Boom Boom! Diddam Daddam! Watum Chew!

Two counselors and a summer camp girl slide down the Slip n Slide at Camp Illahee Summer Camp for Girls.
The Slip n Slide is a blast for campers and counselors alike!

Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest, and actually in the longer sessions, we do get a couple of those…but “picture Sunday” is anything but for those of us “making the magic happen.” On the first Sunday of each session, we take individual portraits and cabin photos. They are posted along with the other pictures from the day. So, those of you whose camper is camera-shy, at least you’ll see that she’s doing great in one of the galleries today! By the way, the very best way to get your shy camper in more pictures is to email her and tell her to ask us to take one of her when she sees us. Gretchen and I always have a camera in tow.

We do get to sleep in on Sundays…and campers wander over like orphans all disheveled and pajama-clad to the dining hall to enjoy fresh Krispy Kreme donuts delivered in the night. Strawberries and local melons are in season, and peaches too! There were huge bowls of yummy fresh cut fruit, cereal, hard-boiled eggs, still a little warm, and cereal, bagels and milk. On Sundays, campers exchange linens for a new set, and do a thorough cabin cleaning before cleaning themselves and donning their white Illahee shirts, blue ties, and white shorts. We take portraits by hill and cabin, and actually have some pretty cool software we have developed over the years that renames the digital image so that it “lives” with her file in the database. When we pull up her record on the computer, there’s her cute mug shot! I know a lot of you keep the shots from year to year. Laurie has our daughter Gardner’s Illahee camper portraits by her desk in the office.

One of my favorite times at camp is really any time we are together as a camp family, and there is no more special time or place than worship service in the Woodland Chapel. Today, the counselors led the service and it was on fruits of the spirit, with a little verse or vignette on each one. Beautiful music, angelic voices clad in white…a cool breeze blowing off the lake through the dogwoods and hemlocks. Many a camper and counselor have had the seeds of their faith nurtured during camp. We actively seek Christian counselors and I am often inspired by their commitment to “walking the walk” at such a relatively early age. After services, each cabin finds a spot around camp to talk about it in a small group setting before lunch. It’s really a sight to see…girls talking to each other, mentored by a great counselor…maybe under a shade tree or on a porch somewhere.

Sunday lunch is the highlight of many an Illahee girl’s week! Heaping mounds of crispy hot fried chicken, steamed broccoli, wild rice, and thousands of warm yeast rolls. There’s butter and honey, and even cheese sauce if the broccoli is too fresh and green…a camper can hide it. If there’s any room left, there’s hand-scooped cookies and cream ice-cream to fill in the cracks. We had three birthdays today, and a perfectly timed afternoon thunder shower which kept us at the table a little longer than normal…but who really cares when you’re with good friends? It was gone by the end of rest hour and left cooler temps and blue skies for an afternoon on the waterfront.

The Swim Show! Teams Boom Boom, Diddam Daddum, and Watum Chew, determined by even and odd cabin numbers each had a theme…Mary Poppins, the Lion King, or Little Mermaid. There were exhibitions by the diving class and synchronized swimmers, and then plenty of really fun relays…the gloved relay to Michael Jackson tunes, greased watermelon, dirty camper, switching out t-shirts, pushing the volleyball like a seal, and lots of enthusiasm with points for team spirit. As an interlude to all this fun on the waterfront, the Slip n Slide was in fine slippery shape for cabins to take a few turns down it. If you ever have a passel of kids and the weather permits, go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy a long roll of plastic sheeting. Get some Dawn dish detergent and let er rip! You never heard so many squeals and shrieks from both campers and counselors! Big Boomin Fun!

Back in their whites after showers and a clean-up, grilled burgers and hotdogs and all of the good stuff that goes with them were waiting for dinner. JT was playing by the lake, and each cabin staked their territory and enjoyed a cookout before campfire. A great way to end the week, campfire was rockin with lots of enthusiastic singing, really funny skits, a duet by counselors, and a story to wrap it all up…milk and cookies were waiting afterwards as a bedtime snack in the dining hall.

Now if that wasn’t enough, our senior leadership team treated our counselors to a fiesta night 30 minutes after Taps in the dining hall…dressed in faux mustaches and Mexican garb, we served chips and homemade dips, fake Margaritas, and some sweet treats prepared by Chef Terry. For those of you have businesses, you know you are only as successful as those around you. We love our counselors and are always looking for ways to show them. So, that’s thee reason for the late post tonight.