Week 5 - Falling Creek Camp Reunion and Movie Show Travel Blog

What a great final week of travel! Yates got to visit camp families in Houston, TX, Dallas, TX, and Bronxville, NY to round out the travel season. It was exciting seeing so many old and new faces, and it makes us that much more eager for the summer to start again. If we didn’t make it to your city this year, don’t worry – we still have one more Falling Creek Camp Reunion and Movie Show next week in Asheville, NC! The best part is, we’ll be streaming it live so our camp friends all over the world can tune in. Connect with us on November 14th at 7:00pm EST through our Facebook page, and you can still have the opportunity to get this year’s limited edition trunk sticker!

FCC staff, the dads who are FCC alumni, and those that have attended the Father/Son Weekends, joined the boys in the Houston group photoFCC staff, the dads who are FCC alumni, and those that have attended the Father/Son Weekends, joined the boys in the Houston group photo

This past Monday, we headed down to the big state of Texas to visit our friends in Houston. Carleton and Winifred Riser were the gracious hosts of the evening, and we had a great crowd for the first Reunion and Movie Show of the week. Winifred surprised the crew with cold bottles of Cheerwine, which is a camp favorite that we get treated to once a week at Cookout Dinner. The Fannings also brought a giant cookie cake of the Falling Creek logo, which was just as beautiful as it was delicious.
Thanks to the Fannings for the beautiful cookie cake!Thanks to the Fannings for the beautiful cookie cake!
Born in the South...raised in a glass!Born in the South...raised in a glass!
Carleton went to Falling Creek as a camper in the 70s and 80s when Yates and his brothers attended. The Riser sons, Robert, Mac, and young Carleton are all returning this summer, and we can’t wait to see them at Main Camp.
Yates with Carleton Riser and his 3 boys, Mac (left), Robert, and young Carleton.Yates with Carleton Riser and his 3 boys, Mac (left), Robert, and young Carleton.
Nicci and Chris Greely served as the camp doctor family during the final week of Main Camp again this past summer, and they took the time to come out to the Reunion and Movie Show as well. Their three boys, Grant, John, and Spencer, were also there, and we’ll be looking forward to having them return to Main Camp in 2019 too! The three Greely boys and Robert Riser are all members of the Honor Council, a group elected by their peers for modeling the FCC Code, who get to attend the first part of staff meetings and represent the camper body.
Yates with the Greeley family. Nicci and Chris have served as camp doctors the past two summers during the final week of Main Camp. The Greeley boys will be back at Main Camp in 2019!Yates with the Greeley family. Nicci and Chris have served as camp doctors the past two summers during the final week of Main Camp. The Greeley boys will be back at Main Camp in 2019!
A big thank you also to Patrick Fanning, Paul Smith, Harrison Wallace, Pete Curtis, and Wells White who shared stories and helped Yates explain details about Falling Creek to new families. We remain thrilled that all of these boys, and their brothers, will be back this summer. It was another great evening to reconnect with FCC families and share our wonderful community with the families who came to learn more about camp.
It was a great turn out in Houston!It was a great turn out in Houston!
Fun to see so many familiar faces Fun to see so many familiar faces
Reconnecting with camp friends in HoustonReconnecting with camp friends in Houston

The following evening was spent in Dallas, Texas at the Minnehan family home. Marianne and Brian are fantastic hosts, and both Minnehan boys will be returning to Falling Creek this summer. We’re looking forward to having both Patrick and Davis back at camp in 2019! One of the best parts about having familiar faces at these reunions and movie shows is that veteran campers can help share their stories about camp with interested families. Patrick, Lance Broad, Will & Ben Brittian, Logan Hope, Harrison Keyes, and Erik Soelberg were a great help with the presentation and telling the new families about their Falling Creek experience.

Great to see everyone in Dallas!Great to see everyone in Dallas!
Yates also enjoyed connecting with Emily and Rick Broad, who were counselors with Marisa and him. Emily and Marisa both worked on the swim docks together, and it is fun to still have those connections years later. Their three sons, Charles, Bennett, and Lance, have been coming to Falling Creek for the past 13 summers and it is incredible to see that community continue through generations.
Bennett Broad, Yates, Whit Flickinger, Lance and Rick BroadBennett Broad, Yates, Whit Flickinger, Lance and Rick Broad
Lance, Will, Ben, and Beckett in DallasLance, Will, Ben, and Beckett in Dallas
Camp friends in Dallas!Camp friends in Dallas!

To wrap up the fifth week of travel, Yates headed north to New York. Emily and Mark Liggitt hosted at their beautiful home in Bronxville, NY, and we got to catch up with their sons Walker and Marshall. Emily also shared some awesome Falling Creek cookies, iced with a beautiful picture of the FCC flame.

Emily shared some beautiful cookies at the New York Reunion and Movie Show!Emily shared some beautiful cookies at the New York Reunion and Movie Show!
Several of the veteran Falling Creek campers helped tell their stories of camp, including Gregory Hefner, Stratton Werner, Walker Moore, and Walker and Marshall Liggitt. Gregory and his dad will be returning for their 4th Father/Son Weekend this summer, and we’re excited to have them back. John Reynolds was a camper who was originally from Augusta, Georgia, and came to Falling Creek in the 70s and 80s. His son, Oliver, also came to the Reunion and Movie Show, and it was great to connect with them both. Tyler Vaughey attended camp in the late 70s when he was living in Jackson, Mississippi, and he also brought his family. His son Tanner is coming to Falling Creek this summer, which was exciting to hear.
What a great way to end the week of travel! Thanks to the Liggitt family for hosting us in New York What a great way to end the week of travel! Thanks to the Liggitt family for hosting us in New York
Tanner, Walker, and Marshall at the Reunion and Movie Show in BronxvilleTanner, Walker, and Marshall at the Reunion and Movie Show in Bronxville
Liggitt and Vaughey family members with Yates in BronxvilleLiggitt and Vaughey family members with Yates in Bronxville
Catching up around the campfire in Bronxville, NYCatching up around the campfire in Bronxville, NY

It was a great week to end on, and we enjoyed seeing our friends in Texas and New York. Thank you to the 15 wonderful families that have already hosted us around the country this year. We appreciate everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to connect with us at the Reunions and Movie Shows across 10 different states, showing once again how strong the Falling Creek Community is. We’re looking forward to our last show of the season next week at the West Family home in Asheville (and online through Facebook)!

