Sponsor An Orange Grove Camper - And Response (2)

Thursday, April 03, 2014

In the summer of both 1978 and 1979, I began my life-long love for the Double G Ranch, its Orange Grove campers, and the Orange Grove Center itself.  In ’78 and ’79, I had the privilege of serving as a counselor for Orange Grove at the Double G. For a young high school student, it was a great way to spend a summer.

Back then, we had two camp sessions, each lasting two weeks.  For the Orange Grove campers, visiting Double G was the highlight of the year. Swimming, games, arts and crafts every day, recreational activities and entertainment at night. It was the highlight of the year for many of us counselors also.

We developed relationships that last to this day. We cared for each other. We became a family. The camp experience at Double G is not just a learning experience for the campers, it’s a learning experience for the counselors and staff . In many cases, these developmentally disabled campers have been spending their summers at Double G for decades. Yes, decades.

And the fact that Camp Director Lizzie Cheek may have the unenviable task of telling some Orange Grove students they won’t be able to attend Double G this year – just because of money – is simply unacceptable. 

I can tell you without doubt your donations to insure a full slate of campers will bring smiles to the faces of these wonderful individuals, and if you see them in action at camp, a smile to your heart as well.

And maybe – just maybe – a few tears of happiness. 

Sponsor a camper.  Make a donation. I know I am.

Visit crowdrise.com/ggcampscholarshipfund, or call Camp Director Lizzie Cheek directly at 706.714-7638.

Chip Chapman

* * *

Thank you so much, Chip Chapman, for letting us know what’s up on summer camp at “Double G.” My brother forwarded this to me and five of my other sibs who also were counselors. Emails went flying around and we are automatically all in. I don’t really feel like I have a choice in the matter.

I was 15 the first time I went and was scared to death of “retarded people.” I hadn’t even unpacked before “Karen from Gadsden, Alabama” informed me that I was her boyfriend. Okay, uh, well, I didn’t actually have a girlfriend but oh, God, what have I done?  About 10 minutes into my nightmare a counselor named Karen said “Just relax. Don’t be so afraid.”

I thought Karen, the counselor, was pretty so I slowly did what she said and thirty minutes into my new adventure I realized that I might be doing something radically cool. It’s actually okay to let Karen, the camper, tell everybody she loves me even though we’ve only known each other for 1,200 seconds. It’s also okay for Downs’ boy Johnny to come up out of nowhere and wrap his beautiful 14 year old self around you and squeeze for no reason other than he just wants to. I didn’t know then that summer camp at Double G would profoundly affect who I am now, some 36 years later.

They gave out T-shirts for the camp picture every session and later that summer I was wearing mine while checking out the new Harleys at Pate’s Harley out on 153. A big guy who was about three or four years older was on the other side of the showroom and he said “Yeah man! Everybody outta go ta Orange Grove Camp! Haha!” and then he contorted himself up while his buddy laughed. I wanted to ax murder the doofus right then and there. But he was right. Everybody should do that.

Every single bit of it. The doo doo on your hands dirty pants, the slobbering, the butt kicking you might get that day when Joe forgot his meds and everything else. What I got in return made me pretty well shocked that they actually paid me to do that. I will love, forever and in no particular order, Steven Davis, Edmund Antribus, Joe Cody, Hubie Green, Johnny Cooley, Jackie Tyber, Bobby Owens and every single other camper whose name I no longer remember. One kid was a roly-poly Downs who was permanently attached to some cheap binoculars. When Bob Brandy came he danced like a Rockette, kicking his feet out full tilt while looking into the distance with his “nocklers.” You had to laugh.

I’m ashamed that I can’t remember my girlfriend's last name. She was Karen and her arms really were contorted like that jackass in the bike shop. She had a long face and I was afraid of her. She invited me and my sister, Monica, to visit her in Gadsden. If I could go back in time, that’s one of the first things I’d do. And I’d give her a big kiss.

So yes, do what the good man Chip Chapman says to do. You will change somebody’s life.

And one more not so little thing: None of this would have happened if it weren’t for Gordon Street. Hundreds of people like me learned about love because of his unyielding dedication to GG Ranch. God blessed him and he is resting in peace. No doubt. 

Savage Glascock

* * *

Thanks to Mr. Chapman and the Chattanoogan.com for bringing this wonderful program to the attention of our community. I do not have any ties to Orange Grove, but your heart has to go out when you think of all of the wonderful work they do. 

I hope the letter and attached link leads to broad support from many people because even small donations, when aggregated together, can make a real difference in the lives of those who deserve our community's support. 

David R. Evans

Signal Mountain



Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Supporting Dr. Mary Headrick

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mary Headrick two years ago when she first ran for Congress. I was convinced then and am even more convinced now that she is the best choice for the 3rd Congressional District. Dr. Headrick has degrees in math and computer science, which shows she has a brain and in medicine, which shows she has a heart. She is superbly qualified to serve our ... (click for more)

Architect/Contractor Selected By Erlanger For New Children's/Women's Hospital

HKS has been selected as the architect and McCarthy as the construction manager for a new Children’s and Women’s Hospital at the Erlanger campus on East Third Street. The Atlanta team competed against another Atlanta group for the major construction project. Erlanger officials announced Monday that $11.5 million is being set aside in a debt restructuring for the new $30 ... (click for more)

Westfield Charged In Burning, Torture Of Kitten At Cleveland

An arrest has been made in the case of a kitten who was burned and tortured in Cleveland, Tn. At 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Gary A. Westfield, 31, of Cleveland, was placed in custody on a warrant obtained by Lt. Robert Harbison and Detective Matt Jenkins of the Criminal Investigations Division. Westfield was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a Class E felony. ... (click for more)

Mihaescu, March Win Region 3-A/AA Cross Country Titles

The weather wasn't quite as nice as it was last week, but it was still sunny and warm on Tuesday afternoon for the Region 3-A/AA cross country championships, which were held on a flat course at Camp Jordan in East Ridge. Sequoyah senior Danielle March was the female winner as she toured the 5K course in 21 minutes, 46 seconds to win by almost a minute over KiAnna Queener, ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Defeats East Ridge 7-1 In Soccer Semi

The Boyd-Buchanan girls’ soccer team has already made history this season, but coach Todd Ledbetter’s Lady Bucs are hungry for more. After winning the school’s first district title last week, they moved a step closer to another championship with a Region 3-A/AA semifinal victory at home on Tuesday. Boyd-Buchanan, the 5-A/AA champion, defeated District 6 runner-up ... (click for more)