First Day of Activities Ends at the County Fair!

Two girls hug at Camp Illahee
Back among camp friends, it just doesn’t get any better!

It was a blue ribbon day in the “heavenly”…one that the Chamber of Commerce would be proud to hang their hat on for all to see. It started off a little foggy again, but the riding staff who were feeding the horses, a few early morning staff joggers, and I may have been the only ones who saw this part of the day. By the time the morning bell rang, the fog had burned off revealing bright Carolina blue skies…which persisted through the day. As twilight settles, it is still blue except for a cotton candy cloud formation that is sitting over the escarpment to our south that separates North Carolina from our other Carolina neighbor. It is pink and puffy and really quite beautiful, a fitting end to a perfect day.From looking at the weather reports, it looks like we may be in for a toasty week’s end, so highs in the mid eighties are quite welcome.

One of the reasons we went to the trouble to develop a system that allows campers to sign up for activities before camp is that we can jump right in from the “get go.” We encourage our activity staff to go over the things necessary for safety, but to allow the skills to build over the session, and above all…to jump right in. I walked around camp this morning checking on things and taking pictures, and it looked as if camp has been in session for weeks. I love that. Who wants to stand around and listen to someone talk about horses? They want to get on…and they were. There were girls in canoes and kayaks, starting projects in woodworking, on the Beanstalk (our climbing tower), leaving on trips to climb and paddle, shooting arrows and rifles…you name it…they were doing it. Most camps wait til the first day of camp and sign campers up for activities like most of us used to sign up for college courses…wander around a big room with lots of tables, hoping your favorite wasn’t full by the time you got there. There are two other reasons we like getting sign-ups out of the way in the spring…parents can help their camper sign up, and we can make sure we have plenty of staff for the favorites before camp starts.

After the first night in the cabin, some of the little ones wake up just a tad on the early side. I can always see it in the eyes of the counselors, some of our most patient and loving staff. 🙂 Luckily, the activity of camp usually sorts that right out by the second or third morning. We were greeted this morning with yummy French Toast and bacon. Our breakfast encore table always has bagels and boiled eggs….and there are all sorts of cereals on the tables. Breakfast is usually my favorite meal at camp. Rise and Shine is how we start our day as a camp family. We don;t do announcements at breakfast. When a cabin has finished clearing, they can head to McLeod Lodge where each cabin group gets a turn to lead the camp in a devotional. They choose the theme, the songs, and get to sit up front.

There are three activity periods each morning and then two in the afternoon after rest hour and what we call Choice Period. Choice Period changes day to day and usually includes counselor interest activities…some quiet, some not so quiet. My favorite place to hang out at Choice is the swim lake…which I did to day, watching girls get their nerve up to try out the Tarzan rope swing. By the end of the four week session, we’ll have plenty of girls who will be doing flips off the Tarzan. The Streak is also popular, but I’ll warn you…it is aptly named. It is FAST, and if you don’t hit the water just right, a wedgie will ensue (sorry…that’s not very proper of me).

Our kitchen crew has been working together for five years now, and they are AWESOME. We have three women who manage their own schools or programs in the off-season, and then a couple of great cooks, and the accompanying sanitarians who clean up after their creativity. This year is the debut of our new salad bar, and one of our former managers, a caterer, is back and just doing the salad bar…every day brings a new end of the bar surprise…couscous, tabouli, homemade potato salad, lots of creative and healthy offerings. Today, I stuck to the salad bar. I will not lie…County Fair day is not my favorite food day. But I am often overruled, and this menu is no different. It is a camper favorite…lunch was grilled cheese, fritos and spinach dip, tomato soup, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Dinner was fair themed…chicken wings, french fries (why waste the hot fryers after all) and funnel cake for dessert. Laurie did throw me a bone a couple of years back…it used to be hot dogs 🙂 Tomorrow, we’ll detox, but for today, there were lots of happy campers.

Our evening program is tradition. On the first night of camp, the fair comes to town. Moonwwalk, dunking booth, fortune telling and face painting, snow cones and pony rides…and LOTS of good (rated G) music with LOTS of dancing. Older and younger cabins pair up and dress as one part of double name. Star Buck…Ham Aches (hammocks), Athletic Bra (middle school…I know). Energy was high. We’re off to a great start. Tomorrow is Pine Day so a whole new set of first day activities. I know a bunch of Great girls who will sleep well tonight.

One response to “First Day of Activities Ends at the County Fair!

  1. As the grandmother (aka Mumsie) to a first year camper ( Eva S.), I’m most grateful that you take the time to keep us all in the loop with this blog. It is great fun to see the happy faces on the gallery and then having your take on the day is even better. Your blog is going to be added to my daily list!

    Thank you and your staff,

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