Camp Builds Character!

A vet floats Luke the pony's teeth.
Luke Goes to the Dentist!

We are having a terrific winter here at camp!  With the excitement of floods one week and snow the next, Mother Nature has kept us entertained but hasn’t slowed us down. The shiny new cabin bathrooms are complete on Hillbrook and Hi Ho.  We can’t wait for you to see them.  In January, we moved on to our next project….. With Hollis’ great leadership in arts & crafts and Beth returning to run the Fire Fly (ceramics studio), and nearly every Illahee girl enjoying studio arts, it was time to update the facilities!  Tommy and Tim are providing a facelift to the deck on the Fire Fly and replacing stairs to the Busy Bee.

Counselors Greet Kris during a recent staff fair.
Counselors Greet Kris during a recent staff fair.

They’ve opened up the doors and windows to let in more light and have renovated work space in the Fire Fly.  The Busy Bee interior has been remodeled by moving the central cabinet divider from the middle of the room and installing shelves, cabinets and work space along the walls.  We can’t wait to see campers enjoying the new spaces.  Hollis has great ideas for this summer and came by camp last week to teach Gretchen how to make bracelets, one of her many projects planned for this summer.

Campers enjoy Arts and Crafts.
Campers enjoy Arts and Crafts.

While Gretchen was “crafting” Laurie enjoyed taking Luke to the dentist.  Yes, horses need an occasional trip to the dentist too!  He’s grown his woolly winter coat and seemed much happier after his equine flossing and brushing.  Kris enjoyed visiting counselors at University of Georgia and Clemson last week where she caught up on lots of news and enjoyed being back on campus.  This is a big time for interviewing and hiring our great counselors.  We’ll visit our own Brevard College, known for its fantastic outdoor program, this week and Appalachian State next week.

We all were reminded recently of the magic of camp when we attended a NCYCA- North Carolina Youth Camp Association Conference led by Bob Ditter. We actually drove over to the conference center in Flat Rock through rain and sleet and then watched the ice form throughout the day before we slid our way back to camp.  It was worth the “white knuckles” to hear what Bob has to say about camp’s vital role in the lives of our girls.  We provide a wonderfully fun experience for our camper that is also educational.  Camp is a great stage for developing skills and character that lead to a healthier, more successful adult life.

Bob Ditter outlined Seven Critical Character Traits that are enhanced through experiences at camp:

Grit/Resilience/ Perseverance– The Illahee experience helps to build the ability to hang in there when the going gets tough. Who hasn’t had a “blue” afternoon at camp or a day without mail?

Sense of Wonder/ Curiosity about the World – Illahee fosters our inborn delight and fascination that lead us to explore, learn and discover all we can about the world. Who isn’t fascinated by the tadpoles and bull frogs by the swim lake?

Social Intelligence– Illahee offers opportunities to increase awareness of others and make meaningful connections by knowing how and when to negotiate, collaborate and compromise.  Who thought that Air Band is about the performance of the dance?

Gratitude– Illahee fosters a positive outlook on life and the culture of camp is one based on gratitude. Who looks forward to starting the day singing “Rise and Shine and give God the glory!” or to Sunday services with the canoe lake and mountain setting in the back drop?

Kindness –Illahee involves giving of self in a way that is different from being “nice” through opportunities to know others outside of general groups that are often found at school. “Who enjoys sharing a Coke at the Ship’s Store or walking a new camper to her activity?”

Self-control – Illahee offers many times when regulating ones feelings and impulses is important in the group setting and activities.  This trait is about recognizing and managing feelings and is one of the most important for success in life. “Who doesn’t mind waiting to be served by the counselor in the dining hall?”

Optimism– At Illahee there are opportunities to build self confidence and to practice seeing a positive outlook on life and situations.  (Where else to we “sing in the rain?”)

There are many experiences throughout the day at Illahee that enable campers and counselors to grow while having fun.  After all, “Who looks forward to being part of the Heavenly World?” We look forward to the countdown to 2013- the Best Summer Ever!