Oh Say Can You See? Happy Fourth!

Illahee campers with sunflower
Even the sunflowers opened up for a day of celebration!

What an amazing day! This is how the Fourth should be celebrated! I will say, at 10:36 PM as I sit down to write, I am glad that it has ended safely and with lots of happy campers and staff. Our last crew is off the road, back from an afternoon and evening at the Illahee Farm, complete with a rousing game of red versus blue in Capture the Flag, yummy barbecue, cole slaw, baked beans, red, white and blue cake and lots of just fun playtime exploring the wonders of our outdoor world.

Our day started being awakened by the riding staff…the British are Coming! They rode mounted through camp, up the paths by the cabins, waking girls up as they came. By the time breakfast arrived…pancakes, strawberries, sausage links…yummmm!, the dining hall was a sea of red, white and blue. Our Sparks and CITs were spirited for that early in the morning, and were happy to lead the entire camp in patriotic songs through breakfast that extended to Rise n Shine. Activities are on a roll, and the extra trips out of camp just keep coming. There were more trips to the French Broad for tubing and canoeing, climbing at Rumbling Bald, and kayaking on the Tuck. Lunch was a delicious Greek treat…not sure what the bread is called that looks kind of like Pita, but softer…Tzatziki sauce, Greek salad, and chicken. It was yummy.

Mid-afternoon, we loaded the buses and vans, and made the short trip to the farm in two trips. Laurie and crew had dinner ready to serve, and by the time the younger girls had all been fed, the second shift arrived, and no one had to wait. Watermelon is a fourth tradition and was served in abundance. They have finally gotten really good…a sure sign that mid-summer is here. After dinner and some hanging out time with cabinmates and counselors, the red and blue teams headed for the big field and played a great game of Capture the Flag. Reds and blues…the Hillbrook flag is in a “safe” circle a little closer than Heigh Ho and Pineview. Taggers can send you to jail. You’re safe in a circle by the flag, but when there is a jailbreak, you have to leave the safety net for 15 seconds. Dave and I were setting up the fireworks show up the hill, and it was fun to look down in the afternoon light and see a sea of red and blue.

You know, to listen to some in political circles, or the pundits who like to make the media rounds, you might get the impression that America is a nation in decline. Not so from my perspective. I’ve seen a generation or two come through camp in my 21 years as a director (and five or six before as a staff person). There is none as impressive as this one. They get it…that freedom comes with a cost, and it is worth it. They love their country, and understand that it deserves to be nurtured. It’s hard not to be optimistic when you sit where I do.

For our Mini 1 parents, I cannot believe that you will pick up your girls on Friday. Pick-up works much like drop-off. Anytime, after 9:00 am, come through the main gates, and we will load any large items (trunk or big duffles) and then direct you to parking. Your camper will be in her cabin where you should take a look for any small things. Check the lines, bathrooms, etc. Take time to walk around camp and let your camper give you a tour of all her favorite places. You will be amazed at her growth. The Ship Store will be open, as will the office. You may settle any balances in either spot. If we owe you a refund, we will send it with an itemized statement on Tuesday of next week. If there is a balance due, you will also get an itemized statement of Ship Store purchases. We have a big day planned tomorrow to finish the Mini 1 session strong.

It’s late and it has been a terrific fourth. I hope yours was happy and safe too.

One response to “Oh Say Can You See? Happy Fourth!

  1. I can’t imagine a more wonderful Fourth of July than waking up to the sounds of galloping horses and “The British are coming!” followed by pancakes, Capture the Flag, BBQ, watermelon, and fireworks. I’m sure they had an amazing day–the proof is in the hundreds of photos of smiling girls in the gallery! Thank you for providing Clara and all of the Illahee girls with such a beautiful, fun, memorable day, and thank you so much for your thoughtful daily updates.
    With appreciation, Robbie

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