Sundays at Camp!

Camp Illahee campers and counselors love an afternoon at the slip and slide!
We’re just a slippin” and a slidin’!

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, year round. It is the one day that I try to keep low key…one of the challenges of loving what I do, and living where I work…is leaving it behind occasionally during the off-season. I love to work outside…”piddling” I call it. If a tractor needs work, or there is a log on the sawmill, I’m on it. Grass need cutting? Pick me. If it’s raining, I’ll update the blog (I do that in the off-season too).  So Sunday, Laurie and I go to church, usually at 9:30, and then I’ll do stuff around the house. Even when I’m not doing stuff, I’m doing something. I just can’t help it. I might read, or watch a football game (I like college ball, but have been a Packers fan since I was six). On a rare occasion, I’ll even take a nap.

So I love Sundays at camp too. They are supposed to be a lower key day, but our attempts to make them so often means a busier one for those of us on the leadership team, especially the first Sunday of a session…which in the two-week session is the only full Sunday of the session. The day starts off a little later. After our rockin game of Capture the Flag last night, we were all ready for a little later morning. Cabins come together to the dining hall, still pajama clad, linens and towels in hand to drop off at the laundry for an exchange. A continental breakfast awaits. Fresh cut fruit in season (Canteloupe, strawberries, grapes), hard boiled eggs, bagels, yogurt, cereal, juice and milk. And the big treat: Krispy Kreme donuts delivered fresh to camp! No one is in a hurry, and the company is terrific.

After breakfast, cabins took showers, donned their Illahee white uniform shirts with blue ties, and headed by hill to the Rec Lodge, where we took their portraits and cabin pictures. If you haven’t checked out the galleries, no one can say they didn’t see their girl today (at least twice!) Each cabin also did video shout-outs to commemorate their time at camp for our Christmas DVD. Everyone looked so cute all clean in their “whites.” Our tradition is to walk two by two over to the Woodland Chapel, which sits below Pineview hill at the head of the canoe lake. Dogwoods, hemlocks and rhododendrons frame the outdoor chapel, and some huge poplars and maples provide shade even on the sunniest of days. Luckily, there is almost always a cool breeze blowing off the lake, and today was no exception. The Pineview counselors led worship today…in the longer sessions, each hill takes a turn and the girls are involved in the planning and presentation. Today’s message was about being “real” as God has made each of us. One of the common themes we hear from both older campers and staff is how they can find the best “version” of themselves at camp, no matter the struggles or challenges they have endured the past year. So many girls feel that pressure to be someone they weren’t meant to be as they mature. Our hope is that camp gives them a taste of the esteem that they feel for themselves and others when the pressure is off, and when they are that best “version.” For many, it is enough to sustain them until their next “fix” from home, or church, or even camp the next summer. “Be a Great Girl” is the sign that greets you when you climb the stairs to Hillbrook. We have more than our share.

Fried chicken, steamed broccoli, wild rice, thousands of warm yeast rolls slathered in honey and butter…Sunday lunch. Cookies and Cream ice cream, lovingly served by the leadership staff filled in the cracks. The afternoon brought the Swim Olympics. International teams competed in friendly swimming relays after a synchronized swimming and diving exhibition. The best use of a long sheet of plastic ever…the Slip n Slide…is the favorite of the Swim Olympics. Add a little Dawn, some water and cabinmates, and the ride is wet and wild! A quick cleanup brought us all back to the swim lake for hamburgers and hotdogs grilled to order. James Taylor’s crooning in the background is another Illahee tradition. Substitutions are not allowed Sunday night. Carolina in My Mind…on all of our minds, all of the time. Tonight’s campfire, complete with skits and solos, singing and stories…is the perfect way to round out the perfect day. And just think, tomorrow, we get to do it all over again! We shared our weekly program notes today. It’s going to be a busy week!

3 responses to “Sundays at Camp!

  1. I always enjoy your posts and frequently find myself moved by your words, but tonight was particularly lovely, I thought. Thanks so much to the entire Illahee team for helping our girls to be “great girls,” the very best that they can be, and for giving them so many amazing opportunities that they may not have at home!

    Your camp is aptly named!


  2. Thanks for such heartfelt words. I was deeply moved by the photos of the service this morning and your words tonight. Thanks for making us a part of your heavenly world!

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