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Week 3 and 4 - Camp Movie Show and Reunion Travel Blog

It’s hard to believe the third and fourth week of travel is finished already! It was extra busy during the third week, as Yates traveled to four cities in a row instead of just three. On Monday, October 22nd, we kicked off the week in Charlotte, NC. Then we headed to Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday and Winter Park, Florida on Wednesday. The final stop for the week was Charleston, South Carolina. To start off the next week, we got to travel to Nashville, Tennessee on Monday. Meeting new families and catching up with old alumni and campers is one of the best parts of camp’s “off season,” and we really enjoyed getting to share this week of travel with you all.

Camp friends catching up in CharlotteCamp friends catching up in Charlotte

Monday’s show in Charlotte, NC was special for Yates because it is his hometown. Kelly and Patrick Ridinger graciously hosted the Falling Creek Camp Movies & Reunion at their home. Charlotte remains a huge "camp town,” and many current Charlotte campers also have fathers who are Falling Creek alumni. It’s exciting to see camp get passed from generation to generation, where fathers and sons can have that extra bond that comes from sharing the camp experience. Paul Leonard lives in Charlotte, and was a Falling Creek camper in the late 70’s through the early 80’s. He came with his son Matthew, and we enjoyed having them to help tell everyone stories about their experiences and what makes them continue to come back to Falling Creek.

FCC alumnus Paul Leonard (left) and his son Matthew reconnect with Yates and other FCC families.FCC alumnus Paul Leonard (left) and his son Matthew reconnect with Yates and other FCC families.
Mike Nuckles and Andrew Josupait are two all-star recent alums. Nuckles worked at FCC from 2009-2016, and Andrew was here in 2015 and 2017. They have also both worked recent Father/Son Weekends, and took the time to come and support Falling Creek at the Charlotte movie show and reunion. It was great to catch up with them, and they are doing big things. Nuckles is the assistant athletic director at Charlotte Country Day School, which also happens to be Yates’ alma mater. Andrew will be graduating in December from UNCC with an engineering degree.
10-year camper Bo Phillips (left) reconnects with previous staff members Andrew Josupait and Mike Nuckles10-year camper Bo Phillips (left) reconnects with previous staff members Andrew Josupait and Mike Nuckles
Thanks also to Cannon Ridinger for sharing his home and helping Yates with the presentation. We are excited that Cannon will be coming to Main Camp in 2019, where he can expand his passion for whitewater paddling!
Great turn-out at the Ridinger's home in Charlotte!Great turn-out at the Ridinger's home in Charlotte!
The Dads who attended Father/Son Weekend joined FCC alumni, staff, and the boys for a photo of the big turnout at the Ridinger's home.The Dads who attended Father/Son Weekend joined FCC alumni, staff, and the boys for a photo of the big turnout at the Ridinger's home.
5-year camper, Roy R (left) and 6-year camper Mason S enjoyed reconnecting, and they are exciting to be returning to June camp in 2019.5-year camper, Roy R (left) and 6-year camper Mason S enjoyed reconnecting, and they are exciting to be returning to June camp in 2019.

On Tuesday, we headed down south to visit our camp families in Florida. Though we’re breaking out the sweaters and watching the leaves change color already at camp, it was nice and warm in Florida still. Jacksonville was the first stop in Florida for the Falling Creek Camp movie and reunion tour. Thanks to Raymur and Phil Rachels for hosting the big event again at their home. It was great to reconnect with a number of veteran campers, including Richard Nichols, Hill Jenkins, Gunnar Davidson, and Jack Valentino. All of them have been to camp for more than 5 summers each, so they were the perfect crew to tell the new families about their Falling Creek experiences.

The crew in Jacksonville at the Rachels family home The crew in Jacksonville at the Rachels family home
Hill Jenkins and Gunnar Davidson enjoying the opportunity to reconnectHill Jenkins and Gunnar Davidson enjoying the opportunity to reconnect

From Jacksonville, we headed farther South down Florida to Winter Park, where Laura and Brett Lawton hosted the Falling Creek Camp movies and reunion for the Orlando area. Laura presented a beautiful Falling Creek cookie cake, which was a huge hit.

Laura's famous FCC cookie cake!Laura's famous FCC cookie cake!
Their son Jack was a big help by answering many of the questions for parents and boys who have not been to camp yet. We are excited that he will be coming to his first Main Camp session this summer! There were several other veteran campers who helped Yates as well. We love having current campers and alumni at these reunions because not only is it fun to catch up, but it is always nice to have returning campers share their Falling Creek experiences so new parents can hear from them directly. It was wonderful to reconnect with William Boor, a long time Falling Creek alum from Atlanta. Will was a camper from 2002 – 2011, a CIT in 2013, and a counselor in 2015 and 2016. He works in the insurance business in Orlando now and took the time to come by and support FCC. Everyone enjoyed hearing about his camp experiences, including his accomplishments of Warrior in Blacksmithing and Ranger in Ultimate Frisbee. Alumni Pat Malloy was a Falling Creek camper in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and is now the upper school principal at the nearby Trinity Preparatory School. We can’t wait to see his boys, Wip and Duncan, at the 2-Week session this summer.
Alumni Pat Mulloy, William Boor, and Yates Pharr reconnecting at the Orlando area FCC movies and reunion Alumni Pat Mulloy, William Boor, and Yates Pharr reconnecting at the Orlando area FCC movies and reunion
Having a ball at the movie show and reunion in Winter Park, FL!Having a ball at the movie show and reunion in Winter Park, FL!
Alumni and dads who have come to Father/Son Weekend joined the group photo with the boys in the Orlando areaAlumni and dads who have come to Father/Son Weekend joined the group photo with the boys in the Orlando area
Catching up with camp friends in Winter Park!Catching up with camp friends in Winter Park!
We love having the opportunity to reconnect after the summerWe love having the opportunity to reconnect after the summer

