July 12, 2011

Summer Camp




Mail call.


Washington, DC.

A human-sized game of Dutch Blitz.

Lucky Charms.

The epic camaraderie that comes with trying to shoot basketballs through a hoop by bouncing them on a tarp with eighteen other teens.

All these epicnesses, and more, were experienced in five full days of summer camp.

As aforementioned, it was the Leadership and Vocation Camp at the excellent Patrick Henry College. The campus is small and well-kept and lovely. Though pictures don't do it justice, here's a few.

^This is Founders' Hall, I think.^

Here is a view of the infamous Lake Bob. It has become a sort of emblem at PHC; a symbolic symbol of... something. Significant, surely. Apparently there's a custom of chucking newly-engaged students into the lake... it's called being "Bobtized." :| However, under normal circumstances, swimming in Lake Bob is highly discouraged.

muck from the noble lake.

"Ladies and gentleman, this is why
we do not swim in Lake Bob."


Within the camp, each camper was assigned to a wing. Each wing had a theme and a name. I and eight or nine other girls had our own wing/hall of three rooms. Ours was entitled... *sigh* The Piggly Wigglies.

Yes. I know. We tried to make the most of it. We kept our chins up and resolved to be the classiest piggies the camps had ever seen.

Each girl wing was assigned to a brother wing; we were matched with The King's Men. Combined, the Piggly Wigglies and The King's Men were one team, to compete together against the other teams. Teams would earn points for doing things such as winning the evening games, keeping their rooms ruthlessly clean, and singing patriotic chants whilst coming into the cafeteria for breakfast. They'd lose points for breaking rules, being late for breakfast, or forgotting their nametag.

We had a fantastic team and all got along well. We selected a glorious name for our combined team, a name we shouted with pride and invented cheers to laud. We were The Royal Swine.

Good times. ^_^


The camp week was packed with many lectures. Sounds boring, right? They were actually quite good, ranging diversely from deep, philosophical thoughts to practical, everyday application. Very good stuff and quite entertaining (so far as lectures go). But, of course, after sitting in a hard wood chair for 3+ hours and running on little sleep, one starts to grow just a bit tired. >_> Nonetheless!! They were all excellent lectures from which I gained much and took copious notes.

^ At a break between lectures.

Studious student that I am, I took many notes. ^_^

This is David Aikman, one of my favorite speakers there.

He worked for Time magazine for 30 years.

He's written more than a dozen books.

He saved Boris Yeltsin's life.
(Mr. Aikman told us the story of how he was one of a group accompanying the Russian president whilst he toured America and its capitalist markets. Yeltsin was about to saunter across a busy street as a huge truck was coming and Mr. Aikman grabbed Yeltsin's shoulders and held him back. Yeltsin turned around with an insincere smile and said reproachfully, "Oh, the KGB would be very disappointed in you!"
XD *shakes head* Communists.)

He interviewed Billy Graham and Mother Theresa in person.

He was in Tiananmen Square when the tanks rolled in.

And I got his signature. :)

Free Time

Each morning, once we were freed from the hard and frigid lecture hall, we migrated back into the warm sunlight and then dispersed (like so many rebels) to various activities.

^ many rounds of ninja. epicness.

^ I liked to hang out in the cafe.

After all, they had smoothies.

And Twix candy bars.

Thusly they won my heart forever.

The cafe was in this very cool lounge in which one could eat, drink, and write copiously in one's notebook. There were also pictures of camels on the walls. ^_^

You know its a cool lounge if it's got pictures of camels.

D. C.

On one of the days we all took a bus down to Washington DC, splitting into groups to work on various community service projects. I was in a group whose task was weeding the back garden of the office of a charitable organization - I believe it was called "So Others Might Eat" and provided food for the homeless. I have no pictures of the gardening, but I wish I'd thought to take before-and-afters. There was a very dramatic difference. o_O It started as an irregular pale green field of billions of weeds and branches and bricks. By the end we'd uprooted piles of grass, the flowers were contained in neat clusters, and green foliage jungle was uprooted and the ground turned, leaving nice dark earth paths. It looked very pretty. ^_^

Then all the groups gathered for a picnic lunch. Those were some good sandwiches. >_> I salivate thinking of them.

we all wore our ridiculously cool camp T-shirts. ^_^

we then went sightseeing. Lo, the pencil tower!
That is, the Washington Monument. >_>


Learned some good ones.

