Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day with the arrival of the 2012 camp staff ! After nine months of planning, the start of orientation is a welcome beginning to summer. I have to admit, that I always get butterflies with camp’s opening and the flurry of last minute preparations and projects, but after our first evening together in McLeod Lodge, there is a big sense of relief as the counselors settle in and come together as a community. We enjoyed the first family style meal of the season- baked chicken, roasted vegetables and bow tie pesto pasta- in the newly renovated dining hall and the salad bar was a big hit! We know that the campers will enjoy that as well. Afterwards there was lots of laughter as we played name games in McLeod and unraveled the human knot.
As we prepare for the campers’ arrival, counselors are training in their activity areas. The Lifeguards came to camp early along with the climbing and kayaking instructors and the barn staff and all van drivers. Throughout this week the counselors plan and practice their activities as well as get ready for their cabins. Today we focused on ALL children and their needs and how each counselor can better serve her campers through spending time together and building positive relationships within the cabin and ways to foster a safe camp environment. On Thursday we have first aid training and sessions on running safe programs, and on Friday we will be joined by a Parent Panel followed by sessions on helping campers with homesickness or other challenges which can arise.
In between activity planning and training, we have lots of fun; after all, how can we not have fun at Illahee with such a great group of people? Tonight we are building campfires and making s’mores, and tomorrow night we head over to the Hannah Ford farm for our first cookout of the season. On Thursday evening, the counselors from Falling Creek Camp will come over for a picnic and a square dance on the tennis courts, and we plan to head over to Dupont State Forest on Friday afternoon for a hike to Triple Falls. (Yes, that is one of the site’s where The Hunger Games- a movie that won’t be shown at camp- was filmed! )
And in the midst of the counselor training and activities, I keep hearing, “I can’t wait for the campers to arrive!” and “I can’t wait to meet my campers!” We all know that the real fun starts on Sunday with the opening day of the June session and Illahee’s 92nd season of camping! We all know that this summer will be……The Best Summer Ever!