From Florida, we headed back North on Thursday and stopped in Charleston, SC with the FCC families in the area. Many thanks to Beezer & Emily Molten for having us in their huge Half-Moon Outfitters store, which was a fun setting to host the event. Also a big thank you to Catherine and Clay McCullough for coordinating the yummy pizza and refreshments. The boys loved having the opportunity to climb on the two large rock walls in the store while seeing their camp friends.

Having two indoor rock walls at the Charleston show was awesome!Having two indoor rock walls at the Charleston show was awesome!
It was great reconnecting with Steven & Cindi Feingold and one of their sons, Sam. The Feingold family has been an important part of the camp community as a long-time camp doctor family. We are happy they’ll be returning to Falling Creek in 2019 for their 10th summer serving as one of our weekly camp doctor families.
Yates with Cindi & Steven Feingold, with one of their sons, Sam. They will be returning to FCC in 2019 for their 10th summer as the camp physician family for a weekYates with Cindi & Steven Feingold, with one of their sons, Sam. They will be returning to FCC in 2019 for their 10th summer as the camp physician family for a week
Hunter Louis, an FCC camper in the 90’s, also brought his two boys to the movie show and reunion. Hunter and his oldest son will be attending the August Father/Son Weekend this summer. We are also excited that the entire family will be serving as a camp doctor family during a week of the 2-week session.
FCC alumni Hunter Louis with his family. Hunter will bring his family in 2019 to serve as the physician for a week during the 2-week session.FCC alumni Hunter Louis with his family. Hunter will bring his family in 2019 to serve as the physician for a week during the 2-week session.
Chip Shealy, also an FCC alumni, brought his two boys, Jackson and Whit. Jackson will be returning for his 4th summer in 2019, but it will be his first time at the June Camp session. His brother Whit is headed to Junior camp. 10-year camper Harper Kissell and 7-year camper Rodgers McCullough were also able to make it to the reunion and movie show. They teamed up with a number of other veteran campers to help tell their Falling Creek stories to all of the new families who came to learn more about camp.
10-year FCC camper Harper Kissell (left) and 7-year FCC camper Rodgers McCullough.10-year FCC camper Harper Kissell (left) and 7-year FCC camper Rodgers McCullough.
The great crew in Charleston, SC!The great crew in Charleston, SC!

On Monday after the weekend, we traveled to Nashville, Tennessee on October 29th. It was a great way to start off the week, and a big thanks to Elizabeth and Les Coble for hosting the event at their home. Their son Daviss will be returning to camp in 2019 for his third summer, this time at the Main camp session. Thanks also to Shae and Jim Uden, who served as co-hosts. Jim Uden was a camper and counselor at FCC when Yates was also a counselor, and now his son Whit will be returning for his second summer at the June camp session.

Jim Uden was a camper and counselor at FCC when Yates was also a counselor, and now his son Whit will be returning for his second summerJim Uden was a camper and counselor at FCC when Yates was also a counselor, and now his son Whit will be returning for his second summer
Camp nurse Brittany Nelson and her son Jack also came to support, and they will both be back at June camp this summer.
Camp nurse Brittany Nelson and her son Jack-  they will both be back at June camp this summer!Camp nurse Brittany Nelson and her son Jack- they will both be back at June camp this summer!
There was a great group of returning campers who helped Yates explain the Falling Creek experience to those new families who came. Charlie Gatto, Jack Nelson, and Drew Bennett were among those returning campers who helped answer questions and share stories.
Yates with Charlie Gatto. Charlie will be returning for his 8th summer and his brother Henry will be returning for his 4th in 2019Yates with Charlie Gatto. Charlie will be returning for his 8th summer and his brother Henry will be returning for his 4th in 2019
Great seeing everyone in Nashville!Great seeing everyone in Nashville!
Daviss and Cole - can't wait to see you both again this summer!Daviss and Cole - can't wait to see you both again this summer!
Great evening at the Coble family homeGreat evening at the Coble family home

Thanks again to all of the families who took time out of their busy schedules to catch up with us. Next week we’re headed to Texas and New York! Come join us in Houston on Monday, November 5th, Dallas on Tuesday, November 6th, and Bronxville on Wednesday, November 6th. Just one more week of travel left, plus our live-streamed show in Asheville on November 14th! Can’t wait to see you soon.

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Camp Movie Show and Reunion Travel Blog - Week 2

As we reflect on our second week of travel, we’re constantly reminded that camp friendships run deep. Previous campers and counselors gather at these movie shows to reunite with old friends. Whether they were campers here just this past summer, counselors a few years back, or they are grown dads who have fond memories at The Creek from decades past, they are all united by their positive experiences at camp. Even though these camp movie shows were initially started to explain what Falling Creek was about and introduce new boys to camp, they have since turned into more. Not only are they informative and inviting for new families, they are also fun reunions for returning camp families. Every city we go to is a chance to reconnect with friends, sharing the camp experience that is so important for us all. It is exciting to see how expansive those camp connections are, uniting boys all across the country and even the world. This week we stayed on the east coast, traveling to Raleigh NC, Richmond VA, and Alexandria VA.

