Every morning at Camp Tall Timbers, as the sun creeps through the trees and the birds chirp cheerily, the wake-up bell begins our day. This eight o’clock bell is followed by another bell at 8:20, marking breakfast time. Personally, I use those twenty minutes to look out the window and contemplate the world before getting up to corral my campers into wakefulness. 8:00 to 8:20 is a quiet time in my cabin: we mostly do our own thing, dressing and washing and passing one another with bleary smiles, but while we putter about, other Tall Timbers staff and campers have bounced out of bed and are heading towards the pool for Dippies.

Ah, Dippies: the quasi-secret society of early risers who choose to go for a frigid swim before breakfast. It is difficult to explain my perception of Dippies: while words cannot describe the extent to which I do not want to jump in the pool that early, I also suspect that the regular attendees of Dippies sessions experience some sort of cultish glee in their activity. When, at morning announcements, the Dippies lifeguard announces the brave souls who were there, I watch these campers exchange proud glances. In these moments, I wonder if it would be worth exchanging my few moments of contemplation for that little burst of Dippies pride. And if I managed to drag myself to Dippies, would my campers follow suit? Would we become, through the power of leadership, a community of proud Dippies instead of sheepish Sleepies?

This is, of course a question about more than just an early-morning swim. I’m talking about leadership, and making the choice to do something different. Even as our Dippies risk the cold for that surge of adrenaline each morning, a new batch of young, nervous Wet Your Feet Weekers have begun their week at camp. These are campers who aren’t quite ready to leap into a full session, but who want to experience Tall Timbers nonetheless. I’ve had Wet Your Feet Weekers in my tubing classes: they jump gamely onto the tube and hold on as we zoom away on the jet ski. They are forging a brand new path for themselves. They’re choosing the scarier, more rewarding path. And that’s what makes them, and the Dippies, true Camp Tall Timbers greats.

Other Tall Timbers Happenings

–       This week’s Cleanest Cabin Award (and the reward trip to Pack’s for ice cream) went to Cabins H and 5

–       Tie dye is beginning in the Art Shack

–       Grace Brown got a rally of 51 in tennis

–       Danielle Tundo and Adam Dunham hit the bullseye in riflery

–       Ignatio Marco flipped the tube over in tubing, but held on anyway

–       Ella Perkins skated around the roller rink in 18 seconds flat

–       Lori Belt got almost all the way around the challenge course route