense of humor, and his courage to be among the first African American counselors at Falling Creek.

The Opelika-Auburn News wrote a wonderful article about Virgil and how much he will be missed by his friends and family. Virgil is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Garrett Randolph, who was a counselor at Falling Creek with Virgil, wrote a nice letter and mailed it to camp remembering his friendship with Virgil. An excerpt follows:

Photo of The Bros.

Garrett, Skeet, Virgil and Terry


“I’m not sure how it happened, but there was a sweet synchronicity in a string of summers which rendered a lasting friendship and gave us the nickname ‘Bros.’ It began, it seems, with Skeet Keyes, Terri Tyree, and I, but when Virgil arrived he was an instant addition. And over the years, the ‘Bros’ became an ever-expanding crew which included more and more, and perhaps all of us.”


“Virgil showed a lot of guts coming to Falling Creek. In many ways, he was the Hank Aaron of Falling Creek (Tim Taylor was the Jackie Robinson). When he arrived, the only African Americans at camp worked in the kitchen; in many ways it was still the old South. No doubt ‘V’ helped to change all of us forever.”


“Virgil greeted us with open arms and an open heart, as we did him. And all of us were the better for it.”


“Perhaps it was instructive for campers to witness genuine love between counselors like us and Virgil. I remember that Donnie Bain had a special place in his heart for ‘V’ and enjoyed him a lot. And of course, everyone remembers, ‘I Am Sombody.’”


We thank Garrett for letting us share his letter.

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Jolly Jerseys

Camp Directors making holiday cookies for staff.


The whole group got together this week and helped stuff packages with the Falling Creek 2009 jerseys. If you were one of the almost 900 campers that applied early and were enrolled on October 15th, you will be receiving a jersey. Check your mailbox this week!


The package also contains a Christmas card from the Pharr family and this year’s camp DVD.

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Hoffman Homecoming

Camp Directors making holiday cookies for staff.


We are very happy to announce that Phil and Jessica are back in our neck of the woods again, having moved to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area last year when Jessica was offered a position as a key rep for Mountain Khakis clothing in the Northern Rockies Division of the Dealer Services Department. Phil had the chance to join Jackson Hole Mountain Resort-Mountain Sports School in a leadership role and expand his mountaineering skills.


Their professional opportunities continue to expand as they recently purchased Looking Glass Outfitters in Pisgah Forest, NC, near Brevard. It’s wonderful that Jessica is able to continue her leadership role with Mountain Khakis while basing out of their new location.


Looking Glass Outfitters has been providing the Brevard area with gear for rock and ice climbing, backpacking, hiking, high-angle rescue and tree work since 1985. As Phil says, “we’re always open unless we’re out pulling down sick routes, bagging new peaks, swinging from branches, or rescuing animals from high places”.


Yates recently visited Phil at the store and was majorly impressed with the wide variety of clothing and outdoor gear they offer. Give them a call the next time you need anything outdoor related or plan to be in the Pisgah area. They would love to help you plan out your next excursion.


For more information about Looking Glass Outfitters, visit their website: www.lookingglassoutfitters.com

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Christmas Cookies for Counselors

Camp Directors making holiday cookies for staff.


Staff members remember to check your mailboxes in the next few days. We know you are busy studying for exams and finishing semester projects, so we decided to send you a care package!



Jim after the flour fight.


If you can’t tell from the photos, we had a great time baking some delicious chocolate chip cookies. Some of the excess flour was used in a flour throwing food fight while we were waiting for the cookies to finish cooking.



Frank pulling the cookies out of the oven.


Give us a call or e-mail and let us know what you are up to. We hope you have a Merry Christmas! Good luck on your finals!



Simon and Ben throwing flour.

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