A Great Day for Cabin Groups

Girls with GPS units in hand pose at Illahee tunnel.
The tunnel was a waypoint on Illahee’s new geocaching course, offered during chocie period.

By day three of  camp, cabin groups start to feel like family.   This morning Gordon and I started the day with our heads of hill and leadership team at 7:30 where we catch a more detailed pulse of cabin life.  Resoundingly, the report from each hill’s leader was that “these girls love camp!”  Activities are important but the cabin group is the heart of camp, and the connections made and problems solved within a cabin group lead to some of the greatest growth opportunities at camp.  Each counselor plays that critical role of mom/ older sister and we are constantly amazed by their love toward and dedication to the girls.  Today is a big cabin day as Hillbrook is going to the Hannah Ford Farm after activities today and Heigh Ho and Pineview have Cabin Adventure night in camp.

Taking an entire hill to the farm is an adventure in itself!  Hillbrook’s counselors are gearing up with games and plans to play in the swimming lakes.  The trip staff will be ready for the groups with tents and tarps set up and the hamburgers and hot dogs grilled and ready for their arrival. Hannah Ford farm is a sevety acre tract that we bought last year that is ten minutes from camp. Set on the French Broad River, it is gorgeous. We have rebuilt barns and other buildings, built the lakes and roads into the property and put in the infrastructure to make it comfortable. The reports back from previous sessions is that the girls love it! The Heigh Ho and Pineview cabins will have bag supper this evening- turkey sandwiches, tuna salad, hummus, peanut butter, chips, apples and of course their choice of Skittles, Snickers or Kit Kat bars.  The evening line-up is cabin adventure where cabin groups plan a cabin or double cabin activity for the evening.  The girls love the smaller group activity and added time with the counselor.  I restocked our kitchen today with chocolate chips for cabins 11 and 12 who will be baking cookies at our house.  Other cabin activities include making tye dye t-shirts; a swim party; making friendship bracelets;  roasting chocolate stuffed bananas over a campfire and going canoeing and having a campfire and s’mores.

Most counselors who have been here for the full summer have younger girls in their cabin this go-round and they are adapting to the exuberance- less hang out and “chat time” and more time for “action.”  August campers get to activities “OTOT” – On Time and On Target! (We borrowed that from another camp but it does the trick as a mid-summer reminder during our longer sessions.)  Molly,  a 20 year staff member who heads Woodworking and Fit for Life has joined us for her first August session ever and she has loved the enthusiasm.  Molly, who has a costume for every occasion, is no stranger herself to energy and enthusiasm. We know that you can spot it in Rosie’s photos which capture the action and joy throughout camp.

Being based in Curtis off and on throughout the day, I see a trickle of campers who come in hoping to change their schedules. I think that for some of them, it’s not that they are unhappy with their choice, it’s just that there is so much else to try!  It reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, “If You Give a Moose a Muffin.”  I think that the Illahee camper version goes like this: On my way to dance, I passed by Splash, and noticed the Streak which sure looks fun- perhaps I should go down that and after a dip I  head over to Arts and Crafts but on the way there I see that girls are doing watercolor painting and that looks colorful so I think I should join them with my paint brush over by the black eyed Susans that overlook the tennis courts, and I notice Dave is down there encouraging everyone and tennis might not be so hard after all so I think I’ll give that a try and as I gather up the tennis balls after class, the dog Liza comes along and I should throw one for her and as I do I follow her into the rec. lodge where the gymnastics mats are set out and Katie is teaching a back walk over which I’ve always wanted to try and while I stretch into my back bend I see that there is rehearsal on the stage for “The Best Musical Ever” and I’ve always wanted to be in a play…..” there is so much to do…if you give a camper an activity…..the wonder can begin, a Wonderful Wednesday at camp!

One response to “A Great Day for Cabin Groups

  1. Love, love, love all the photos!! The joy on all the campers and staff can be felt back at home! Thank you for the fabulous great fun and new experiences for our daughter!! And I really enjoyed your analogy of camp activities to “If you give a Moose a Muffin” because I can only imagine that is how I would be feeling!! Camp Illahee is the BEST!!

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