As parents, it probably seems like this month without your sons has crawled by, but here at camp we can’t believe where the time has gone! Today was the final day of Main Camp, and we’ve been spending the past month together enjoying the outdoors, building skills in activities, growing deeper friendships, and gaining more self-confidence and independence. This morning we had our last three activity periods, the final chance for boys to work on progressions and finish projects. It was also the chance for counselors to do something fun and different in their activities.
At archery, the boys shot arrows at water balloons for fun explosions of water. In pottery, the boys teamed up with arts and crafts to create spin art on the pottery wheels. At the F.A.R.M., the boys prepared fresh blackberry jam with the blackberries they picked around camp. Up at the barn, the boys had been practicing for the annual horse show, and were ready to show off all they had learned with their favorite horses. There were show categories for every level rider, from walking up to jumping. No matter who got the awards, we thought they were all “best in show”!
After lunch (and a “Lost and Found fashion show” throughout the Dining Hall to reunite boys with their misplaced items) we had an extended Rest Hour for packing and getting our trunks ready to go. Before dinner, we gathered in the gym for our awards ceremony. The awards ceremony is our chance to celebrate boys’ achievements and honor their hard work and dedication. Counselors hand-make the awards as well, which makes them even more special to receive. The awards often reflect the four values in our Falling Creek Code. For example, the “Carpenter’s Cup” award, which was given to Owen W. for displaying Servant’s Heart in woodworking, always helping others with their progressions instead of just focusing on his own projects. The awards also celebrate values like dedication: the “Golden Boy” soccer award was given to James A., who juggled the ball an incredible 363 times in a row. Some awards have silly names like “Poseidon’s Choice” at sailing (given to Thomas P. for his incredible skills on the water), or the “Spirit of Murdoch” award, which was a Christmas nutcracker given to Cole A. for his dedication in paddling.
After each activity gave their awards, it was time to recognize campers who were here for their 5th year this year. We even had three boys celebrating their 10th summer at camp: John C., Sam C., and Jack H. Yates had the Honor Council stand to be recognized and receive pins, and all of the boys got Waypoints stickers for their FCC map to commemorate each achievement. To close out the ceremony, we recognized our FLINT (Forging Leaders INTentionally) guys. FLINT campers are the oldest in camp, one year younger than our men of STEEL (formerly counselors-in-training). This morning FLINT returned from their hike up to the top of Looking Glass with their counselors Brian and Alex, and Yates. Last night they had the opportunity for a primitive camping experience after the strenuous hike, getting the opportunity for more reflection, challenge, and time in nature by spending the night as a FLINT group in the woods. This whole month they have been focusing on leadership training and leadership theory with their counselors, and yesterday’s challenge was a great way to cap off the session.
Tonight after dinner, we returned to the gym for the annual Main Camp Talent Show. Some acts are just silly and funny, but some acts are impressive and moving. Many boys show their Warrior Spirit by having the bravery to share their talents in front of the whole camp community. We had everything from silly Taylor Swift karaoke and Napoleon Dynamite dance routines, to musical performances and beautiful singing. It takes courage to perform in front of hundreds of people, even if they are your peers and friends. However, we are lucky to have a supportive camp community that cheered for each other throughout every act. The brotherhood that has been built really showed tonight, and continued throughout our final Campfire.
We close every session with Campfire, which gives us time to reflect as a community and enjoy songs, skits, and verses in an area special to camp. Tonight was our Candlelight Campfire, where everyone lights their candles and walks out of the campfire area, encircling the ball field. As everyone stands in a circle together with their tiny flames, we begin to sing Falling Creek’s version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” It is a beautiful way to end the day, surrounding the lake with glowing candles that reflect off boys’ faces. One of the verses particularly resonates with the atmosphere during our Campfire: “so when you leave tonight, by the fire’s light, please leave your spirit here. And we’ll let the trees, and all the memories, guard them all till we’re back next year.”
Everyone headed to bed tonight tired and happy, dreaming about this whirlwind of a session, and all the fun and growth we packed into a seemingly short month. Parents, we know your sons can’t wait to see you tomorrow morning! The gate will open at 8:30am, see you then!
More Highlights From This Final Day:
- We had some clean cabins this session! Winners of the cabin inspection “cleanest cabin award” were divided by tribe. In Cherokee, it was Cabin 8 with an average score of 9.79 out of 10 for the whole session. In Catawba, it was Ishi with an average score of 9.81. In Tuscarora, it was Sequoyah with an average score of 9.67. In Iroquois, it was Black Hawk with an average score of 9.70.
- Patton J. earned Ranger today in Cross Country. He ran over 60 miles this session, but finally achieved Ranger after breaking the 6 minute mile today!
- We celebrated 5 birthdays today! Colin B., James L., Teddy, Quinn, and Jack (who is part of our kitchen crew)
- Breakfast: make-your-own breakfast burritos with tortillas, scrambled eggs and sausage, cheese, and salsa, plus an oatmeal station and a fruit, granola, and yogurt bar.
- Lunch: Italian day with cheese calzones, meatballs in alfredo sauce, and steamed vegetables, plus a full salad bar, chicken tortilla soup, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
- Dinner: Beef tips in gravy, seasoned rice, roasted broccoli, warm bread, a full salad bar, and huge fudgy brownies for dessert.