Getting to Know Some Unique Camp La Junta Terms.

Getting to Know Some Unique Camp La Junta Terms.

The Camp La Junta Glossary of Terms and Traditions of Interest

AC – Advanced Camper: 14-year-old camper who has completed 8th grade and participates in an accelerated program of challenging activities, life skills and leadership training, in addition to the general camp activities.


  • Adventure Sports – Includes high and low ropes course elements, climbing wall, a zipline and team challenge games; open only to Cowboys.
  • Archery – Target shooting with bows and arrows.
  • Athletics – Team sports and games, including kickball, softball, football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, flickerball, and of course, the La Junta classic, Angleball (and more).
  • Camp Crafts – Learn how to build a fire and other basic camping skills, such as knot tying, building a lean-to, orienteering, etc.
  • Canoeing – This class involves basic to advanced rowing skills in combination with fun games on the waterfront.
  • Fishing – All the fun of fishing and relaxing on the banks of the Guadalupe.
  • Horseback riding – Class teaches the basics of Western riding in the arena, then moves on to the vast array of trails on La Junta property.
  • Indian Lore – Fun class involving Indian folklore, legends, face painting, and unique games.
  • Kayaking – Kayaking skills for one and two-man kayaks; open only to Cowboys and Tophands.
  • Leisure Sports – Class which includes various non-competitive, just-for-fun games such as Frisbee golf, Bocce ball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, croquet, badminton, putt-putt golf, and more; this class does not work on qualifications or patches.
  • Mountain Biking – Learn the basics of biking, bicycle maintenance and intermediate to advanced skill and trail riding; open only to Cowboys and Tophands.
  • Nature/Crafts – Combination of nature study and crafts, fun projects and games.
  • Riflery – Target shooting that starts with basic safety instruction with .22 rifles and moves to high powered rifles and shotguns at advanced levels; follows NRA guidelines.
  • Sailing – Learn to sail on small, 1-2 man Sunfish sailboats on Lake La Junta; open only to Tophands.
  • SCUBA – Open only to Cowboys and Tophands, this class starts with snorkeling basics, then moves on to true training with tanks and masks; follows PADI guidelines, but does not include a certification.
  • Swimming – From basic skills to more difficult strokes and water safety; follows American Red Cross guidelines.
  • Tennis – Ping pong, tennis drills and court play.
  • Trap & Skeet – Open only for Tophands, this class meets at our skeet range on the top of the hill and exposes sharpshooters to flying clay pigeons.
  • Water Games – Water fun and games on the Blob, the Rope swing, the Slide; purely for fun, this class does not involve qualifications or patches.
  • X-treme Sports (Tophand Extreme) – Open only to adventuresome Tophands, this class combines the best of Adventure Sports with Go-Carts and more.

All-Around Cowboy –One of the highest awards a camper can earn in his career; All-Around Cowboy is chosen by the Counselor Staff from the group of Rough Riders, for being the best leader and overall camper of the term. The award is given on Closing Day and its recipient earns a silver, custom-designed James Avery belt buckle.

Aquatics Expert – Award given to campers who have passed the highest qualification levels in all waterfront activities. This award is presented on Closing Day and recipients receive a special Aquatics Expert patch for their Awards Board.

Awards Board – 2′ X 3′ poster designed to display all of the La Junta Awards Patches that a camper may earn in his camping years; given to each new camper at the end of his first summer.

Black Eagles – Honor camper, chosen for the Black Eagle leadership/citizenship program. Returning campers, from the Cowboy and Tophand age divisions, are eligible and must initiate the selection process with a written application. Selection is based on an approval vote by the Counselor Staff. After approval as an “Arrowhead” (new initiate), boys must pass an initiation period, to earn their first official rank as a Black Eagle Brave. In subsequent camping summers, Black Eagles receive leadership/citizenship training, which helps them advance in ranks as Warriors and Sub-Chiefs. Black Eagles are identified by their blue and white bead necklaces.

Black Eagle Chief – One of the highest awards a camper can earn in his camping career; elected by the Counselor Staff from Sub-Chief candidates in their last camping year, the recipient of this award receives a silver James Avery Black Eagle Chief belt buckle and places his Chief necklace on a permanent plaque, displayed in the Dining Hall.

