County Fair!

Greetings camp family! Gordon, Gardner or I write a nightly blog post during the summer that we post on My Illahee. You can share your user name and password if grandparents or other family members are interested and you would like for them to have access. It has been a great first day of activities- a Pine Day. MWF are pine days and TTS are tree days at Camp Illahee and on the first activity day, I breathe a sigh of relief watching campers settle in and following their activity schedule. There are questions about how to get to the canoe lake or the nature hut or where the cooking class meets (in the back of the dining hall and behind the kitchen.) I like to base myself in the center of camp playing traffic cop between activities enjoying the happy buzz. We started the day with French toast sticks, bacon and blueberries with cantaloupe alongside granola, cereal, yogurt and eggs on the encore table. After breakfast, Rise and Shine is our morning gathering in the rec lodge. Juniper 1 and 2 led the devotional and introduced themselves along with their favorite place in camp. Their answers ranged from the beanstalk to the nature hut to the swim lake to their cabin. My favorite spots are the porch of McLeod Lodge or the swim lake. Yesterday, we took a “leadership dip” before dinner and Gretchen, Claire, Gardner, Marie and I decided that we are going to take daily dips this session instead of rest hour…we’ll see how that goes!

At Rise and Shine, Gordon introduced theleadership team of directors. We’re pretty much a family affair; This is Gordon’s and my 20th summer at Illahee and Gordon’s sister, Gretchen’s 19th. We moved to camp when Gardner was in 4th grade and Turner in 2nd. Gardner has been a director for 5 years, and Turner joined the year round team in April 2021 to head the facilities program and technology. His wife Marie is our program director. Claire joined our year round team in March as the operations director.. One of the campers asked her at lunch, “Are you a wife or a daughter?” And she is actually both, and at camp she is the good sport who puts up with a family team! We let campers know to come to us if they need anything at camp and remind them that Illahee is a place for kind girls; no place for meanness! Grace and Omega announced the camper counselor Pickleball and Tennis tournaments will start tomorrow- new options for the August session.

It was a warm overcast morning and after lunch (grilled cheese and tomato soup for dunking sandwiches) a steady rain started just in time for rest hour. Some of the campers danced in the rain on their way to the cabin. By the end of rest hour it had stopped and activities went as normal. I remembered that I had 4 crates of corn to shuck for tonight’s County Fair dinner. This is best done on the front porch of the dining hall and is a great way to chat with campers who will stop by to shuck a few ears on their way to Splash when passing through. I managed to put together a team of helpers (Tom Sawyer style) and we got it done in no time. Choice period was hopping this afternoon. This period before dinner is a time that campers can choose and activity to try out- some are more structured and some are chill. There is book club at the tree house, sidewalk chalk in front of Curtis, camp songs in Willow, splash, field games, and the courts are hopping. Gardner was rounding up the counselors to set up for County Fair and I headed out to get 80 pounds of ice for the snow cone machine.

Dinner was festive with girls wearing tutus, crowns, wigs, mustaches, feather boas- ready for County Fair. Everything is more fun in a costume! Chef Carli made funnel cake drizzled with chocolate, powdered sugar and sprinkles for dessert. Counselors manned the snow cone machines, face painting, fortune telling, fishing for prizes, a petting zoo with ponies and the goats, a dunk tank, and Turner driving the tractor for hay rides. There also was a big group dance party. Our local friend and camp parent, Mark English, brought his llamas and they paraded around the rec lodge. The fortune teller continues to be the prize ticket with long lines waiting all evening. We’re all intrigued about our future. Counselor Lainie was decked out wearing a cloak and turban using her crystal ball to offer wise predictions. “You will have an adventure soon.” “You will have a a big decision in the future….” “You will make a new friend soon.”

We rounded up the girls at 8:30, in one giant circle on the tennis court to sing the Pinetree Song- this is our end of day ritual that starts, “All hail our own pine tree, so stately and tall, a symbol of loyalty and wisdom for all….and ends with Taps. A great first day for us all. I’m off to bed- tomorrow morning starts early. Gordon and I host counselors in our living room with coffee and cinnamon rolls for an early morning Bible study- which usually is more of a sharing and encouraging time for us all. Sleep well Illahee family!