Camp is fresh and green with the azalea and dogwood in full bloom. Newton has begun his summer rounds and is now wet most of the day. Sensing camp around the corner, he has a spring in his 12-year-old step! I love this time of year and seeing our counselor team come together. We have been recruiting and interviewing throughout the year and we have an enthusiastic group on board!
Many of our staff members are former counselors who return to camp with the mission of giving back to the place that meant so much to them growing up. This summer two of our largest activity areas are being led and largely staffed by former campers. Lee is returning as head of kayaking and will oversee the trips program. She credits Illahee for changing the course of her life as she was first introduced to paddling as a camper. Since her days as a camper, she attended Sewanee and has worked in Oregon and New Zealand and has been a guide and trip leader. Her love for outdoors and camp work has led her to pursue a teaching degree at Brevard College. Other Illahee girls, Mary Elizabeth and Honey will join Lee as full time adventure staff members this summer. Each of them was introduced to climbing and kayaking at camp and they’ve developed their skills during college and beyond.
The riding program will be run by Sellers who stepped up to the plate last summer as riding director after graduating from Birmingham Southern. She is returning after a year working in Spain. Sellers loved horsemanship as a camper and was a cabin counselor during her JC summer. She is passionate about teaching and accommodating campers and has been a super leader. She is joined by a full riding staff including former campers Josephine, Keil, Sarah and Addyson.
Counselors will arrive Memorial Day weekend to begin training and workshops that will get them ready for the summer! Many of them are participating in clinics earlier in May for riding certifications, first aid, climbing and kayak specialties. Their commitment to Illahee’s campers and their love for their activities are sure to make this season’s program part of the BEST SUMMER EVER!