With one eye on the radar as some very dramatic lines of thunderstorms swept through Alabama and Tennessee headed our way, eleven Illahee girls arrived in “the Heavenly” for a weekend of fellowship, team-building and planning. From as close as Clemson and as far away as Chapel Hill and Charlottesville Virginia, these folks will be the ones keeping watch over the BEST summer ever, Illahee’s 92nd! Camp is full to the brim with well over 1000 girls from 35 states and six foreign countries, a testament to the Illahee experience. (Don’t fret if you’re a prospective family…give us a call as we always want to update you on our waitlist activity).
I’ve been thinking a lot about leaders lately, especially as I fight my natural tendencies to become a political junkie during election season. Just yesterday, I was involved in a small group of invited county leaders whose goal is to overcome the inertia of a perceived leadership vacuum, so the topic was certainly fresh for me last night as we convened around the table for some of Laurie’s great home cooking. Grilled marinated chicken, yummy Mac and Cheese, and the most decadent Hominy Grill (Charleston) baked chocolate pudding ever…after living in our empty nest and dining “thoughtfully” each night, it was refreshing to see some “high metabolism” appetites at work!
We spent a good amount of time on specifics…how can we support the different key areas of camp, from maintenance to cabin counselors, from kitchen staff to junior counselors, but…we also touched on the philosophical. Are leaders born or made? I think the consensus is a little of both, but the older I get the more I think that true leaders are born and then need to be “shaped.” Truly in the dark, I asked the group how many had been high school student government leaders (almost all of them)…captains of sports teams? The majority. Leaders in sororities? Most. Leaders in Young Life, RUF (Reformed University Fellowship, church, clubs…these are leaders.
The other common thread is that all but one of these folks were campers at Illahee, and I’ll stretch my statement above to conclude that camp has more than an average group…of leaders. It is the perfect incubator to hone leadership skills…a supportive and loving environment where expectations are high (because we all love the place and want to make each summer better than the one before). We have an amazing and experienced senior staff who love raising up leaders…what a privilege! So, yet another benefit of camp. Raising up leaders. Don’t be surprised if your camper becomes one! From where I sit, the future is bright, and this summer even brighter!