Sing Around the Lake and Canoe Formation!

Illahee staff paddling in traditional canoe formation
Counselors close out a tradition-filled night with canoe formation.

My choice of my highlight of the day was one among many. Things were back to normal today…as normal goes in the camp world. It was the last regular day of Pine Day activities. Tomorrow will be action-packed as we have final shows in dance, puppetry, vaulting, riding…fun stuff and a great way to end a really great session. Amanda’s goal has been to “climb” the silver route on our indoor climbing wall. It’s really not a climb, but a traverse…and it’s not easy. She has “nailed” it by practicing it over and over again, slipping…starting again until her hands cramp and her feet can’t stand it any more. She wants me to watch her do it. I think initially she caught wind that there are some goals in the longer sessions where girls can win a trip to Dolly’s for ice cream, and she thought this might be a good tradition to bring to the August session for girls who traverse the silver route. 🙂 But now, it’s more about reaching that goal, and I am charged with validating her success. So after the play, and after the Slide Show…and before Sing Around the Lake and Canoe Formation, Amanda and I stayed behind with one of her buddies to spot her and attempted to traverse the silver route…three times. She got by the challenge that had stumped her last time…but her bare feet kept slipping at an easier spot as she planted firmly on the overstuffed “crash pads” that protect a falling “boulderer.” She smiled and said, “I’ll get it tomorrow.” I replied, “I’m sure of it.”

There is an Amanda (insert your camper’s name here) moment happening all the time at camp. Stretching, reaching, failing, trying again. I have been reading a lot about the generation that Laurie and I raised. We were taught to praise everything our kids did, so much so, that helicopter parents became common, and some kids let mom and dad hover. The problem is…the world doesn’t work like that. Especially lately. Can’t get up for work? Somebody else will. Don’t like your job? Next in line. I was so tempted to say to Amanda: “you did the hard part. Way to go. You did it”! But she knew that she had not finished, although she was that close. She will get it tomorrow, and victory will be that much more sweet…and my excitement will be real for her.

I love Canoe Formation and Sing Around the Lake, but the night started earlier with “bag supper,” the last of the camp season. Great sandwiches with turkey, red yummy tomatoes, chips, a choice of candy bar…milk. If you are a tomato fan, there is none better than an August local North Carolina tomato. There were also PB and J’s, hummus, pitas…it’s a nice change from the usual dining hall sit down. James Taylor crooning outside…a beautiful night. Our drama production was The Best Little Theater in Town, a cute play within a play. The theater is threatened with closure, due to the malfeasance of the company accountant. There are love stories, singing, dancing, and lots of witty dialogue. The girls did great, especially considering the time frame to learn lines, and get costumes and blocking together.

After the play, we projected images of the session on the new “Jumbo Tron” in the Rec Lodge. All of the images you all have enjoyed have not been seen by the girls, so we pick several hundred of our favorites, set them to music and rotate them across the wide screen. The girls clap, laugh and cheer as girls they know flash up on the screen. Big Boomin Fun! Things get quiet after this and the traditional program starts. Each hill walks silently to their appointed spot around the Swim Lake and take turns serenading each other by firelight. The choruses echoing off the hill in this natural “bowl,” sound really angelic. Canoe Formation follows. In this session, the counselors participate, waking up early the week before to practice. Red torches mounted on the canoes add drama to the event, and the formations are fun to watch. Pachelbel’s Canon in D and other classical favorites echo through the night as the paddlers go through their formations. The Pine Tree Song and Taps end the evening, and it’s another heavenly day in our heavenly world.


2 responses to “Sing Around the Lake and Canoe Formation!

  1. I heard the other day that the children being raised right now are “digital natives”; they have never known life without the internet. Camp gives these girls the chance to be together outdoors, to try new skills, and to have real conversations and to make real friendships away from the electronic world. Thank you Camp Illahee for providing a heavenly world!

  2. Tomorrow is the last day for our granddaughters who have attended Illahee 4 years for Lily and 2 years for Piper. Evenings would not be complete without reading your blog and checking the wonderful pictures you take. It means so much to be able to see what the girls are doing. Thank you for your commitment to excellence so all these young women can have such positive experiences. What a blessing.


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