Illahee Activities New and Old!

An Illahee girl in the 1940s might’ve spent her morning loading up golf clubs, bags, balls and tees to hit the links.

She may have paddled in canoe formation but I’m doubtful she would’ve roped up to climb Looking Glass Rock or rolled a kayak in the lake. She may have hit tennis balls with a wooden racket but certainly not played pickleball. Much of Illahee would feel familiar to a camper from the 40s, but some activities would be a fun surprise! We are bringing even more activities for 2022, our 101st year of camp!

One fresh activity is Pickleball! Described by Gretchen and Turner as “sort of ping-pong meets tennis”, it’s a sport we tried out personally in the fall finding that anyone can grab a paddle and hit the courts! Who knows? We might even have a pickleball camper/counselor tournament. Another new surprise is, actually a return to Illahee activities of old. Glee Club was an Illahee activity in the 50s with Robin and Teeter! You’ll see it as “new in ’22” on activity descriptions for this year.

You might notice a new twist on activity descriptions – Campcraft is now Wil Skills emphasizing the development of wilderness skills.

We’re also expanding our adventure and trip offerings. Climbing and Kayaking in-camp is now available to all ages. Campers in the climbing activity will learn knots, climbing safety, belaying technique and more while climbing the beanstalk. In kayaking, campers will learn skills and safety for whitewater kayaking such as the wet exit, roll, and paddling techniques. You won’t see trips listed on the activities. Instead there will be daily sign-up offerings for hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and other special trips leaving camp during the session.

The new system for daily trip offerings will allow more campers to experience the beautiful forests, rivers, and mountains in western North Carolina. Sometimes, all it takes is one trip to spark a lifetime passion and we want as many campers as possible to have that experience. Camp is the place for campers to expand their comfort zones by trying new activities! I took my first backpacking trip to the Smoky Mountains as a college freshman and then trekked 270 miles solo in Sweden after graduating. My first sign-up climbing trip led me to Illahee to teach climbing in 2017 and 2018!

Our passionate and experienced outdoor educators give campers a taste of these adventure sports in our world class mountain setting. Now, any camper can head out of camp for a day of adventure! If a trip sparks a love for a new sport, a camper can sign up for multiple trips during her session and progress through harder rivers, advance her climbing technique, or trek longer miles. We can’t wait to dive into activities new and old this summer which is sure to be…our best summer ever!
Until then, Cheers!

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