Here at camp, we believe that “having fun” is an experience that comes in many different forms. Sometimes, having fun is nothing more than eating dinner with your best friends in Tucker Inn after a full day of activities. Sometimes it looks like playing tetherball during free time, concentrating all your energy on wrapping a string and bright yellow ball around a tall pole. Sometimes it looks like a good conversation with a friend who you haven’t seen at camp since last year. And sometimes it looks like taking one of our adventure trips that challenges and expands your outdoor skills: mountain biking in Dupont Forest or kayaking on the Lower Green River.

But at Camp Timberlake, our staff also knows that we have the most fun when there is an element of surprise involved in what we do. Our evening activities are intrinsically fun, but what gets our campers REALLY excited is the suspense created by waiting until after dinner to announce the night’s game. Our trips are excellent, but what makes them incredible is that we often wait until just a few days before the trip to tell campers that the trip is available. Striving to win the banner for your tribe is great, but what makes the pursuit so worthwhile is that no one knows which tribe wins until the very last day of camp. In short, surprises are the best way to have fun.

This morning, we had a surprise for your boys at Camp Timberlake. Today was Random Doughnut Day. No one knows when or why Random Doughnut Day shows up, but today it did. Director Dan and the head staff at camp gave everyone an extra hour of sleep before going in all the cabins and dropping off Krispy Kreme goodness and milk for breakfast. Needless to say, we started the day off on the right foot. And it only got better from there.

We had absolutely beautiful weather here in Black Mountain, and the guys took full advantage of the blue sky and sunshine. In swimming class, Chris Boyarizo taught the campers how to correctly swim the breaststroke, and Sid Nathela earned his bronze bar. In camp craft, Jason Kooiman showed everyone the correct way to build a tarp shelter if they were on an overnight hike without a tent. Christian Larson, our resident rocket-scientist, had a full day in the rocketry hut, and our campers Alec and Grady reached the pinnacle of rocketry excellence, earning their gold bar. In wrestling, instructors Michael Denoia and George Cauffman taught the guys how to do double-leg take-downs and how to perform half-Nelson pinning combinations. During one of the activity periods, Walker Lilly and David Tierney wrestled a closely contested six-minute match, which David won by a very tight score of 9-7.

Out in Lake Doris, Mitch Bearden taught Harris Cannon flat water freestyle kayaking tricks, and Eric Hutzler began learning his canoe roll. Two campers, Walker and Christian, earned their bronze bars in kayaking as well. Down in the Enchanted Barn, Ryan Johnson taught the pottery classes how to glaze pots, and Scott Showalter, Dash Vinson, and Drew Winokur all excelled. Up on Spencer’s Green, Clark Beckham had the boys working on passing and possession skills before letting them play four on four to hone their game-time tenacity. And on the tennis courts, Jack Deal continued to work hard on achieving his gold bar with instructor Alex Gottfried, practicing his service form.

That’s not all. We also had two excellent Timberlake trips go out this morning. Matt Hansen led Diego Rosado and Joey Woodside on a fly-fishing trip to the Davidson River today, and although they did not catch any fish the boys had a great time out on the river practicing casting techniques and learning how to set-up fly rods. They also saw two snakes and a lizard! Brian Showalter, one of our older campers, organized a backpacking trip today to Stomper’s Knob, demonstrating leadership on the trail with his fellow campers.

There is much more to be written that escapes documentation, but suffice it to say that this Monday at Camp Timberlake has been a day of excitement filled with spiritual, physical, and moral growth. The fun continues even now as the boys are finishing up tonight’s special surprise: our Aqua Fest competition at Lake Doris. The Iroquois and Seminoles are going head-to-head in various challenges including the biggest belly-flop, the swimming relay, the craziest dive contest, and a fierce match of water polo. No one knows who will win, but hey, that will just be another surprise.

Until tomorrow,

Lawson K.