“Alright. Tell ‘em your goal,” Operations Manager Dan Burns admonished his toddler, Roan.
“We talked about it,” Mr. Burns coaxed.
Roan stared intently and silently at the microphone.
“Maybe next year,” Mr. Burns shrugged as the audience giggled. The operations manager also assured the audience that his wife’s shirt was only untucked because she was pregnant with their second child. The audience responded with a gasp, quickly followed by excited cheers. Stick Night 2019, held at each pyc since 1994, was well under way.
The event serves as a chance for the campers to introduce themselves to the other 131 teens and the entire pyc staff. It also gives the staff the opportunity to introduce themselves to the campers. Every camper states their name and age, where they are from, and their goals for camp—all the while holding the walking stick from which the night’s name derives.
The night was commenced by Camp Director Stephen Flurry who expressed his excitement for using pyc as an opportunity to spend time with the Edmond AC students since he has been living in Edstone, England for the past five years. “And as a bonus, get to know the future students better,” he added hopefully. Mr. Flurry reiterated the challenge he had given at orientation: to help the campers develop a hunger and thirst for knowledge.
Assistant Camp Director Eric Burns encouraged the campers to take the opportunity given to them and to soak up as much as they could from pyc 2019. As assistant camp director, he assured the campers of his nice, generous and caring personality before passing the stick to his son.
“Hi ya’ll. My name’s Wayne Turgeon,” pyc Australia Camp Director Alex Harrison greeted the crowd. The audience laughed—except, perhaps, for a few first-time campers who may not have understood what their peers and counsellors found so amusing. Mr. Harrison shared his goal of wanting to see the campers succeed in life and to help them break their “sound barriers.”
Volleyball instructor Daryle Hochstetler hoped to get the campers to be less sedentary and move more “so you can experience blood flow and even sweat,” while archery instructor Bailey Crawford’s goal was to make safety a priority to ensure that no canoers—or anyone else—got shot.
Dance instructor Shane Granger told the campers that he and his assistant, Miss Leah Carroll, went to pyc together in 1995 and have been dancing ever since. This elicited an audible, “Aww!” from a few in the audience.
After the activity heads had finished, it was the dorms’ turn to take their place at the microphone.
1B counselor Andy Inojales announced his dorm’s name: the Legion of Loyal Lions. He expressed his hope of helping the boys to develop the boldness, courage and uniqueness of a lion. “Let me hear your roar 1B!” he rallied. 1B responded with a masculine, “Hooyah!”
Gabe of 1B stated that he hoped not to scrape an entire side of his body, recalling his previous year at pyc. Many other campers also conveyed their ambitions to avoid the renewal of former injuries.
2B camper, Jude, admitted that he was not, in fact, socially awkward, but rather, socially lazy. He made it his goal to overcome this tendency, to give of himself, and to leave pyc without regrets.
Many campers had family who were also attending pyc. “I’m an identical twin,” 6G’s Shyenne explained, “You’re not seeing double.” A few campers also had family in the staff. 2B’s Spencer informed the crowd that his father was basketball instructor Dwight Falk. No one in the audience seemed surprised—perhaps the last name gave it away. Skye of 6G also revealed her title of being the only daughter of the “wonderful and amazing Mr. Ryan Malone.”
“It’s my eighth camp and probably the last,” 2G counselor Alexa Turgeon said. She teared up as she earnestly expressed to the camp, “One of our goals is to help them see God’s law is the only way to true freedom, to see this is God’s way of life because we don’t want to lose anyone to the world.”
Some campers had more unusual goals—3G’s Hunter joyfully expressed her hope of seeing a tarantula—while some campers leaned more toward practicality, such as Mitchell of 4B, whose goal was to shave every single day.
Many of the campers shared goals focused on bringing what they learn at pyc back to their families and congregations at home. Willow of 4G shared her intention to lay a foundation at pyc and build on it when she returns to her home country, England.
5G’s Gillian lamented the unpopularity of her puns and declared that she would tell fewer going forward—in fact, she insisted it was a form of pun-ishment.
The counselor of 6B, Danny Cocomise, revealed his dorm’s name to be Abraham’s Audacious Army (AAA) [Incidentally, 6B might start receiving calls from stranded automobile drivers]. Mr. Cocomise then asked his Zimbabwean assistant to pronounce his last name into the microphone. “Man-yeh-pah!” assistant counselor of 6B, Rufaro Manyepa sounded out before the audience inexplicably erupted into applause. As it was Mr. Manyepa’s first stick night, Mr. Cocomise graciously let him hold the stick.
Second-year camper, Micky from 6B, announced that his goal was to not worry this camp. He related his experience of his first pyc and admitted that he had worried a lot. “What do we have to fear with God Almighty on our side?” he exclaimed before signing off with a jubilant, “Have a nice day!”
After the final camper had finished speaking, Mr. Flurry once again stepped up to the microphone, this time to bring stick night to a close. The campers enjoyed a few minutes of fellowship before heading back to their dorms to rest and prepare for whatever adventures the next day would bring.