The Pleasures of Ice-Cream and Sliding Rock!

A camper with yellow boots poses with Newton, the Summer Camp Dog.
Camper’s Best Friend.

Some of you may not know about the Sliding Rock Challenge. A trip to this natural rock slide in the Davidson River is part of every Illahee girl’s session. I like to accompany every trip…they’re just that fun.

Despite the silliness and pure pleasure of watching so much fun, I like to make sure we’re on our game. I’m behind the camera, but I’m also making sure that all of the lifeguards, spotters, extra staff, etc. are “spot on.” Although cabin counselors often slide with the girls, I don’t always go with so much to attend to. From the many questions asking if I have ever been down sliding rock, came the idea for the Challenge. I wanted to answer, I go down EVERY month all winter long (at least one year). So that’s what I did. And I’m here to tell you, there were a couple or three months in there that made me question my own sanity. It was heart attack cold…like a horse kicking you in the chest when you hit cold. Every slide is documented…scroll down these posts and you can see them. Check out December and January if you have time.

One of my tasks tonight was to take a couple of pictures to share with a writer from Raleigh who’s task is to choose the best ice cream spots across the state. If we had to winnow it down to one, Dolly’s would be sure to come out on top. Illahee Swirl is her biggest seller, certainly among our faithful, but also among others who come before us or go after. It is the original camp flavor. Ever the diplomat, after three or so years, she developed others, but Dolly has a special place in her heart for Illahee girls.

Camp has a lot of moving parts, and the first week of the summer is a busy one. Things settle in, and everyone starts to hit their stride. I had plenty of time to walk around and visit activities and campers. I spent a half hour or more hearing campers say, “Watch this!” as they jumped off the Tarzan swing, or slid down the Streak during Choice Period. Our weather has been perfect unless you are one of the many new rhododendrons along our entry. It has been pretty dry. We were teased by a thunderstorm that dumped buckets all around us, but only wetted the rings for the horsewomen and cooled things down a bit for the rest of us here at camp.

Evening program varied by hill. Pineview went to Sliding Rock and Dollys. Hillbrook enjoyed a Luau and swim party, and Heigh Ho watched Disney’s Tangled on the “Jumbotron” in McLeod Lodge. Everyone had a ball…and more than one camper went out of her way to tell me that she had a REALLY good time tonight. (and they all say “thank you”).

This is a really sweet group of girls. More than that, they love camp and each other. One of the moms wrote the other night that she was envious that we get to see these girls in such a stress-free environment. Having endured middle school and even most of high school with our own teen-aged daughter, I can tell you that we are offered glimpses of the adult that will emerge on the other end. Hold on to these as they come…as they WILL get through it! Our own is a lovely young woman who we enjoy being around…and she seems to enjoy being around us as well…who’d of thought several years back? But I certainly understand that sentiment. We are lucky that camp seems to be the place that defenses go down, the make-up and masks come off, and girls can recreate themselves. We provide the opportunity, but its all about the relationships…and there are some really good ones developing.


One response to “The Pleasures of Ice-Cream and Sliding Rock!

  1. This is Ellie’s 6th Illahee summer and I can honestly say that reading the blogs every morning before I look at the pictures is still one of my favorite things to do! I usually get a lump in my throat as I read the account of each special day and I know that through the genuine love and hard work put forth by everyone there who make Illahee what it is, the girls are growing and learning while having the time of their lives. Camp was a huge part of my life and my goal has been to have it be part of my children’s lives as well. Thank you!

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