Dreaming of Camp!

Llama llama

I woke up this morning still in disbelief that we had already begun the Four- Week and Mini One sessions. June flew by, and it doesn’t seem possible that we welcomed 280 new campers through the gates yesterday! I wasn’t the only one with these feelings; yesterday during lunch I ran into a long time camper, now CIT, Katie. After a hug she said “This isn’t real, pinch me. I just know I’m going to wake up.” She was beaming and her excitement was radiating. It made me smile to see her, now a young woman, who has been at Illahee for seven years still experiencing the magic of opening day and the start of camp.

This excitement is all around the Heavenly today. One of the many reasons I love this session is that the enthusiasm for camp is so effusive! The campers who are here for a month have drunk the “camp kool-aid” and this excitement trickles down to our mini campers as well. I may be a little biased (although I love each session so much!)- the Four-Week was my official camper domain for three summers, until I was encouraged to explore other options. I was somewhat of a mess as a camper. If an isolation cabin existed, I might have spent a time or two there. Regardless of this rebellious stage, I loved these camp years and think about them often. I love even more, watching girls fall in love with camp; a place so many of us call home!

Today was pretty toasty. I knew when I woke up at half past six, seeing the bright sun, no fog, that it was going to be a warm one. Not a cloud in the sky, we are so lucky to have such shady trees around camp. The cabins and most of the activities stay pretty cool. I feel a little guilty talking about the mountain heat we experience, and I nod to those of you anywhere South of us cause I know this “ain’t nothin” compared to your summers. We are fortunate to have pretty mild days, and when it does heat up it makes the swim lake all the more inviting!

Activities were off to a great start as girls went to their first day of Pine activities. The nature classes were buzzing with excitement because we expanded our animal repertoire, adding two new goats. When asking about the pair, a counselor emphatically stated, “And we can even take them on walks!” Now that’s a funny picture. Along with the veteran chicken flock, we have cuddly bunnies, a couple of snakes, tadpoles right in the midst of metamorphosis, a baby turtle or two, and who knows what else will show up.

Today I toured around a family whose girls will be attending camp during the Junior session. We were able to walk around and see the activities in full swing! Arts and Crafts made beaded necklaces and custom postcards, basketball was fine- tuning their dribbling skills, and kayakers were navigating around the canoe lake, adjusting to the wobbly boats. In each stop the girls stopped what they were doing to sing to us. This is one of my favorite parts of camp, the welcoming of new comers. At the end of the tour the little girl looked up at her mom and said, “ I want to stay now.” She would have if it were an option- mom was a little more hesitant, as is the case sometimes!

I just came in from County Fair and it was one of the best I can remember. We had a last minute change of venues from the tennis courts to the rec lodge because of some looming storms. Despite the change, the llamas, bounce-house, snow cones, put- put, dunk tank, and face paint all made it and the girls, and counselors had a blast! We will post pictures to prove it tomorrow. As I was leaving the rec-lodge a little girl in pig- tails and sunglasses (covering her entire face) holding a dripping snow cone squeezed me and said, “This was the best night ever!!” So there you have it.

It was the perfect Monday to kick off this session, with so much to look forward to!