Black Eagle Tap-Out – Night of selection and introduction into the Black Eagles.

Bulldogger – Camper who has earned the right to assist the Ranch Strawbosses with the organization and motivation of the Ranch; Bulldoggers are chosen as the highest point winners, per age division, from the previous summer’s Term and receive a gold James Avery Ranch Brand pendant.

Cabin Inspection – Grading system for cabin clean-up; scored daily by staff, cabins are graded on cleanliness and tidiness and awarded ice cream or soda at lunch for winning scores.

Camp Outs – Overnight outings, organized in cabin groups; every camper takes a camp out with his cabin once during the term; camp out locations vary according to age division but are always on camp property or approved property adjacent to camp. Activities on camp outs include snacks, games, stories, camp fires, late nights, and much fun!

CampMinder/CampInTouch – Online camper community. All registered camp families receive log in and password information. Via CampMinder you can view daily photos, read daily newsletters, watch weekly videos and email campers. Also provides access to update registration information and pay camp store balances.

CIT – Counselor In Training; “Fledgling” 15-year-old camper/staff person who is undergoing a leadership-training program to become a full staff member when he turns 18.

Commissary – Snack time, which is included in tuition cost; this is an all-camp time for campers to grab a snack. In the morning, at 11:50, it is called “Cookie Line” and consists of various cookies; at 4 p.m., campers may grab some kind of ice cream or fruit; and on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, after evening activities, campers may have some fruit before heading to the cabins for showers.

Commissary Window – Actually an old fashioned dutch door off the kitchen. All snacks are passed out of this “window”.

Cookie Line – Almost exactly what it sounds like. Every day between second and third period campers can stop by the commissary window and pick up two cookies to eat on their way to class. The cooks pick the days flavor and everyone grabs a couple on the way past.

Cowboy Age Division – Age group of campers who have finished 4th and 5th grades; “C1’s” are 4th graders, while “C2’s” are 5th graders.

Cowboy of the Day
– Daily award given to an outstanding camper from the Cowboy age division; Selected by the Counselor Staff at the morning meeting, the Cowboy of the Day assists with mealtime prayers and raising and lowering the flags. A special patch is given to the recipient of this award.

Devotional – Bedtime prayer, given over KCLJ airwaves by camper volunteers from a different cabin each night at Taps.

Evening Activities – Below is a list of favorite evening activities at Camp:

  • Airlift – A camp favorite. Modeled from the cold war Berlin Airlift, campers pass from safe zone to safe zone, through the counselor zone trying not to be tagged. If safe, they drop their delivery in the ranch can. If tagged, they start over. Strategic kids versus staff full field game!
  • Black Eagle Point Hunt – Kids are broken up into small teams and they search the camp for groups of counselors to sign their point sheet. Ranch with the most signatures at the end of the evening wins.
  • Ranch Games – Traditional sporting events played ranch against ranch. Kickball, soccer, angleball, etc. Teams set up by age groups. Ranch that wins the most games wins.
  • Capture the Flag – traditional version of getting the other team’s flag from their fort to yours without getting tagged.
  • Double yo Money – tag oriented game. Staff have money, kids want money. You start with a one, find the counselor with the five and trade, find the 10 then trade, then find the 20, and so on. The ranch with the most 100s wins. Oh yeah, you have to catch the counselor first before he’ll trade. Sometimes the IRS shows up and trades you down!
  • The Gauntlet – One ranch lines and guards the gauntlet boundaries, the other is the runners. The runners attempt to run from one end to the other without getting hit with a foam ball. The guards throw foam balls. Runners who get hit kneel on the field of play and provide defensive support. When an entire ranch has run, they trade roles. They alternate turns like innings. The most completed boundary runs wins.
  • Color Wars – Similar to ranch games, but with non-traditional events and non-sporting events. Games like backward angleball, water relays or tug of war. The ranch that wins the most events wins.
  • Live Clue – Just like the board game, cabin groups search for culprits, perform a task then ask a yes or no question. When you figure out who dunnit, you win. No ranch points.
  • Kingpin – A La Junta invention – full field dodge ball with foam balls trying to get to the other team’s base and get out their captain by hitting him with a ball. When hit you go to jail, waiting to be released by a ball hitting the guard ball. Wild but strategic.
  • Smugglers and Spies – Smugglers get a point slip, spies try to guess where they hid it. It they get across the field without their hiding spot being guessed, they get a point for their ranch. Ranches alternate roles at half time. Ranch with the most points wins.
  • Postbox Game – Similar to Double yo Money. Kids get to chase counselors to get envelopes, addresses, postage, etc. When you finish, you start over. The ranch with the most completed mail dropped in the postbox wins.
  • Rope Burn – Almost as simple as it sounds. Within the rules, ranches build a fire and try to burn through a rope suspended above. The first ranch to burn through, wins.
  • Treasure Hunt – A hybrid of Kingpin and Capture the Flag. New strategies and less running. There are three treasures, each with a different value. If you capture it and get safely back to base, you get those points. When points are earned the game resets and starts again. The ranch with the most points, not treasures captured, wins.
  • Water Wars – Fun games in the water. Rope Swing Hula, Match Stick relays, water polo, t-shirt cup filling (whose shirt holds the most water).

