Another Fourth of July and Bishop's Jubilee has come and gone, but we're here to tell the story.
The Fourth of July
Independence Day was both a typical and extraordinary day for Shrine Mont Camps. After dinner, they met for all-camp worship, heavily clad in red, white and blue.
After worship the camps headed to evening games on the upper ball field and had a choose-your-own-adventure program. Some campers hung out and talked, some played corn hole, some field games and basketball, some sat out by a campfire. No matter the activity, fun and ridiculousness happened, as pictured below.
We said it last year and we'll say it again: The sun sets on another perfect day at camp.
Alumni Coffee House
At one point, someone referred to the event as "BYOK" (Bring Your Own Kid). Grown-up counselors who are now having future campers of their own started getting their kids hooked on camp music, fitting them with appropriate and adorable ear protection.
The Bishop's 5k
The Jubilee continued early Saturday morning with the Bishop's 5k. The quick and the fit embarked on a run or walk around Shrine Mont's campus, beginning and ending in front of the hotel.
This year's winner was Clara, a St. George's Session IV camper who came down the hill just to run the race, followed soon after by her dad, Buzz (below, left). Rob Reed, former St. George's counselor and program director, and his daughter (below, right) came in third, making her the fastest toddler in the race and Rob the fastest thirty-something.
The Family Fun Fest
The family fun fest went on in front of the Virginia House during and after the Bishop's 5k, and included carnival games and a magic show. The magic show may have involved Bishop Gulick, assistant bishop of Virginia, volunteering for the guillotine magic trick (above, left), but any alleged pictures of Bishop Gulick with his head in the gallows have been confiscated by the Presiding Bishop's office .
Staff V. World
Just after 11:00 a.m., the annual Staff v. World Ultimate Frisbee game began. If you're not familiar with it, this is the moment each year where tensions run highest. Alumni, family and friends (world team) - easily recognized as the team with shirtless players - face off against the current Shrine Mont Camps staff (staff team). Well over a hundred campers watched the game, cheering their current counselors and lovingly heckling their former counselors.
Athleticism and fine motor skills were on display. After a hard-fought first half, the score was tied at 6-6. In the second half, the coordinated and college-athlete-heavy staff team pulled ahead of the deep but approaching-their-ten-and-twenty-year-college-reunions world team and finished with an official score of "a lot to not as much," handing the staff their third consecutive win.
As always, the game was immediately followed by the tie that binds everyone, staff and world, on and off the mountain. Mike Wade, director of St. George's, led all present in the shouting prayer. God loves the world. God loves the staff.
The Bishop's Bluegrass Festival
Many Nights Ahead and Bourbon Barrel Congress, two local bands with a fresh take on the genre, played the Bishop's Bluegrass Festival.
The festival had the highest attendance it has in years, drawing on both the fan base of the bands and a sharp spike in attendance of alumni and friends. We look forward to even bigger numbers next year as more people realize the awesomeness that is listening to bluegrass on a beautiful Shenandoah Valley day.
Hoss Plays the All-Camp Dance
A few hours after the bluegrass ended, Hoss took over the lower pavilion to strut its Ramones-meet-Crosby-Stills-and-Nash swagger across the stage. Hoss is a band formed by St. George's Camp alumni, often calling up current and former counselors and family to sing a song or two.
All the camps on the mountain came down to the pavilion for their evening program, where they received an education in classic rock and the "ancient history" of camp music, as Henry Burt, former St. George's director, put it. The songs ranged from Violent Femmes, to AC/DC (with St. George's counselor Mark Tanner on lead vocals), to Lit, the late-nineties one-hit wonder, to The Talking Heads, to a beloved original song called "I Love This Place" written by Rad Burt, also a former St. George's director.
Another fantastic Bishop's Jubilee concluded on Sunday morning with Bishops Johnston and Gulick leading an all-camp Eucharist. Bishop Johnston preached and celebrated. Bishop Gulick baptized his sixth grandchild. The assembled rocked, rejoiced and gave thanks.
O happy day! Until next year.
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.