It is with gratitude and excitement that we announce Gardner Strayhorn and Lucas Jones as Illahee’s Executive Directors – the 6th set of directors since camp’s founding in 1921! We look forward to their positive leadership and energy as they and the team continue to build on the amazing camp traditions and experience that Illahee has offered to girls for over one-hundred years! Since we became directors in 2003, we have had the privilege of serving as stewards for this great camp, getting to know families all over the country who have shared their lives with us. It has been the ultimate joy to see so many girls grow into young adults and become leaders at camp or within their own communities. We know that Illahee means as much to your family as it does to ours, and we are confident that Gardner and Lucas will infuse the Illahee experience with new energy and enthusiasm while nurturing each individual with careful attention that has become an Illahee hallmark.
Gardner and Lucas and their growing family (with sons Brooks and Jasper) are no strangers to Illahee girls! Since 2016, Gardner has been part of Illahee’s year-round team, and has grown in responsibility each subsequent year in her role as a camp leader working side-by-side with us. She and Lucas married in August 2021 at camp, and she joined him in Columbia, SC where he served as associate pastor of Downtown Church. Gardner continued working for camp remotely until this past May when the family moved back to camp full time! Lucas worked during Leadership Camp in 2020 (aka Covid camp!) and stepped into the Program Director role this past summer bringing energy and his dynamic personality…a perfect fit for camp. He and Gardner offer experience, strength and warmth as Illahee’s directors. We feel extremely fortunate to be part of a transition that we know will allow camp to thrive for the next generation.
Gardner and Lucas will move into Pinecrest, Gardner’s childhood home nestled in the middle of Pineview hill. We will be close by in our new home at Hannah Ford Farm and will look forward to the happy noises of Illahee girls tubing, swimming, and enjoying our beautiful outpost. We’ll still be around camp as we look forward to making our new director’s lives easier, offering behind the scenes support and helping with other special camp activities. After 34 years as camp directors, we think we have a few ideas on how to do that!
Gardner and Lucas look forward to greeting camp families this fall as they travel throughout the southeast with Jasper (turning one this month!) and a brand new movie from the summer of 2023! Look out for more news of their road show coming up! Meanwhile learn more about Gardner and Lucas from this interview which shares their hopes and dreams for camp and get ready for the BEST SUMMER EVER!
With Gratitude and Illahee love,
Laurie and Gordon