Movie Night – Duh.

Expert Outdoorsman – Award given to campers who have passed the highest qualification levels in Horseback Riding, Riflery, Hunter Safety, Archery and Nature/Crafts. This award is presented on Closing Day and recipients receive a special patch for their Awards Board. Because of the marksmanship skill needed, this is the most difficult award to achieve.

Field Office – Summer office for the Program Directors and other key staff, located at the north end of the Dining Hall complex.

Filthy Foot – Award given to returning, outstanding counselors.

Filthy Foot Dinner – Invitation to a special Sunday dinner, selected and given by the Filthy Feet Counselors in recognition of campers who have excelled in various ways during the week, normally one camper from each cabin.

Honor Cabin – The cabin in each age division, each day that has the cleanest cabin and therefore highest cabin inspection score.  They spin the wheel of prizes and lunch to receive rewards such as soda or candy at lunch, special commissary or rest period swims.

Infirmary – Nurses station and health center.

KCLJ – The official La Junta FM radio station, 106.5 on the FM dial, broadcasting just within the property of camp, boosting spirits and bringing announcements to cabins and activity areas.

Maltese Cross Ranch – One of the 2 Ranches (teams) to which a camper may be inducted on his first day of camp; the Maltese color is primarily blue, with gold and white accents. See RANCHES.

Manner’s Award
– Weekly award given by individual cabin counselors to one boy in their cabins who exhibits outstanding manners; recipient receives special pizza and soda, while the rest of camp enjoys leftovers.

Patches – Embroidered cloth patches, earned by campers for participation and skill in activities. Patches are individual awards for work done by each camper in the 10 classes in which he participates in a given summer and are accumulated as an achievement system for his entire camping career. Patches are proudly displayed on a Camp La Junta Awards Board (poster) that may be framed.

Pavilion – Our large covered sport courts, adjacent to the dining hall. Basketball, volleyball, ping pong, shuffleboard and bocce ball. The pavilion gives us loads of rainy day and shady activity options.

Personal Inspection – Daily, general health check by designated staff persons, of each camper; before heading to class in the mornings, campers are inspected for cleanliness, dental hygiene, and visible health.

Points (Ranch and individual) – Reward system; Campers earn individual points in many different areas of camp life. These are accumulated and kept as a running total in each camper’s file for his entire camping career. During a given Term, campers’ points are also credited to each Ranch’s totals for that Term in order to determine a winning Ranch for the Term.

Point Awards
– Awards given for accumulated points earned in the previous summer. Boys who have accumulated 1000 points earn a Ranch ball cap; 3500 points earn a Ranch duffle bag.

Point Boards – Poster boards on which each individual camper’s name and running totals of earned points is posted, daily. Point boards are broken down by age division and Ranch and displayed outside the Field Office.

Pony Express – Daily mail delivery on horseback, done at 3:45 p.m. by the Ranchhand of the Day.

Ranch Awards – Awards given by Ranch Strawbosses to outstanding campers within each ranch; awarded for leadership, spirit and cooperation, these awards consist of gold (for Bulldoggers only) or silver James Avery Ranch Brands (pendants) or embroidered Ranch patches and given out at a special ceremony at the end of every 4-week term. Only returning campers from the Cowboy and Tophand Divisions are eligible for Brands. All 4-week and returning 2-week campers are eligible for Patches.

