The Show Must Go On!

The Cast of the Best Little Theater in Town take a bow at Camp Illahee Summer Camp for Girls.
The Cast of the Best Little Theater in Town take a bow!

Occasionally, we will be asked to speak to a college level class studying recreation…”Masters in Camping,” we often joke. In reality, there is no preparation for what we do other than doing it. There are programs out there that teach recreation theory…hogwash I think. Of course, we need recreation. We allknow it’s good for the soul. There are also courses in surveying the benefits of your program…I guess that’s useful. So what are the skills that I use most often doing what I do? Well, I am thankful for my crash course in accounting that I received from a very patient treasurer/CPA when we were first hired to run a non-profit. But, any business owner would benefit from knowing a balance sheet from a P/L statement. I’m glad Mrs. Bowen made me diagram everything from simple sentences to the preamble to the Constitution at MBA in seventh grade. I wasn’t so excited then. I’m also glad Mrs. Lowery honed my writing skills in AP English, and started to make everyone in the class think of ourselves as writers. “Telling the story” is essential in my book.

I’m also pretty good at “destructive orthodontics.” If a girl’s braces are hurting her, I can probably relieve the pain, but it’s going to cost her a trip to the real orthodontist when camp ends to do the repair work.  I’m decent at fixing things, but know little about engines. But I’ll have to say that my most useful skill has to be…plumbing. Yep, that’s right. The most important skill a camp director can have is a little plumbing know-how. That little jewel would go over big in Camping 101!

Tonight I had just returned from a trip to the salad bar where Dee had made some amazing treats to tantalize our taste buds…quinoa with all sorts of fresh stuff in it was my favorite. My iPhone buzzed and a quick glance at the screen showed an Orlando number that I didn’t recognize. I ignored it. Laurie was sitting next to me and her phone rang. She answered it, and it was Callie, our CIT mom. She had been showering, and heard a pop and then the sound of rushing water in the big bathroom in the Paw Paw Patch. A sink supply line had broken and was spraying hot water like a fire hose that had been dropped…back and forth. They had made a towel dam across the doorway, but water was everywhere. I opened the other faucets in sinks and showers to relieve the pressure, and then found and turned off the main water valve. A quick trip to the shop revealed an extra supply that I robbed and put back on the sink. Soaking wet, I made it back to the dining hall by dessert. Yes, I think plumbing is a pretty important skill to have.

You may have noticed that the posts are getting later. This week is packed full of activity, and I want to make sure I am at every event. Tonight, we had most of our final shows…gymnastics, vaulting, puppetry and drama. I am always so impressed with how much is accomplished during such a short period of time. The drama production was the Best Little Theater in Town, and was directed by Counselor Jordan, who is a musical theater major at Belmont College in Nashville. The acting, singling, costumes, choreography were all outstanding. A veteran of several plays myself (Mr. McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie and Milos Gloriosus in a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), I know that it’s as much about process and working hard toward a goal in a short amount of time…as it is about the performance, although that’s always such a thrill.

Today was beautiful. We did have out usual rest hour thunderstorm scoot through here around 2:00 pm. The 8th graders headed to the Nantahala for a raft trip and had a great day. Our guys are working so hard to get camp looking great for closing and re-opening this weekend, and actually had to put hay down along the camp road and on the soccer field to try to absorb some of the rainwater. Oh well, sunny and soggy is better than socked in…today was the end of Tree day activities for the session. Tomorrow, girls will finish up with their Pine Day activities. Tomorrow night, we’ll have Sing Around the Lake and Canoe Formation, which signals the start of our closing ceremonies. For those of you who are leaving tomorrow to come for pick-up, it works much like drop-off did. You will drive through Pineview for older girls or main camp for Hillbrook and Heigh Ho (Cabins 1-20). We will have folks to load any big luggage-trunks and big duffles. We ask you to park and then head to the cabin to hug your camper. Stay as long as you like. We will have directions to Dollys for ice cream, the Ship Store will be open, and you are welcome to tour cabins and activity areas.

We have a big day tomorrow…I’m looking forward to welcoming the three day trips back and enjoying Sing Around the Lake and Canoe Formation. I’m always amazed at how quickly days go during camp, and how quickly the session has flown by. I know you can’t wait to see your girls, but I will be sad to see them go.