"The man who never reads will never be read;
he who never quotes will never be quoted.
He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains,
proves that he has no brains of his own."
- Charles Spurgeon

"We are distracted from distraction by distraction."
- T. S. Eliot

"We read books but books read us as well."
- C. S. Lewis

Butler: "You found God, Sir?"
Wilberforce: "I think He found me. You have any idea how inconvenient that is?"
- Amazing Grace

"Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much."
- Mark Twain

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
- Anonymous

"When everything is said and done more is said than done."
- Anonymous

"Unless you can show me wrong, I cannot take anything back. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God."
- Martin Luther


...were perhaps my most favoritist part of the whole camp. The counselors had arranged absolutely epic games, including:

  • campus-wide Counselor Clue (in which the teams had to travel the campus, asking counselors - disguised as outlandish characters, including a knight, a drill sargeant, a leprachaun, a scholar, and a telephone operator - questions about an attempted murder, trying to solve the who, the where, and the what-with.)
  • a massive game of rock-paper-scissors (that was loud. Picture forty kids in a walleyball room, their team chants filling the echoing, enclosed space...)
  • human-sized Dutch Blitz
  • counselor hide-and-seek

I took no pictures; I was too busy living life, savoring the moment, siezing the day. XD There are some epic memories I shall treasure from those days.

In Short

The teens I met in that camp were incredibly special. In that wondrous blend of personalities, accents, appearances, hometowns, beliefs, and interests there was one common theme. Every person had this unique quality - a blend of friendliness, outgoingness, and maturity. I was stunned. It was so wonderful and so different from the general mood of teens I'm used to back home.

Everyone, even the shy ones and the older ones, were mature and conversational. You could make a random comment to anyone, guy or girl, about the length of the line for the hamburgers and they would actually talk back. O_O Guys who looked like the kind who would only hang out with their friendswould plunk down in a random seat at lunch and chat cheerfully with whoever was around. Guys who looked like the "cool ones" who would only sullenly participate in games actually participated. They led the team cheers and even after one failed (and two, and three, and four...) they'd try again and start another. They remembered names and genuinely laughed and weren't afraid to do something embarassing, get back up, and try again. They didn't just chat polite, boring stuff; a random girl and I started quoting Tim Hawkins to each other and talking about colleges and coffee and laughing. In group discussions even the ones whom I judged as shy or bored would boldly add something useful to the discussion. They knew when to stop joking around and to listen up. They had good vocabularies and used them, too. They knew when to make suggestions and when to shut up.

^ And what we didn't know at first, we learned. The games taught us these things, how to practically be a leader and when to be a leader. When to take the lead and when to sit in the back and be a minor player. We couldn't all be heroes all of the time. But everyone had a small moment of glory, a time of usefulness.

It was a remarkable time with remarkable people. I miss them much. I learned a lot - and not just from the lectures. Learned a lot about team dynamics and leadership and teens and friends. It was a very, very good time, and I'd like to go back next year. :)

Oh. And one more thing. My primitive phone came to the brink of giving up the ghost.

It's lived through much. It's seen a lot. It's been through creeks and mud and rain. But finally it hit the carpet at camp one day and a cracked hinge broke open and now it dangles by a wire.

Still works. ^_^



Brianna said...

Thanks so much for posting about this!! I enjoyed learning about what the camp was like. I love Patrick Henry College... it's one of the top places I'd like to go! :-)

Marian said...

"Ours was entitled... *sigh* The Piggly Wigglies."

Thank you for a much-needed laugh! ;)

Great post--it was interesting to read! If I lived a bit closer, I'd probably attend Patrick Henry College...

Jake said...

O_o Fantastic overview! Sounds like a great time. :D

But I think it's hard to beat the phone. That was undoubtedly the most epic thing I read. *nodnod*

Tim said...

Best birds-eye view of teen camps at PHC ever! (you, my friend, have a way with words) And the best part is that every bit of it is true! (I know, I was there...)

You're right, Lake Bob is symbolic of... something. My best guess is "unintended consequences," but I suppose we'll never really know...

whisper said...

Brianna - yes, I'm liking PHC more and more. o_O

Thank you for reading it, Miriam and Jake! Aye, the phone is... quite disturbing. The moment I saw its broken condition I collapsed on the nearest structure - fortunately a bed - laughing hysterically.

Tim - oh, thankyouthankyou! :) That is a relief and satisfaction to hear from an eyewitness to the exciting occurrences in the fantastical land of LeVo. ^_^

"Unintended consequences..." I never thought of it that way. o_O But I suppose it does make an odd sort of sense.

Grace-and-Glory said...

PHC L&V camp is awesomeness. I went three years ago, when I was still in high school... changed my life. If not for the camp, I probably wouldn't be a sophomore there now. :D
And Lake Bob is a metaphysical symbol of the existence of geese.
Take it from someone who knows.

whisper said...

LeVo *is* awesomeness. I am sure it changed my life too. :D

The metaphysical symbol of the existence of geese? o.O How... charming. >_> I suppose I will have to take your word for it.