Ladies and gentleman: it is summertime at Camp Timberlake.

The sun is out and the staff and counselors are tremendously excited for another year of fun, adventure, and character growth. All the young men of Camp Timberlake showed up at breakfast today as new or returning members of a Timberlake tribe: Iroquois or Seminole. It was encouraging to see those already initiated into a tribe take in their new brothers with a pat on the back or a hand on the shoulder. The day began early with a delicious meal of oatmeal and sausage, followed by the first summer 2013 morning yell. It shook the rafters.

Director Adam Boyd then led the first chapel of the summer, reminding us all through the story of the prodigal son, that camp is a great place to begin to know God as our Father. After chapel and clean-up, the fun began as the boys ran excitedly to their first activities. From guitar to paintball to mountain biking, Timberlake has it all.

And the boys were having a blast. Hudson Shoudy won “red light – green light” in fencing five times in a row, showing amazing skill on the first day of camp. Kevin Ralton might as well have been Robin Hood on the archery range, scoring a 40-point round during his time on the range. Meanwhile, over on Lake Doris, Clayton Grubbs and Thomas Highfield were the first blobbers of the summer, sending each other flying into the air before gravity took over and they returned with a splash. Nearby, Chase Roberson caught a crawfish in the creek and Andy Leshaw broke his personal record in dam-building.

In climbing, Parker Brown impressed the staff by completing the traverse wall for a bronze medal requirement. Herbert de Sola, Tripp Young, and Max Custer had an exciting first canoe class before getting in some quality time on the blob. David Ganuza and Peter Marty, two of the older veterans of Timberlake, quickly got back into the camp rhythm by excelling in kayaking and completing multiple T-rescues.  Camp Timberlake also held its first ever pottery class today, with counselor Ryan Johnson teaching the boys how to make pinch pots. Dylan Hadley turned his pot into a turtle, showing a creative side that we are excited to see develop in the coming days.

At dinner, the boys dug into spaghetti and meatballs along with some veggies and breadsticks. You could tell it had been an exciting day from the way the boys were eating. But the fun wasn’t over. The camp celebrated Brysen Young’s birthday with cake and singing, and then Timberlake Program Director Nick Bratcher got everyone stomping and yelling in excitement for the year’s first evening activity: a roaring game of sock-war. The first order of duty after dinner was electing tribal leaders. The Seminoles elected Carter Boone as chief and Tristan Young as med-man (second-in-command). The Iroquois gathered over near the riding barn to elect Peter Marty as chief and David Ganuza as med-man. Shortly thereafter, the games commenced.

Sock-war is a cornucopia of camp fun. An ingenious combination of dodge ball, capture-the-flag, and commando-style hide-and-seek, the boys spent over an hour chasing each other around camp in an attempt to bring home the win for their respective tribes. The rivalry was intense and teamwork was absolutely essential. Will Singletary and Joseph Mills were doing an excellent job on defense for the Iroquois. Meanwhile, Carter Boone and the Seminole cohorts made multiple offensive surges. The game was close. Final scores will not be announced until lunch tomorrow, but each of the boys has a (strong) personal opinion about who won and why.

It’s now time to head back to the cabins for counselor-led devotions and teeth-brushing before taps, and we are all thankful to God for such an amazing opening day for the Timberlake summer. Parents and friends: keep checking back for daily updates and do not forget to check the Camp Timberlake Facebook page for pictures and more! Thank you!

Lawson K.