Towering Pines Blog

Happy 70th Celebration, TP!

Posted by on July 15, 2015
I wish TP the happiest birthday and hope all who celebrate have a joyous time, especially the campers, because that is really what TP and Woodland are all about.  The idea of doing camp for the campers long preceded my first summer in Cabin 3 and the seven that followed until I was a junior counselor, again in Cabin 3.

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TP boys for years have shared so many special memories:  ringing the bell as chief of the day, achieving individual awards in a host of activities, having your lips turn blue when it is cold on Nokomis, meals with your friends, cookouts, canoeing and EN, vespers, campfires and so much more.
But the greatest beauty of camp is that all of these activities are there to enable boys to grow up in ways that they may or cannot on their own.  Physical growth is just one aspect of camp, ask anyone who has seen George add inches each summer at camp in the past few years.  But camp helped me to grow each summer inside as a boy, teen, and young man.  I am particularly grateful to Pa Jordan for teaching me how to conserve water and take short showers.  I could never understand it with two lakes, days of rain, and all the rivers we canoed, but living today in the 5th consecutive year of California drought it all makes sense.
While I loved all the awards and skills I learned, the relationships I made are what mattered most.  Most boys don’t get to live with a cabin full of others they did not choose each summer, and yet somehow you do it and you get to know the other boys and your counselors.  You make it work and sometimes it is great and sometimes not perfect, but you are far more prepared when you go away from home for the first time, whether for travel, or school or college.  You are more independent, but at the same time, so grateful for your community.
Pirate Day
I lived with one boy, Billy, for several summers until we were CIT’s. Billy was not the highest achiever in activities. The truth is he struggled compared to other boys. But for Billy, he grew so much each year and it was only important  that he grew relative to himself.  He had friends who looked out for him.  And when he earned Chief of the Day, you could really hear the special ring of that bell at every period change.  Little things that we often take for granted mean a lot in life. But the fact is, I learned more from Billy than he ever knew: important lessons about tolerance, understanding, compassion and loyalty.
George T & Alec B
Happy birthday, TP.  It is a very simple formula that works for each boy.  Where else can you make friends and skills for life, find spirituality and mosquito bites in the forest, strike gold or find buried treasure on the weekend?  You can be the greatest archer in recent memory and also make a handful big mistakes that help you become a better adult, thanks to the camp leadership that believes in second chances.  My most important memory each summer was clearing the tears from my eyes at the end of the year as my parents drove us back home.  I am sure I will do the same again when I come to pick up George in August.
by Steve Troyer

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