Camp feels more like camp when campers are here. We have some friends who run other camps who take two or three days between sessions…I would lose my “Mo”(mentum) with that long of a break. I just like camp better when it is full of happy, squealing, fun-loving girls. It’s just what we do. Our long four-week session ended Friday and it was a really terrific session. We said goodbye to some GREAT girls. Our counselors had all sorts of fun things they did Saturday over break…hikes and swimming holes, first dates with boy’s camp boys, spa days, and meeting up with friends from college. Laurie and I finished getting the last campers off, made sure the planes were wheels up and…slept. Three hours Friday afternoon. I’m a guy who never naps. I wake up early and love to watch the sun come up. I usually hit the hay around 11:00 after writing this update, and I don’t know that I move a muscle until my internal clock let’s my know that it’s time for a brand new amazing camp day. But, that extra three hours was a treat and left me ready for camp to start!
The August session is always especially energetic…I think it’s partly because girls have had plenty of time at home and that the novelty of “school’s out!” has worn off. Illahee has over 30 states and 6 foreign countries represented this summer. I’m always amazed at how quickly friendships are forged…and how long-lasting they are. We have a number of campers who are children of alums, and even grandchildren…and a couple of great-grandchildren…fourth generation campers. Every summer, alumnae return to the “Heavenly” and tell of friendships that have spanned fifty or more years. It must be exciting to know as parents that your girls are embarking on this great adventure that will become such an integral part of the fabric of their lives. The Illahee family spans the globe..
Gretchen and I will be roaming camp snapping pictures of your girls having the time of their lives, and we upload these almost in real time as we get them throughout the day. Some days, we go crazy…others, not so much. Hopefully, you will see your camper every other day at least. If she’s camera shy, the best thing to do is to email her and encourage her to find us and say “mama’s campsick…can you take my picture”? We’re never far away.
After you left, and after tours were taken to all of the camp highlights, the kitchen served a tasty lunch of sandwiches, chips, homemade chocolate chip cookies, pasta salad, and some “crunchy” food for those with more sophisticated palates…pita pockets, yummy local tomatoes, tuna salad, and homemade hummus. Most opted for the traditional…turkey, ham, cheese, PB&J. The afternoon was busy. Each cabin group rotated through different areas of camp…the Ship Store to get fitted for and receive their pre-ordered items, the Wishing Well to meet our eagle-eye nurses who make sure no unwanted hitch-hikers are making their way into camp, the dining hall for an afternoon ice-cream snack, the Rec Lodge for super-fun group games, and the swim lake for a very quick orientation and then a much longer time to linger and try out all the fun stuff…the Streak, the Tarzan rope, free swimming. That’s where I hung out…snapping some pictures on the Tarzan and reconnecting with some old friends and meeting new ones too.
Since we love our Sunday lunch, and we missed it due to opening, we switched our yummy big meal to dinner…mounds of yummy fried chicken, baskets of warm yeast rolls smothered in honey and butter, fresh steamed broccoli, wild rice for those brave enough, white for the traditionalists…and hand scooped cookies and cream to fill in any gaps. We went straight to campfire after dinner, and the night was filled with camp songs, skits, introductions, and stories…the girls are back in their cabins, brushing teeth, meeting in the middle of the cabin floor for friendship circle. I love the fact that our house is right in the middle of Pineview. I can hear the slamming of doors, the occasional laugh or squeal, and the crickets chirping in the background…the sounds of summer.
I love the fact that we sign up for activities before camp, and that we will hit the ground running tomorrow…no wandering tables and aisles trying to get your schedule set. This session will fly by and we don’t want to waste any time! I better get off to bed. It’s going to be a big day tomorrow.