We just got back from a wonderful Family Weekend at Victory Junction Gang Camp. It was their immunology and GI weekend. The whole family gets to attend these weekend events held through the fall and winter, and it gives you a little idea of what the kids get to do there during the summer. Of course in the middle of January, the weather was a bit colder than during the summer; in fact, it snowed on Saturday! Snow is a pretty rare sight in this part of NC, so it made our weekend there even more unique. We left home on Friday morning and drove to Richmond where we picked up one of my sisters. We then decided to make a slight detour in our route in order to stop at Don’s favorite NC barbeque place, Ralph’s, for a late lunch. We arrived at the camp only minutes before the gates opened. We checked in, and we were able to stay in the same cabins that the kids stay in during the summer. Ours was Darlington, one of the “green” cabins.
Each family is assigned a “Crew Chief” and most families also have a “Project Leader” who spends time with your family and helps you with anything you need. Our Crew Chief was Kimmy. Kimmy is from Florida and works for Boggy Creek, another member of the Hole in The Wall Gang Camps. I think Kimmy thoroughly enjoyed getting to see snow, but was also happy to be going home to a warmer climate. We were also assigned Adam who was a Project Leader in the Wood Shop. Adam had been one of Ray’s counselor’s during the summer. Both were very happy to be reunited. I have to compliment both Kimmy and Adam for the wonderful job they do with these kids. They were both just great people who were willing to do anything in their power to make sure Ray had a great time.
After check-in everyone went to the Fuel Stop for a buffet dinner. There was dancing after dinner, in fact, there seems to be dancing after just about every meal. It does make you get up and work off some of what you ate. On Friday night there was also a short opening “campfire”, although because of the weather the “campfire” was electric and it was held indoors, in the theater. There were still some very cute skits by the staff. That was about all the time we had on Friday.
Saturday started bright and early. Adam and Kimmy came by to get Ray at about 7:30am. Ray picked the activity, so they were off to Adam’s Race Shop where Ray proceeded to beat them both at bowling on the Wii. Breakfast began around 8:30am and there was, of course, dancing afterward. Funny thing, I can’t seem to get the words to The Cupid Shuffle out of my head.
Ray picked which activites we did for most of the rest of the day. Although a few people dared to go fishing in the snow, we decided that was too cold an activity. First stop was the Horse Power Garage where they were using the indoor riding ring. Ray was the only one to show up at the time, so he got to ride on one of the horses for quite some time. The lamas were also there. I think Ray was more scared of the lamas than he was of the horses. We finally got him to pet one, but he wouldn’t hold the lead and walk it around.
Despite the cold weather, Ray had to play Mini-Golf, although by the time we were done, his hands were freezing cold. He didn’t bother to put his gloves in his jacket pocket. They were left sitting back in the car! We didn’t keep score, but I know I sure didn’t win. Next we headed to the bowling alley. We had time to complete one full game and got part way through another before the lanes closed for lunch. Ray did really well with a score of 105. (He was using the bumpers though).
By now the snow had really begun to fall and stick to the ground. Several of the planned afternoon activities had to be cancelled because the people coming into camp were unable to travel. The staff was quick to come up with alternatives though. Bingo, a movie, and the reopenning of some of the indoor activity areas made it an enjoyable afternoon despite the snow.
After dinner there was, once again, more dancing! I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that the food served at the camp was exceptionally good. They had choices like eggplant parmasan and pork roast along with fresh vegetables, salad, fruit, etc. I came expecting the food to pretty much match that of a school cafeteria, or worse yet, Cue Camp food. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of every meal. Saturday night was also Stage Night. Stage Night is a kind of an open mike night. Kids, parents, counselor’s can show off any type of talent or perform a skit for the admiring crowd.
Sunday was a short day, but the highlight was a kickball game in the new Superdome, an indoor play field. The newly constructed field hasn’t even been dedicated yet! This building is a wonderful new addition to the campus. The kids were divided up into 2 teams while crew chiefs and parents made up the outfield. Everyone got a chance to play and a few enthusiastic folks even started up a cheerleading squad on the sidelines. The final event for the weekend was a video of everything that had gone on at camp over the weekend. A diligent crew of 2, film the kids during the weekend, and amazingly produce a video. They show the video in the theater before giving everyone a DVD of their own, along with a print of the group photo. As we headed out the doors at the end of the show though, we were met with a surprise. Standing off to the side in the hallway was Kyle Petty. He said that he rarely gets an opportunity to visit the camp during family weekends, but had wanted to see the camp with it’s first real snowfall on the ground. We were lucky enough to get to chat with him for a few minutes and Ray had his picture taken with him. What an exciting and unexpected ending to our amazing weekend.