A regular part of my life for the last 15 years has been a martial arts camp I attended every summer. From my early days as a white belt when I couldn't figure out how to fall down, up to last summer when I tested for a senior rank, this was something I looked forward to. The final decision, after postponing, has been made. This year it will not happen.
It had always been more than the practice sessions. They are the primary activity in camp taking up 6 to 8 hours a day, but they are not camp itself.
It was the camp infrastructure. A 1930s CCC camp run and rented by the S.C. State Parks. Completely run down, no air conditioning, hardly any electricity outside the main buildings and mess hall, no screens, cold outdoor showers. A perfect camp for an old Boy Scout to feel at home.
It was the people. From all over the country we would gather, all sort of backgrounds, all different ages, from high school to retirees, with a shared love of the art and the camp experience. I have made bonds with with some friends as close as any family.
We brought in all the supplies and cooked all our own meals. And it wasn't hot dogs on a stick. It was a stocked out pantry and walk-in refrigerator. Make what you want for breakfast and lunch, a cup of coffee and bowl of fruit, or a full on western omelet with bacon and grits. Just clean up after.
The evening meals were a full production made by a volunteer crew under the camp cook's leadership. You sign up for a meal and a clean-up once during the week. These pictures are from a Tuesday night, making Mongolian barbeque for a hundred people. Prep out all the components, then cook it a couple of pans at a time and mix it all in big serving trays. Serve with rice.