Towering Pines Blog

Creating and Sharing Camp Stories . . .

“National Tell a Story Day” is coming up on April 27th.  At Towering Pines Camp for Boys, story telling is woven into many areas of the programming.  The history of camp and its many traditions are shared by passing these “stories” on throughout the different aspects of daily camp life. However, it isn’t just about telling stories, it’s about each camper creating a story of his own through the experiences and adventures he has throughout his summers at camp.

Stories are shared through the various skits that each cabin performs at weekly campfires.  Some of these have been passed on for generations, albeit a few twists added here and there.  Meals are a time when stories are shared amidst cabins and friends.  Some of these recollections are even of the “tall tale” realm as the boys embellish with excitement and enthusiasm about what they saw or did.

On Sunday mornings we walk as a group into the forest to find the “Seeking Place” where we meet for vespers.  Songs, both old and new, that are sung at vespers, tell stories through their melodies and lyrics.  There are many favorites, and the boys often make requests.  In addition, each cabin is assigned a Sunday to discuss a value or character trait.  As they create this synopsis, each boy has the chance to add to the narrative and read out loud (if he chooses to do so) about why he feels this value is important.

Each day at morning assembly, counselors and CITs (Counselors in Training) take turns expressing a story about a camper who is receiving the honor of “Chief of the Day” for that particular day.  They express vignettes that describe character traits or accomplishments the camper has shown that support why he is being chosen for this role.  Also, at both morning and evening assembly, announcements are made celebrating the stories of the many different successes that campers are experiencing in their activity areas and TP/Woodland exchanges.

We have the benefit of knowledge that was shared with us by Buck Lone Eagle. He worked at TP for many years and established several of the Native American traditions that we still follow today such as the selection of the “Chief” and “Medicine Man” from each cabin.  This happens at a special campfire called the Chiefs Campfire which is held in the Indian Bowl that Buck created.  Stories about Buck are retold and the lessons he shared about nature are narrated so that these long-standing traditions can be passed on for many years to come.

As each camper is exploring his own personal camp journey, each cabin mate from Cabin 11 began or continued his own camp story last summer.  Here are some of the reflections that the young men from Seneca shared.  

In what ways did the SUN SHINE for you this summer (what were your favorite things about camp?):

  • Doing the activities like skin diving and fishing
  • Meeting new people, trying new things, and learning how to do slalom
  • Hanging out with my friends and campfires
  • By passing my skipper — my favorite thing about camp is sailing.  
  • My favorite things were riflery and skin diving.
  • My favorite things were skiing diving, sailing, archery and free swim because I got to ski.
  • I liked doing fun activities and hanging out with my cabin.

What is something that took you by surprise and was better than you imagined?

  • The entire experience was so different than I expected.
  • I thought tennis was going to be boring, but it was actually really fun!
  • Archery was better than I expected.
  • Riflery since I passed more ranks than what I expected
  • Grilled cheese was amazing!
  • Doing skin diving because when I was in Cabin 5 I didn’t catch one thing in the cribs.  I was able to learn how to do this!
  • Pirate Day took me by surprise and star gazing.

What is something you were able to do that you have not been able to do over the past year?

  • Riflery and sailing
  • Sailing
  • Trap
  • Sail a boat and shoot a rifle
  • Skin diving
  • I didn’t get to do riflery, and it was fun to do it again.
  • I was able to sail and learn how to fish off my hook.

The thing I learned most about myself:

  • I like being with different people.
  • I learned that I can get angry very fast when I’m doing sports.
  • I learned that I’m actually good at trap.
  • I learned to believe in myself!
  • I’m pretty cool.
  • I can live without my parents.
  • I like fishing and catching fish with nets.  I am also helpful and am pretty outgoing.

What is the first thing you will tell your parents/family about your camp experience:

  • I’ll tell them about fishing and skin diving.
  • I’m going to tell them about the different activities I tried.
  • I’ll tell them about fishing and trap.
  • It was VERY fun!  I’ll thank them for the opportunity to be at camp!!  
  • I won “spoon assassins!”
  • I want to tell them that I learned to use an X-boat and how to ski on two skis and slalom.
  • I want to tell them about “Adventure Day.”

In light of “National Tell a Story Day,” there are also stories told at our traditional camp birthday celebration.  Jeff Jordan, camp director, shares the story of the history of the property which has become known as Towering Pines Camp for boys.  He describes for all of the campers and staff how the Jordans acquired the land and how it came to be the wonderful place it is today . . . Camp Towering Pines for Boys.

We can’t wait to see the boys of Cabin 11 back at camp this summer so that they can continue to add on to their amazing camp stories through all of the amazing adventures and exceptional experiences yet to come!  If you haven’t registered yet or know of anyone who wants to do so for the Summer of 2022, just click this link!!

Angie Ziller

  • Camp Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Leadership Team TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “Building in our hearts fond memories, Towering Pines for you.”