I love nice people!!

To give you a little background as to who is writing this blog, my role at Tremont is a relatively new one.  I help with the marketing and whatever else I can do to be of help and not a hindrance.  Now, how that came about is an interesting story in itself, but one for another time.  Handily, I’m also a photographer, so I thought the 4th of July weekend might be a prime opportunity to do a little bit of both and maybe have them work together.

As for the title of this blog entry, that’s something that a friend and coworker of mine used to say all the time when she got off the phone with a volunteer.  We worked at a homeless ministry, so her full time job was managing and coordinating volunteers.  Anyway, that little phrase has stuck with me ever since and I thought it was so fitting for my experience this last weekend.  Here’s the tale as to why….

I had been at Tremont all day on Saturday the 3rd, just to see if I could be of any help with the holiday rush since we were full for the weekend.  However, our staff is quite capable and very efficient, so they really didn’t need me for anything as they had it all under control.  I was planning on photographing the festivities later that evening since there was going to be a live bluegrass band at the pavilion, but in the mean time, I thought I would take a walk around the campground to see if I could maybe talk to some folks and take a few pictures of people in the action of camping.  Now, keep in mind that in the “photojournalism” department, I’m used to working with homeless people and recovering addicts who don’t always LOVE having their photo taken.  So, as my first go at this, and being by myself, I had a little trepidation.  That was quickly abolished…

After timidly approaching a few folks, not wanting to intrude upon them, I began to get drawn in to family gatherings and all kinds of wonderful and intriguing conversations.  I know at least 3 people tried to feed me!  Most folks were happy to let me take a couple of pictures, but more than that, they began to tell me where they were from, how long they had been camping at Tremont, and in many cases, how their children had grown up camping at Tremont.  Several families that I talked to had been coming there for more than 10 years, some more than 20.  It was so interesting to learn a little bit of their story, where they were from, what brought them there, and their favorite things about Tremont, Townsend, Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

As it happened, several of the families I talked to were from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.  It’s great to have such a beautiful destination that close to home, especially with the current economy.    And it’s definitely a small world!  In talking to one family, I found out they are neighbors and fellow church members with one of my cousins!

Along with the friendly welcome and conversation, the thing that struck me most was how many people come to Tremont in groups.  Whether it’s groups of friends or a large family group.  One family that I spent some time with told me that they were spread out over two RV sites and two cabins, but they all congregated at one site for dinner and to spend the evening.  I thought that was awesome that they could all spend time together and still have their own accommodations whatever their individual needs might be.  And there were folks of all ages, the youngest one I met being 5 months all the way to folks in their 70’s.  It was interesting to see several people sitting outside their RV enjoying the beautiful weather with their laptop surfing the net.  My how camping has changed!  However, I think the important and most touching thing to me was that they were spending time TOGETHER.  Sitting around a campfire after a day of assorted activities, it makes me wish that my own family had gone camping when I was growing up…maybe I could still get them to give it a try :).

So, my brief walk around the campground turned into a two and a half hour excursion, but it was the best two and a half hours of my day.  I talked to the owner that night and kept going on and on about all the people I had met, so he suggested that I write about it here…

Here are a few of my shots from the day.  If you would like to see more (you may be in some of them you know!), they are posted on Tremont Outdoor Resort’s facebook page.  Click here to go to that page (become a “fan” while you’re there!).

The "A" section of the campground (or a part of it at least!)

The "A" section of the campground (or a part of it at least!)

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Lots of hungry folks to feed!

Lots of hungry folks to feed!

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I think this one should be called "Happy Campers"!

I think this one should be called "Happy Campers"!

You can even find a little solitude and quiet time too.

You can even find a little solitude and quiet time too.

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going tubing!

going tubing!

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David and his adorable long-haired daschund

David and his adorable long-haired daschund

a group of folks gather to hear the bluegrass band and enjoy some watermelon

a group of folks gather to hear the bluegrass band and enjoy some watermelon

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