Sliding Rock, Scavenger Hunt, and Swim Par-tay!

Two girls campers sitting on a mini waterfall.
Hikes to waterfalls, big and small, are a special part of camp!

Taking the little girls to Sliding Rock is a little like herding cats. With Pineview, I can set my watch by the time we leave camp, arrive at Sliding Rock, finish sliding, arrive at Dollys and get back to camp. Luckily, I don’t have the drill sergeant personality, and it doesn’t bother me either way…early or late, we’re having a blast and there’s no school tomorrow. Heigh Ho…occasionally we’re a little off, but still I can count on being home by the time Taps blows. Hillbrook? All bets are off. We’ve started leaving camp fifteen minutes to half an hour earlier to plan for “contingencies.” These delays can include (but are not limited to): forgot my bathing suit, had to go see the nurses to get a bandaid, really need to use the bathroom, minor concerns when I see how long that rock is, can’t find my pajamas (which they change into before getting on buses to go to Dollys), “whose t-shirt, waterbottle, towel etc is this?”, “I’m not finished with my ice cream,” I need to use the bathroom.” 🙂

It’s also my favorite group to take to the Rock. There’s so much excitement that girls are physically jumping up and down all the way up until their turn to come down. They just can’t contain it. And, why should they? It’s about as much fun as you can have…a bus ride with buddies, sliding in a cold mountain stream, Dolly’s ice cream…big FUN!

So this was the second go-around for Hillbrook with ice cream today. After lunch, we had a gutter sundae surprise for all the girls…70 feet of vinyl gutter heaped full of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream…hershey’s syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles and cherries. It’s quite a spectacle to see the entire camp side by side eating sharing the world’s longest sundae…if you’re squeamish, remember this is the stuff memories are made of. 🙂

It’s hard to believe that it is Tuesday and some of you will be leaving tomorrow to come fetch your campers. The two week session is too darn short! I’m just telling you. Every girl needs a couple of days to settle in, and then get acclimated to activities…and then there are all the extra trips and hikes and things to do that are offered every day. Thrown the Beanstalk and high ropes course in there, and the schedule gets full quickly. Just to warn you, I have heard a number of campers talk about the four-week session. To be a little “greener,” we will include an application for next year with your Ship Store reconciliation that will go out next Tuesday or so. All of our 2012 applications go out to inquiries, girls who have skipped a year, and other session campers on Monday. The application can also be downloaded from our website at  on Monday. Returning campers have until September 15th to re-enroll in the same session, but if you think your camper wants to switch sessions, we do recommend that you download the application and get it back to us. You all know the drill…our waiting lists start early.

Breakfast was a new twist and I thought it was great…English muffins, sausage, eggs (Egg Mcmuffin anyone?), cereal, yogurt, fruit…Lunch, meatball subs. (Really). Generally, we have to be careful how we serve beef, as there is just not a huge appetite for it among our girls as a rule…but they love meatball subs, with french fries and salad. And dinner was a big hit…Thanksgiving! Turkey, dressing, gravy, rolls, green beans, and cranberry sauce. Energy was high in camp for evening program. Pineview did  a scavenger hunt, and was REALLY into it. Teams had to collect items around camp…my signature (which proved quite hard since I was at the Rock, but Laurie is used to forging it), a crazy costume, items around camp, etc. Heigh Ho invaded the swim lake, and had it all to themselves. I have visited a lot of camps, and seen a lot of waterfronts, but there is none that is as intimate and inviting as ours. Mother Nature has given us perfect summer weather and a dip in our spring fed lake has proved popular with lots of girls.

Laurie and I started our day with counselors in Bible study….what a great way to start a day? We got off on a tangent as we discussed the role of Christians in discipleship…especially in our camp setting. We had a mom who toured last week with her daughter and emailed that she was totally impressed with Illahee among all the camps she toured. She wanted to insure that her daughter had a counselor who was a strong Christian and who could mentor her. Laurie and I actively seek Christian staff, but we also feel like part of this “mission trip” that we embark on each summer includes discipling our staff…we want to make sure that they are growing as well. We felt completely comfortable telling her that we could make that happen. I am often and repeatedly impressed with the “walk” many of our staff are on. Many are actively praying for your girls together and corporately…when that is happening, you know where their heart is.

What better place to sign off than with that?

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