I grew up at Illahee and spent many years mostly unaware of how lucky I was that this place was my backyard. After moving away in 2021, spending two years in Columbia, SC, my family is settling back in to camp life. While so much is familiar, I am also finding myself getting reacquainted with the unique characteristics of camp living. Like the fact that towels or shoes don’t really dry- even inside our house. Part of Brevard is actually considered a rainforest, and we get an absurd amount of rain, which is mostly a blessing. Everything’s so green all the time! One thing I am surely not taking for granted this time are the sounds of the birds. They are so. Loud. A cacophony of chirps that eliminates any need for a morning alarm clock. It’s nice to be able to wake up to this sound each morning, a reminder of a beautiful world that starts fresh each day. I remember getting an email from a dad last year who wanted us to remind his daughter to look up at the night sky, because she doesn’t get to see stars at home. I loved this, and I think about it often when life is speeding by and it’s hard to take the time to slow down and notice the beauty around us…
As a director at Illahee, it’s our job to notice. We see a lot, and while some days it’s easy to fixate on what needs to be done, most days, it’s easy to see the beauty throughout this community. It’s not just the sounds of the birds, or the green pastures, and glistening lakes. It’s the chatter in the vans on the way back from Hannah Ford Farm, exclaiming “This is the best activity ever! We are all friends here!”. Or the camper conquering her fear of horses, and proudly mounting a new furry friend, smiling ear to ear. It’s the older camper teaching a Hillbrooker how to make a friendship bracelet, or the counselor spending her rest hour choreographing her cabin’s airband. It’s the love that permeates through this place. Sometimes I have “pinch me, I can’t believe I get to do this as my job” days, and today was one of those days…
It started with cool temps, and bluebird skies- a theme so far. We ate warm biscuits, sausage patties, granola, and fruit for breakfast. Lucas, my husband, is a guy who loves a “character” and a story. He has been crafting Merriam Webster, the talking dictionary, for the past few weeks. After introducing the character at Rise n’ Shine yesterday, the girls chanted “Word of the Day” signaling his appearance. The makeshift cardboard character introduced the word and theme for today, “Listen”.
Adventure Lee took a group of kayakers to the Green River today, and climbers headed to Looking Glass to enjoy some aerial views! Two new goat residents were delivered to nature, and the Farm activity spent the period working on their Improv skills, doing skits for each other. We will be starting the camper/counselor tennis tournament soon, as well as Pickleball!
I am listening to the sounds of Airband- lots of cheers and enthusiastic audience members! The CITs are emceeing. It has been a near perfect day and I am going to sign off and head home!
Thanks for reading, Illahee family