On October 15th, we started the week off in Raleigh at Emily and Pat Funderburk’s home. Their older son Patrick will be returning to 2-Week camp for his third year this summer, and we’re looking forward to when Wells is old enough to join too! There were quite a number of dads at the Raleigh show who have been a part of Father/Son Weekends, and it is always enjoyable to catch up.

Yates with the Funderburk’sYates with the Funderburk’s
Raleigh show at the Funderburk's home -  all the boys in attendance, plus dads from Father/Son, alumni, and staffRaleigh show at the Funderburk's home - all the boys in attendance, plus dads from Father/Son, alumni, and staff

George Edwards was one father who was part of Falling Creek in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. His son will be returning to camp in 2019, and they both came to the show in Raleigh to reconnect with everyone. Tor Ramsey, who has been involved in editing the camp movie several times since 2006, lives in Raleigh, and was also in attendance. Tor was the lead behind "Behold50,” the new 1 hour movie celebrating 5 decades at Falling Creek camp. You can find the link to this movie in the alumni section of the Falling Creek website. Tor did a great job as usual, and we suggest sitting down to watch this movie on your TV. Another thank you goes out to Sam and James Frushone, who are returning to Main camp in 2019 for their 6th summer. They both helped explain to the new families what Falling Creek is about, and gave some insight into their camp experiences for new boys who came to learn more about FCC. James was the first Warrior ever in the F.A.R.M., one of Falling Creek’s newest programs that focuses on learning about sustainability, gardening, animals, and repurposing materials. Sam has 2 of his 3 Warrior waypoints, which is the highest level attainable in our programs. He is a Ranger in his 3rd, which is the level just below Warrior. To become a Journeyman, campers must first show proficiency in a variety of camp activities, and must have reached the level of Warrior in at least three programs to prove this. Sam is well on his way, and plans to focus on becoming a Journeyman in this coming 2019 summer. You can read more about this unique challenge and camp experience in our previous summer blogs about Journeymen during Main camp this past summer. Sam is excited about working towards his Journeyman status, and having a chance to complete his Journey to become a Keeper of The Flame in the future.

Yates with Sam and James Frushone in RaleighYates with Sam and James Frushone in Raleigh

For following day on the 16th, we headed to Richmond, VA, the next stop on the Falling Creek Camp movies and reunion tour. Thanks to Sarah and Beau Hurst for hosting at their beautiful home. The 4 Hurst boys have been spending their summers at Falling Creek since 2007. They’re known for being big outdoorsmen, and especially avid whitewater paddlers. Wade Blackwood, who was a counselor at Falling Creek in the mid 90’s, brought his family to the movie show and reunion. His son Spencer is coming to Junior camp for his first Falling Creek experience this summer. Wade is the Executive Director of the American Canoe Association where Chris Stec, a former FCC counselor with Wade, and Program Director at FCC, is also on the ACA team as it’s Chief Operating Officer. Meade Whitaker was a camper and counselor in the 80’s and 90’s, and he drove over from Charlottesville, VA where he and his family live.

The great crew in Richmond, VA - all the boys in attendance, plus dads from Father/Son, alumni, and staffThe great crew in Richmond, VA - all the boys in attendance, plus dads from Father/Son, alumni, and staff
Yates with Meade WhitakerYates with Meade Whitaker

Steve and Kirki Fuller also came to the Hurst’s home, and their son Harrison is returning to main camp for summer 2019. Steve and Yates especially enjoyed reconnecting as they are fraternity brothers from their days at Appalachian State. Steve also took Yates out on the brand new mountain bike trails at Pocahontas State Park before the camp movies and reunion event.

Yates with Harrison, Kirki, & Steve FullerYates with Harrison, Kirki, & Steve Fuller
Cheerwine!!!Cheerwine!!!
Enjoying pizza and friends at the Richmond, VA movie show and reunionEnjoying pizza and friends at the Richmond, VA movie show and reunion

The final day of travel was this past Wednesday, October 17th. We made our way a little further north to Alexandria, VA, where Katie and David Woodruff hosted us at their beautiful home. Their sons Will and Charlie are main campers, and they joined with several other FCC campers in attendance to help tell the story of camp to new families.

The crew in Alexandria, VA! All the boys in attendance, plus dads from Father/Son, alumni, and staffThe crew in Alexandria, VA! All the boys in attendance, plus dads from Father/Son, alumni, and staff
Friends at the Woodruff home for the Alexandria, VA movie show and reunionFriends at the Woodruff home for the Alexandria, VA movie show and reunion

It was also wonderful to reconnect with Mickey Herman, a 13-year camper, CIT, counselor, and previous assistant director at Falling Creek. Mickey finished law school recently at Wake Forest and is starting his new life as a lawyer in D.C. this month. Patrick Greenwood, a 3-year counselor at FCC, returned from coaching in Europe and came to the Woodruff home as well. He is now serving as a teacher and coach nearby. We are appreciative to them both for taking time to come and support Falling Creek! It was a beautiful night to share camp.
Thanks to everyone who came to the camp reunions and movie shows this week, and especially to the wonderful families who hosted. Whether it was our first time meeting you, or you are a long time friend and Falling Creeker, we loved getting the chance to see you all!

