Cannon Report – Pre-Camp – 2011

Ka-Boom! Rise and shine, the long wait is over because the campers are here!  But to share a little known secret, it takes lots of work, with a whole lot of fun thrown in, to get Camp ready for the boys to arrive.  Pre-Camp kicked off Friday evening with mandatory deck time, knockout and a rousing game of kickball, pitting the young bloods against the has-beens.  The young guns started off strong, but the has-beens managed to score enough to end the game in a tie.  After the game we went on an inspirational hike to Pyramid Point.  The next morning we got to work with the daunting task of waterfront set-up.  Our task seemed extra challenging due to the brisk waters of Lake Michigan, but with some excellent teamwork the job was finished in no time.

Saturday afternoon the guys left on our annual staff trip.  This year we mimicked the Junior Flag Trip, taking Big Blue (our big blue school bus) to the back meadow to run around the woods in our camo and capture flags!  After we were all tuckered out, we spent the evening sitting around the fire telling stories and basking in good company.  Sunday morning we hiked down to Gethsemane to enjoy one of Slim’s breakfasts of eggs and pancakes prepared over an open fire by Hickory (Weldon Rutledge) and his assistant Mule (Paul Olsen).  We hustled back from church to start preparing all the ins and outs of our activities.  The day ended with the long walk up Council Fire Hill.

The cannon went off bright and early Tuesday morning so we could begin our staff bonding and learning day, affectionately known as Two’s Day.  As we chugged up the hill to the Dune Climb in Big Blue, Weldon decided to start the challenges right away by running out gas and empowering the counselors to push the bus to the side of the road.  Big Blue Number 2 was called in and we all eventually made it to the dunes and breakfast.  After eating, six groups of counselors hiked across the dunes, from the Dune Climb to the Back Side, stopping along the way for lesson study and intense dune jumping.  The rest of the day consisted of teambuilding as pairs of counselors attempted to cross the ropes course and make it to the top of the climbing tower without breaking contact with each other.  The groups then reconvened and competed in an Iron Chef competition. Various unmarked sauces and a few pounds of beef made this competition one for the books. Our kitchen staff judged the meals, with Josh and Jan leading the force. The evening ended with a skit and song from each team.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were chock full of meetings and prep time.  Our two practitioners, Carla Stillman and Mark McCurties, shared thoughts about how to practice daily defense and better teach Sunday School and Quite Time, General Manager Marc Murphy presented an instructional manners skit, and Leelanau gathered together to reflect on why we decided to come back to camp this summer.  Friday morning we met with the Board of Directors and discussed the different aspects of our activities. Then to prove we could still have fun, both staffs loaded into Big Blue and headed to the Back Side for an intense game of Dune Football.  On the way home Big Blue again “broke down”, but this time in front of Riverfront so we could end the day with some delicious soft serve ice cream cone.

Saturday we had our all-staff metaphysical meeting led by Carla and Mark. We soaked in a lot of good thoughts on the art of healing, as well as learning more about Mary Baker Eddy.  Saturday night we played soccer and debriefed another great week of Pre-Camp.  With that done we were ready for the boys to arrive Sunday morning!  The day was full of campers arriving, games on the field, and an open beach.  After cookout we ended the night, and officially started the summer, with the walk up Council Fire Hill and a great fire provided by the CT Class of 2011.

A big BOOM from the cannon began Monday and the three week session. After activities and rest hour we piled into Big Blue for the ride to Bar Lake and our annual swim test.  Our camp photographer Fred Morrison put together a fantastic video to capture the moment, check it out here: