Final Night 2011…the Best Summer Ever!

4 girls hold wish boat candles prior to floating them on the lake at camp.
Floating wish boats after a great camp session!

It seems like just a few short weeks ago that we were greeting counselors with an optimism that this would really be the Best Summer Ever. The reality is that there’s a lot that goes into that hope that is beyond all of the careful planning and screening that we do each year…and all of the prayer and preparation. There are so many “moving parts” to a successful camp summer that one event affects the other and the season just plays out. In our wildest dreams, this summer could not have ended any better. In fact, of twenty-one, this ranks in the top two. It was just that good. It’s all about the people, and that part we can control. Our team has a gift of discernment when it comes to great leaders, and the result this summer was a counselor staff that I still am in awe of. Even after 11 weeks together for many…with friendships forged that will last a lifetime, their dedication to their campers is job 1. Junior camp requires the “A” team. We all want so much for this first (or second) camp experience to be the best that we work hard to get it right. I know I’m “singing to the choir” when I say that being mom to a group of 6 or 7 little ones is a full-time job, even if only for a few days. They are thriving in the challenge! There is nothing more gratifying to me than watching our counselors “come into their own” and provide an amazing experience to a cabin group, especially at the end of a summer of experience.

This afternoon, we tried a new Junior Camp “tradition.” I can call it a tradition because it worked so well. After several days of trying out all the favorite activities, we had three periods this afternoon where camper could choose their own “favorites” from Arts and Crafts, ceramics, riding, canoeing, woodworking, dance, needlecraft, tennis, splash, campcraft, diner (cooking), and high ropes course. I was out taking pictures and directing traffic, and it seemed just like the long sessions…girls were independent, with their little schedule cards…finding their way to activities. The only difference was that they were so excited that they RAN everywhere they went! It was a smashing success!

We hope that this week instilled a love for camp in your camper. We have loved getting to know her and watching her confidence grow. We thank you for the privilege and the trust that you have placed in us, and hope that this camp experience exceeded your expectations in every way.

7 responses to “Final Night 2011…the Best Summer Ever!

  1. Thanks for a great week of blogging and wonderful photos.
    These will be memories of a lifetime!
    Our best,
    Lisa & Kevin

  2. Gordon and Laurie. I read every single one of Gordon’s blogs. How do you do that? Consistently being so optimistic, informative, and occasionally even funny?
    I know (from experience) that tomorrow you will be elated as the last camper goes down the hill — because it was such a fun and safe summer. But Saturday when you go from Pinecrest to Curtis Lodge you will have an empty and lonesome feeling. Get over it. :-} Opening day of 2012 is right around the corner.
    Now YOU TWO
    Sleep well.

  3. Our second night home from Junior Camp and I just have to thank you for the memories! We have been playing camp games, listening to our daughter sing and talk non-stop about camp. Camp Illahee exceeded our expectations! We miss checking the web-site throughout the day and ending the day with your blog. The best part is our daughter is Illahee’s biggest fan! Your attention to detail and obvious camper satisfaction is greatly appreciated. Hope to see you next year.

  4. I just need to thank you for your wonderful blog. I have read every one of them. My daughter was on your riding staff this summer for 11 weeks. She was 9 hrs and 500 miles away from home. I was thrilled to find all the pictures and your daily updates…they kept me sane for the past 11 weeks. I felt like I was almost there myself. Knowing what she was eating and what the weather was like kept me in the loop. God Bless you and your Camp Family.

  5. I had fun at camp. I had the best time ever. My cabin mates were very nice. Thanks for such a great time.
    PS- My mom says to say hello to Frankie. She also says that she was the youngest camper TWICE while Frankie was director.

    Great post Frankie! The Heavenly is a very blessed to have had such wonderful and thoughtful directors over the years that somehow are able to continue its legacy. The legacy embodied in the sign on Hillbrook, “Be a great girl”.

    See you next summer.
    Katie and Adele

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