What a Difference a Day Makes!

Four summer campers lounging in the Camp Illahee swim lake on blue inner tubes.
There is no better place than the Swim Lake with friends at Camp Illahee!

One of the things that I love about Junior Camp is reaching that point in the session where it is obvious to me that camp is feeling comfortable to the girls. They walk with a little more purpose, and a lot more confidence…they have found their way around, and everything doesn’t seem so big and spread out. That point has come earlier this year than most…this is a very happy and super enthusiastic group. Camp is in session! I spent a good bit of time this morning taking pictures on both sides of camp. Gretchen usually does the lion share of that responsibility as a dedicated photo bug, but she has been helping out with the six or so camp tours we have been doing each day for prospective families…which is fine by me! This is application season…you all remember that from last year, but we received almost 200 applications from prospective girls by FedEx and UPS today! We have a special thing going here and are so glad your camper is a part of it.

If you checked the radar today, you may have thought that we had a rainy day. It did drizzle a couple of times after lunch, but it never got wet enough to stop any of our activities, including tennis. In fact, the sun peaked through at various times, but the high overcast was almost welcome as camp was cool and comfortable…but not so cool that it deterred our swimmers. I really enjoyed getting over to the other side of camp to the barn, canoeing and nature. The barn was super efficient, ready for action. While girls were waiting to ride, they enjoyed learning about the horses, their tack, how to ride safely, but mostly…getting a chance to groom the horses. Moon Pie, our undersized Shetland who Liza the camp dog is still trying to woo as a playmate, was the most popular. He patiently allowed different variations in mane styles…braiding and unbraiding his tail, and plenty of brushing (he seemed to enjoy this). Moving on down the road to nature, Steve O’Neil was letting the girls handle the snakes, Fluffy the hamster (who seemed oblivious that he was one careless camper away from a tasty snack), and just as I got there, they started looking for the box turtles in Laurie’s turtle preserve.

Our Tripping pros stay in camp during Junior Camp and work on canoeing skills and games with the girls, but during three and four week sessions, you will find them on some of the world class rivers around with names like Nantahala, Ocoee, Chatooga…leading kayakers through each rapid, helping them build skills and enjoy a lifelong sport. It was interesting for me to watch them adapt their teaching techniques to younger girls…quite effectively. I got up to ceramics to watch girls glaze. Ms. Davis, our expert seamstress, was helping girls sew hair barrettes. Girls were making mini dolls in Arts and Crafts, wood projects in Woodworking, learning to shoot air rifles in riflery and arrows in archery. There was a lot going on…as well as a more confident looking group in their second day on the Tarzan swing…oh yeah and Zippers from the Beanstalk! Big Fun!

Tonight is a flip flop of last night’s exciting evening program. Hillbrook will stay back in camp (cabins 1-10) and Heigh Ho (11-20) will load up and head for an exciting evening at Sliding Rock, to finish at Dollys for some terrific ice cream. Illahee Swirl was the favorite last night, and I can say with some confidence that it will be again tonight. I will try to get all of the pictures loaded tonight. Sometimes if I don’t babysit the program, it hangs up so don’t forget to check back in the morning just in case. (There were a lot more evening program images posted this morning first thing).

You may not recognize your girls! They are gaining confidence, enjoying new friends and new activities, and having a ball at camp! And so are we. Thanks for sharing your camper with us!