One giant party!

If you’re a loyal reader to the blog you know there are certain phrases we repeat. One being, “camp is a well-oiled machine” or “camp is our mission trip”. We also like to compare camp preparation to party planning. We spend the entire off-season planning one giant party for over 1200 people who don’t know each other, and spend every waking second together, for ten weeks…kind of a strange concept, but it works. Not only does it work, but it’s really great. One of my favorite parts about this “giant party” are the themes that come out throughout the sessions. Everyone loves a theme, and today was a combo of three: Twilight Tuesday (referring to the 2008 Vampire flick, which no camper really understood), Tarheel Tuesday (for all of our Tarheel fans), and Tie-Dye Tuesday. If you are a professional event planner, you may be cringing at this combination of themes. How in the world does tie-dye, vampires, and Tarheels go together? Well they don’t really, and it’s kind of wonderful.

Today, amidst the sea of Carolina blue, black shirts with Robert Pattison’s face on them, and giant spirals of tie-dye, I was reminded of one of the greatest parts about camp. Kids come to camp exactly as they are, whether it’s the Twilight lover or the Tarheel fan. Whether it’s a camper experiencing homesickness or loss, or living overseas, or a camper who has never seen a sky full of stars, or jumped into a muddy lake. They arrive at camp with their own experiences, ideas, personalities, and they learn to live and be with others who are different…they even realize they can love others who aren’t just like them. What an opportunity for these young women to learn to embrace a world of difference, and to encourage relationships beyond our own “bubbles”. Today, the word of the day was curiosity. Merriam (Lucas) reminded us all to replace judgement with curiosity. I think if I got a tattoo it would be of those words.

I know you’re curious about how today went. Today’s rating in my book? 10. Cool temperatures started us off, and it heated up, with sunny skies throughout the day. Storms threatened this afternoon, but dissipated. Laurel 1, Laurel 2, 37, and 38 had their turns on the Beanstalk. Illahee’s Adventure Program director zipped the crew down the zip-line and took some awesome photos of the girls. The camper/counselor tennis and pickle-ball tournaments started today. Campers choosing to play have carefully picked their staff partners. I get to play with camper, Lawson, and we are planning to dominate.

The cooking classes made instant cheesecake with head chef, Val. Val is from Mexico and is joining us for her second summer in the Heavenly World. She spent the first half of her summer as an apprentice in Spain, at a world renowned restaurant honing her skills in the kitchen. The kayakers spent some time underwater, working on their wet exits. Choice Period was busy! Options included “So you think you can weave” in the fiber arts hut, “Rec Lodge Palooza” with competitive ball games, “Wimbledon” on the tennis courts, and Splash at the swim lake.

We enjoyed a feast of spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread, salad, and fresh baked brownies for dessert. Evening Program was a fan favorite, Cabin Palooza. Each cabin got to pick an activity to do together. Some included, swim party, s’mores, kickball tournament, paddle boats, and Spa Night. This night brings cabins together and gives the girls a chance to be silly, and get to know each other better!

I am off to wander the cabin hills and then head to my own bed for the night! Thanks for reading, Illahee family.