By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
On Sundays, during Summer Camp, between 2:30-4:30, I can typically be found standing at the first bend of Camp’s driveway. It’s there that I, along with a few other staffers, first greet families as they arrive for check-in.
The families are welcomed, and then the campers are told who their counselor for the week will be, as well as which cabin they’ll be staying in. Over the past couple of years, a phenomenon of sorts has occurred more often than one might believe. What is this phenomenon that I speak of? It goes like this…
After all of the information has been given, someone in the vehicle will say something like, “Wait one second… We’ve got something for you.”
“What could it be?” I wonder.
He or she will reach for something in their glovebox/console/European carry-all/purse and then turn back with a sly smile on their face.
“Here. These are for you.”
My gaze moves slowly and nervously from their face to their hand, and there, packed tightly in an envelope or Ziploc baggy, are a whole plethora of Scoopie Tokens. Yeah, Culver’s Scoopie Tokens. Sometimes there’s a dozen. Sometime’s there’s 30-40. Once, this past summer, there were 88.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the love the Camp Gray Staff has for Culver’s, and specifically the Scoopie Meal. If you haven’t heard, allow me to briefly bring you up to speed. Ten years ago, a dream was born – it was simple in theory, but difficult in execution. And when I write, “difficult,” what I really mean to write is “delicious” – it was delicious in execution. The dream was this: save enough Culver’s Scoopie Tokens to treat the entire Camp Gray Summer Staff to a free Scoopie Meal – approximately 500 Tokens.
It took six years for the dream to first be realized. Along with a few friends, my diet for those six years consisted of loads of Culver’s. Like I said, it was delicious in execution. The 2012 Summer Camp Staff was the lucky group to be a part of such a monumental day. It was a monumental day, indeed, as even Culver’s mascot; an anthropomorphic custard cone named “Scoopie” was on hand to celebrate the big day!
The Odyssey to 500 – the story of that first successful all-staff trip to Culver’s – was later written and shared on our blog. With word out about this goofy and fun adventure, it has become common for folks, near and far, to pitch in their Tokens.
When families hand over their collection of Tokens, in those moments, I feel many emotions. For one, I feel gratitude that a family would be so generous. Secondly, I am overjoyed that the CG family is so willing to embrace the weird, funny, and goofy things we do here at the Gray. Last, but certainly not least, I feel hungry – hungry for a delicious Culver’s Scoopie Meal. I don’t think hunger is an emotion, but in those moments, I feel as though it is.
The families drive away, into the heart of Camp, and I’m left there with a smile on my face (a smile that looks awfully similar to the smile on the face of Culver’s anthropomorphic mascot) and a whole bundle of future Scoopie Meals in my hand.
Even more often, I’ll walk into the office here at Camp Gray, and with a quick glance into my mailbox, I’ll find a Token or two. Or ten. Sometimes I’ll receive random letters in the mail, with a kind note and a Token inside.
<True story: As I was writing this blog, Pat Finnegan, a camper dad and big-time supporter of Camp Gray, stopped by and tossed me a rubber-banded bundle of 140 Tokens. Awesome.>
Many hands make light work. Many mouths eat lots of delicious Culver’s Scoopie Meals.
In 2015, just three years after our inaugural all-staff trip to Culver’s, enough Tokens were saved for our second all-staff journey to Culver’s. Then, this past summer – just one year later – we’d already saved enough for yet another trip to Culver’s.
Thank you, Culver’s. Your food is delicious. Your staff is friendly and warm. Your ambiance is second to none. Some have even claimed that the founding of Culver’s was one of the top-3 moments in American history.
Lastly, HUGE thanks to the Camp Gray Family. Your support never wavers – even in the weird and goofy things that we do here at Camp Gray. Truly, without you, Camp Gray wouldn’t be Camp Gray.
A few final notes:
We hope to see you all back at Camp Gray soon! We have retreats during the school year – check out the schedule by clicking here!
Applications for our 2017 Summer Camp Staff and our 2017-2018 Servant Leadership Team have been posted. Apply now to be a part of the mission of Camp Gray!
Registration for Summer Camp 2017 opens on November 15th at 9:00am sharp! Check out the Summer Camp Session Chart to begin making Summer Camp plans!
Do you have a question for the semi-regular Tuesdays with Topher Mailbag? Send them here! Check out the first, second, third, and fourth mailbag!