Last month we introduced you to Peggy, and today we get to spend a little time with another camp favorite: David Vining!
David’s presence at camp is larger than life, and not just because of his height and booming voice! His kindness, thoughtfulness, and signature Tennis traditions are known throughout Tuxedo, and if you ever sat at his table or took his class, we know he made an impact on you.
It truly is a beautiful morning because we get to sit down with David! Scroll on through to learn a little bit more about how he found out about camp, why he returns year after year, and the funny story that led to one of your favorite Breakfast Club stories. Take it away, David!
How did you first learn about Greystone and how many years have you been here? Give us a little history about how you got here!
I learned about Greystone from Jim Bob and Nancy Wilson from Tryon, NC where I grew up. They had worked at camp in the 70s where they met each other and fell in love.
They knew that I was a tennis player, so Jim Bob drove me up to camp on Greystone’s first day of Orientation of June camp in 1983. I met Libby Miller, and she hired me right on the spot. She said that she only had a place for me for June camp, but I ended up staying all summer. Ironically, years later Jim Bob and Nancy started their own camp called Camp Wayfarer.
What does your role at camp look like now?
My role at camp is to run the Tennis program.
What has kept you coming back for so many years?
The culture at camp is healthy, wholesome, encouraging, fun and honoring to God. It is a place where the negative influences of the world stay on the outside of the Greystone bubble. The most beautiful part of camp is how God can use it to affect our hearts. Without the distractions of the world, we can see things more clearly and get a healthy perspective of our lives that we can’t often see during the year. Many of our schedules are way too busy when we are at home.
What do you enjoy about teaching Tennis?
It is fun! Or as we say during our opening night tennis presentation, “Of course it’s fun!”
Where do you live during the year and what does your life look like when you’re not at camp?
During the year I live with my precious wife Beth in Signal Mountain, TN right next to Chattanooga where I work at the McCallie School. McCallie is an all boys prep school, and I teach 7th grade Math and coach the middle school Tennis team in the Fall and Spring.
Do you have a favorite or special camp memory that sticks out?
Through email during the school year I have often sent Jimboy excellent jokes to use at breakfast club. Jimboy emails me back sharing how great that they are, but then he rarely uses them.
One day at camp after lunch we were sweeping the Dining Hall, and I tried to encourage him to use the famous Lorraine joke (I can see Clearly Now). He kindly told me that it just wasn’t good enough. Thankfully, former camper and counselor great Meredith Freeman overheard our conversation and convinced Jimboy that it was indeed a classic. If it wasn’t for her, many Greystone girls would have never heard the beautiful story of Lorraine and Clearly. Can you imagine Breakfast club members living life without hearing about Lorraine and Clearly?
Why is Greystone special to you?
The relationships, the culture, and the fun! Life is about our relationship with God and with people. At camp this is magnified. There is a sense of purpose, belonging and community. There is so much fun, laughter, joy, friendships and growth. It is a job, it can be hard at times, but it is fulfilling and worthwhile.
Only at Greystone can you teach Tennis in a post card setting next to a lake in the mountains with an “ocean breeze” to cool you off. Psalm 19 tells us that the creation points to the Creator, and that is so evident at Greystone.
Favorite camp food: Poppyseed chicken casserole
Favorite Tradition: Sundays at camp
Class I would like to take that’s not my own: Basketball! I coached it for at least 20 years at McCallie.
Anything else you want to add or say to our campers?
My encouragement to the Greystone family is for all of us to pray for a grateful heart. Everyone wants to feel appreciated! In fact, if we don’t say thank you, then we are being ungrateful. It doesn’t matter what we feel in our hearts. If we don’t say the words, “thank you,” then the person that has done something nice for you will probably feel rejected.
We especially need to have a grateful heart toward our parents. As children we have a tendency to take them and their sacrifices for granted. When we start sincerely thanking them for the meals that they prepare for us, the clothes that they buy, the cell phones that they finance, etc., then our relationships with them will become deeper and better.
I heard recently on a Christian radio program that outside of work we spend 9 hours a day on some type of screen. As a culture we are addicted, and many of us are not aware of it. It doesn’t leave us fulfilled but does the opposite. The challenge for all of us is to guard how much time that we spend on screens. One of the many beautiful qualities of camp is that we are not on screens, and we are living life to the full.
Finally, to all of the Greystone girls that take Tennis, remember the following: It’s all about having fun, and winning is fun!