Dohivi Noche in Bella Italia!

Hillbrook summer campers float wish boats on the final night of camp.
Hillbrook summer campers float wish boats on the final night of camp.

A number of years ago, we threw caution to the wind and changed a tradition at camp. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth from the 13-14 year old age group, that change is now a tradition, and one of my favorite at camp. Before, final campfire was a parade of activity heads acknowledging thisĀ  girl or that girl as a great leader in lacrosse or weaving or swimming. I watched the faces of the Hillbrookers on the front row listen to the lead-up before the winner was announced, and I could just tell they were thinking, “that could be me.” And, when it wasn’t, the disappointment on their faces was equally as obvious…so, we changed it.

Now, final campfire uses the symbol of light and its illumination of the entire community. We recognize our oneness through readings, and songs, and wishes. The light is passed throughout the Illahee family and culminates in the symbolism of setting it free to go out into the world to spread the spirit there by floating wishboats. Good stuff…and beautiful.

We awoke to our first morning of rain, and as is my habit, I went straight to the radar. I was glad to see that it was already moving out, and the drizzle was pretty much gone by mid-morning. We did a little schedule shuffle, and moved the horse fair to the afternoon, and enjoyed the dance show this morning after Rise and Shine. It’s always fun to see what the girls have accomplished in three short weeks.

The afternoon brought an opportunity to pack and to do some choice period activities before showers and primping for the banquet…which the Sparks have been planning since the first week of camp. They transformed the dining hall into little Italy, with some very clever effects. The lights were dimmed, and ornamental lights were strung, with hand-painted banners depicting scenes from the old country. My favorites were the Last Supper, with leadership staff head shots superimposed over hand drawn bodies at the table. A close second was the Mona Liza, with the traditional pose we all know so well, with Liza the Camp Lab’s head. The menu was pasta of course…bowtie with red and white sauces, plus pesto for the adventurous, breadsticks and salad, and Cheerwine in plastic wine glasses. The tables were set with menus and flowers, and the atmosphere was very festive.

We have LOVED this session with your girls. They are GREAT girls in true Illahee spirit. We wish for you the happiest and healthiest of summers and school year and look forward to the time when we can all meet again in our Heavenly World.

4 responses to “Dohivi Noche in Bella Italia!

  1. every night i read about what is going on in the heavenly. it helps me get ready for camp. and every year, no matter how hard i try, when i read the final night post, it makes me feel like it is final night for me. being a camper at illahee has become my life. when i think about summer, camp is the first thing. since i have been coming for so long, i cant imagine a summer without camp. i am so excited to be there on sunday. july sparks 2011 are going to be your best group of sparks ever!


  2. just finished looking at all the final night photos out here in Los Angeles. Can’t wait to show to my little first timer in the morning – she is already so excited I think these shots might put her over the edge! What a special place you have in Illahee. I am thrilled for Olivia to experience your Heavenly World, and all the people that make it so wonderful! Thank you

  3. Tears came to my eyes seeing the final night pictures. I know what these girls were thinking as the “final-ness” really sunk in. Tightly holding hands because there is a chance if they don’t see this friend again in a year this may be the last time ever. For the CIT’s this might truly be their last time together and I, as a parent, am sad to realize this might be the last year I will drive Anna to camp or ever pick her up from there again. She has made life time friends here (in the past 10 years)and this is an experience she wants to share with her cousins and her children because it was so great for her. Thanks for all the wonderful moments you and Laurie made possible for her.

  4. Thank you for continuing the great Illahee traditions by sharing your heavenly world with those on the outside. Kate has grown up at Illahee…as I did many years ago. It was special then, it’s special now and will continue to be special many years from now. Her friendships made at camp will be lifelong and will always carry the Illahee spirit.

    Dotti and Mike

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