Yates with Mickey Herman and Patrick Greenwood in Alexandria, VAYates with Mickey Herman and Patrick Greenwood in Alexandria, VA
Camp friends at the movie show and reunion in Alexandria, VA Camp friends at the movie show and reunion in Alexandria, VA

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Camp Movie Show and Reunion Travel Blog - Week 1

Every summer after the last camper heads home, the final activity supplies are put away, and the last counselors leave, camp reverts back to it’s dormant phase, quietly waiting for another exciting summer to begin in May. You might think that the same is true for the directors and leadership team. Don’t they close up shop and retreat back to their homes for the long winter? Actually, it’s the opposite – the off season for camp is almost busier than than when the campers are here! During the Fall and Winter, the year-round team is busy recruiting staff, interviewing, completing work projects, planning the upcoming sessions, and traveling all over the country to camp family homes and colleges.
This past week was the first of many in this year’s Camp Movie and Reunion travel schedule. These shows take place all over the country, from the end of September through November. A full travel calendar can be found on our website (https://www.fallingcreek.com/news/travel-calendar), but if we don’t make it to your city this year, you can always tune into the last show in Asheville, which we stream live on Facebook. To kick off this season of travel, Yates was able to visit four cities, hosted by four of our incredible camp families. He was in Atlanta, GA on Sunday, then Birmingham, AL, New Orleans, LA, and finally Greenville, SC on Wednesday.
The Daniel Family were our gracious hosts for the show in Atlanta on September 30th. It was a fantastic way to start the travel week, and director Frank Tindall was also able to be there. Pizza was served and there was time to mingle before watching the movie in the backyard in a fun outdoor setting.

Atlanta kicked off the week with a great Movie Show and ReunionAtlanta kicked off the week with a great Movie Show and Reunion
Camp friends in AtlantaCamp friends in Atlanta
The new 2019 trunk sticker was also revealed, which is a collectible item that campers can only receive at a Movie Show and Reunion. This year’s design is the dining hall, and we were excited to share these stickers for the first time in Atlanta.
The 2019 Collectible Trunk Sticker The 2019 Collectible Trunk Sticker
As a side note, if you would like a sticker but we aren’t traveling to your city this year, just tune in to the Asheville Facebook live show and we’ll send stickers to all those who participate through the live feed as well!
The second day led us to Birmingham, where the Mandell Family hosted at their beautiful home on October 1st. Ken Cochran, who was on staff in 1988-89, also came to reconnect and even took some photos, just like he did at camp back in the late 80’s when he was on photography staff.
It was a great turnout in Birmingham!It was a great turnout in Birmingham!
It was fun having so many veteran campers in attendance to share their Falling Creek experience with all of the new families. Though many of the families who come to these shows are new to camp and looking for more information about Falling Creek, there are also many families who come to simply reunite with friends and catch up since the summer.
Watching the Camp Movie in the Mandell Family home Watching the Camp Movie in the Mandell Family home

On October 2nd, the Pipes Family opened their home in New Orleans. New Orleans has always been a city that sends a number of boys up to NC for camp in the summer, and we are always happy to reconnect with our friends down in Louisiana.
The great crew at the New Orleans Movie Show and Reunion!The great crew at the New Orleans Movie Show and Reunion!
Many of the boys at the New Orleans show were at camp this summer, and even though it has only been a few months since we last saw them, you can already tell how much they are growing! Seeing the boys grow into the great young men we know they are is one of the most rewarding parts of the ongoing camp experience.
A few of our incredible campers from New Orleans!A few of our incredible campers from New Orleans!

To round out the week, we finished the tour on Wednesday in Greenville. It was a beautiful evening, and we are grateful to Cary and Gage Weekes for welcoming everyone to their home.
4-time Father/Son attendees, the Savage's, came to reconnect with the FCC community4-time Father/Son attendees, the Savage's, came to reconnect with the FCC community
Yates was able to reconnect with Kelly Odom, who was a camper in his June 3-Week cabin back in 1987! He was able to meet Kelly’s family, and we are excited to have his son join us at Falling Creek this coming summer.
Yates Pharr with Kelly Odom, one of his campers from June Camp 1987Yates Pharr with Kelly Odom, one of his campers from June Camp 1987
Yates and Frank Jackson leading a Fontana Trip during June Camp in 1987 (Kelly is in the blue second from the right) Lawrence Whatley is to the right of Frank, and Spencer South is to the right of him. Both are FCC dads, and Lawrence was at the Monday night show!Yates and Frank Jackson leading a Fontana Trip during June Camp in 1987 (Kelly is in the blue second from the right) Lawrence Whatley is to the right of Frank, and Spencer South is to the right of him. Both are FCC dads, and Lawrence was at the Monday night show!
Yates with his June Camp Cabin in 1987, including a young Kelly Odom Yates with his June Camp Cabin in 1987, including a young Kelly Odom
Cary presented some amazing FCC logo and CODE cookies for dessert that were almost too pretty to eat, and were a huge hit. It was great seeing super-counselor Andrew Smith, who is now a PA in Greenville and came by the show to support and reconnect.
Cary presented some incredible custom cookies at the Greenville show!Cary presented some incredible custom cookies at the Greenville show!
Thanks for a great night Greenville! Long time staff member Andrew Smith (back row far left) was also able to reconnect and come say hi Thanks for a great night Greenville! Long time staff member Andrew Smith (back row far left) was also able to reconnect and come say hi

We are so grateful for all the incredible Falling Creek families who open their beautiful homes for these Movie Shows and Reunions. Your support is what makes all of this possible. Our next travel week, starting Monday, October 15, will take us to Raleigh NC, Richmond VA, and Alexandria VA. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

-Annie Pharr

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50th Anniversary Reunion Weekend September 7-9, 2018

This past weekend, nearly 200 Falling Creek alumni gathered to celebrate camp’s 50th anniversary and reconnect with old friends. It was heartwarming to see so many people reconnected, and to realize just how much this camp means to so many.

Yates, Marisa, and Stephen PharrYates, Marisa, and Stephen Pharr

Everyone began trickling in late that Friday afternoon, mingling on the grassy knoll by the old Lakefront cabin, which is now the ESEFEL library. Render Braswell and Clay Willett were two of the alums returning for the first time since the late 2000s. “This just makes me so happy,” Render beamed, walking to the cabin areas with his bag ready to settle in for the weekend. “I haven’t smiled this much in forever.” Their walk to the cabins kept getting cut short as they couldn’t walk more than a few yards without seeing another old friend and excitedly embracing.

