I am enjoying the first rest hour shower and thunderstorm of the camp season! It has been a full staff orientation week and the counselors are settled into the basement of Curtis making their door decorations, buddy tags and camper name tags. We just finished the lifeguard refresher course and the last official orientation session before campers arrive on Sunday. There is a great feeling of community as we all settle in to begin our season together as “Team Illahee.”
When the storm passes we’ll load the vans and head to Dupont State Park for a waterfall hike and tour and then return to camp for a backyard picnic at Pinecrest. (Note the optimism!) We’ve come a long way this week from greeting new and old counselors on Sunday and seeing them grow more comfortable and confident as the week has progressed. Our friend Bob Ditter from Boston, a well-known camp educator and child and family therapist spent the first day and a half of orientation with us covering basic counseling skills, “mistakes that adults make”, ways to develop character traits, and helping plan for typical situations in a session called, “what’s your next move.”
We had our own cabin adventure on Tuesday night complete with juggling lessons, ice cream making and Molly’s parachute games. On Wednesday activity training continued along with hearing the first “Zipping!” shouts of the season. Van drivers continued their practice and the trips staff got ready for the first cookout at Hannah Ford Farm. They treated the counselors to hamburgers, hot dogs and s’mores followed by Janna’s fabulous games in the field.
Thursday was “safety day” followed by a Parent Panel. That is always my favorite part of orientation. Counselors are able to ask questions to several camp parents from the Brevard area. It’s a great way for us to realize how excited Illahee girls are about coming to camp and how much their parents are counting on us to provide a great camp session. After the session, I knew that counselors were at home when an impromptu dance party broke out in the dining hall.
This morning we rolled up our sleeves to “Put on the Glitz.” Illahee’s well maintained property doesn’t just happen; having 65 camp counselors divided into teams with back pack blowers, tree clippers, rakes and ready to weed, makes it seem easy though! Tomorrow, we’ll look ahead at opening day and the first week of camp. We can’t wait to see the girls arrive on Sunday! This will mark Illahee’s 94th camp season, and you know….it’s certain to be The Best Summer Ever!