Hillbrook Goes to the Farm!

A summer camper looks up from her air rifle during riflery activity at Camp Illahee Summer Camp for Girls.
Riflery and lanyard making are two of Illahee’s favorites!

Today felt like a typical summer day at camp. Everyone is in their routine, activities are busy, the food is great, and there are lots of things going on to keep things exciting. We start every Wednesday morning a little earlier as our Heads of Hill join the leadership team to check in. We are very camper-focused in these meetings, and take time to talk through each hill and how each girl is doing. We talk about how we can support counselors, JCs, the nurses, and others on the team. It’s a very deliberate process, and one which makes it hard for a camper to “slip through the cracks.” We have a seasoned group of summer leaders this year, a team that is determined to make Illahee the best that it can be.

The morning was beautiful, and there was a flurry as trips left in every direction. There was a group of older girls headed out to the farm to tube the French Broad River. Our kayakers got an early start to the Nantahala. They were running the full river for the first time, which includes a very healthy Class III section toward the beginning and at the end with Nantahala Falls. The climbers were headed back toward Looking Glass where they planned to practice rappelling until the rock dried off. That may be a long practice session, because our usual rest hour thunderstorm blew through to cool things off about 2:00 PM.

Many of you know that our theme this year is “Illahee: Music to Our Ears.” We greeted campers with their own “unplugged” t-shirt, asked everyone to leave ipods at home and made a commitment that music and song would be present everywhere this summer. The difference? No inappropriate lyrics allowed. For those parents who are “lyric impaired,” like me, that cuts out a lot of popular music. I have been amazed that there has been absolutely no push back…none! This unplugged movement is gaining traction in the camp world, and it has occurred to me that camp is about holding on to those things that are important to us, but that we can’t seem to make happen in other aspects of our lives. I haven’t picked up a copy yet, but the cover of Town and Country Magazine is titled America’s Summer Camp Revival. When words like “revival” are used, it makes me think that some folks thought that the institution of camp’s demise was imminent. I have never feared that. Through the latest recession, and even through the last 20 plus years, camp has filled in September (with the exception of the Junior session and some last minute cancellations). Like most businesses, we have worked harder the last couple, but we always have worked hard. I really think that camps are a unique institution, and remain so critical for forwarding those things we hold important to the next generation…things like life skills, being comfortable in the dark and in nature with unfamiliar sounds, leaving the umbilical cord of our technology at home, sharing living space with others, not being the center of the universe in this big family, though important nonetheless. Self-reliance, independence, manners (yes! manners). Good stuff.

Breakfast felt very Southern. Biscuits and sausage, cheese grits, cereal and yogurt with juice and milk. Lunch was pizza…home made of course with salad. Besides the usual peperoni and cheese, there was also spinach, hot wing chicken and veggie. Dinner is bag supper…sandwiches, chips cookies and a candy bar with milk outside. The Hillbrook girls are headed to the farm. They will enjoy hamburgers and hotdogs, play games, explore the farm, and head to bed either in tents, the loft of the barn or under the stars with their counselors for a big overnight. Heigh Ho will watch a movie in McLeod, and the Pineview girls will enjoy a “hill night” with games and other activities just to themselves. I am headed back out tomorrow for a day of hiking swimming and exploring with the rest of the seventh graders. What a great day ahead!

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2 responses to “Hillbrook Goes to the Farm!

  1. Bravo again Illahee staff who decided to go “unplugged”-what a refreshing peaceful change for these sweet girls.
    (Of course, I stay wired into pictures all day so keep them coming, please!)
    Have a great Thursday!

  2. Thankyou so much for ALL your time and explicit details in sharing each wonderful day at Illahee and all its beauty.We feel the mountain breeze down here in sunny,hot Florida.(rain too).
    Madeline is loving this session even more then the last. She loves Becca and & their devotional time which she wrote about.Long, happy letters.Loving these Blogs!! So true!
    Thankyou for the BEST camp!

    Good Night,
    Jack and Diane

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