I woke this morning early to a beautiful sunrise. Camp was so quiet. I guess I made too much noise because Laurie was stirring right behind me, and I knew the dogs wouldn’t be far behind her. Liza, our two-year old “pup” is still confined to the laundry room though she’d like to be moved to a “big girl” bed. We can count on Newton, the 8-year old not to move a muscle other than his adnoids as he sleeps through the night. His bed is in the walk-in closet outside our bedroom, only because he snores like a freight train. We have a 4-mile loop around camp, and the dogs seem to know when a walk is in store. It’s nice to be up before camp, with a little time to ”collect” before the day starts with all of its activity and logistics.
Breakfast was a favorite…sausage and biscuits with cheese grits. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this breakfast, but there’s always cereal and yogurt, milk and fruit available on the encore table.
You may have noticed from last night’s pictures that we have started special sign-up hikes to local swimming holes and waterfalls. Girls can sign up at Rise n Shine or after lunch and miss that half day of activities. With temperatures reaching the low 80s during the hot part of the afternoon (I know…probably sounds frigid to most of you), swimming has been popular in every corner. We had almost 100 girls at Splash yesterday and added extra lifeguards so everyone could enjoy the lake. All of the “toys” were going full-tilt…the shrieks from the Streak…and ”watch mes” from the Tarzan as new girls got their “gumption” up to give it a try.
Every cabin also gets a morning or afternoon on the high ropes course and Beanstalk during the session. They climb up the middle, clip in, and try as many of the high elements as they want to before clipping to the specialized pulley that allows a quick descent on the zip line.
Lunch was a camper favorite…chicken tenders (more like Chik-Fil-A than MCD’s), salad, ranch or honey mustard, and smiley fries…(french fries in the shape of a Smiley Face). After lunch, the Ship Store is open for any shopping needs a camper may have (shopping is not an activity at Illahee 🙂 ). Each camper gets a coke each week and a common practice is to share it with a friend so that they can extend that little pleasure to two days in a given week. We have cups for sharing. After this fifteen minute period, we have Choice Period, something new to this session, but a popular activity period in the longer sessions. During “Choice,” campers can choose from activities that are announced during lunch that may not be offered during the regular schedule. We offer things like fishing, sidewalk chalk, Splash (free swim), games on the field, stories in McLeod, letter writing in the tree house for older girls, and tennis tourneys. The skies the limit, and it gives campers and counselors alike the chance to mix up the schedule a little bit.
After fifth period, our younger girls from Hillbrook loaded the buses and vans for the fifteen minute journey to the end of a gated US Forest Service road where our favorite big group camping site lies in the Pisgah National Forest. The trip staff was all set up and waiting with tents erected, burgers and dogs cooked to perfection, and games ready on the field. They’ll play, do some creek stomping, sing around the campfire, and cook s’mores before heading to sweet dreams next to new camp buddies and old.
Back at camp, the older girls enjoyed Bag Supper out by the lake. Wednesday evenings are an opportunity for the kitchen staff to take a break and for everyone to have a little more casual dinner out by the lake with cabin buddies. James Taylor serenades us with his crooning, and its a great chance to hang out with friends. Afterwards, each cabin concocted their own cabin adventure for evening program. There were cookies being baked in our house, ice cream being made, tie dye t-shirts being created, camp overnights, and lots more. It was another perfect day in the Heavenly and we are all having a blast.
P.S. I always write this caveat at the start of a new session. We have no lingering homesick cases (I don’t always write that 🙂 ),but given the lack of giddyup in our USPS mail from camp, you may receive a less than stellar review of the first few hours of camp. Know that this has certainly passed. If you have any lingering concerns, feel free to email!