Render Braswell, Clay Willett, and Henry Foah heading to their cabin for the weekendRender Braswell, Clay Willett, and Henry Foah heading to their cabin for the weekend

As old campers and counselors arrived, we were welcomed with lemonade and “gorp”, classic camp treats, while mingling on the grassy knoll by Morning Watch. The excitement for the reunion was contagious, and everyone was happy to see each other, no matter what decade they were from. Phil Walker, a founding camper from Falling Creek’s first summer, was explaining what a fun surprise it was to drive up the old dirt road to camp again, experiencing all the new additions since he had last been here. “As a founding camper, we found out how Jim Daddy had the most brilliant business plan. We paid $100 a week (which we thought was a lot), and we were put to work building the camp instead! We had counselors in the water for 8 hours a day building docks. Everything we worked on in the woods seemed to have yellow jacket nests in it. But we loved it.”

Founding Camper, Phil Walker, and Marisa Pharr mingling on the Grassy KnollFounding Camper, Phil Walker, and Marisa Pharr mingling on the Grassy Knoll
Camp Songs and GORP at the Esefel Library (Lakefront) to welcome everyone Camp Songs and GORP at the Esefel Library (Lakefront) to welcome everyone
David Brown with son Joey Brown, both previous paddling counselors and campersDavid Brown with son Joey Brown, both previous paddling counselors and campers

Fathers and sons were able to come back to camp together, and old counselors were reunited with their previous campers. David Brown, counselor 1976-1987, came with his brother Bucky, counselor 1978-1984 (they both served as head of the paddling program in the early 80’s), and his son Joey. David was hanging out on the grassy knoll with some of his old campers like Brooks Scurry and Stephen Gray. Joey was playing some favorite camp songs on his banjo, setting the mood as people gathered, returning to their summer home for the weekend.

Reminiscing and catching up over Fried Chicken SupperReminiscing and catching up over Fried Chicken Supper

For dinner on Friday, we had Falling Creek’s famous fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, and warm rolls, a meal usually reserved for Sunday lunches. The dining hall was once again buzzing with energy as old friends reminisced, reconnecting after years apart.
As the “Evening Program” for the night, we divided into groups based on the decade we most resonated with. Each group had a leader from their decades to head up discussions on the individual flair from each generation, including their favorite foods, skits, songs, most legendary counselors, or funniest memories. For the 70s, the group leader was Phil Walker, the 80s was Dusty Davis, Crom Carey was leading the 90s, Clay Willett led the 2000s, and Will Walters led the most recent group from the 2010s.

Phil Walker sharing the highlights of camp from the founding year through the 70sPhil Walker sharing the highlights of camp from the founding year through the 70s

After the group discussions, everyone came together to share highlights from their decade with the whole crowd. Phil told everyone about the early days of camp, when there were organized green and gold camper work days, and how during the first summer Jim Kurtts removed 15 copperheads in one week. They had to frequently get up at 5am for “work days” and even build their own cabins, but as Phil said, “we boys thought it was heaven.” During these early years the boys were treated to blackberry pie for dessert with hand-picked blackberries, joined Bob John’s music program with the “Men’s Corral” choir, and had to turn in a letter home (many of which were blank paper mailed home) if they wanted to partake in the weekly banana split sundaes. Phil had the whole crowd rolling with laughter as he reminisced on “the night that all the campers got diarrhea at 1am,” particularly during a time at camp when cabins had no electricity or plumbing. Everyone cringed and laughed as Phil described how they had to take their kerosene lanterns and “shlep down to the 4 communal toilets” at the bathhouse. On a happier note, Phil also told us about watching the first moon landing from a tiny black and white TV screen in the dining hall, trying to crowd all 113 boys around the small display as history was made.

Dusty Davis and his prior camper Stephen Grey sharing highlights of camp in the 80sDusty Davis and his prior camper Stephen Grey sharing highlights of camp in the 80s

Dusty Davis and his prior camper Stephen Grey shared the highlights of camp in the 80s, starting by chanting “stud,” much to Yates’ embarrassment. This nickname originated during his time as head of the paddling docks in the 80s, and Dusty said that he “had been everyone’s favorite CIT,” so they enjoyed poking a little fun at him. The favorite food of this decade was not only fried chicken, but specifically the leftover fried chicken out of the trunk of Skeet Keyes’ car on the following Monday. The legend of camp in the 80s was Virgil Starks, one of the first African Americans to work at camp, breaking down racial barriers and bringing his kindness, enthusiasm, and humour to grace camp. His legacy lives on everytime camp alums repeat his famous chant, “I am. Somebody.” Dusty and Stephen also laughed about the times that the old Volkswagen was put in the Dining Hall, or the time that all the dining hall chairs were carabiner-ed to the high wire, and how anytime you wanted to call home you would have to use the old pay phone in the counselor lair. They looked forward to Saturday nights especially, when the camp gathered to watch reel to reel films like Indiana Jones and Star Wars.

Crom Carey describes the best parts of camp in the 90sCrom Carey describes the best parts of camp in the 90s

Crom described the best parts of camp in the 90s, a decade that he chose because even though he was a counselor in the 2000s, he can remember idolizing the counselors as his heroes every summer during his camper years in the 90s. Food that he remembers from the 90s included Frito Pie (complete with it’s own theme song), cookouts on the field, the coca cola you get at 5 year dinner, and Longenecker Lumps. Legends included JJ Hicks and John Dickens as camp comedians, Bill Wilson because Crom was both terrified of and in awe of him, and of course Chuck McGrady and how they called him “the stealth” because of his ability to seemingly be everywhere. The 90s were a transitional time especially for the cabins as they began to get renamed, each got their own bathroom, and the old rusty metal beds were finally traded out for wooden ones. The 90s was also the era of pranks, with Chuck recalling the time he inflated the entire blob inside cabin 8, the time the cow that they borrowed for Cow Pie Bingo escaped, and the paddling competitions with Merrie Woode for the elusive Bull Sluice sign.

