Got Grit?

This morning Lucas jostled me awake after way too many minutes of violins and harp choruses going off, as Enya sang Only Time (I really need to change my alarm). I begrudgingly threw my tennis shoes on. It took about ten minutes of heavy breathing to settle into an easy pace on my Illahee Road run, when I finally felt my body waking up with the world around me. Illahee is surrounded by hilly wooded neighborhoods, and this morning the sunrise was especially spectacular, lighting my way with oranges and golds. I passed counselors Arabella and Georgie running by camp, and counselor Harper and a car of friends were “exploring the neighborhoods” because they were curious about what was around camp. It’s fun seeing our little Illahee village come to life each morning.

One of my favorite things about camp summers are these sacred mornings, when instead of waking up to check phones or turn on the tv, campers and staff are woken with a bell and “Good morning Pineview!” or “Rise and Shine!” from across the hills. The sounds of birds replace the media noise that we all get used to during the year. Campers begin their days in community, taking turns sweeping the cabin, taking out the trash, or being the cabin’s dining hall server at meals. The simple act of waking up surrounded by eight other girls reminds us to look outside of ourselves. While there is so much joy that comes from this way of life, it also produces challenges and it’s not always easy. That’s where today’s Word of the Day comes in…

Illahee’s newest camp mascot is the talking Dictionary, Merriam Webster, aka Lucas dressed in a painted duct-taped cardboard creation, donned with red sunglasses and a graduation cap. Merriam appears each morning during Rise n’ Shine assembly as the girls chant, “Word of the Day!” Today’s word was Grit. It was only fitting as we also had tasty grits with our sausage biscuits. Merriam challenged the girls to use grit as they try new activities today, and when they feel nervous about not being good at something, to have the courage to try again. This morning a camper ran up to me and said, “Hey, guess what?! I used grit in swimming today!” Cabin 34 showed grit on the beanstalk as they conquered fear of heights and attempted the challenging ropes course.  

Speaking of heights, our climbers had a great day at Looking Glass rock, learning new knots, and practicing belaying. They ended their day at a small swimming hole called Moore’s Cove. I drove a bus load of 30 girls to our Farm Property down the road. Counselors Cece, Lynn, and Maya led the girls in garden care and flower vase decorating. When I picked the group up they were covered in dirt and proud of their hard work. Grit!

Tonight’s evening program is a camp classic, Airband. The girls were dressed in their entertainment wear for Bag Summer, our camp picnic dinner. I know many were planning to do renditions of Taylor Swift songs, an homage to the musical, Cats, and the Sparks will be performing the Queen’s Coronation. I headed home early to tuck our 9 month old, Jasper, into bed. I can hear the cheers from my window. Music to my ears!

Thanks for reading, Illahee family! It was another Heavenly day.