How to Fit a Session into a Week!

A summer camp counselor slides down Sliding Rock with her campers at Camp Illahee.
It doesn’t get much more fun than a cabin slide down Sliding Rock!

One of my favorite things to do during camp is to take pictures to post on our website. First, it gets me out of the office, where I have a fairly consistent list of things I could attend to. I guess I’ll eventually check most of it off. During camp, office work feels kind of like all that stuff that piles up while your kids are young… I figure there will be time to organize the photo albums down the road…but capturing the memories while they are being made…that’s a different story. Getting out where the action is also allows me time to get to know the campers and see how things are going. I don’t want to be like the principal who comes in the classroom once a year to do the required teacher assessment.

During the regular camp season, taking pictures is a breeze. I just head out the door and go in whatever direction I need to. We try not to duplicate activities or at least the same girls during the same periods to get a good cross section of campers having fun. We also send cameras out on our climbing, hiking and kayaking trips or when girls canoe or raft on some of the great rivers nearby. I just got back in from taking pictures and was trying to follow the Junior Camp activity matrix. I snapped a picture of it because it is pretty amazing to see. When we first started Junior Camp, we had some select activities that were staples, but we soon realized that there were some things that just “shouted” camp that were missing. That’s when we added in things like riflery and archery, a trip to Sliding Rock and Dollys. We wanted to make it as much like a longer session at camp as we could.

The result is an action packed week. There are still some things that are tried and true and exclusive to this session. Girls travel together as a group with a counselor to get from activity to activity. That just makes it easier. But, they are are doing all the camp favorites…archery, riflery, arts and crafts, woodworking, ceramics, canoeing, field sports, crafting, campcraft (making a fire and s’mores), zipping from the ropes course. It’s a little frenetic as the picture taker…I have to travel on the diagonal instead of straight across so I don;t travel with the same group. Check out that matrix and you’ll see what I mean. I think besides just being a load of fun, girls in the Junior session really do get a great taste of camp…our veteran staff in the cabins, all the great activities, favorite menus…the works.

In case you think we are not taking care of your camper, today was crazy hair day. For some of these girls, every day is crazy hair day, but today was on purpose. We started our day off in McLeod Lodge for Rise n Shine…which begins each day as a camp family with a resounding chorus of Rise and Shine and Show God the Glory…Glory! Today the counselors led the devotional followed by new favorite camp songs before heading out to the first period of activities. I could see a little secret yawn by a few of the youngest girl counselors…it’s always a little bit of a shock at how early some of the little girls wake. That usually trends more and more towards the 7:45 am wake-up bell as the week goes on. There’s just so much that fills a camp day that we need every wink we can get!

French Toast and bacon as well as Encore Table offerings (cereal, yogurt, milk, bagels, scrambled eggs) were waiting for us for breakfast. A camper favorite, hot grilled cheese sandwiches, fritos, tomato soup and salad with ice cream for dessert for lunch, and a Gordon favorite, angel hair pasta, marinara and meat sauce, french bread, and salad for dinner.

I love going to Sliding Rock and we are loading up the buses right after dinner with cabins 1-10 on HIllbrook. We’ll slide, get the girls dressed for bed and then stop off at our favorite ice cream spot to visit Miss Dolly. A local tradition for the last forty years, Dollys is at the entrance to the Pisgah Forest, and when we roll up with our campers, they are ready for us with all sorts of scrumptious flavors. There are chocolate and vanilla and the usual flavors, but what makes Dolly’s unique besides Dolly herself are all the great Camp flavors. The original and best selling is Illahee Swirl. But we have High Rocks Arctic Slide, Music Camp Obsession, Keystone Sunrise. We’ll get some good sliding and ice cream pictures to post after we get back. The Heigh Ho girls enjoyed the swim lake all to themselves with plenty of games and fun at the Illahee Luau.

It was a terrific first day of activities. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

3 responses to “How to Fit a Session into a Week!

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for the photos and wonderful, detailed blog…!!! This is Maddie’s first time at Illahee and I am blown away…;))) It is so well organized and filled with amazing activities.

    You guys run an A+++ organization…:) THANK YOU!!!

  2. I can not be more thankful for your updates…it’s the first thing I look for when I wake up in the morning! It’s as close as one can get to camp without actually being there. Thank you for after a long day taking the time to do this for us parents!

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures. They are so sweet …I can see that this week will be full of fabulous memories for Laney ..Thanks for taking great care of her and filling her day with fun!!!

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