Clay Willett and William Rhodes Sharing highlights from the 2000sClay Willett and William Rhodes Sharing highlights from the 2000s

The 2000s were highlighted by Clay, who described the unique position of that decade as being witness to the “transition years” from Chuck and Donnie to Yates and Marisa. Choco Tacos were the favorite dessert of the time, acting almost as a “camp currency” during mealtimes. The legend of the 2000s was Rick Bowers, also known as “Wood God,” and they’ll never forget the time that Ben Williams smashed through the plexiglass onto the front porch while trying to act out the “bug on a windshield” skit. The trends of the millenials in the 2000s were birkenstocks, crocs, having a myspace, and Nalgene water bottles that were not yet BPA free. The struggle of this decade was trying to make sure your laundry made it on the outside of the huge cabin laundry loads that were washed in the industrial size machines at the time. As Clay said, if your laundry was clumped in the middle of the massive laundry loads, it would just remain there untouched by the soap and return back to you still filthy, but sanitized.

Will Walters describing memories from the most recent decadeWill Walters describing memories from the most recent decade

Finally, Will Walters shared the most recent highlights of the past decade. Food highlights included stromboli, mini corn dogs, and s’mores pockets. The best pranks included the time the counselors moved a smartcar to different locations all around camp, when the paddlers performed an enthusiastic “harlem shake,” or the ongoing legend that beaver sharks live in the lakes. We laughed about the failed addition of a 5th tribe “Algonquin” and remembering Duckles, the fat duck who couldn’t fly.

Judson Randolph enjoying the gift for the weekend, our new book, Behold50, a celebration of the past 50 summersJudson Randolph enjoying the gift for the weekend, our new book, Behold50, a celebration of the past 50 summers

Though each decade had their own highlights and memories, reflecting on what made Falling Creek so fun throughout the years was a common theme for all. To close the first evening, everyone was given the newly released book, Behold50, a celebration of the past 50 summers and a collection of the stories and photos throughout the years.

"Top of the World" sunrise hike to the new orchard side of camp

The next morning, many of the early rising alumni chose to join in on a “Top of The World” sunrise hike. This hike went up to the top of the new apple orchard property before breakfast, enjoying the view of the Green River Valley below as the sun rose to greet them. After a beautiful start to the day, they returned in time for Morning Watch, led by Dusty. The focus was on camp’s central verse: Psalm 133. Dusty explained that the verse specifies both “good and pleasant” because sometimes things that are good for you are not always pleasant. At camp however, we have the privilege of experiencing the good and the pleasant simultaneously as we “dwell together in unity.”

singing singing "Fire on the Mountain" during Morning Assembly
Goody sharing his famous Goody sharing his famous "Opie Rap"

After a hearty breakfast everyone gathered on the front porch to experience an extended Morning Assembly. We were treated to several skits, including Ben Williams’ “bug on a windshield,” Timothy and the “used toothbrush” skit, the newer “dead cat in a box” skit, and even Goody shared his “Opie Rap”. The band for the morning was extensive, with dozens of camp legends up at the front with guitars and singing voices at the ready. Joel Priest started it off with “Rooster in the Yard,” Nathan suggested “Fox on the Run,” and requests for “Rocky Top,” “Dust on my Saddle,” and “Leroy Brown” were all honored. Donnie Bain even borrowed a guitar so he could join in with other legends Walt Cottingham, Steve Rogers, and Dave Dickerson on the favorite “Hey Baby” song.
Ben Williams performing his Ben Williams performing his "bug on a windshield" skit
Steve Drewry sharing his hilarious acting talent during the Steve Drewry sharing his hilarious acting talent during the "used toothbrush" skit
Left to right, Dave Dickerson, Walt Cottingham, Donnie Bain, and Steve Rogers playing their famous rendition of Left to right, Dave Dickerson, Walt Cottingham, Donnie Bain, and Steve Rogers playing their famous rendition of "Hey Baby"
Dave, Walt, Donnie, and Steve in the same order, playing the same song, 42 years earlier (1976), in the exact same locationDave, Walt, Donnie, and Steve in the same order, playing the same song, 42 years earlier (1976), in the exact same location

The morning was a whirlwind of choose-your-own activities. SFL was cooking Longenecker Lumps at the library, Joe Duckett brought his giant snakes and tarantulas to hang out in the warrior ball pit, Ben Lea was planning a mountain bike epic around camp, and several old alumni were channeling their inner camper as they back flipped and dove off the high-dive. After lunch, we had ice cream sundaes on the road by the dining hall, complete with all the toppings. The afternoon was another free choice time, with rounds of disc golf being played, kayaks and canoes out on the lower lake, and folks trying to make it to the top of the climbing wall. SFL also shared a combined program presenting birds of prey and snakes.

Sam Frame with Longenecker LumpsSam Frame with Longenecker Lumps
Steve Longenecker with Joe Duckett at his snake presentation Steve Longenecker with Joe Duckett at his snake presentation
Garrett Randolph (left) and Judson Conway (right) holding Garrett Randolph (left) and Judson Conway (right) holding "Cuddles," one of Joe Duckett's snakes
Cooling off at the swim docks Cooling off at the swim docks
Ice Cream Sundaes by the Dining Hall!Ice Cream Sundaes by the Dining Hall!

Before dinner, everyone gathered at the McGrady Gym for a group panoramic photo and cocktail hour. It was a treat to be able to mingle with old friends, snack on hoursdouvers, and reminisce over the many photos and memorabilia that were hanging up around the gym. Shortly after, everyone sat around the stage.

