Sliding Rock and Swim Lake Luau!

A counselor makes an ice cream face with her camper!
Ice Cream at Dolly’s with a Great Counselor! What a Way to End the Day!

I am absolutely amazed that I am sitting down to write and it is only 9:30 PM! Taking Hillbrook to Sliding Rock is a little like herding cats, and a little like watching grass grow…if you get in a hurry, you’re just setting yourself up for frustration. Nothing moves fast, except the girls sliding down the rock! The great thing is that there is no reason to hurry. It’s a perfect summer night at camp after all.

I have a special place in my heart for Sliding Rock. It is certainly one of the 7 wonders of Transylvania County (Illahee is number one). Best I can figure, I have taken over 5000 girls to slide over a 21 year (and counting) career. In case you missed it, this past winter, I successfully completed the Sliding Rock Challenge, maybe the nuttiest thing I have ever come up with…I slid down the rock every month from September to August. The coldest month? December or February. (With snow on the ground, the water feels cold regardless.) This is the first year that we have added a trip to Sliding Rock to the Junior Camp evening program, with Cabins 1-10 on Hillbrook going tonight, and 11-20 tomorrow night. I’m sure you will see from the pictures that it is a pretty exciting ride!

Back at camp, the Heigh Ho girls had a luau-themed swim party with all the fun stuff going full tilt…lots of girls have overcome the initial trepidation of going off the Tarzan rope for the first time and are perfecting their swing….likewise with the Streak, the fastest water slide this side of Rosman. One of the things I am really interested in as an educator, but especially as a dad, is the role that risk plays in the development of our children. There are theories-a-plenty out there that risk takers are more successful in life…or at least in business. But, that’s not what fascinates me. The most interesting people I know are not necessarily the most successful from a financial perspective. The focus that is required to be successful on that front usually leaves little room for much else. But, I’ll have to admit that I admire people willing to take risks, especially when they are calculated risks…their stories are just more interesting.

Camp is all about taking healthy risks. For many of these girls, just settling in to a bunk in a cabin with erstwhile strangers (now BFF’s) is risk enough. But, there is so much more to challenge campers at camp…climbing the Beanstalk and zipping back down, the Tarzan and Streak, perfecting a skill in tennis or canoeing…keeping up with your stuff…being away from home for a week! The real growth at camp comes from living in a community and negotiating the “give and take” that is part and parcel to that.

Junior Camp is as fast-paced as our sessions come…a “Best Of” all our favorite activities from the other sessions. Today, campers rotated through needlecraft projects, ceramics, horseback riding, field games, swimming, dance, arts and crafts, nature, and zipping from the Beanstalk. Our “A” Team counselors were leading the charge and having a ball. I can tell a lot from a bus ride, and energy was high with counselors teaching new songs and singing some new favorites with the girls.

Breakfast was French Toast and bacon with lots of extras on the Encore Table…fresh cut cantelope, omelets, oatmea, hard-boiled eggs and cereal with yogurt. Lunch was grilled cheese sandwiches, soup (tomato and homemade gaspacho), fritos and salad with ice cream sandwiches for dessert, and dinner was angel hair pasta with homemade sauce, Italian breadsticks, and a Caesar Salad…

What a great day in the Heavenly World! Everyone is doing so well and we are all LOVING camp!

3 responses to “Sliding Rock and Swim Lake Luau!

  1. Sounds like a fabulous day for all. Can moms come to camp next year? :0)
    Can’t wait to read tomorrow night.
    Sleep well to all!
    Lisa (Sofia’s mom)

  2. Love the photos!! WOW!! I second Lisa’s comment… and would love to have a parents weekend so we can all enjoy all the great fun that the Illahee Girls are experiencing!! We just received our first letters from our daughter and she is having the BEST time and we can witness that from her HUGE smile in every picture!! Thanks to the Illahee staff for making this experience so fabulous!!

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