Ranches – Name given to the “teams” at Camp La Junta. We have 2 Ranches, into which new campers are introduced on their very first day of camp – The Running W Ranch and The Maltese Cross Ranch. Campers enjoy great camaraderie and spirited team competition to determine whose Ranch flag will fly throughout the term and be declared the winning ranch at the end of the term.

Ranch Games – Ranch-to-Ranch team competitions, usually broken down by age divisions and played during evenings and on Sundays.

Ranchhand of the Day – Daily award given to an outstanding camper from the Tophand age division; Selected by the Counselor Staff at the morning meeting, he assists with mealtime prayers and raising and lowering the flags and delivers the mail via Pony Express. A special patch is given to the recipient of this award.

Ranch Initiation
– Ceremony to induct new members of each Ranch at the beginning of the term.

Recognition/Vespers – Sunday night program of recognizing outstanding camper efforts for the past week plus a spiritual talk from the Camp Director and prepared lesson given by the Advanced Campers.

Rest Period – Time after lunch for campers and staff to relax in cabins; Rest Period runs from 2 – 4 p.m. daily.

Reveille – Wake-up bugle call at 8 a.m. on Mon. – Sat. and at 9 a.m. on Sundays.

Rough Rider – One of the 8 best horseback riders in a given, 4-week term; chosen from the 18 Rough Rider Nominees by a combined score from the Riding Staff, based on skill and a general camping score from the Counselor Staff, based on outstanding camper qualities. Rough Riders earn 250 points and a special patch and take a special overnight trip on horseback.

Rough Rider Nominee – One of the 18 best horseback riders in a 4-week term, chosen by the Riding Staff and based on riding skill.

Running W Ranch – One of the 2 Ranches (teams) to which a camper may be inducted on his first day of camp. Running W color is primarily red, with black and white accents.

Shotgun of the Day
– Daily award given to an outstanding camper from the Wrangler age division; Selected by the Counselor Staff at the morning meeting, he assists with mealtime prayers and raising and lowering the flags. A special patch is given to the recipient of this award.

Spirit Award – Award given on Closing Day to a 2-week camper who displays outstanding spirit and sportsmanship. Selected by the Counselor Staff, the winner is given a silver James Avery Ranch Brand necklace.

Sportsmanship Award – Award bestowed on Closing Day to returning, 4-week campers displaying the highest level of sportsmanship among their peers. Chosen by the Counselor Staff, one winner is selected for each age division and given a special patch and handmade trophy with an iron, signature La Junta buckin’ bronc logo.

Strawboss – Counselor who leads and coordinates a Ranch; chosen by the Camp Director.

Taps – “Lights out” bugle call to end the day; played around 10 p.m. daily.

Tatler (historically misspelled) – Official newsletter of CLJ, printed bi-monthly in the winter and weekly during the summer. Summer issues contain space for camper letters to be written home. Daily versions are uploaded each night online.

The Line – Zipline that starts at the riding arena and zips down across the river.

The Pole – High ropes course element involving a telephone pole and trapeze.

The Wall – La Junta’s climbing wall.

Tophand Age Division
– Group of campers who have finished 6th and 7th grades; “T1’s” have finished 6th grade, while “T2’s” have finished 7th.

Tophand Trips – Special outings for Tophands at the end of the term; organized by the Tophand activity counselors and Program Directors, every Tophand is selected for one trip, depending on his participation and skill level in that activity; trips include a Riflery Hunter Safety Trip, Archery Rabbit Hunt, SCUBA Night Dive, Mountain Biking Trip, Canoeing Trip, Fishing Trip and the Rough Rider Trip.

War Canoe – Activity given to outstanding Tophand rowers, chosen by Ranch Strawbosses; races are run in special 10-man canoes during the term and on Closing Day.

War Kayak – Activity awarded to outstanding kayakers, chosen by Ranch Strawbosses; races are rowed in special 2-man kayaks during the term and on Closing Day.

Wrangler Age Division – Age group of campers who have finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades; W1’s are 1st and 2nd graders, W2’s are 3rd graders.

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