Simon Wilson looking over the decades of pictures strung around the McGrady GymSimon Wilson looking over the decades of pictures strung around the McGrady Gym
Gordon Strayhorn (FCC Program Director in mid 1980s and now Director of Camp Illahee) reconnecting with Sarah Bailes (FCC Secratary 1970s-80s)Gordon Strayhorn (FCC Program Director in mid 1980s and now Director of Camp Illahee) reconnecting with Sarah Bailes (FCC Secratary 1970s-80s)
Garrett Randolph, Skeet Keyes, Hagar Rand, and Terry Tyree recreating the same photo from 1981Garrett Randolph, Skeet Keyes, Hagar Rand, and Terry Tyree recreating the same photo from 1981
Garrett, Skeet, Hagar, and Terry in 1981Garrett, Skeet, Hagar, and Terry in 1981

Talbot Carter, who attended with all 3 of his sons, led a toast to Falling Creek and how the camp has positively impacted his entire family. He remarked that “They say the road to heaven is paved in gold,” Talbot mused, “but for me it’s a dirt road. And I know I’m there right now.” This was a perfect segway to then watch the new historical video, made specially for the reunion and highlighting the past 50 years in detail. As the video ended, we all were blessed to have the opportunity to stand with so many important FCC aumni to announce and celebrate that the sacred bridge that everyone crosses on their way to church and campfire has been reconstructed and now renamed “Bain Bridge”, dedicated in honor of Donnie and Kim Bain who each have offered over 30 years of service to Falling Creek. It was a standing ovation of love, happiness, and gratitude for the Bains.

Talbot Carter leading a toast to Falling CreekTalbot Carter leading a toast to Falling Creek
Stuart (left) and Jimboy Miller, enjoying the time to celebrate what their father (JimDaddy) foundedStuart (left) and Jimboy Miller, enjoying the time to celebrate what their father (JimDaddy) founded
The campfire bridge renamed the The campfire bridge renamed the "Bain Bridge" for Donnie and Kim Bain

For supper we were treated to BBQ, tomato pie, texas caviar, warm rolls, and coleslaw. Everyone was able to enjoy a great meal before heading to the campfire area for a Candlelight Campfire ceremony. Campfire is a place that is held dear to all who come to Falling Creek. The minute you walk over Bain Bridge and pass the “Behold” sign with Psalm 133, a wave of peace and reverence immediately washes over you. As we gathered in silence along the rows of benches and listened to the alternating conversations between bullfrogs and cicadas, it felt like any other summer before.

Walking over the Walking over the "Bain Bridge"

During this Campfire, gratitude was the redundant theme, and with good reason. Between songs of “Country Roads”, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, and Garrett sharing his song he wrote about Steve Longenecker called “Down South Again,” Terry Tyree reflected on why he was grateful for Falling Creek, and opened the floor for other alumni to share their experiences. Terry’s thoughts centered on the ever present “Spirit of Falling Creek,” and how those values never leave when you leave camp, allowing you to make a difference and touch lives every day because of the things you learn at camp. He shared how he believes that you get what you need at Falling Creek. Leland Morris shared, “Boys get what they need in camp. It meets you where you are and teaches you what masculinity is about, through vulnerability, caring, and unselfishness.” Phil Walker echoed this positive impact, sharing, “Falling Creek didn’t change my life, Falling Creek made my life. It was the first place that I was able to say ‘I can,’ and at the end of the summer I could say, ‘I did.’” Phil expressed, “you can go home again if you never left – and Falling Creek never left me or my heart.” Phil challenged us to take on a new identity, one that is not simply Falling Creek alums. Instead, he declared us “Guardians of the Flame,” since we let the Spirit of Falling Creek live inside us. Each of us can give something to make this flame grow brighter and ensure that it doesn’t die, taking on a more active alumni role as “guardians” of the Falling Creek spirit we know and love.

Terry Tyree reflecting on his experiences at Falling Creek during CampfireTerry Tyree reflecting on his experiences at Falling Creek during Campfire
John Moll, Robert Kirby, and Nathan Newquist sharing their musical talents during CampfireJohn Moll, Robert Kirby, and Nathan Newquist sharing their musical talents during Campfire
Candlelight Campfire Candlelight Campfire

For the final morning of the weekend, we gathered at the campfire area once again for a church service before breakfast. As the quiet sounds of the morning surrounded us, Allen Kannapell began the service, sharing the story of how he “came back to God on the banks of the Tuckasegee River” as a camper. The theme of the service was “love,” a fitting way to end a weekend spent celebrating brotherhood. Dusty Davis also shared his experiences with the CITs (now called men of S.T.E.E.L.) this summer, emphasizing the importance of the love and support from peers and mentors at camp, something that is so formative for a teenage boy.

Allen Kannapell leading Church service on SundayAllen Kannapell leading Church service on Sunday

As we fueled up for the day with a hearty pancake breakfast, the excitement was high for another Morning Assembly before heading out. In addition to singing even more popular tunes from the past, Terry Tyree led us all in “Fleasta” and Steve Rogers performed his famous “Chicken Walk”. Starting the day with enthusiastic singing, hilarious skits, and just goofing off together was a great way to set the mood, and everyone was hesitant to get on the road before lunch. After a fun weekend spent reminiscing and catching up in a place loved by so many, it was hard to say goodbye. However, with the reassurance that the Spirit of Falling Creek was still alive and well, everyone knew it wasn’t goodbye, but only a “see you next time.”

Author: Annie Pharr

If you would like to see the full album of photos from the weekend, go to our website and enter your e-mail and password to log in to your CampInTouch account. (The link is below the video on the home page). Once logged in, click Photos. You can also use this link. Behold!

Steve Rogers performing his famous Steve Rogers performing his famous "Chicken Walk"
Terry Tyree leading us all in Terry Tyree leading us all in "Fleasta"

An awesome crew of musicians for Morning AssemblyAn awesome crew of musicians for Morning Assembly
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