The Belle test and Ranks of Trekkers and Belles have been a long standing tradition at Camp Crestridge for years and years. We love the experience this provides for our campers. The lessons that come from the challenge, the test, and the outcome of it don’t stop at the lifting of the silence ban. Many times those lessons are just beginning. We love how God uses this experience in each of our lives (whether we are in the test or not) in very different ways. For some it is a once in a lifetime unique experience that challenges them in fun ways that can only be experienced at camp, for others it is a pivotal point in their walks with the Lord, for others it is a time they discover things about who God has made them to be, for some it is an experience of discipline and dedication and dependence. Whatever the impact, we love that there always IS an impact. It is an opportunity for us all to see challenges, tests and experiences as coming from the Lord and being FOR the Lord.
This year we want to share how an element of the Belle and Trekker Tradition will be evolving. In the past we have had girls who have, or will be receiving the rank of Trekker or Belle sit in the spotlight on the stage during our Council of Progress Ceremony. This year we will have the Trekkers and Belles sit in the audience with their fellow cabin mates out of the spotlight. We will still have them walk across the stage to receive their honor bands and ranks, but we hope that this will allow them to simply enjoy the ceremony and message as we all do, without having the eyes of camp on them. Our desire is to provide a setting for all of our girls to both celebrate like crazy with those who have had a unique experience AND to easily focus on Christ and the growth He is working in us through the encouraging illustrations and His word spoken through our camp leadership.
Chippewa, Chickasaw, Creek, Cheyenne, Catawba, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chehoapek, WE CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO GET HERE!
So many things to look forward to!
My grandfather (Kermit Schmidt) was a Baptist preacher at First Baptist Church, in Tulsa, OK. In 1959, he and my grandmother put my mother on a train bound for Ridgecrest, NC. She attended Crestridge for two or three years as a Choctaw and Cherokee, and loves to tell stories about how fearsome Miss Bell was, how they would slide down Choctaw Hill when it rained (because there were no stairs at that time), and how they would sunbathe on the roof of the bathhouse.
Following my mother’s time at Crestridge, I had two other aunts attend, although my grandparents never visited Crestridge. They had served as Baptist missionaries in Brazil, and had spent some time at the conference center. I suppose they felt that Crestridge was a safe place for their children, and had a strong faith that Jesus would be a shepherd and watch over all. Those were certainly different times!
One of my aunts, Peggy Schmidt, became a Belle during her time at Crestridge. When her younger sister followed her footsteps to attend CC4G, Peggy felt it was so important for someone to be there at closing program, that she herself caught the bus from Oklahoma to North Carolina, to support her younger sister.
Many years later, ironically, I was convinced by a twelve year old friend of mine at my church to try out the camp she had been attending. Thanks to Cara Pollard, I started at Crestridge in 1984 as a Chickasaw. I enjoyed my years at camp so much that I returned as a Cherokee counselor in 1992, with Nancy Clare Morgan. It was one of the best summers of my LIFE! I still have my four goals in my Bible from various camp years, as to how I wanted to grow Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically, and Mentally.
Yet another generation later, in 2007, my mother and I dropped off my seven year old for Starter camp, having no idea what kind of an impact Crestridge would make in her life. All of Morgan’s best friends are Crestridgers, and they keep in touch throughout the year on Instagram, text messages, email, Snapchat, and any other type of social media. One New Year’s Eve a few years ago I asked her who she was texting? It turns out she was texting with her Chickasaw counselor. What an amazing impression these staffers make on our children.
In addition to Morgan’s experience at Crestridge, my son, Logan, has become a big fan of Camp Ridgecrest. He looks forward to his time there every summer. In addition, the fantastic marketing that the camps do on Instagram, Facebook, and snail mail keeps the kids energized and excited all year long. They participate in various online competitions, look forward to seeing posts about returning counselors, view silly videos that the staff put together during the off-season, read blogs/online Bible studies, and love individualized notes that they receive.
For all of the memories that I hold dear, for those that my children hold dear, for the future memories my children are making at Crestridge and Ridgecrest, and for the part these camps are playing in the Spiritual growth of my children, I am so proud to be able to be a part of the Camp Crestridge Alumnae and Friends Board. Thank you for this opportunity. With my feet on the ground and my heart attuned, Crestridge has taught me to always reach for the stars!
– Anne-Britton Arnett
Each year it is great to see girls striving to know their Savior more and more. Belle is one way in which we challenge the girls a little more in their walk with Christ. The girls tapped out during 1A 2011 were: Harper Dewine, Ruthie Wofford, Anniston Liscomb, Katie Dillard, Amy Davis, Molly Smith, Ragan Jones, Kate Causey, Sydney Pashley, Haylee Shirley, and Hannah Miller. Kate, Sydney, Haylee, and Hannah all achieved the rank of Belle this session.
This was the largest group of girls that was tapped out during this summer. There were 19 girls tapped out this session. Grace Baker, Hannah Baker, Chandler Glover, Sarah dumont, Carianne Wright, Megan Helbing, Kelsey Lange, Millie Marshall, Mika Snead, Sarah Berlinsky, Christina Shepard, Arden Thompson, Andrea Albertson, Cari Phillips, and Erin Brown all achieved the rank of Trekker. Hannah Forsell, Kaley Knapp, Cary Murray, and Molly Speese achieved the rank of Belle.
During 1B 2011, 17 girls were tapped out for the Belle challenge by Ashley and Debbye. Kacey cuda, Grace Valentine, Rachel Spivey, Emily Boggess, Abby Hani, Miranda Andrews, Madeline Gaffney, Hannah Joel, and Hannah Daughtridge all achieved the rank of Trekker. Heather Francis, Savannah Bowker, Robyn Cothran, Mackenzie Bowlin, Hannah Norman, Lauren Amos, Morgan Perry, and Mackenzie Bolton achieved the rank of Belle this session.
During session 2A last summer, five girls were tapped out for the Belle challenge. Blake Bitle, Avery Rasmussen, Ginny Stevens, and Ansley Thomas achieved the rank of Trekker and Addi Baker achieved the rank of Belle.