Celebrating TLC’s 50th Anniversary

We had a such a great time visiting with all our old TLC friends who were able to make the trek up to Saddle Mountain this past weekend!

After they parked their cars and checked in, alumni watched from across the lake as two huge helicopters passed through the valley and high above, 3 skydivers began to descend upon the boys campus field with red smoke and green & white streamers – this could only mean one thing: Break Out!

As soon as Vampire White & Pirate Green began to chant their team names, the alumni were let in to camp for a day spent at their old summer home!  The morning was spent catching up with bunkmates & counselors and touring around the facilities – the mighty Timber Dome, Tiger Stadium, our new Fitness Center, the Links at Saddle Mountain (our golf course) and more!  Soon, it was time for lunch and everyone wandered up to the Dining Hall for hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, watermelon and all the other BBQ favorites!

Not to be deterred by the rain, after lunch we headed to the Timber Dome for the Opening Ceremonies of Marathon – Mindy & Jay demonstrated their egg toss skills and the teams competed in some intense line basketball, with both campers and alumni cheering them on.

Next up was snack before our Alumni Event in the Timber Dome.  Once everyone enjoyed some ice cream, the festivities kicked off with Mindy welcoming everyone back to camp saying, “Despite how much has changed throughout the 50 years, what is so unique about the Timber Lake experience is how much it has remained the same…. and what makes it unlike any other place is the thousands of campers and staff who have been an integral part of this camp’s enduring history.  Everyone has contributed to enriching TLC’s legacy as a place where you get the opportunity to discover who you are, make lasting friendships and become part of a family.”

Arm in arm, we swayed back and forth while singing a few favorite alma maters, “Summer Is Drawing To Its End” and “Reminisce The Summer,” aided by our Collegiate & Teen Girls.

Jay unveiled new plaques and rededicated the Ralph Bannett Fine Arts Pavillion, Sy Lebenger Playhouse, and the Ann Feinzig Lodge, while also naming the kitchen after our late beloved former chef, Al Brown.

We were then treated to a musical performance by the Grammy & Tony Award winning cast of Broadway’s American Idiot performing Green Day favorites “Holiday,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and wrapping up their set with a sing-a-long to the camp classic, “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).”

On behalf of the alumni, Jimmy Charmatz, Neil Canell, Liz Schwack and Jay Canell unveiled a plaque that Jimmy designed, honoring Mindy & Jay for all that they have done to enrich the lives of campers, staff and alumni through the years.

Finally, Jay addressed the crowd and reflected on his years as camper, counselor and director of TLC, saying, “There is no place that I will ever be or ever want to be than right up here on this mountain.  This is my 45th year here – my 32nd year having the privilege and honor as, what I would refer to as the Head Caretaker here because you know, the term ‘Owner’ is really not the correct one – you may have the deed, but you never can really own something that is a living and breathing organism like this one is.  You can only have the privilege of caring for it for a select period of time.  And now, when you sing those words, ‘Dreams really do come true’ – I think I’m the living example of that.”

In a passing of the torch, current camper Jordan Canell (son of alumni Neil Canell), took to the keys to accompany the crowd as we sang “Your Eyes Meet Mine” while campers and alumni alike joined arms with their TLC Family before finishing the day by singing “Drink a toast to Timber Lake, and one for Green and White!”

Enjoy some video highlights below and make sure you share your photos & memories on our Facebook page!

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