The organized summer camp is the most important step in education that America has given the world.” – Charles Eliot, President of Harvard University
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that last summer, 12 year old E spent an entire, glorious month at Lookout Mountain Camp for Boys (LMC). This was E’s first time as an LMC camper, but our family has a wonderful history there. My older brother Robert was a counselor at LMC, and E’s big brother Henry was a very enthusiastic LMC camper for three years between the ages of 10-13. (I must digress a moment here for a brief moment of maternal bragging to note that both of my boys won LMC’s version of the “Best Camper” award while there) Additionally, all four Abernathy boys – Lane, Charlie, Drew and Harris – attended LMC throughout childhood and their teenage years, and back in the day, their father Bill was an LMC camper as well.
So last year, when E went to LMC for the first time, he was aware that he was following in a very happy family tradition. He was excited to go, and he expected to have a great time during his two week session. What he didn’t expect was that he would love it so much that he would beg to stay ANOTHER two weeks, meaning he spent one entire month at camp. He happily would have stayed another month if we hadn’t dragged him back home.
Lookout Mountain Camp for Boys is a family-owned and operated camp – the same family for the past 80 years. It’s also a very old-fashioned camp experience for modern boys – no video games, no ipods, no computers, no TV….(and no air conditioning!) The cabins are rustic but supercool, and the campus is gorgeous and rugged, set in a unique geographic spot atop Lookout Mountain – on the Alabama side (three states – Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama claim part of the Mountain).
Much like a high quality private school, LMC is not inexpensive. However I’ve seen first-hand what an LMC camping experience does for a boy, and I consider LMC to be an investment in my son’s character development. Plus, it’s just plain fun – the most fun E says he’s ever had. Ever. In his whole life. This year, however, I wasn’t sure how I was going to swing paying for camp for E. Earlier this spring, I discussed my concerns about finances with the camp director, Woody Morrison, who knows how our family’s last year has gone. Woody really wanted E to return to LMC this summer – just as much as I wanted him to get to go – so together, Woody and I came up with an idea for a barter. I offered to share the LMC camp experience here on my blog, through the eyes of an LMC parent (me), and in exchange, the LMC folks worked out a way for me to afford camp for my son this year. I am absolutely thrilled with this plan because I truly, truly believe in what LMC has to offer boys, so I love the idea of getting to tell other parents about this very special place on top of a mountain.
So that’s what I will be doing in the next two months, as we get E packed and ready to leave for LMC, and then during his month-long stay at Lookout Mountain Camp for Boys. I’ll be blogging about exactly why I am such a fan of LMC, about what specific benefits I believe it offers boys – and middle school-age boys like E in particular – and also sharing what it’s like for parents to get a kid ready to be away from home and out in the woods for a full month. Just like last summer, when I also blogged quite a bit about E’s time at LMC, I will also be sharing photos of the camp, and of E and friends enjoying it.
I’m excited to be able to share this with all of you, and if you are a blog reader who also happens to be the parent or grandparent of a boy between the ages of 7-14, I hope that as you read my posts about Lookout Mountain Camp for Boys, you will take a close look at what LMC has to offer, and be sure to email me if you have any questions about the camp or its programs. If I can’t answer your question, I will direct you to Camp Director Woody Morrison, whose family founded LMC more than 80 years ago.