Towering Pines Blog

Birthday Greeting & Camp’s Life Lessons

Posted by on July 16, 2013


By Nokomis Rippling Waters

By Nokomis Rippling Waters

Today’s blog entry is written by Towering Pines Alum Jaime Moreno Valle.  Jaime, currently working as an International Affairs Specialist, was at TP for 11 summers between 1985 and 1996, including six summers as a camper and five as a Counselor.

In his message, Jaime shares his perspectives on TP’s 68th birthday this summer, the importance of camp traditions, and some of the life lessons he absorbed in his time at Towering Pines.  Here are Jaime’s thoughts:

“As Towering Pines’ 68th Birthday approaches, I can’t help but look back on its rich history and traditions, which make TP so special. The Cabin Chief and Medicine Man ceremony, Gold Rush, TP Fair, the selection of a Chief of the Day, TP Banquet … all of these traditions are unique to our Camp culture and appealing to campers and staff alike. 

Flag Ceremony after the Chief of the Day Announcement

Flag Ceremony after the Chief of the Day Announcement


When you are a camper, you hear all these stories about Buck, Pa Jordan, John Jordan, Win Abney and many, many other staff members and campers who left an indelible mark on what TP was, is and will be. From funny anecdotes to pearls of wisdom, outrageous antics to crazy skits, athletic achievement to artistic inspiration, every one of us has in some way inherited the legacy of those who came before us and contributed to the continuation of the Towering Pines tradition for present and future campers.

Just look around you whenever you are lucky enough to find yourself by “Nakomis’ rippling waters,”: the signs at the Crafts Hall entrance or barn, the awards on the dining hall mantelpiece, the old photographs in the A-Frame office, the cabin flags and the birthday cards. . . all of them a reminder that we are part of what many generations of campers have helped to create and maintain. 

By the same token, when we leave Towering Pines we take a part of it with us, whether it’s a new skill, an award, a renewed sense of self, and if you are as lucky as I was, many happy memories and lifelong friendships. These are simply a few of the ways in which Towering Pines becomes a part of our personal history and changes it forever.

The ability to be a team member, be open to new experiences, set personal goals and develop the discipline to pursue them, find your own place in a close-knit community, relate to others and last but not least, cultivate and value friendships are all examples of how my 11 summers at Towering Pines enriched my life and continue to do so every day. 

Even today, over 15 years since my last summer at camp, I frequently apply lessons from my time at Towering Pines in my career as a Diplomat, such as:

Lake Nokomis at Sunset

Lake Nokomis at Sunset


  • Teaching by example: “I’d rather see a speech than hear one any day.”
  • The importance of Inclusion: “Everybody plays, everybody wins.”
  • Regarding effective communication and perception: “It’s not what I said, it’s what you think I said.”
  • Plus too many more to list here, but all of them important.

I live and work in Washington D.C. and could not be more removed from the world of summer camp. And yet TP is still a part of who I am and probably who I will always be.  I see friends from Camp at least once every year or so, in addition to the occasional call, text message or Facebook update This has been the case with my fellow alumni and I am certain this too will be true of current and future campers. 

So Happy Birthday Towering Pines and here’s to 68 more years!”

The seeds of lifelong friendships begin here.

The seeds of lifelong friendships have begun.