Long time camper and counselor, Ann, shares her feelings about camp opening for the summer
Each year we kick off staff orientation by watching the previous summer’s highlight video. The video shows campers dancing at County Fair, swinging from the Tarzan rope into the lake, smashing volleys on the tennis courts and hugging their counselors, and as we watch the video at orientation, counselors’ faces shine with excitement. You can feel some of the jitters of the new staff members, and you see big grins spread across returners’ faces.
After the video, orientation is filled with activities and bonding and leadership lessons and trips to Dolly’s– basically, orientation is like grown-up camp, which is why we love it so much! Counselors raced climbing up the Beanstalk and giggled during nightly “friendship circles.” Our staff ranges in age, and the age-crossing bonds form quickly as we unite over our excitement for camp and all that camp means. The commonality of loving camp and loving to act like campers ourselves is what unites the staff so quickly.
One of our orientation activities was tye-dying freshly printed Illahee shirts, and you should have seen the strategy going into counselors’ plans for their shirts. Some haphazardly splattered dye on a crinkled up shirt. Others meticulously spun their shirts into spirals and gently spread dye throughout the shirt. Each shirt came out beautifully unique, and counselors kept talking about wanting to tye-dye with their future campers… and then….
Finally finally finally campers arrived! While we love orientation, we love the arrival of campers even more. Cars start rolling down Illahee Road and camp is finally alive! Campers squeal over finding out their cabin assignment and immediately take to pinning up pictures by their bed and introducing themselves to their cabin mates. After cabin pictures and health checks, we are rearing and ready to go for activities. Surely this will be the BEST SUMMER EVER!